Joshua 15: Finishing the Job

Read: Joshua 15

God intended for Israel to capture all of the land from the Negev in the South to the Euphrates River in the North. Joshua had been leading the people of Israel in a campaign to capture the territories God had intended. But even so, under Joshua the task was never fully completed. Caleb had received Hebron and the surrounding country as his inheritance for him and his family. But at the same time, his inheritance was still partially occupied. He had to drive out the three sons of Anakim (these were the “giants” the spies called the Nephalim reported in Numbers 13 and 14). Additionally, he made his daughter the prize for the capture of Kiriath-sepher. The book of Joshua lists the inheritances and settlements of the tribe of Judah, but also notes that the Jebusites still lived among them at least up into the time the book of Joshua was written. The Jebusites were not conquered until David.

For Caleb though, conquering a few more people was no big deal. He was confident of Israel’s ability to do this some 45 years earlier and had been living his life accordingly. He had long weighed the costs of following God by faith compared to the ultimate benefits, and he sided with God. Jesus spoke to this matter in Luke 14. Jesus notes that the cost of being his disciple is high: one must love Jesus (thereby, God) above all else – more than one’s mother and father, brother and sisters, sons and daughters, even his own life. Jesus does not want a half-hearted commitment, rather he wants his followers to stay committed to following him until the end, as Caleb had done.

The job of a Christian is never done until Jesus calls one home. Even though the inheritance in heaven is sure and already promised to those who believe, there is still work to do. Until Jesus comes back Christians should be about the work of always loving God above all else by following his commandments!

Lord, help me to finish the task you have laid out for me!

Joshua 13:1-7: Unfinished Tasks

Read: Joshua 13:1-7

Joshua had spent his life conquering the land of Canaan, and was by this time an old man. Even though Joshua had been successful in what he had done, there was still work to do – an unfinished task. God promised Joshua that he would do just as he had done before and drive out the inhabitants of the land (Deuteronomy 31:3). Much of the land that remained was not land that was conquered until some time after Joshua died during the days of Solomon and David. Even though the land was not entirely conquered, God instructed Joshua to divide the land according to the inheritance between the 9 tribes and the half-tribe of Manasseh on the west side of the Jordan along with two tribes and other half tribe of Manasseh would receive their inheritance from land east of the Jordan.

The inheritance according to the Law was to be a permanent possession for the one who received it and God intended the recipient to live upon the land and receive blessings from it while they lived out their lives according to the God’s commands. What God wanted for the Israelites was the fullest manifestation of what he intended for them to enjoy. They were to possess land of Canaan including the lands of the Phoenicians and Philistines and everything in between and in doing so, they would stamp out any temptation that might arise to seduce the Israelites into turning to other gods and participating in the vile practices used in the worship of these gods.

Jesus left his disciples with a monumental task to accomplish. All four gospels and the book of Acts record Jesus giving a version of the command to take the gospel to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8, Matthew 28:19-20, Mark 16:15-16, Luke 24:45-48, John 20:21). Acts outlines the task beginning at Jerusalem and going to the end of the earth. Matthew 24:14 makes the return of Christ contingent upon the gospel being preached to all the earth. 2000 years later, the task is still not complete. There are still a number of peoples on the earth who have not heard the gospel and had a chance to respond to the gospel. In all this though, the blessings of salvation – that is the inheritance of Christians – is available here and now. God promised that he would be with his disciples and they received the Holy Spirit. In this, God wants his people to be obedient to the commands of Christ and expand the kingdom of God into the hearts of all peoples everywhere. This sort of conquest is for an eternal, enduring cause.

Lord, the task is not complete. I want to take part in completing it!