TUESDAY, JANUARY 8
SCRIPTURE: Joshua 13
Author: Joe Ligon
This chapter begins a section that some people have said reads a lot like a real estate deed. When we read it, we might wonder why in the world this was included. But if you were part of one of the tribes of Israel, you most certainly would have wanted this record kept. As we read through this chapter, though, there are some interesting parts of it that we might do well to pay attention to.
For example, when the chapter opens we find Joshua to be “old and advanced in years”. God actually told Joshua that he was “old and advanced in years”. That had to have come as a real encouragement to Joshua. It is one thing for a young person to say that you are old. But you must really be old for God to say it.
We learn early on in this chapter that Israel had not conquered all of the Promised Land. But God is ready for Joshua to divide the land that had been conquered among the tribes of Israel.
Before we get to that, however, Joshua was to affirm the decision that Moses had made as far as land that was to be given to the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh. These tribes had asked for permission to live on the other side of the Jordan River. They had been granted that right with the stipulation that they had to send their armies across the Jordan River with the rest of Israel to conquer Canaan. They had done that. So, the land promised to them was theirs.
The next thing that I would call your attention to is the fact that no inheritance of land was given to the tribe of Levi. This is actually mentioned two different times: verses 14 and 33. Instead the inheritance of the tribe of Levi would consist of cities (Joshua 14:4; 21:41) and the surrounding pastureland on which they could graze their flocks. But the most significant gift the tribe of Levi was given the presence of the Lord (v. 33).
Along with the promise of the Lord as their inheritance, the tribe of Israel was also given the offerings and sacrifices that were brought to the Tabernacle and later to the Temple (v. 14). Remember that the tribe of Levi was a priestly tribe with responsibility for guarding, caring for, and serving in the Tabernacle and later in the Temple. Since they would be most busy doing that some 24 hours every day (except Saturday), there had to be another way they could provide for themselves and their families. This was part of the provision of God.
There is much to gather from this chapter. From the tribes that didn’t cross the Jordan, we should learn that we have a responsibility to Christ followers around us. If their decision is to go further than we are willing to go, we should support, encourage, and defend that.
From the tribes that did cross the Jordan, we should remember there are always boundaries to the gifts of God. He will never give us anything immoral, unrighteous, or illegal. His gifts are all good gifts meant to help us.
And from the tribe of Levi, we must never forget God’s great promises to provide for us. The fact that He is our inheritance and provision should be enough to get us through almost anything we face.