The Cities of the Levites
Joshua 21:3
And the children of Israel gave to the Levites out of their inheritance, at the commandment of the LORD…

The Levites were scattered among the other tribes of Israel, and yet not individually but in clusters, in cities of their own. This arrangement must have had some object: -

I. THE LEVITES WERE SET APART FOR THE SERVICE OF GOD. They were freed from the claims and cares which fell on the other Israelites. They were maintained by the offerings of the people. Those who minister in spiritual things have temporal wants which the people who are benefited by their services should care for. They are not the less men because they are servants of God, and their home comforts should be secured that they may be free for spiritual work.

II. THE LEVITES WERE ABLE TO MINISTER TO THE PEOPLE BY LIVING AMONGST THEM. When it was not their turn to be serving at the temple, the Levites appear to have been engaged in educational work and religious ministrations among the people of their neighbourhood. Church services are useless unless the private lives of men are improved. We must carry the gospel to those who will not come to hear it in the regular place of worship. It is the duty of Christians not to live apart from the world for their own sanctification, but to live in the world for the world's redemption - to be the leaven leavening the whole mass, the light of the world shining into the dark places. Thus the world will be Christianised

(1) by the gospel reaching those who are out of the way of ordinary religious influences;

(2) by example;

(3) by direct personal persuasion.

III. THE LEVITES WERE ABLE TO CULTIVATE THEIR HUMAN SYMPATHIES BY LIVING AMONG THE PEOPLE. The religion of complete separation from the world is unnatural. It destroys some of the finest qualities of human life. Godliness cannot exist without humanity. The man of God is most truly human. Sympathy for human affairs, active pity for the distress of the world, and brotherly kindness are essential to the Christian life. Therefore the best school for the saint is not the hermit's cell, but the marketplace. Complete separation from the world for religious ends developes

(1) morbid subjectivity,

(2) spiritual selfishness,

(3) pride,

(4) idleness.

IV. THE LEVITES WERE ABLE TO CULTIVATE THEIR SPIRITUALITY BY MUTUAL INTERCOURSE. They lived in cities together; though in the midst of the tribes of Israel. Christians should unite in Church fellowship. Solitary mission work is difficult and painful. Christian society secures

(1) mutual sympathy,

(2) wholesome emulation.

The Church should be a home for the Christian. It is bad to be always in worldly society. - W.F.A.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And the children of Israel gave unto the Levites out of their inheritance, at the commandment of the LORD, these cities and their suburbs.

WEB: The children of Israel gave to the Levites out of their inheritance, according to the commandment of Yahweh, these cities with their suburbs.

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