Though the Levites have no land inheritance (18:1-2), it is not as if the Lord was not concerned for them. On the contrary, though there was no inheritance within the land, they Lord provided for them very well (18:3-8). No land inheritance was theirs, but neither were any of the Israelites (let alone the Levites!) to inherit any of the evil practices of the people of the land (18:9-14).
In this next section (18:15-22), there is a noteworthy passage that deserves attention. The word “prophet” is singular in English (NKJV, NIV, NASV, KJV, ESV, NET), but actually refers to the many prophets that would come throughout Israel’s history. “The promise neither relates to one particular prophet, nor directly and exclusively to the Messiah, but treats of the sending of prophets generally” (Keil & Delitzsch). Though this may refer to the many that have come down through history, it most definitely referred to the Lord Jesus Himself (Acts 3:22-23). God will raise that prophet up, and his credibility will be firmly established. If the people wonder about it, this is how they can know: 18:22. Looking at 13:1-5, however, we might become confused. The difference is in the prophet’s adherence to the Lord’s law. In C-13, there is a challenge to the Lord’s law (13:2), but in C-18, there is no challenge at all, but complimentary actions.
Application: The problem that existed then in “how shall one know” is a problem that exits today. Yet, the solution then is the solution today. In Isaiah 8:20, the Lord’s prophet expounded an authoritative source to measure everything by, and today we must do the same. We may struggle when we think of a person’s sincerity, and the quality of their character, but when it comes to the Lord’s way, there can be no compromise – even when family members are involved. That makes for hard decisions.
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