Joshua and Judges: The allotment of the land; Jos 14-17.
Title: Joshua and Judges: The allotment of the land; Jos 14-17.
Announcements / opening prayer:
Jos 14:5 Thus the sons of Israel did just as the Lord had commanded Moses, and they divided the land.
Although the Levites were to have no share in the land, they were to receive towns to dwell in, with pasture adjoining for their cattle; these the other tribes were to give up to them out of their inheritance.
In a similar way the pastor teacher is to be supported by the congregation.
And let the one who is taught the word share all good things with him who teaches. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.
If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we should reap material things from you?
Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, "You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing," and "The laborer is worthy of his wages."
The force of the lot: there were ten lots cast in such a manner as to decide that some were to be next to the Egyptians, some to have the sea-coasts, some to occupy the higher ground, and some to settle in the valleys. It was a general area that was given and not a plot with surveyed boundaries. When this was done, it remained for the heads of the nation to determine the boundaries of their different territories according to some equitable standard. It was their place, therefore, to ascertain how many thousand heads there were in each tribe, and then to adjudicate a larger or smaller space according to the size of the tribe.
The rabbis of a much later time assumed that two urns were used, one containing ten names and the other containing ten different areas of land. Nothing was precisely surveyed. There wasn't an office of records in which surveyed boundaries were recorded on blueprints. Fences or walls or checkpoints or signs reading "you have entered _____" at some drawn boundary. The names of towns would be used as marking estimated boundaries and then the neighboring tribes would give or take land as was needed. Variables such as water, fertility of land, valleys, mountains, number of people, and proximity to stronger enemies would determine how much acreage each tribe would need to live.
It is obvious that the stage is set for either graciousness in considering the needs of a neighboring tribe or selfishness in grabbing as much as one can.
As we can see, this would have taken cooperation, grace, and unity.
We can imagine two or three tribes that share an unmarked border and some areas are more fertile than others. One area may have more and better grazing land and another area may be mountainous or more arid. The tribes have different populations and that should be taken into account. Do they graciously give what land the other tribe needs and adjust the border, allotting enough for their own people to live on, or do they grab as much good land as they can and fight against one another? In an agricultural economy, good land is wealth.
This is why every church age believer is considered poor, no matter how much wealth he possesses, since he truly owns nothing earthly, only heavenly, and is always generous and ready to share.
In essence, all of us take a vow of poverty, but that does not mean that we actually make ourselves poor. We are called to be gracious and know that nothing in this world belongs to us. Our permanent possessions are all heavenly as is our home and we give our worldly goods as God's will, and only God's will, leads us to.
1Ti 6:17 Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.
1Ti 6:18 Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share,
1Ti 6:19 storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.
We don't read that the rich or middle class are to give away all their possessions for the sole purpose of becoming poor. We are all, rich and poor and all in between, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share. A believer can be rich in material goods but he is to be poor in spirit.
In the spirit of Abraham they were to treat each other in grace and unity when establishing boundaries rather than in competition and bickering over the best land.
Gen 13:8 Then Abram said to Lot, "Please let there be no strife between you and me, nor between my herdsmen and your herdsmen, for we are brothers.
Gen 13:9 Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me: if to the left, then I will go to the right; or if to the right, then I will go to the left."
Gen 13:10 And Lot lifted up his eyes and saw all the valley of the Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere — this was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah — like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt as you go to Zoar.
Lot, very ungraciously chose the best land that he could see, likely forgetting that the only reason he is here and has anything is because of God's blessing upon Abraham.
Being related does not guarantee that both are gracious. Being of the same elected nation of God, as all Israel is, is not a guarantee of graciousness and unity and being of the same church, being Christian, does not imply it either.
Gen 13:11 So Lot chose for himself all the valley of the Jordan; and Lot journeyed eastward. Thus they separated from each other.
Gen 13:12 Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled in the cities of the valley, and moved his tents as far as Sodom.
Gen 13:13 Now the men of Sodom were wicked exceedingly and sinners against the Lord.
Only faith in the word of God can give believers a unity in which they see one another as more important than themselves in love.
2Co 9:6 Now this I say, he who sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly; and he who sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully.
2Co 9:7 Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver.
2Co 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;
2Co 9:9 as it is written,
"He scattered abroad, he gave to the poor,
His righteousness abides forever."
2Co 9:10 Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food, will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness;
2Co 9:11 you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God.
There is one who scatters, yet increases all the more,
And there is one who withholds what is justly due, but it results only in want.
The generous man will be prosperous,
And he who waters will himself be watered.
He who is generous will be blessed,
For he gives some of his food to the poor.
"Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return."
For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.
I bet that Joshua preferred fighting the Canaanites to managing the distribution of the land.
Before the casting of the lots commenced, Caleb came to Joshua along with the sons of Judah, and asked for the mountains of Hebron for his possession, which Moses promised him.
Caleb appeals to the fact, that forty-five years before Moses had promised it to him on oath, because he had not discouraged the people and stirred them up to rebellion, as the other spies that were sent from Kadesh to Canaan had done, but had faithfully followed the Lord.
Jos 14:6 Then the sons of Judah drew near to Joshua in Gilgal, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, "You know the word which the Lord spoke to Moses the man of God concerning you and me in Kadesh-barnea.
Jos 14:7 I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh-barnea to spy out the land, and I brought word back to him as it was in my heart.
Jos 14:8 Nevertheless my brethren who went up with me made the heart of the people melt with fear; but I followed the Lord my God fully.
Jos 14:9 So Moses swore on that day, saying, 'Surely the land on which your foot has trodden shall be an inheritance to you and to your children forever, because you have followed the Lord my God fully.'
Jos 14:10 "And now behold, the Lord has let me live, just as He spoke, these forty-five years, from the time that the Lord spoke this word to Moses, when Israel walked in the wilderness; and now behold, I am eighty-five years old today.
Jos 14:11 I am still as strong today as I was in the day Moses sent me; as my strength was then, so my strength is now, for war and for going out and coming in.
Jos 14:12 Now then, give me this hill country about which the Lord spoke on that day, for you heard on that day that Anakim were there, with great fortified cities; perhaps the Lord will be with me, and I shall drive them out as the Lord has spoken."
Any who remain in Hebron are severely weakened, yet Caleb still relies upon the Lord to drive them out.
Caleb doesn't flex the power of himself and his people who alone could have easily driven out the remaining Anakites and any others who were still dwelling there, but he chooses rather to call on the power of the Lord. The remaining people are so weakened that Caleb might have concluded that Jehovah wasn't needed, "You can sit this one out God, I got it."
No matter how weak the foe may seem, we are to never rely upon our own power. The battle, no matter how small, is always the Lord's.