READ: Joshua 15-17
BACKGROUND: This section deals with the inheritance in the Promised Land that each tribe and family received when they finally arrived. For a further – and hopefully challenging and convicting– understanding of why there are so many pages devoted to this in this Bible, check out the Through in 2 post from Thursday, April 19th.
15:1 – The tribe of Judah gets to go first because they are the stewards of the Promise. That is, the Messiah will come from the line of Judah.
17 – Othniel served as one of the judges of Israel. See Judges 3:7-11.
16:1 – Ephriam and Manasseh are often referred to as the “half-tibes.” They were split and they occasionally had conflict with one another, but collectively they make up the tribe of Joseph.
17:3-4 – This is a hugely important couple of verses! In every other culture that surrounded them, women were barely treated as human beings and they certainly weren’t allowed to own property. God does not treat them in the degrading way that culture does. He promises them that they, too, can receive an inheritance in the land.
THINK: Watch this short clip from Pastor Francis Chan.
It’s a powerful video, huh? I think so often in our lives it’s easy to take “the Middle Road” and convince ourselves that that’s okay. But when we do, we rob ourselves of God’s best for us. That’s what the nation of Israel did continually. Even in this passage, tucked amidst the seemingly endless list of names is a repeated phrase or idea in Joshua 15:63, 16:10, & 17:16-17. The Israelites did not fully conquer the people of Canaan or drive them out of the land. God commanded them to do that and promised that he would help them and delivered military victories to them all the time. But they got really comfortable when they got into the land and settled for the Middle Road. They kind of did what God commanded, and they kind of didn’t. They didn’t follow after him wholeheartedly. And it cost them dearly because time and time again the Canaanites living among them pulled them away from God. Eventually it cost them the very land that God desired to give to them in the first place. Taking the Middle Road may seem appealing, but it will always you way more than you ever wanted to pay.
ASK: Am I following the Leader, or am I taking the Middle Road? What are some specific ways in which I can step out in faith and live the way God is calling me to live instead of continuing to settle for something less?