Inhabiting the Promised Land

The book of Joshua chronicles the Children of Israel as they move into the Promised Land. We learn about the pact that the Gibeonites made with Israel (Joshua 9), the day God had the sun stand still as Israel fought against the five kings (10) and the rest of the conquests and the dividing of the land among the tribes.

Joshua 10
:42 And all these kings [the five kings]
        and their land
    did Joshua take at one time,
        because the Lord God of Israel fought for Israel.

    This is very important to realize, it was not by the power and shear numbers of the Israelites that they were able to take back the land. It was by God. The same is true today. It is not by our great intellectual ability, by our prowess or cunning that we are more than conquerors but by the power of God. If we put ourselves in the right position and God in the right position in our relationship it is much easier to let go and let God do what He knows we need.

God always supplied Israel's needs. Remember the Manna that God gave them in the wilderness? They received it until they crossed Jorden and before they came against Jericho. In that first month they observed Passover. The day after Passover they ate of the corn (grain) of the land-- there was plenty food there for over 2 million people --and God ceased sending them manna. They weren't given anymore but they ate of the fruit of the land (Joshua 5:10-12).

The inhabiting of Canaan took time. We get a sense of time from Joshua 14:

Joshua 14
:6 Then the children of Judah came unto Joshua in Gilgal:
    and Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite said unto him,
        Thou knowest the thing that the Lord said unto Moses the man of God
            concerning me and thee in Kadeshbarnea.
:7     Forty years old was
        when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadeshbarnea 
        to espy out the land;
        and I brought him word again as it was in mine heart.
:8     Nevertheless my brethren that went up with me 
        made the heart of the people melt:
        but I wholly followed the Lord my God.
:9     And Moses sware on that day, saying,
            Surely the land whereon thy feet have trodden shall be thine inheritance,
            and thy children's for ever,
            because thou hast wholly followed the Lord my God.
:10   And now, behold, the Lord hath kept me alive,
                as he said, these forty and five years,
                even since the Lord spake this word unto Moses,
            while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness:
        and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old. [85 years old]

The following is a table to calculate how long it took Caleb to reach the land he was to inherit. Time is reckoned from them leaving Egypt.

Time since Exodus Event Caleb's Age
0 Exodus from Egypt 38
2 Spies sent into Promised Land 40
41 Israel enters Promised Land in 41st year 78
48 Caleb requests land for inheritance 85

God has just told us that it took 7 years to occupy Canaan so far and there are still seven tribes that need to go take their land. God gives us these wonderful pieces of information to discover. This Word can be living and real to us--we must stop and consider the lives of these people when we read it.

Joshua 18
:1 And the whole congregation of the children of Israel assembled together at Shiloh,
    and set up the tabernacle of the congregation there.
    And the land was subdued before them.
:2 And there remained among the children of Israel seven tribes,
        which had not yet received their inheritance.
:3 And Joshua said unto the children of Israel,
        How long are ye slack to go to possess the land,
            which the Lord God of your fathers hath given you?
:4    Give out from among you three men for each tribe:
        and I will send them,
        and they shall rise,
        and go through the land,
        and describe it according to the inheritance of them;
        and they shall come again to me.
:5    And they shall divide it into seven parts:
        Judah shall abide in their coast on the south,
        and the house of Joseph shall abide in their coasts on the north.
:6     Ye shall therefore describe the land into seven parts,
        and bring the description hither to me,
            that I may cast lots for you here before the Lord our God.
:7 But the Levites have no part among you;
        for the priesthood of the Lord is their inheritance:
    and Gad, and Reuben, and half the tribe of Manasseh,
        have received their inheritance beyond Jordan on the east,
            which Moses the servant of the Lord gave them.

When Joshua made the decisions as to who gets what land he didn't do it alone. He went to God for guidance. He also lit a fire underneath these guys to get going--Joshua is getting old. They finally get everyone placed and the cities of refuge set up as well as the cities for the Levites (because there is no inheritance among the tribes--they serve the Lord for the people). In chapter 22 Joshua sends the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half tribe of Manasseh home with a blessing and a reminder.

Joshua 22
:1 Then Joshua called the Reubenites,
    and the Gadites,
    and the half tribe of Manasseh,
:2 And said unto them,
        Ye have kept all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you,
        and have obeyed my voice in all that I commanded you:
:3     Ye have not left your brethren these many days unto this day,
        but have kept the charge of the commandment of the Lord your God.
:4     And now the Lord your God hath given rest unto your brethren,
            as he promised them:
        therefore now return ye,
        and get you unto your tents,
        and unto the land of your possession,
            which Moses the servant of the Lord gave you on the other side Jordan.
:5     But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law,
            which Moses the servant of the Lord charged you,
        to love the Lord your God ,
        and to walk in all his ways,
        and to keep his commandments,
        and to cleave unto him,
        and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.

:6 So Joshua blessed them,
    and sent them away:
    and they went unto their tents.

God gave Israel rest from their enemies for a long time as they stayed faithful to Him. You can read in Joshua 23 and 24 God's exhortation for Israel to continue to expel the inhabitants of the land that God had given them and to not associate with them or take their gods unto them, the consequences of doing so are devastating. They would leave the protection and prosperity that God gave them if they strayed from His Word.

Joshua 23
:11 Take good heed therefore unto yourselves,
        that ye love the Lord your God.
:12 Else if ye do in any wise go back,
        and cleave unto the remnant of these nations,
            even these that remain among you,
        and shall make marriages with them,
            and go in unto them,
            and they to you:
:13 Know for a certainty that
    the Lord your God will no more drive out any of these nations from before you;
    but they shall be snares and traps unto you,
        and scourges in your sides,
        and thorns in your eyes,
    until ye perish from off this good land
        which the Lord your God hath given you.
:14 And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth:
    and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls,
        that not one thing hath failed of all the good things
            which the Lord your God spake concerning you;
        all are come to pass unto you,
        and not one thing hath failed thereof.
:15 Therefore it shall come to pass,
    that as all good things are come upon you,
        which the Lord your God promised you;
    so shall the Lord bring upon you all evil things,
    until he have destroyed you from off this good land
        which the Lord your God hath given you.
:16 When ye have transgressed the covenant of the Lord your God,
        which he commanded you,
    and have gone and served other gods,
    and bowed yourselves to them;
    then shall the anger of the Lord be kindled against you,
    and ye shall perish quickly from off the good land
        which he hath given unto you.

God reminds them that there was not one thing that He said He would do that hadn't been done. He also warns them that if they transgress His commandments the consequences will be as he warned them also.

Think back at the conversations and attitudes in Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers of the Children of Israel. They were unbelieving and fearful. Whereas the next generation was brought up outside the influence of Egypt and seeing the great miracles that God did for His people. They believed and received, and as long as they remained obedient and faithful to God they prospered.

Joshua 24
:22 And Joshua said unto the people,
        Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the Lord,
        to serve him.
    And they said,
        We are witnesses.
:23 Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you,
        and incline your heart unto the Lord God of Israel.
:24 And the people said unto Joshua,
        The Lord our God will we serve,
        and his voice will we obey.
:25 So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day,
    and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.
:26 And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God, [the book of Joshua]
    and took a great stone,
    and set it up there under an oak,
    that was by the sanctuary of the Lord.
:27 And Joshua said unto all the people,
        Behold, this stone shall be a witness unto us;
        for it hath heard all the words of the Lord which he spake unto us:
        it shall be therefore a witness unto you,
            lest ye deny your God.
:28 So Joshua let the people depart,
        every man unto his inheritance.
:29 And it came to pass after these things,
    that Joshua the son of Nun,
        the servant of the Lord, 
        being an hundred and ten years old.
:30 And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnathserah,
        which is in mount Ephraim,
        on the north side of the hill of Gaash.
:31 And Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua,
    and all the days of the elders that overlived Joshua,
    and which had known all the works of the Lord, that he had done for Israel.

 Israel served the Lord and prospered. Let us serve Him. As God exhorted His people in Joshua 22 so he exhorts us:

:37 Jesus said unto him,
         Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,
        and with all thy soul,
        and with all thy mind.

:38   This is the first and great commandment.
:39   And the second is like unto it,
        Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
:40   On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Romans 12
:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren,
        by the mercies of God,
    that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice,
        holy, acceptable unto God,
            which is your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world:
        but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind,
        that ye may prove what is that good,
            and acceptable,
            and perfect, will of God.

I exhort you to continue reading in Romans 12 for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for us. I exhort you to read the Word of God daily . It is our rule book of faith and practice. How can you play 'the game of life' if you do not know the rules.