Joshua 18:11-19:51: Things To Do

Read: Joshua 18:11-28; Joshua 19

“So they finished dividing the land”, so says the last sentence in chapter 19.  Reading about land allocation to a people that lived 3500 years ago probably would not be the first choice of texts selected from the Bible for a devotion. But understanding why these lists are included in scripture is important. The divisions of the land were meticulously outlined in great detail. These details are included in the chapters to serve not only as a written record of the division of the land, but also to recall what the Lord had given to them as an inheritance. The real hero of the story is God who fought on their behalf and it was God who gave the land to Israel as inheritance (Joshua 21:45, Deuteronomy 20:1-4).

The quest, however, was not complete. Israel still had to oust some of the Canaanite strongholds that were still scattered throughout the land. But for the remaining tribes that hesitated to take hold of their inheritance, they now knew where they would settle once they had expelled the Canaanites.  There was no good reason for the Israelites to wait any longer other than their own disobedience to God’s command to take the land.

For people living 3500 years after Israel entered the land of Canaan, the same truth still holds. Hebrews 11:14-16 relates seeking a country of one’s own to the promise given many years before. Abraham left his country to which he could have returned for a better country – a heavenly one. God is not ashamed to be the God of such people. And even so, Jesus promised a place for his disciples in his Father’s house and he was going to prepare a place for them, and he says he would not have said unless this was indeed true. What has been set before Christians is the promise of eternal life and the inheritance this entails. Like Israel, there is no good reason to be disobedient any more. As Paul put it, to live is Christ, to die is gain, but all the while he was alive, Paul lived for the sake of the gospel so others might have a chance to participate in the inheritance he was waiting to receive (Philippians 1:18-24). The attitude of every Christian should be the same.

Lord, you have shown me what to do. Help me to accomplish the task!