Thursday, December 16, 2010

Did You Get Yours Yet?

Reading: Joshua 21  

Some Get Their Inheritance After Everyone Else!

Joshua 19 ended with Joshua receiving his inheritance after everyone else in Israel had received theirs. And the last words are, “And so they finished dividing the land.” Then Joshua 20 designates the cities of refuge for those who commit manslaughter to run to in order to receive a fair trial. So I find it rather interesting that Joshua 21:1-3 reads:

Now the family heads of the Levites approached Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun, and the heads of the other tribal families of Israel 2at Shiloh in Canaan and said to them, "The LORD commanded through Moses that you give us towns to live in, with pasturelands for our livestock." 3So, as the LORD had commanded, the Israelites gave the Levites the following towns and pasturelands out of their own inheritance....

This may be yet one more reason Joshua is convinced the future is not good for Israel (Joshua 24:19-20). They hadn't exactly placed a high priority on the ministry of the Word and Tabernacle (God's dwelling amongst them). Throughout Israel's history, this is one of the things that seemed to fall by the wayside... setting aside from their own inheritance, what the Lord commanded for the Levites.

Yet this is the Lord's plan. Everyone receives their inheritance first, and then, from that the Levites receive theirs. It is an evidence of faith, or faithlessness. Will the people take from what God gave them, and set aside for the work of ministry? Paul and the apostles experienced this being at the end of the line in a unique way:

7...What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not? 8Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have become kings—and that without us! How I wish that you really had become kings so that we might be kings with you! 9For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like men condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to men. 10We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! 11To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. 12We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; 13when we are slandered, we answer kindly. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world. 14I am not writing this to shame you, but to warn you, as my dear children. 15Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. 16Therefore I urge you to imitate me. (1 Corinthians 4:7-16)

Christ came and took the lowest place, and gave His life as a ransom for many. Paul took a certain joy in being dishonored, that others might gain. And what is his admonition for the rest of us? “I urge you to imitate me.” We might accurately add, as Paul himself does later, “as I follow Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1)

Ministry is about being at the end of the line... I forget that too often. Ministry is about a cross. This is a privileged place. Ministry is about “not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.”  (1 Corinthians 10:33) And this is why those who preach the Gospel also line up at the end, and receive their earthly inheritance after everyone else (1 Corinthians 9:13-14; Galatians 6:6).

Love the Gospel, Live the Gospel, Advance the Gospel,

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