Read: Joshua 18-20
Background: Joshua, Israel’s leader at this time, is finishing allotting the promise land. Some tribes had already received their inheritance earlier in the conquest, but the last seven tribes still needed to be given their land. Remember, Israel is not taking all this land for their own sake; they are completing the work God has given them to do. This conquest and taking of land was not about Israel becoming an awesome nation, it was about God getting glory. Israel’s job was to be a reflection of the true king.
18:1- Israel gathered at the Tent of Meeting, or Tabernacle- this was the place where God’s presence dwelt. Later it would be the temple, and today it is inside of those who follow Christ.
18:3- Joshua wanted these men to take their land, not for their sake, but so that God’s promises would be fulfilled.
18:4- Joshua wanted a survey of the land so it could be distributed accordingly. He didn’t want one tribe to have a small piece of land without water and another to have all the resources.
18:6- Casting Lots??- this sounds like gambling. Actually it is an ancient way of letting God make important decisions. They would cast lots in order to leave the decision up to the divine. No man can interfere with this sort of system.
18:7- Levites don’t get land- Remember why? Right, the Levites were set aside as priests, their service to God was their inheritance and he promised to care for them. They did not need land.
20:2- Cities of Refuge- there were certain cities designated throughout Israel for the purpose of refuge. If someone accidentally killed someone they could flee to this city while the family of the dead person calmed down. This was another act of God’s provision.
Think: Wow, I think this is an incredible part of scripture. I know it can be difficult to get through some of these long Old Testament readings about the geography of a land we can’t even pronounce. I admit, I was reading this last week and skimming over all the names of the towns, not fully engaged. I get it.
However, let’s look deeper into what this passage really is. It is a clear picture of God’s promises being fulfilled. Joshua was a good leader because he knew the promises of God extremely well. They had been told to Moses and passed down to him. He was not going to forget the purpose God had for him, and that was to lead the Israelite people into his promises.
I love what Joshua says in 18:3 “How long will you wait before you begin to take possession of the land that the Lord the God of your fathers, has given you.” He’s saying, hey wake up! God has promised you something AWESOME, why are you sitting around? Joshua knew that ultimately God would be the one getting glory for taking this land and he wanted these people to get that started. He was recklessly abandoned to the call God had on his life.
Perhaps this is what we need to hear as well. Has God already promised us something good and we are just sitting around, not taking hold of it? Maybe he has promised you greater joy but you need to take a risk so that you can have that blessing. God has promised all of us abundant life, are we taking advantage of that promise? Or are we waiting around for something to fall from the sky. God partners with us in his promises, don’t wait around for a lightning bolt to tell you what to do.
You may be thinking that the call God has on your life is for later, you’re wrong. He has something for you right now, in this situation, in this moment. Don’t wait to live in the light of God’s promises. Take risks for Jesus. Today.
Ask: What are the promises God has for my life? How can I begin to allow the Spirit to work these promises out in my life? What risks is God asking me to take?
– Written by Kelsey VH