MLToday: [Joshua Chapter Thirteen]: Dividing the Inheritance. In this chapter Joshua is instructed by God to divide the lands that are yet unconquered. This set a vision before the people that was yet to be realized and would require effort on their part. God promises to drive out the inhabitants but it remains to the people to go forward in warfare to possess it. We usually perceive God’s purposes as some static plan that will deposit us at a place of rest. But God’s purposes are about dynamic process. He works from an unlimited timeline and wants us to think outside the boundaries of our own limitations to understand what He is doing in our lives.

Today: [Joshua Chapter Thirteen]: Dividing the Inheritance. In this chapter Joshua is instructed by God to divide the lands that are yet unconquered. This set a vision before the people that was yet to be realized and would require effort on their part. God promises to drive out the inhabitants but it remains to the people to go forward in warfare to possess it. We usually perceive God’s purposes as some static plan that will deposit us at a place of rest. But God’s purposes are about dynamic process. He works from an unlimited timeline and wants us to think outside the boundaries of our own limitations to understand what He is doing in our lives.

[Jos 13:1-33 KJV] 1 Now Joshua was old [and] stricken in years; and the LORD said unto him, Thou art old [and] stricken in years, and there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed. 2 This [is] the land that yet remaineth: all the borders of the Philistines, and all Geshuri, 3 From Sihor, which [is] before Egypt, even unto the borders of Ekron northward, [which] is counted to the Canaanite: five lords of the Philistines; the Gazathites, and the Ashdothites, the Eshkalonites, the Gittites, and the Ekronites; also the Avites: 4 From the south, all the land of the Canaanites, and Mearah that [is] beside the Sidonians, unto Aphek, to the borders of the Amorites: 5 And the land of the Giblites, and all Lebanon, toward the sunrising, from Baalgad under mount Hermon unto the entering into Hamath. 6 All the inhabitants of the hill country from Lebanon unto Misrephothmaim, [and] all the Sidonians, them will I drive out from before the children of Israel: only divide thou it by lot unto the Israelites for an inheritance, as I have commanded thee. 7 Now therefore divide this land for an inheritance unto the nine tribes, and the half tribe of Manasseh, 8 With whom the Reubenites and the Gadites have received their inheritance, which Moses gave them, beyond Jordan eastward, [even] as Moses the servant of the LORD gave them; 9 From Aroer, that [is] upon the bank of the river Arnon, and the city that [is] in the midst of the river, and all the plain of Medeba unto Dibon; 10 And all the cities of Sihon king of the Amorites, which reigned in Heshbon, unto the border of the children of Ammon;

In this chapter we see the watershed moment when God defines the boundaries and homeland of the people of Israel. When did all this begin? Centuries before Noah prophesied over his son Shem:

[Gen 9:26 KJV] 26 And he said, Blessed [be] the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

Shem is the ancestor the Hebrew people and Canaan is the ancestor of the tribes that Joshua is driving out of the Promised land. People often ask where do we see personal prophecy in the bible. The very concept of God setting aside a special people and giving them a land of inheritance in the earth began with a personal prophecy by Noah over his son Shem and his grandson Canaan. Note also that it wasn’t a high point in Noah’s lifetime but something that came about after a night of drunkenness when Noah’s middle son Ham sexually assaulted his father Noah.

11 And Gilead, and the border of the Geshurites and Maachathites, and all mount Hermon, and all Bashan unto Salcah; 12 All the kingdom of Og in Bashan, which reigned in Ashtaroth and in Edrei, who remained of the remnant of the giants: for these did Moses smite, and cast them out. 13 Nevertheless the children of Israel expelled not the Geshurites, nor the Maachathites: but the Geshurites and the Maachathites dwell among the Israelites until this day. 14 Only unto the tribe of Levi he gave none inheritance; the sacrifices of the LORD God of Israel made by fire [are] their inheritance, as he said unto them. 15 And Moses gave unto the tribe of the children of Reuben [inheritance] according to their families. 16 And their coast was from Aroer, that [is] on the bank of the river Arnon, and the city that [is] in the midst of the river, and all the plain by Medeba; 17 Heshbon, and all her cities that [are] in the plain; Dibon, and Bamothbaal, and Bethbaalmeon, 18 And Jahazah, and Kedemoth, and Mephaath, 19 And Kirjathaim, and Sibmah, and Zarethshahar in the mount of the valley, 20 And Bethpeor, and Ashdothpisgah, and Bethjeshimoth, 21 And all the cities of the plain, and all the kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites, which reigned in Heshbon, whom Moses smote with the princes of Midian, Evi, and Rekem, and Zur, and Hur, and Reba, [which were] dukes of Sihon, dwelling in the country.

In the latter chapters of Deuteronomy Moses dies and is buried by God himself. Now Joshua is coming to the end of his life and there is much unconquered territory. Scholars suggest that Joshua was over 100 years old at this time. His whole destiny and assignment in life was to conquer Canaan and distribute it to the people by divided inheritance. God points out to him what land areas remains to be conquered and divided up. God tells Joshua that He would collaborate with the people and drive out the remaining enemies. Joshua was waiting for the lands to be conquered but God tells him to divide it up now. This is the forward looking aspect of faith.

There are moments in your life when God will paint a picture for you of what He is going to do. There will be details and specifics that seem so out of reach but vision precedes acquisition. This isn’t something you create on your own. This is God imparted vision and instruction. Kitty and I spent much time in 2007 peering into our future by the mind of God describing what we saw but were unable to make happen. Guess what? Most if not all of what we articulated back them came to pass. It didn’t happen however the way we thought it would. We had our own plan and our own ideas but God didn’t do it that way. When God moves you into your potential you are going to have to be prepared not to be offended and turn back because He doesn’t do it how you think He should. We lost dear friends. We were estranged from family members. We were directed to give up our home and give away all our possessions (3 times). We were instructed to move to a town where we had no connections, and no way to make an income. We were instructed to give up a perfectly prosperous business and trust God alone. Any one of these decisions without God would have destroyed our lives but because God was with us quite the opposite happened. The end result has been stunning victory but the process almost destroyed us emotionally, financially and socially and our greatest challenge was to listen to His voice and NOT listen to all the other voices of people who had NO faith for what God told us He was going to do.

22 Balaam also the son of Beor, the soothsayer, did the children of Israel slay with the sword among them that were slain by them. 23 And the border of the children of Reuben was Jordan, and the border [thereof]. This [was] the inheritance of the children of Reuben after their families, the cities and the villages thereof. 24 And Moses gave [inheritance] unto the tribe of Gad, [even] unto the children of Gad according to their families. 25 And their coast was Jazer, and all the cities of Gilead, and half the land of the children of Ammon, unto Aroer that [is] before Rabbah; 26 And from Heshbon unto Ramathmizpeh, and Betonim; and from Mahanaim unto the border of Debir; 27 And in the valley, Betharam, and Bethnimrah, and Succoth, and Zaphon, the rest of the kingdom of Sihon king of Heshbon, Jordan and [his] border, [even] unto the edge of the sea of Chinnereth on the other side Jordan eastward. 28 This [is] the inheritance of the children of Gad after their families, the cities, and their villages. 29 And Moses gave [inheritance] unto the half tribe of Manasseh: and [this] was [the possession] of the half tribe of the children of Manasseh by their families. 30 And their coast was from Mahanaim, all Bashan, all the kingdom of Og king of Bashan, and all the towns of Jair, which [are] in Bashan, threescore cities: 31 And half Gilead, and Ashtaroth, and Edrei, cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan, [were pertaining] unto the children of Machir the son of Manasseh, [even] to the one half of the children of Machir by their families. 32 These [are the countries] which Moses did distribute for inheritance in the plains of Moab, on the other side Jordan, by Jericho, eastward. 33 But unto the tribe of Levi Moses gave not [any] inheritance: the LORD God of Israel [was] their inheritance, as he said unto them.

In the midst of conquering the remaining enemies and apportioning out the land we see that the Prophet Baal was put to the sword. Tradition says he was stoned, burned and beheaded. He surely deserved his fate but never forget it wasn’t Balaam prophecies that worked against the people but his astute understanding of their idolatrous hearts to caused him to be a negative influence upon Israel. In Ezekiel 14 we see that when the people have idols in their heart and see a prophet that God will speak to them according to the idols of their heart and destroy both them and that prophet that prophesies according to the idols in their heart. So the hatred the people had toward Balaam was a reflection of their own idolatrous condition. What is an idol? Idolatry in your heart is manifest by discovering any outward dependence other than who Christ is on the inside of you. Idolatry proposes the dwelling place of God to be somewhere other than the human heart. Those places where you are expected to whisper and conduct yourself in deference are houses of the idol in your midst. Those things that represents the largest expenditure of your time, resources and money indicate where your idols may be found. These are the false securities that draw our hearts away from God.

Notice that when God brings the people into inheritance there is a DIVISION and not a UNIFYING. In Genesis 6 we see the natural tendency of man. We want to get everybody together and build something that will reach the heavens. God didn’t do it that way. Our idea of what God is going to do many times is just another tower of Babel. They wanted to get everyone together and build and God divided them and scattered them to the four winds. Abraham wanted to bring his nephew Lot with him in his journey and the end result was the destruction of Lot and his family. The early church wanted to start a Christian commune in Jerusalem but God wanted them to scatter to all the nations of the earth to preach the gospel. Our idea of God’s end result is always static accomplishment but you need to understand that God’s purposes always end with extended dynamic process. This is because we are working with limited energy and resources but God plans in the context of unlimited resources, boundless energy and unending years of time to accomplish what He purposes to do.

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