Summary: See God's faithful promise and passion for His people. Be faithful because God is faithful.
We are coming to the end of this book JOSHUA. A major part of the campaign to occupy Canaan has been completed.
• We have a survey of the land and the description of the allotments given to the various tribes.
• By now Joshua was aged (the Lord says in Chapter 13). Joshua assigned the outstanding lands to the tribes and they will conquer their respective allotments in smaller missions.
• We see the division of the land in the next few chapters.
This division of land means nothing to us, of course, if we read it from our perspective. We have to approach it from the perspective of an Israelite.
• This is their long-awaited home. The nation has gone on for hundreds of years without a home, an inheritance that is their own.
• This land is now their home, a fulfilment of the promise God gave to their forefathers.
The sense here is like the unveiling of a will, the execution of the will when the inheritance is apportioned.
• Imagine being beneficiaries of a will and now in the lawyer’s office about to hear the announcement of the will and divisions of the assets.
• The allotments are clear and detailed, as expected of a will. Every tribe is given an inheritance (except the Levites, because they are set aside for the service of God).
• Feel the excitement here. Sense the joy of seeing God’s gift of the land being allotted to them. It’s a place they can finally called home.
SEE GOD’S FAITHFUL PROMISE FOR HIS PEOPLE
Moses: “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should change his mind. Does He speak and then not act? Does He promise and not fulfil?” (Num 23:19)
God made a promise to Abraham in Gen 12:7 “The LORD appeared to Abram and said, "To your offspring I will give this land." So he built an altar there to the LORD, who had appeared to him.”
• That was some 650 years ago. Many things have changed since then. Many nations, many generations have come and gone. But God’s promise remains.
• Joshua concluded it this way – Josh 21:43-45
“So the LORD gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their forefathers, and they took possession of it and settled there. The LORD gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their forefathers. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the LORD handed all their enemies over to them. Not one of all the LORD’s good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.”
For God to keep His promise, He needs to liberate an entire nation from Egypt, cross obstacles (Red Sea, River Jordan, overcome fortified cities), and then bear with an obstinate generation for another 40 years and to keep them alive in the wilderness with daily supply of manna and water.
• In that sense, God has to overcome many “obstacles” to keep His promise intact.
• And He did, after a period of over 600 years, through ups and downs, through twists and turns, and many human failures in between. Nothing can derail God’s promise.
Missionary Hudson Taylor made a very interesting comment in his journal:
Our heavenly Father is a very experienced One. He knows very well that His children wake up with a good appetite every morning… He sustained 3 million Israelites in the wilderness for 40 years.
We do not expect He will send 3 million missionaries to China; but if He did, He would have ample means to sustain them all…
Depend on it, God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply.
Our Daily Bread, 16 May 1992
Even if we are faithless, God will remain faithful, because that’s Him.
• 2 Tim 2:13 “If we are faithless, He will remain faithful, for He cannot disown himself.” We cannot change Him.
• God will keep His part of the deal, always. We are the ones who don’t.
Do you know that Israel did not obey God completely?
They were instructed, prior to entering the Promised Land, to utterly destroy the Canaanites, BUT THEY DID NOT.
• Josh 13:13 “But the Israelites did not drive out the people of Geshur and Maacah, so they continue to live among the Israelites to this day.”
• Josh 15:63 “Judah could not dislodge the Jebusites, who were living in Jerusalem; to this day the Jebusites live there with the people of Judah.”
• Josh 16:10 “They [Ephraimites] did not dislodge the Canaanites living in Gezer; to this day the Canaanites live among the people of Ephraim but are required to do forced labor.”
• Judg 1:21 “The Benjamites, however, failed to dislodge the Jebusites, who were living in Jerusalem; to this day the Jebusites live there with the Benjamites.”