Joshua 13:1

 

 

The Bible says in Joshua 13:1-6, “Now Joshua was old and stricken in years; and the LORD said unto him, Thou art old and stricken in years, and there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed.[2] This is the land that yet remaineth: all the borders of the Philistines, and all Geshuri,[3] From Sihor, which is before Egypt, even unto the borders of Ekron northward, which is counted to the Canaanite: five lords of the Philistines; the Gazathites, and the Ashdothites, the Eshkalonites, the Gittites, and the Ekronites; also the Avites:[4] From the south, all the land of the Canaanites, and Mearah that is beside the Sidonians, unto Aphek, to the borders of the Amorites:[5] And the land of the Giblites, and all Lebanon, toward the sunrising, from Baal-gad under mount Hermon unto the entering into Hamath.[6] All the inhabitants of the hill country from Lebanon unto Misrephoth-maim, and all the Sidonians, them will I drive out from before the children of Israel: only divide thou it by lot unto the Israelites for an inheritance, as I have commanded thee.”  In verse one God told Joshua to get ready to die. Joshua had a great calling and a great ministry, but this life is temporary for everybody. Unless the Lord Jesus comes first, we will all go out the same way. If you make it all the way to old age, then you know your time is short. Be prepared. Be prepared spiritually. Make sure you are saved through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. Be prepared materially. Have you affairs in order and have a good will, and consider leaving some for the furtherance of the Gospel (or give extra before you pass away.) And there is one other very important thing which is what Joshua was told to do: make sure you ministry is ready to hand off to the next person so that the work will carry on uninterrupted. Some people do God’s work, and use their gifts, and work hard for the LORD, but they make no plans for after they are gone, and essentially their work dies with them. In some ways that is a waste. That did not happen to Joshua because he listened carefully to God’s leading in that regard.

 

God’s plan for Israel is that they would not have another leader like Joshua, and they would not have a king like other nations. They would have God to be their king. They would also have more of a local government instead of a central government. That certainly would give them more freedom to govern their own affairs. And so God tells Joshua to divide up the land between the twelve tribes of the children of Israel, and each tribe would be responsible for their individual territory. God also said in verse one, “there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed.” There was more work to do, and this new division of the land was God’s way to get it done. Christianity is like that. The whole world needs to be reached for the Lord Jesus, and each believer has a place to do his or her part. No one is going to do it all.

 

The Bible says in Joshua 13:7-33, “Now therefore divide this land for an inheritance unto the nine tribes, and the half tribe of Manasseh,[8] With whom the Reubenites and the Gadites have received their inheritance, which Moses gave them, beyond Jordan eastward, even as Moses the servant of the LORD gave them;[9] From Aroer, that is upon the bank of the river Arnon, and the city that is in the midst of the river, and all the plain of Medeba unto Dibon;[10] And all the cities of Sihon king of the Amorites, which reigned in Heshbon, unto the border of the children of Ammon;[11] And Gilead, and the border of the Geshurites and Maachathites, and all mount Hermon, and all Bashan unto Salcah;[12] All the kingdom of Og in Bashan, which reigned in Ashtaroth and in Edrei, who remained of the remnant of the giants: for these did Moses smite, and cast them out.[13] Nevertheless the children of Israel expelled not the Geshurites, nor the Maachathites: but the Geshurites and the Maachathites dwell among the Israelites until this day.[14] Only unto the tribe of Levi he gave none inheritance; the sacrifices of the LORD God of Israel made by fire are their inheritance, as he said unto them.[15] And Moses gave unto the tribe of the children of Reuben inheritance according to their families.[16] And their coast was from Aroer, that is on the bank of the river Arnon, and the city that is in the midst of the river, and all the plain by Medeba;[17] Heshbon, and all her cities that are in the plain; Dibon, and Bamoth-baal, and Beth-baal-meon,[18] And Jahazah, and Kedemoth, and Mephaath,[19] And Kirjathaim, and Sibmah, and Zareth-shahar in the mount of the valley,[20] And Beth-peor, and Ashdoth-pisgah, and Beth-jeshimoth,[21] And all the cities of the plain, and all the kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites, which reigned in Heshbon, whom Moses smote with the princes of Midian, Evi, and Rekem, and Zur, and Hur, and Reba, which were dukes of Sihon, dwelling in the country.[22] Balaam also the son of Beor, the soothsayer, did the children of Israel slay with the sword among them that were slain by them.[23] And the border of the children of Reuben was Jordan, and the border thereof. This was the inheritance of the children of Reuben after their families, the cities and the villages thereof.[24] And Moses gave inheritance unto the tribe of Gad, even unto the children of Gad according to their families.[25] And their coast was Jazer, and all the cities of Gilead, and half the land of the children of Ammon, unto Aroer that is before Rabbah;[26] And from Heshbon unto Ramath-mizpeh, and Betonim; and from Mahanaim unto the border of Debir;[27] And in the valley, Beth-aram, and Beth-nimrah, and Succoth, and Zaphon, the rest of the kingdom of Sihon king of Heshbon, Jordan and his border, even unto the edge of the sea of Chinnereth on the other side Jordan eastward.[28] This is the inheritance of the children of Gad after their families, the cities, and their villages.[29] And Moses gave inheritance unto the half tribe of Manasseh: and this was the possession of the half tribe of the children of Manasseh by their families.[30] And their coast was from Mahanaim, all Bashan, all the kingdom of Og king of Bashan, and all the towns of Jair, which are in Bashan, threescore cities:[31] And half Gilead, and Ashtaroth, and Edrei, cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan, were pertaining unto the children of Machir the son of Manasseh, even to the one half of the children of Machir by their families.[32] These are the countries which Moses did distribute for inheritance in the plains of Moab, on the other side Jordan, by Jericho, eastward.[33] But unto the tribe of Levi Moses gave not any inheritance: the LORD God of Israel was their inheritance, as he said unto them.” There is a lot of detailed information concerning where each tribe of Israel had its possession, and therefore where they had their work. Each one had a job to do in this world for God. It was all under God’s leadership and God’s direction. It works the same way for Christians. We are not competitors: we are all working together for the Lord Jesus, but the Lord gives each of us are own unique calling and work. The goal is to reach the world with the gospel of Christ, and then to teach Christians the Word, and encourage one another with Christian fellowship. No one can do it all. But we can each do our part as the Spirit leads and enables us.

 

And now another long list of presenting the divisions of the land for the rest of the children of Israel. The Bible says in Joshua 14:1-8, “And these are the countries which the children of Israel inherited in the land of Canaan, which Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel, distributed for inheritance to them.[2] By lot was their inheritance, as the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses, for the nine tribes, and for the half tribe.
[3] For Moses had given the inheritance of two tribes and an half tribe on the other side Jordan: but unto the Levites he gave none inheritance among them.[4] For the children of Joseph were two tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim: therefore they gave no part unto the Levites in the land, save cities to dwell in, with their suburbs for their cattle and for their substance.[5] As the LORD commanded Moses, so the children of Israel did, and they divided the land.[6] Then the children of Judah came unto Joshua in Gilgal: and Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite said unto him, Thou knowest the thing that the LORD said unto Moses the man of God concerning me and thee in Kadesh-barnea.[7] Forty years old was I when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh-barnea to espy out the land; and I brought him word again as it was in mine heart.[8] Nevertheless my brethren that went up with me made the heart of the people melt: but I wholly followed the LORD my God
.” Verses six, seven, and eight present a great truth about human life and human relationships. We influence others either for good or for evil. Caleb looked at things on the positive side because he had faith in the will of God and the promises of God. The other spies looked at things on the negative side. The faithless spies looked at human beings instead of the Word of the Lord. The positive words of faith caused people to rise up and conquer and win. The negative words of fear and doubt caused “the heart of the people” to “melt.” Caleb’s faith and positive spirit was why he was a great warrior and was the secret of his strength and success.  

 

Caleb continues speaking. The Bible says in Joshua 14:9-15, “And Moses sware on that day, saying, Surely the land whereon thy feet have trodden shall be thine inheritance, and thy children's for ever, because thou hast wholly followed the LORD my God.[10] And now, behold, the LORD hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the LORD spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old.[11] As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in.[12] Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the LORD will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the LORD said.[13] And Joshua blessed him, and gave unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh Hebron for an inheritance.[14] Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite unto this day, because that he wholly followed the LORD God of Israel.[15] And the name of Hebron before was Kirjath-arba; which Arba was a great man among the Anakims. And the land had rest from war.” Why did Caleb end up living in Hebron? That is where he wanted to live. God gave him the desires of his heart. The Lord does the same thing for us many times. God often lets us choose, and then He blesses our choices. Of course, we want to make sure that we are surrendered to His will through all of such things in order to make sure that we are pliable to the moving of the Spirit in case He wants to intervene in all that we are deciding.

 

Caleb was now an old man, but he was strong. Caleb said in verse eleven, “As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in.” Physical strength symbolizes spiritual strength. Older should mean wiser, and it also should mean stronger spiritually speaking. That is why pastors are called “elders” in the New Testament. Elders make the best pastors. It can lead to many mistakes if an untried newbie is given too much responsibility. You have to start sometime, so we are not talking about being untried as a pastor of a church, but untried in the spiritual wars. Because the spiritual war is a battle of faith, as long as you still have your mental capacities, you can be strong in battle even as an older Christian. The goal in life after you are saved is to keep following the Lord Jesus so that you can grow in Him going from strength to strength, and then when you are older, you can finally be more consistent and productive from a spiritual standpoint.

 

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Copyright; 2019 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
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