Joshua 13:1-7 Left for Later
God didn’t clear ALL of the territory He had promised to Israel. He saved some for later generations. He left work for individual tribes to do too.
When Joshua finished the initial campaigns he was about 61 years old. He was past his fighting prime. God had called for the men of Israel to serve from the age of 20 in the military. He doesn’t put a cap on service but the Levites were given a cap of 50 for their priestly service. While researching the age limits I found a Jewish reference that states two possibilities; 40 and 60 years of age. The ages adopted sound appropriate to me as battle demands great strength and quickness. Joshua has passed both these ages.
Joshua is NOT at the end of his life. We will see in Judges that Joshua lived to be 110 years of age. Not as old as Moses though. But I would maintain that Moses was more ‘fit’ at his death than Joshua was. God said that Moses had not lost a step and his eyesight had not dimmed before his death (Deuteronomy 34:7). We don’t hear that about Joshua.
We don’t know the exact year God told Joshua to divide the land. He may have waited a while longer or may have done it right after the last campaign was completed. I’m leaning towards the latter because the emptied territory needed to be occupied before it was taken over by wild animals.
Before God tells Joshua to divide the land He points out how much work still remains. God lists several kingdoms still to be conquered. God doesn’t say that the current generation is to do this work or even when it will happen but He does say that HE will do it. “I Myself will drive them out from before the people of Israel” (verse 6b).
Joshua’s allocation of territory for inheritance will reflect God’s fulfilled plan. He is certain God will keep His promises and give Israel the fullness of the land.
I was thinking about the term “inheritance” and what it signifies. In western society today, an inheritance is something that is passed down from one person, usually a parent, to another person, usually the child upon the death of the one. That term doesn’t really fit with the picture here. God is, who never dies, is passing something down to His chosen people. AFTER receipt of this gift from God the children of Israel would pass their ‘inheritance’ down through their sons. That part fits the model/meaning of the word today.
There is nothing that states an inheritance HAS to be passed only upon death though. The owner of the item may pass it at any time, including passing it through his/her will, to the receiver. We see this happen in the story of the prodigal son. The son asked for and received his inheritance while his father was still living.
It appears to me that God held onto the lands where He planted Israel. Satan received dominion over the earth but God speaks about the people in that particular region as wretched in His sight. I’m going out on a limb here and postulating that MAYBE God chose this region because His initial garden was placed there. Man can’t enter the Garden of Eden anymore because of our sin but God still remembers the place where He planted it. I wonder if it existed in both the spiritual realm as well as the natural realm and we lost entrance to the first part of it. So God could have retained dominion over that area especially for His children. This would allow Him to pass it on as an inheritance.
It could also be said that Satan is acting as a tenant with regard to the earth. “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof” (Psalm 24:1). God gave man dominion (control) over what He created, not ownership. Man gave that dominion over to Satan through sin. Satan doesn’t OWN the earth. Maybe that is how God passed this portion of dirt onto His people. His plan was for His people to exercise HIS dominion over them and their lives. As long as they stayed under His will they could possess the land He gave them. When they left that umbrella they had to leave the land too. But God never removed the promise. Today they have returned to the lands that He had given them. I don’t know if the map will ever reflect the territories and boundaries that Joshua handed out but that’s in God’s hands, not man’s. If God wants it HE will see to it that it happens.
I feel for the people who are still contesting this real estate today. I don’t have any answers for any of them. I accept God’s promises but I also accept the fact that HE has the right to fulfill them in HIS time and in HIS way.
The inheritance that I’m holding onto is one that cannot be taken away. It is the adoption as a daughter of God through the blood of Jesus Christ. I have a permanent home with Him that no man can take from me. I have ‘territory’ that I must maintain until my inheritance can finally be realized and that is my heart. Just like the children of Israel had to maintain the condition of their hearts, I have to maintain mine.
I do not believe that a son or daughter who is truly ‘adopted’ by God can lose that standing. I don’t believe my salvation is something I can lose or can be taken from me. No matter how many times Israel fell, God NEVER said they were not His people. He disciplined them for their sins and got in some very bad places because of their broken relationship with Him but they ALWAYS belonged to Him. Even in the book of Revelation God speaks of the fact that they are His people. My relationship with my Father can be impacted but it can never be removed. He is mine and I am His.
Father God, thank You for a lasting inheritance! No matter what this world does, I have a place with You. I don’t have to fight for a piece of land that can be won or lost by the changing of the political climate. I have a permanent home with You. Thank You for adopting me as Your child!
Holy Spirit, help me win the battle over my heart every day. Help me at least win more than I lose and to ALWAYS come back home instead of hiding out in defeat. Help me remember that there is always forgiveness and restoration whenever I turn back to You.
Lord Jesus, I would have NO inheritance without You and Your work on the cross. There is NO WAY I can repay You for what You have done for me. I only pray that I make You proud of me with the life I live. Thank You for Your forgiveness for the times I don’t. I am SO looking forward to sitting with You one day in my final home and sharing all the questions You have inspired over my lifetime.