Joshua 13:14, 33
Only to the tribes of Levi he gave none inheritance; the sacrifices of the LORD God of Israel made by fire are their inheritance…
I. THE TRIBE OF LEVI RECEIVED NO INHERITANCE OF LAND.
(1) They who devote themselves to the service of God must be prepared to make earthly sacrifices. We cannot serve God and mammon. If our service of God costs nothing it is worth nothing (Luke 14:33). Therefore count the cost (Luke 14:28).
(2) Earthly possessions distract our attention from heavenly service. Therefore it is hard for the rich to enter into the kingdom of heaven (Luke 18:24).
(3) It is right that they who have the care of souls should be freed from the care of earthly business.
II. THE TRIBE OF LEVI HAD ITS TEMPORAL WANTS ADEQUATELY PROVIDED FOR (see verse 14).
(1) They who serve at the altar have a right to live by the altar (1 Corinthians 9:7). This is
(a) just (1 Corinthians 9:11),
(b) necessary for unhindered service, and
(c) not injurious to true devotion so long as the servant of God does not degrade his vocation into a trade by working for money instead of receiving money that he may have means for work.
(2) In contributing to the support of God's servants we are offering sacrifices to God. The sacrifices were the priests' and Levites' portion (Deuteronomy 18:1). We cannot benefit God by our gifts, but we can give to God through His servants (Matthew 25:40). It is our duty to provide in temporal things for those who minister to us in spiritual things. He who starves the ministers of Christ is as guilty as if he starved their Master (Matthew 25:45).
III. THE TRIBE OF LEVI FOUND ITS TRUE INHERITANCE IN GOD. The sacrificial gifts of the people were not its chief inheritance, but only the small necessary earthly portion of what it was to receive. Its true heritage was spiritual.
(1) The Christian minister should not regard the earthly returns which he receives for his service as his main reward. To do so is to commit the sin of simony. His real reward is spiritual.
(2) He who makes any sacrifice for God will be amply compensated in Divine riches (Mark 10:29, 30).
(3) It is better to have God for our portion than any earthly inheritance (Psalm 73:26). To have God for an inheritance is
(a) to enjoy communion with Him;
(b) to be protected by Him;
(c) to live for His service.
This is the best inheritance, because
(a) it is satisfying to the soul, while the earthly inheritance is full of dissatisfaction, and can never supply our greatest wants;
(b) it is eternal; and
(c) it is pure and lofty.
Note: In the Christian Church, though there is diversity of orders (Romans 12:6-8) there is no distinction of caste. All Christians are called to the altar of sacrifice (Hebrews 13:10), all are to serve as priests of the temple (1 Peter 2:9), and all should find their true inheritance in God (1 Peter 1:4). - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: Only unto the tribe of Levi he gave none inheritance; the sacrifices of the LORD God of Israel made by fire are their inheritance, as he said unto them.