Scripture Reading: Joshua 13:1-8
“Now therefore divide this land for an inheritance to the nine tribes and half the tribe of Manasseh. With the other half of the tribe the Reubenites and the Gadites received their inheritance, which Moses gave them, beyond the Jordan eastward, as Moses the servant of the Lord gave them.” (Joshua 13:7,8)
The book of Joshua can be divided into three major sections: Preparation (chapters 1-5), Conquest (chapters 6-12), and Inheritance (chapters 13-22). This third section is a tedious and laborious task to read. But don’t forget what is happening — the people are taking possession of their inheritance. This is a great moment that they have been waiting for. They had fought for seven years and now the time had come to divide the land among the tribes.
The problem was that Joshua was getting old and there were still hundreds of smaller towns to be taken — “Now Joshua was old and advanced in years, and the Lord said to him, ‘You are old and advanced in years, and there remains yet very much land to possess” (v. 1). Most of the great fortresses had been conquered. A notable exception was Jerusalem. Even though Joshua killed the king of Jerusalem, he failed to take the city. Actually its was David who conquered Jerusalem years later (II Samuel 5:6,7).
The plan was to divide the land among the tribes and then to send each tribe to settle its own portion and to subdue the Canaanites who still were present. You can read through chapter 19 and see how the land was distributed.
Let’s concentrate on the big picture. God chose a people and promised them an inheritance (Genesis 12:14-18). He now fulfilled His promised as Joshua divided the land among the tribes of Israel. But there is a much bigger picture: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (I Peter 1:3-5).
God chose us before the foundation of the world. He caused us to be born again to a living hope and He promises us an eternal inheritance. Our inheritance is different from the inheritance the people received in the days of Joshua. Their’s was temporary; our’s is for all eternity. It is an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. Their’s could easily be lost and it certainly was defiled — there were still much of it to be won by warfare. Our’s is guaranteed by God — it is kept in heaven for us and we are being guarded so that nothing can prevent us from getting it!
The people in Joshua’s day received the land of Israel; we will receive the fulness of our salvation when we become a part of the new heavens and new earth, the new Jerusalem (Revelation 21:1-8). This is the living hope that we have — “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs — heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him” (Romans 8:16-17).
Lord God, Heavenly Father, thank you for the promise of an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading. Lord Jesus, You have made it possible for me to get this inheritance one day. I know that I will be a joint heir with You of all the Father has in store for us. Even though I face suffering and hardships on this earth, I have a living hope that one day I will be glorified with You. O Spirit of the living God, You bear witness to me that I am a child of God and that I am an heir of the inheritance that has been promised to me.
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