God’s promise to the Israelite people is finally realized. The selection of refuge cities had to happen first, followed by assigning cities and pastureland to the Levites. The Lord had commanded Moses in Numbers 35:6 to give the Levities six cities of refuge and 42 other cities. We see that played out perfectly here.
I thought it would be helpful to take a little historical break to consider the back story here. We’ve been reading about Eleazer, the priest. In case you missed it, like I did, he was Aaron’s son. Aaron was brother to Moses and was the priest being used by God in the wilderness. The tribe of Levi was made up of three branches: The Gersonites, the Kohathites, and the Merarites. Aaron and his descendants (the priests) were from the Kohath branch.
God remained faithful and no promise he made with regard to the possession of Canaan was left unfulfilled. It was in his time. Even though not every person already living in the land was not destroyed, we need to remember that God never promised immediate and total destruction of all the people, simply a gradual extermination. God had left those remaining overwhelmed with extreme fear of the Israelites. They would not attempt anything against Israel so long as the Israelites adhered faithfully to their God.
Do we find ourselves waiting patiently for God’s timing? Or perhaps we get a little anxious and wonder when our time of blessing will come. We can draw closer to God as we wait patiently for the promised return of Jesus. That promise is ongoing and can give us hope. What are we doing to prepare our hearts to receive that promise? Have we set aside our idols and distractions?
Take some time today to let the peace of God descend on you. “And the Lord gave them rest on every side, just as he had solemnly promised their ancestors. None of their enemies could stand against them, for the Lord helped them conquer all their enemies.” The same God that fought battles, seen and unseen, for the Israelites is also fighting for you. I love these words from St. Augustine: “Lord, Thou madest me for Thyself, and we can find no rest till we find rest in Thee!”
In your time of reflection today, let the words of Matthew 11:28-29 bring you comfort. “Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Let’s pray … Heavenly Father, thank you for rest in you. The world may seem like it is crashing in around us, but you are in full control. Teach me, Lord, your ways. Help me to trust you and rely on your promises. You have so much good in store for me. Give me your peace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.