TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 21
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.