Verses 1-42: The tribe of Levi, the priestly tribe, was ultimately last to receive their portion of the land. It was divine design set forth as recorded in Numbers 35:1-8 that the Levites were to be given cities to dwell in that were part of the land already given to the other tribes. The Cities of Refuge mentioned in Joshua 20 would also be part of the cities for the Levites in the common land around the cities. Note that God’s design was for the Levites to live among the people, diffusing a spiritually-themed presence among the tribes. This proximity allowed for an ease of remembrance of God, His precepts, commandments and promises. Also, the tribes (ergo the people) were responsible for providing the land for the priestly tribe, a godly precursor to how the church provides for the livelihood of its preachers today.
Verses 43-45: After the work of clearing the land, ridding it of its peoples, fighting and conquering, at last all of the Israelites have their land and their rest. God’s promise being fulfilled, they were able to rest all around.
There is a simple parallel here to be found with mankind today. If we persevere and strive to obey God, we are rewarded with eternal rest after our life has ended. However, if we are like the indigenous peoples in Canaan that did not know God, we will be condemned and driven away from God’s presence.
Much like the church in Thessalonica, the children of Israel were enjoying God’s blessings. In II Thessalonians 1:5-10, the church there is commended for its faith and told of the blessings to come for them, compared with the wrath coming for those that do not know God.
Do I seek to do His work day after day? Do I take confidence in the knowledge that He has prepared a truer and purer rest for me than I have ever known in the flesh?