Joshua 13:8-33: God as One’s Inheritance

Read: Joshua 13:8-33

The land allocation that was deemed an “inheritance” to the peoples of Israel was not like the sort of land ownership that is commonly today. Today, land is bought and sold like any other commodity, but in the times of ancient Israel, land was supposed to be a permanent possession of the one occupying the land. The people of Israel could loan the land for a period of time, but it was to be returned in the Year of Jubilee.  The Levites, the priestly order for the people of Israel, did not receive an inheritance of land, rather God was supposed to be their inheritance.  It is tempting to over spiritualize what this is saying because were not receiving a material inheritance of land. But the reality of the matter is that having God as one’s inheritance is noting the means by which one receives his or her portion. Numbers 18:8-9 outlines how the Levites were to receive a portion. Their day-to-day task was to devote themselves to the work of the Lord and receive compensation from it when those who received a land inheritance gave their first fruits of livestock and the land to the Levites as well as gifts and other things.

The New Testament does not contain detailed instructions on how those who devote themselves to the work of the Lord as a career should be compensated, but it does say that those who do devote themselves to the work have the right to compensation (1 Corinthians 9:1-14). The Apostle Paul draws from the Old Testament Levitical system talking about how priest received compensation from their work. Paul says that those who preach the gospel should be able to make a living by doing so. He argues that those who sow spiritual things ought to be able to reap material benefit.

For those who have the right to receive a living from the gospel, there has to be those who give to make this possible. Churches for this reason receive offerings in order to compensate those who have devoted themselves to the ministry. It is the responsibility of Christians to provide for ministers and at the same time it is responsibility of those who minister to do so in a manner worthy of compensation. In either case, one should do as Paul such that he does all things for the sake of the gospel so that those who participate may partake in the gospel, which is the promise of eternal life for everyone who believes!

Lord, help be to reap and sow in all things for the sake of the gospel!