1 Chronicles 6:49-81

49 But Aaron and his sons [m]offered on the altar of burnt offering and on the altar of incense, for all the work of the most holy place, and to make atonement for Israel, according to all that Moses the servant of God had commanded. 50 These are the sons of Aaron: Eleazar his son, Phinehas his son, Abishua his son, 51 Bukki his son, Uzzi his son, Zerahiah his son, 52 Meraioth his son, Amariah his son, Ahitub his son, 53 Zadok his son, Ahimaaz his son.

54 Now these are their settlements according to their camps within their borders. To the sons of Aaron of the families of the Kohathites (for theirs was the first lot), 55 to them they gave Hebron in the land of Judah and its pasture lands around it; 56 but the fields of the city and its villages, they gave to Caleb the son of Jephunneh. 57 To the sons of Aaron they gave the following cities of refuge: Hebron, Libnah also with its pasture lands, Jattir, Eshtemoa with its pasture lands, 58 [n]Hilen with its pasture lands, Debir with its pasture lands, 59 [o]Ashan with its pasture lands and Beth-shemesh with its pasture lands; 60 and from the tribe of Benjamin: Geba with its pasture lands, [p]Allemeth with its pasture lands, and Anathoth with its pasture lands. All their cities throughout their families were thirteen cities.

61 Then to the rest of the sons of Kohath were given by lot, from the family of the tribe, from the half-tribe, the half of Manasseh, ten cities. 62 To the sons of Gershom, according to their families, were given from the tribe of Issachar and from the tribe of Asher, the tribe of Naphtali, and the tribe of Manasseh, thirteen cities in Bashan. 63 To the sons of Merari were given by lot, according to their families, from the tribe of Reuben, the tribe of Gad and the tribe of Zebulun, twelve cities. 64 So the sons of Israel gave to the Levites the cities with their pasture lands. 65 They gave by lot from the tribe of the sons of Judah, the tribe of the sons of Simeon and the tribe of the sons of Benjamin, these cities which are mentioned by name.

66 Now some of the families of the sons of Kohath had cities of their territory from the tribe of Ephraim. 67 They gave to them the following cities of refuge: Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim with its pasture lands, Gezer also with its pasture lands, 68 Jokmeam with its pasture lands, Beth-horon with its pasture lands, 69 Aijalon with its pasture lands and Gath-rimmon with its pasture lands; 70 and from the half-tribe of Manasseh: Aner with its pasture lands and Bileam with its pasture lands, for the rest of the family of the sons of Kohath.

71 To the sons of Gershom were given, from the family of the half-tribe of Manasseh: Golan in Bashan with its pasture lands and Ashtaroth with its pasture lands; 72 and from the tribe of Issachar: Kedesh with its pasture lands, Daberath with its pasture lands 73 and Ramoth with its pasture lands, Anem with its pasture lands; 74 and from the tribe of Asher: Mashal with its pasture lands, Abdon with its pasture lands, 75 Hukok with its pasture lands and Rehob with its pasture lands; 76 and from the tribe of Naphtali: Kedesh in Galilee with its pasture lands, Hammon with its pasture lands and Kiriathaim with its pasture lands.

77 To the rest of the Levites, the sons of Merari, were given, from the tribe of Zebulun: Rimmono with its pasture lands, Tabor with its pasture lands; 78 and beyond the Jordan at Jericho, on the east side of the Jordan, were given them, from the tribe of Reuben: Bezer in the wilderness with its pasture lands, Jahzah with its pasture lands, 79 Kedemoth with its pasture lands and Mephaath with its pasture lands; 80 and from the tribe of Gad: Ramoth in Gilead with its pasture lands, Mahanaim with its pasture lands, 81 Heshbon with its pasture lands and Jazer with its pasture lands.

Rather than having a designated parcel of land, all together like the other tribes, the Levites were given cities and land by lot (roll of the dice) from all over Israel. Thus the Levites were dispersed throughout the other tribes. Since they were dedicated to the service of God, perhaps it was hoped that their presence would keep the other tribes on the right path. And since God knew that the kingdom would one day be split, it may have even been to make sure there were those who served God in both Israel and Judah.

Whatever the case, though they chose the land by lot, God ultimately decided where they would put down roots. That was always the case, that they used lots and trusted God for the outcome. It’s a very different mindset than many in our world today. We have taken games of chance and turned them into an entire industry devoid of any faith in God.

Next time you flip a coin, or leave something to chance, remember that God always knows the outcome. If that outcome matters at all, be sure God will have his say in the matter. It’s a reminder that God is always working in our world and in our lives. And for those of us that follow him, God is always working things for our good, even when we think it looks pretty random and happenstance.

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