I’ve been reading through the book of Joshua and today came across a reiteration of God’s promise to a particular tribe of Israel: Levi.
Chapter 13, verses 14 & 33– “But to the tribe of Levi He gave no inheritance, since the offerings made by fire to the LORD, the God of Israel, are their inheritance, as He promised them. … But to the tribe of Levi, Moses had given no inheritance; the LORD, the God of Israel, is their inheritance, as He promised them.”
This I found to be amazing, but before I can explain why, we need a little backstory, or milieu (a new word I learned today). Okay, so the Israelites have left Egypt, they’re wandering in the desert, and they come to Mount Sinai where God gives them the “Mosaic” Law. At some point, Moses (who is of the tribe of Levi) tallies the people and divides up the land that each tribe will inherit when they move into the Promised Land. Everybody gets a slice (excluding a couple of impatient tribes who settle for land east of the Jordan River) except the Levites, because they were to be set aside specifically and exclusively for serving in God’s Tabernacle, and later the Temple.
This points out three things to me:
- God wanted His ministers to have a singular focus with no distractions, not even having a livelihood.
- God wanted His servants to be completely reliant on Him, trusting Him to provide all their needs.
- God expects faithfulness from the “non-Levites”, that is, He expects us to give our tithes and offerings in obedience to Him.
But it gets better. If you go back to Genesis 29 wherein Jacob’s sons (or Israel’s tribes) are being born, you see Levi come about in verse 34.
“Again [Leah] conceived and when she gave birth to a son she said, ‘Now at last my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.’ So he was named Levi.”
Now, I could go onto all kinds of tangents with just this one verse, but in the interest of avoiding an ADD moment, I want to point out that this woman was longing for her husband to be attached to her. He had been tricked into marrying her whilst he was in love with her sister whom he also married. A baby-bearing competition ensues, since in that day children were the way to a husband’s approval, and until Joseph comes along, Rachael (the younger sister) remains barren. In verse 31, it records that God opened Leah’s womb because He saw she was unloved.
So here’s my point: How awesome is it that God chose the tribe descended from the man whose name was the Hebrew word for “attached” or “joined to” to connect with His people through worship? God took a woman’s pain, her hopes and desires for connection, from nearly FIVE centuries prior to this generation, and answered those prayers through the son in whom she hoped to find connection? Maybe it’s just me, but that blows me away.
It’s things like these that show me the Bible is NOT just another book. It is symmetrical and surprising, full of history and mystery, instruction and inspiration, and it is an amazing picture of how God purposefully connects with His creation. That’s why my God is awesome to me: because even in all His holiness and perfection, He cares about little ol’ mess-it-up me and wants to be involved in my life. Thank You Jesus for all that You are.