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Joshua 18




SCRIPTURE: Joshua 18

Normal feels good doesn’t it?  After making you read two chapters yesterday, we are back to one today.  And we have a very interesting chapter in front of us.

As the chapter opens, we are told that whole congregation of Israel had gathered at Shiloh.  They had been at Gilgal.  But they moved 20 miles to the northwest to Shiloh which was in the hill country of the Promised Land.  The question of course is why did they do that?  Although we not told precisely, we do know that Shiloh was more centrally located than Gilgal.

Since they set up the tent of meeting in Shiloh, the place of worship would have been more centrally located for the entire nation as well.  This tent of meeting was the Tabernacle.  The Tabernacle was the portable forerunner of the Temple that would be built in Jerusalem during Solomon’s reign.  This Tabernacle consisted of an incredibly large enclosure made with skins, animal hides, and cloth.  Inside the Tabernacle was the enclosed area known as the Holy Place.  And inside the Holy Place was another enclosed area known as the Holy of Holies.  It was in this Holy of Holies that the Ark of the Covenant rested.  The lid of this ark was known as the mercy seat.  And this mercy seat was the place God came to when He met with His people.

So, moving the Tabernacle to a more centrally located city would have made it more available to all.  Perhaps this was intended to enhance the people’s focus on the presence of God.  And perhaps this was an attempt to keep the dissatisfaction that sons of Joseph expressed over their allotment from spreading to other tribes.  Dissatisfaction in one group has a notorious way of infecting other groups.  At some point, we all have to learn to be satisfied with God has given us.

When we get to verse 2, we read that the allotment of land had not been extended to seven of the tribes.  But as you continue to read, it seems that the reason those allotments had not been made was based on the failure of those tribes. 

We can only assume that those seven tribes were somehow content to continue to roam around the countryside.  They were not claiming God’s promise of taking the land.  They were not living in the purpose of God.

We need to slow down at this point and think about this.  It is one thing to know what God’s promise, plan, and purpose are.  It is another thing entirely to claim those as your own.  And it is another thing on top of that to live in that promise, plan, and purpose.  When we don’t have the courage to do that, we tend to live life just wandering around without a destination in mind and without accomplishing any purpose of any significance.

Joshua presents a plan to fix this situation.  Twenty-one men, three from each tribe, were to scout out the remaining land and bring a report back.  At that point, lots would be cast and each of those tribes would be allotted the land God intended for them to have.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

Joshua 16-17




SCRIPTURE: Joshua 16-17

I know… I know… I know… I told you almost a year ago when we started this that we would read one chapter each day.  And I think until now I have stayed true to that.  But after looking at chapter 16 which is just 10 verses long and reading through chapter 17, I decided to do the unthinkable.  I decided to ask you to do two chapters today.  After all, you only live once!  We will get back to one chapter per day tomorrow.

These two chapters continue to deal with the allotment of land for the tribes of Israel that would be living in the Promised Land.  Both chapters actually deal with the allotment made to the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh.  Remember that Ephraim and Manasseh were not of the original twelve tribes.  They were the offspring of Joseph, who was one of the original twelve.  Because Joseph had risen to a place to be able to physically save all of the nation of Israel during the great famine, Jacob (the father of the twelve sons who made up the twelve tribes) decreed that Joseph’s two kids would be treated like the other tribes when they arrived in the Promised Land.  In other words, they would be recipients of the land allotment process.

As has been the case with the other allotments, we are given the physical description of this allotment.  Then we get to verse 10.  There we read where they didn’t drive all of the Canaanites out of Gezer.  Instead the Jewish people decided to enslave some of them.  I am sure at the time that seemed like a good compromise. 

Just remember there is no place for compromise when it comes to God’s commands.  As unpopular as it may be, the people of God have to be courageous enough to do the command of God.  Every time.  What we know from the rest of the story, is there will be a time in the book of Judges where the Canaanites will rise up and enslave the Israelites.  There is a lesson there for us as well.

That brings us to the notorious second chapter that we are doing today.  A most interesting and unusual thing happens here.  As the land is being allotted to the sons (male heirs) of Ephraim and Manasseh, we find where one heir had no sons.  He only had daughters.  The daughters asked for an inheritance.  In our culture that would be no big deal and would seem more than fair.  In the culture that existed during the book of Joshua, that was a huge deal.  It was an unheard of deal.  It was scandalous.  But it is evidence of God’s concern for women and their rights.

When you get to verse 14, you will find another unusual thing.  The people of the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh were not happy with what they had been allotted.  They thought they deserved more.  Remember that the process of the allotments was determined by lots which the Bible says God controls.  So, they were in effect not happy with God.  They didn’t think they had been given all they deserved.

I am humbled by Joshua’s response.  It would have been easy for him to fold under the pressure and make an allowance.  But he didn’t.  Instead he told those folks there was plenty of other land out there.  All they had to do was take it.  But he didn’t change the allotment process.

As the people of God, it is easy to feel like we got the wrong end of the deal.  Too easy.  We always need to remember God is always right and He is always right on time.  He knows what we need.  He knows what we can handle.  He knows that we need a challenge.  We should always strive to stop our complaining and trust Him.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

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