The final assignment of inheritance goes to Dan. No need to “pull the lot” for this one as Dan is the only tribe left to waiting.
I feel for Dan on a couple of levels. First of all I feel like he is the last child on the playground to be picked for a team. I personally know this feeling and I HATE IT! I know this wasn’t God’s intention as someone had to be last but it is NEVER fun being that last person. You begin to wonder what the others had that you didn’t. You begin to doubt your own ability.
Which brings me to reason number two. Dan is the only tribe who, after receiving their allotment, didn’t take any kind of possession of it. In fact, Dan later on leaves the possession he received from the Lord and goes looking for something easier to acquire. Judges 1:34 tells us that the Amorites wouldn’t let the tribe of Dan come into the territory and chased them back into the hill country. They were unable to push the original inhabitants out.
Several of the other tribes didn’t push the inhabitants completely out of their territory. They comingled with them instead. The original inhabitants were allowed to stay in the land. Naphtali made slaves of the inhabitants remaining in two of their cities. Even the city of Jerusalem had both the tribe of Benjamin and the Jebusites living within its walls. NOT what God told them to do!
In Judges 18 we see the movement of Dan from the land he had been given to another place they will claim as their own. In this story we see a BIG “why” regarding the reason Dan couldn’t hold onto what God had given. We aren’t told right out what that “why” is but we can surmise it.
We watch as the tribe of Dan goes on the hunt for somewhere else to live. I can understand their disappointment and desire for SOMEWHERE to call home. But they didn’t look for the reason for their failure in the first place and then blatantly repeat it.
Dan was the second largest tribe in Israel at the time of the second census. They had 64,400 men of fighting age among them. These men were hardened by battle after completing the campaigns with Joshua and the rest of Israel. They knew how to fight. If their own strength and abilities were what it took to possess the land they should have been able to do it. But that wasn’t what was needed. What did the job from beginning to end was the reliance on the Lord to fight for them. Overwhelming numbers meant nothing if God wasn’t in it.
Dan had turned to other gods. I don’t know how long it took them to do this but Judges 18:30-31 makes it abundantly clear that they were familiar with and sought after other gods. This leads me to believe that this was a LONG ESTABLISHED practice. No wonder God wasn’t fighting for them and driving the inhabitants out! He had already told the people that this would be the case if/when they forsook Him.
The territory Dan finally occupies was originally in the hands of a very quiet and separate people. They posed no threat or great resistance to the tribe of Dan. They were simply run over and replaced. The territory they had was very rich and it made Dan ‘fat and sassy.’ They had no need of God and so didn’t search for Him. They traded ALL He had given them for something easier to obtain. And something they would eventually lose. They squandered Your gifts to them.
How many times have I squandered Your gifts? How many times have I said, “I want something else” after You presented me with something YOU had picked out for me? How many times have You had to remind me that the gift I received was perfectly picked for me. It was not an accident or the leftovers after everyone else had been served. It was something You held in reserve for me. It represented Your best gift for me.
Father God, please forgive me for balking at ANY of the gifts You have given me. YES. Some of them take work to realize their potential. Help me not shy away from that work. I want to walk in ALL the gifts You have given me. I want the fullness of them. I also want NOTHING else to take Your place or to pull me away from You. Let me walk with You wherever I go Father.