Summary: When God blessed us, He wants to know if we have been faithful with these blessings. In this message, we will learn from Joshua 22 that God requires us to be faithful in our lifetime. May we develop this attitude of faithfulness starting this New Year.
Last week, we talked about building great attitudes for the New year.
We said that attitude is everything.
Attitude is more important than facts, than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances.
We cannot change the past but we can change the way we react to difficult situations.
And so, if we want to accomplish great things this New year, we had to start building great attitudes that will last a lifetime.
And we have learned three important things from the life of Caleb last week regarding how he reaffirmed his past, how he redeemed the present and how he refocused on the future.
Because of his great attitude, he remained vigorous even through he was already 85 years old but he said he was still capable of fighting the giants of the land.
Imagine, because of his great attitude, he remained energetic and healthy after many years.
My prayer is that we will all start with a great attitude this year wherever we are and we will carry it on for the rest of our lives.
As we continue our study in the book of Joshua, we find chapters 15 - 21 to be the time when Joshua was allocating the Promised Land to the twelve tribes of Israel.
Many of them have been exhausted already fighting the long battle to drive out the giants that had previously occupied the land.
But God had promised that the land of Canaan was to be the inheritance for Israel.
But taking possession of the land would not be that easy.
Israel had to learn to fight the battles and endure to the very end.
There will also be casualties and lessons learned.
They will be tested severely and learn to trust God completely.
So far, in this chapter, they have conquered a good portion of the territory.
And although there are still a lot of land still to be conquered, yet Joshua decided it is time to allocate and divide the land that they have possessed to the various tribes of Israel.
Joshua had to make sure that the land is properly occupied and developed.
Everyone who had been in the battle must be given their fair share of the spoils of the land.
And so, this is how Joshua divided the Promised Land to all the twelve tribes of Israel.
In Genesis 35:23-26, we find the names of Jacob's sons (next slide) - Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, Benjamin, Dan, Napthali, Gad and Asher - twelve in all.
However, as we go through the Book of Joshua, we find the distribution of the land to these twelve tribes - Reuben, Gad, Judah, Ephraim, Manasseh, Benjamin, Simeon, Zebulun, Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, and Dan - again, twelve in all.
Have you noticed that there is no mention of the tribes of Levi and Joseph?
What happened to both of them?
Why were they not in the list of those tribes given an inheritance?
Here is how the Bible answered.
The Levites were not given an inheritance of the land because they were priests and they were to serve the Lord in the temple regularly.
They interceded in behalf of the people and they delivered God's message to the people.
The Lord therefore is their inheritance and so, the Lord is the one who will provide for all their needs.
Joshua 13:14 (NIV) 14 But to the tribe of Levi he gave no inheritance, since the food offerings presented to the Lord, the God of Israel, are their inheritance, as he promised them."
As the people remained faithful in giving their tithes and offerings to the altar, the work of the Lord and these Levites would be properly provided for.
In fact, they will not be in need.
In return for their faithfulness, the Lord has promised to bless the other tribes in their designated lands because of their obedience to the Lord's command.
As for Joseph, the favorite son of Jacob who delivered his family from the great famine in Egypt,
We remember that he had been sold by his brothers as a slave to a merchant in Egypt.
But he remained faithful to the Lord even in the foreign land.
He overcame his bitterness and God promoted him and promised to bless his descendants.
Joseph had two sons - Manasseh and Ephraim.
Consequently, they were given the best of the land and eventually became not one but two tribes.
Joshua 14:4 4 for Joseph’s descendants had become two tribes—Manasseh and Ephraim. The Levites received no share of the land but only towns to live in, with pasture lands for their flocks and herds."
With these facts in mind, the number of the tribes of Israel goes back to the original twelve again.
And so, after each tribe had received their particular share of blessings, the Lord was very particular in checking to see how they used their corresponding blessings.