Look FORWARD to RECEIVING your HEAVENLY INHERITANCE: "Only to the tribe of Levi he had given no inheritance; the sacrifices of the Lord God of Israel made by fire are their inheritance, as He said to them…But to the tribe of Levi Moses had given no inheritance; the Lord God of Israel was their inheritance, as He had said to them." (Josh. 13:14, 33)
The word inheritance means ‘possession’ and here this is directly linked to the promises of God, particularly that involving the Promised Land (see Gen. 13:14–17). We know that Jehovah God is the owner of the entire earth as the Psalmist has so aptly described: "The earth is the Lord's, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein. For He has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the waters" (Psalms 24:1-2). From out of His own belongings many years ago, God had granted Abraham and his descendants a specific parcel of land property in the region of Palestine.
Now the time has come for this land property to be divided among the twelve tribes of Israel, who are Abraham’s children. However, to one tribe, Levi, God withholds from giving them any such land property as He would give to the other tribes of Israel. The reason for this was because the tribe of Levi was set apart for God’s service; so this was to be their inheritance (v. 33; Deut. 12:19; 18:1–8). Thus, the Levites had no allotted land or assigned duties outside of the sanctuary. The rest of the tribes were required to support them so that they would be free to serve God and the congregation. The measure of support given to the Levites would be one indication of Israel’s obedience to God!
This is an important concept in the book of Joshua, where the previous directives about the inheritance for the tribe of Levi were obeyed (Num. 18:20–24; Deut. 10:8, 9). We should note that originally the tribe of Levi was sentenced to be without any land property for its violent behavior (see Gen. 49:5–7), but later the Levites redeemed themselves (see Exo. 32:25–28) and were promised a blessing instead (Deut. 33:8–11). Also, the tribe of Levi received some cities in the territories of each tribe for their dwelling place (21:1–42). So, instead of a land inheritance, the sacrifices of God (v. 14) and God Himself (v. 33) would be their privileged inheritance!
In other words, Levi did not receive a tribal inheritance (v. 14) since that was the priestly tribe, and the Lord was its inheritance in a special way (v. 33). God had so ruled in this matter earlier: "The priests, the Levites--all the tribe of Levi--shall have no part nor inheritance with Israel; they shall eat the offerings of the Lord made by fire, and His portion. Therefore they shall have no inheritance among their brethren; the Lord is their inheritance, as He said to them" (Deut. 18:1-2). So now, it is possible that emphasis was placed on the Levites - at the beginning of the allotment section – that they were to be living models for Israel not to become satisfied with the land and forget Jehovah, to whom this land actually belonged (Psalms 73:25–28).
Let us also understand that the concept of Israel’s inheritance transcends a simple association with just the land property. Both King David and Prophet Jeremiah affirm that God Himself is the real inheritance of His people: "O Lord, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; yes, I have a good inheritance" (Psalms 16:5-6). "The Portion of Jacob is not like them, for He is the Maker of all things, and Israel is the tribe of His inheritance; the Lord of hosts is His name." (Jer. 10:16)
Today and hereafter, let us find joy and fulfillment in our relationship with God. Let us remember that nothing this world can offer as an inheritance compares with God Himself (1 Pet. 1:4). Let us look forward to receiving our heavenly inheritance one day in the near future!