Joshua 21:34-42 (NIV) 34 The Merarite clans (the rest of the Levites) were given: from the tribe of Zebulun, Jokneam, Kartah, 35 Dimnah and Nahalal, together with their pasturelands–four towns; 36 from the tribe of Reuben, Bezer, Jahaz, 37 Kedemoth and Mephaath, together with their pasturelands–four towns; 38 from the tribe of Gad, Ramoth in Gilead (a city of refuge for one accused of murder), Mahanaim, 39 Heshbon and Jazer, together with their pasturelands–four towns in all. 40 All the towns allotted to the Merarite clans, who were the rest of the Levites, were twelve. 41 The towns of the Levites in the territory held by the Israelites were forty-eight in all, together with their pasturelands. 42 Each of these towns had pasturelands surrounding it; this was true for all these towns.
On verses 34-42: These verses conclude the list of towns that were given to the tribe of Levi, ending with the Merarite clans. “Merari” literally means “bitter”. The fact that these Levites could receive these towns as well as pasturelands, and this despite the sin that their forefather had committed in Genesis 34, is a pretty sweet deal made possible by God’s grace.
Notice the repeated emphasis on the word “pasturelands” in this chapter, especially verses 16 through 42. It reminds me that God is a gracious provider and a good shepherd, who “makes me lie down in green pastures” (Psalm 23:2). Take a moment and thank God for the green pastures He has provided in your life.
Joshua 21:43 (NIV) 43 So the LORD gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their forefathers, and they took possession of it and settled there.
On verse 43: Notice that God gave Israel the land He had promised, but it was up to Israel to take possession of it and settle there. Similarly, God has good things in store for You, good things He has planned and promised you, but it is up to you to go take possession of it and settle there.
Joshua 21:44-45 (NIV) 44 The LORD gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their forefathers. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the LORD handed all their enemies over to them. 45 Not one of all the LORD’s good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.
On verses 44-45: Just as God promised, God gave the Israelites rest on every side (v44), and none of their enemies could withstand them (see Joshua 1:5). Every one of God’s promises was fulfilled.
What can we learn from this? As Psalm 145:13 says, “The Lord is faithful to all His promises and loving toward all he has made”. You can depend on what God says and trust in His goodness. God never promised that the journey you are on would be easy, but He does promise that if you trust Him, He will make your path straight (Proverbs 3:5-6), you will have everything you need (Matthew 6:33), and in all things He is working ultimately for your good (Romans 8:28). As you trust in God, your life will be a story that points to God’s grace and faithfulness on earth.
Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to every word You speak and every promise You make. Thank You for being my good shepherd who makes me lie down in green pastures, who gives me rest on every side. I trust in You and give everything to You. Have Your way in me. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!