Tuesday, 25 March 2014

(85) March 26: Joshua 14-15 & Luke 4:33-44

Ask God to open your mind, heart and will to understand, delight in and obey what you read.

To discover:­­
As you read consider why this detail is included.

To ponder:
Finally the land west of the Jordan is received as it is allotted to the nine and a half tribes. This is done by “lot” stressing God is apportioning it. Having it witnessed by the High Priest, Joshua and the “heads of the tribal clans” also affirmed it was being done fairly. Because the Levites’ inheritance is their work and its provision, all they receive are their towns and the surrounding land for their livestock (Num 35v1-5).
            Caleb is described as a “Kenizzite” which would make him a Canaanite (Gen 15v19). However 14v1 suggests he is from Judah so the word may mean he was just a descendent of someone called Kenaz. He recounts God’s promise that he receive the “hill country” he spied out forty years previously (13v17). It is repeatedly stressed that this is because he (and Joshua) followed God “wholeheartedly.” Indeed, Caleb affirms he is as “strong” and “vigorous” for battle at eighty five as he was then, expressing the very faith Israel previously lacked with respect to driving out the Anakites (Num 13v28)! No doubt this portrays Caleb as displaying the very attitude Israel should. Caleb therefore looks to Christ, who readily and courageously gave his life in wholehearted service of God, that we might possess our future inheritance. Moreover, it challenges us as those in Christ to readily expend our energies for God’s kingdom in the same way.
            Once more affirming Caleb, Joshua blesses him and gives him Hebron. And we read a second time “the land had rest from war” completing Joshua’s endeavours. The allotment of the land to the rest of the tribe of Judah is then outlined first, assuming their supremacy according to Jacob’s blessings, after Reuben, Simeon and Levi’s disqualification due to their sin (Gen 49v3-9). The detail is necessary to protect against future disputes. It also brings home how God fulfilled his promise by giving the land.
Particular space is given for how Caleb overcame the Anakites, leading to land being given to his courageous brother and his wife (Caleb’s daughter). Strikingly the chapter ends noting by contrast that “Judah could not dislodge” those “living in Jerusalem.” Once more this looks to Israel’s failure to completely take the land, with the ensuring danger of being led astray. By doing so, it would have urged future generations to emulate Caleb and Othniel as we’ve already mentioned.

Praying it home:
Thank God that because of Christ’s courageous sacrifice, he will certainly raise us from death to inhabit the new creation. Pray that we would serve him wholeheartedly and courageously now like Caleb and Othniel, ready to sacrifice ourselves for the building of his kingdom.

Thinking further:
To see a map of the allotment of the land, click here.

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