Today we will end our reading in Joshua. I must admit this was a special reading for me.
Chapter 22 – The Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh … we have also referred to them as the Transjordan tribes. Back in Numbers 32, these 3 tribes asked Moses if they could have the land they were in (East of the Jordan). Moses became angry because he was afraid these tribes were trying to find a reason not to CONQUER the Promised Land and was also afraid they were about to begin another wilderness journey for all the Israelites. However, Moses had assumed incorrectly. These tribes really wanted this stretch of land because they felt it would be best for their animals. Moses told them they could have the land BUT they still had to go with all the Israelites and TAKE the PROMISED LAND. Once the land was conquered then they could return to “their land.” These tribes did fight with their “brothers” and helped conquer the Promised Land. NOW… Joshua was commending them for their diligence in performing their duties and at last… they were permitted to return to their families and build their cities. Verse 5 – Joshua reminds them to BE VERY CAREFUL to keep the commandment and law that Moses gave them… to love the LORD their God, walk in HIS ways, and obey Him.
Verse 10 —- RUT ROW!!! Did these people have gas in their brains?? WHAT WERE THEY THINKING??? Had the Canaanites that were allowed to live (in direct opposition to God’s commands) influenced their actions? THEY BUILD AN ALTAR BY THE JORDAN ON THE BORDER OF CANAAN!! >>>>>>>WHY DID THIS APPEAR TO BE WRONG??? One of the WORST things an Israelite could do was to make an altar to make a sacrifice outside of the Tabernacle. It was called a “High Place.” This was the SAME way the pagan nations worshiped their false gods!!!
In verse 13 – the remaining Israelites heard about what the Transjordan tribes were doing. (HOW did the news travel soooo fast back in that day.. I mean.. no cell phones…..no computers..no texting… and yet news traveled incredibly fast?) Phinehas led a delegation to learn the truth as to why the alter was built. (Remember Phinehas… he stabbed the Israelite man and the Midianite woman for having the horizontal mambo when they came in the Israelite camp to do this as a way of worshiping her gods?) Based on Deuteronomy 13:12-19, he was prepared to negotiate rather than fight if a battle was not necessary. Phinehas discovered that the altar the Transjordan tribes had built was as a memorial rather than for pagan sacrifice. WHEW!!!! Phinehas son of Eleaszr told the Transjordan Tribes: “Today we know that the Lord is with us, because you have not acted unfaithfully toward the Lord in this matter.”
Chapter 23 –Joshua gave his farewell address to the leaders. He knows the weaknesses and the strengths of the Israelites. He reminded them in verse 6 “to be very strong and courageous.” He reminded them of all the things the LORD has done for them .. stopping the Jordan from flowing at peak season, fighting the battles for them, causing the walls of Jericho to fall before them, ALL so they could take the Promised Land God had PROMISED them. He reminded them to be very careful to love the Lord their God.
Verse 8 – Joshua knows he is about to die. He reminds them to “HOLD FAST TO THE LORD YOUR GOD.” Hold Fast– to cling to, hold on to , glue yourself to, cleave.
Joshua reminded them what would happen if they turned away from their God. If they did not follow the LAW written by Moses; if they married people from pagan nations; and if they associated with the pagan nations or worshiped their gods…then it would not go well for them.
Verse 14 –He reminded them again that God had fulfilled EVERY one of HIS promises to them.
Chapter 24 – Joshua reminded the Israelites of all the LORD has done and their propensity to be a rebellious and stiff-necked people. Joshua is a book about CHOICES. The Bible is really a book about CHOICES. In Deuteronomy we saw it was presenting the CHOICES. EVEN with Jesus Christ… we have a CHOICE to follow HIM or not. God is such a gentleman … that HE pushes NOTHING ON US. We have FREE WILL.
This week a very special member of my family passed (which has resulted in my delay in getting my posts completed). I KNOW who she CHOSE. This makes this chapter of Joshua even more special to me as we witness the death of another faithful leader in our Bible journey. I LOVE what he says in verse 15:
But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve theLord.”
Who have you or will you choose? We must chose daily to have faith, to obey, to follow, to love, to share our stories so HIS TRUTHS are passed on from generation to generation. Our Joshua is Jesus Christ. The ONLY way to our Promised Land is to choose Jesus …. Through FAITH. And one of our many blessings is that we have this wonderful book of the bible to read, to follow, to guide us …. And the Israelites did not have Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, or the Living Word.
“All good gifts” from Godspell (This is an old old song…. But still has great meaning)… All good gifts around us are sent from heaven above…. so thank the Lord… thank the Lord for all His love.
Sharing HIS love,
I KNOW that reading these names…..which seem to repeat themselves … can become a little boring. However, ask God to show you things and take in what you can take in.
I thought I would begin with the very last verse in today’s reading which is: 21:45 – “Not ONE of ALL the LORD’s good promises to the house of Israel failed; EVERY ONE was FULFILLED.” Is this not totally awesome!!! OUR GOD is THE PROMISE KEEPER. LOOK at Jesus … look at all the prophesies HE fulfilled!!! God is faithful … beyond all we could begin to imagine or think!!
Chapter 19 — The Simeonites get land from Judah? Do you remember Dinah (no not the one about Dinah blow your horn)? Dinah was the sister to the 12 sons of Jacob. She was the only girl in the family. Anyway, back in Genesis 34 one of the Hivite boys raped her and 2 of the brothers (LEVI AND SIMEON) took vengeance on the situation. Therefore, neither would be given land according to Jacob’s blessing in Genesis 49:5-7. Although this was the blessing of Jacob, did you notice that God STILL turned things around and used them for good? The Levites did not inherit land because this would have distracted them from their job as priests so they were provided for by all the other tribes. And the Simeonites did inherit land from Judah.
The land distribution and we get to Dan. Dan received the land that would make them neighbors of the Philistines. Dan is the tribe that Samson will come from.
Chapter 20 — Cities of Refuge. We have read about this several times, but if you need help with this let me know. The cities were Kadesh, Shechem, Kiriath Arba (Hebron), Bezer, Ramoth and Golan. GOD made provisions for people who accidentally murdered someone or accidentally/unintentionally committed a crime. They had cities of REFUGE to go to so they would be safe. Don’t you LOVE reading how God makes provisions for EVERY one and EVERY thing. And today.. Jesus Christ is our refuge!!! HALLELUJAH!!
Chapter 21 – As I read these chapters today I circled names I remembered and why I remembered them Eleazor (Aaron’s sons), the Kohanites (Moses family), Anak (the giants Goliath will fight)…… I also found it amazing that God in His wisdom scattered the cities where the Levites lived. Jerusalem was quite a distance away for many of the tribes. However, the Levitical cities were within a day’s journey. This meant ALL the Israelites had a place to worship in the way God had commanded through Moses and Joshua. HE IS FAITHFUL… THEN AND NOW!!!
So the LORD gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their forefathers, and they took possession of it and settled there. The LORD gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their forefathers. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the LORD handed all their enemies over to them. Not one of all the LORD’s good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.
Sharing HIS love,
As you read today’s reading I want to encourage you to print out the map from Chapters 12-15, listen to the reading from your favorite audio bible (or from www.biblegateway.com and click on the audio for a version it is available for), and notice where these tribes are located.
I also want to encourage you to look for a current map so you can see what is in these locations TODAY. When you begin to look at the bible as history and what things are like today …. It is easier to see why there is so much fighting in the land today.
Are you beginning to recognize any of the names and remember who they go with, or even why things happened? If so…isn’t that exciting!! If not… it is OK…the more we read, the more we remember.
Chapter 16 – Remember Joseph’s portion of land went to his two sons (Ephraim and Mannasseh) whom Jacob (Joseph’s father) considered as his own and gave them a double portion. Look at the size of the portions of land each tribe received. In case you are just joining us or popping in for the day you can read about this double portion more in Genesis 48. The map I am referring to is on the read for Joshua 12-15.
Look at verse 10 – “they did NOT dislodge the Canaanites living in Gezer…” They did not do EXACTLY what God had asked them to do. You can read more about what God commanded them to do in Joshua 13:1-6 or email me with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to use the SUBJECT field and place BLOG in it. Or, you can ALWAYS ask your questions right on the blog…. I would love to see a conversation happen right on the blog.
Chapter 17 – In Numbers 27:1, Zelophehad, had no sons, only daughters and they asked Moses could they inherit land since they had no brothers. The beauty in their asking (since women in the past were not allowed to inherit land) was tremendous. And the fact that God told Moses to add a law so that other women in similar circumstances would inherit property shows God’s compassion. Joshua is now dividing the land among them. They are part of the tribe of Manasseh and each of the 5 sisters was allotted land.
Again, in verse 12 we see that the Tribe of Manasseh did not destroy the Canaanites. As the Israelites grew, they subjected the Canaanites to forced labor. The tribe of Manasseh begins to have some fear about their land, and complains. Joshua reminds them how powerful they are and how great they will become. Yet we will see in Judges that their failure to “conquer” the land will have consequences.
Chapter 18 – The seven tribes who had not yet been assigned land gathered in Shiloh where Joshua cast lots to determine which areas would be given to them. Shiloh was the hub city. It is where the decisions were made, lots were cast and the tabernacle was located at this point, and will stay there for about 300 years. Joshua was obeying what God had told him to do in the land divisions. At that time the “sacred lottery” was the way for GOD to make the decision of where HIS people would go … NOT JOSHUA or ANY other man!! Joshua asked the Israelites in verse 3 “HOW LONG will you wait before you begin to take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of you fathers, has given you?” The Tribes were hesitant to conquer the land which would have meant destroying the remaining Canaanites …. As God had instructed them to do. It was easier and more profitable (for now) for them to trade for goods than to destroy the suppliers and have to provide for themselves. Their actions revealed their lack of discipline, poor stewardship of time and in some cases, disobedience to God. OUCH!! Remember Canaanites are nomadic people…. They will wander…and spread out… gather together in numbers….continue in their pagan practices which will pull the Israelites in….. and grow in strength.
Thank you all for your patience and understanding with the late posts. We will all be back on track soon.
Sharing HIS love,