“Taking Hold of the Promise”

Joshua 17 – 19



Almost everyone has been the recipient of a gift where immediately after opening, you know you aren’t going to use it.  It might be because you are allergic to scented candles, you already have a cupboard full of coffee mugs, that singing trout is just too tacky for the wall of your study, or that fruit cake – are you kidding me!  After opening those kinds of gifts, “Thanks, how lovely!” is what you say, but in the back of your mind you are already making plans to return it, re-gift, or throw it in a closet. 

Has there ever been a time you can think of when someone gave you a gift, but instead of opening it immediately as they hoped, you decided to leave it wrapped because you were afraid of what was inside or weren’t feeling festive enough?  Probably not very likely. What about a time when you never bothered to open the gift at all?  Now, that would be pretty rude wouldn’t it?

Have you ever asked for a specific gift, maybe because a friend had one, or you read about it on the internet, but after trying it out, you realized you didn’t have the skill, time, energy, or dedication to use it?  Something like a laptop, cell phone, exercise equipment, or musical instrument might fall into this category.

Joshua chapters 13-19 describe the process by which each of the Israelite tribes were given a type of gift as well, a land of their own. 


In Joshua 1 through 12 we learned about all the things that has led up to the promised land allotment process.  The promised land as a whole was approximately 56,000 square miles.  That is about the same size as the state of Iowa.  Because it was such a large area, the Israelites couldn’t march through in one wide battle line and eliminate every people group who lived there. Instead, they had a “base camp” located at Gilgal, a centrally located city, near Jericho.  From there, they attacked certain areas and cities of the promised land so they could gain footholds in key places.  These campaigns were essentially disabling raids, not territorial conquests with instant occupation. They won battles east of the Jordan, then in central Canaan, followed by southern Canaan, then finally northern Canaan.    

Once these key victories had been won, the promised land was going to be sectioned off into 13 geographical areas, so that each tribe (or “half-tribe”) would have one.  Each tract of land came with certain resources and benefits, as well as challenges.   Each tribe would have the opportunity to respond to the gift given to them as they saw fit.  Each tribe would have to decide, whether, or not to take hold of the promise made to them.

After studying the land assignment process in Joshua 13-19, the use of lots seems to determine the sequence that the tribes would receive their land, as well as which specific section.  It is possible that they drew tribal names out of one pot, and the land description out of another.  But the distribution of lands also took into consideration special requests (e.g. East Jordan tribes), historically promised lands (e.g. Caleb/Judah), their best guess at what boundaries should be based upon knowledge of the lands and ancient surveying capabilities, and the size of the tribe whom Joshua had to give land.  So, although the process was ordained by God, it wasn’t a perfect science. 

Once land was allotted to the tribes, it was the responsibility of each tribe, to finish the job, and fully conquer their specific territory.  Here is what God said to Moses in Numbers 33:50-55 On the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho the Lord said to Moses, 51 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you cross the Jordan into Canaan, 52 drive out all the inhabitants of the land before you. Destroy all their carved images and their cast idols, and demolish all their high places. 53 Take possession of the land and settle in it, for I have given you the land to possess. 54 Distribute the land by lot, according to your clans. To a larger group give a larger inheritance, and to a smaller group a smaller one. Whatever falls to them by lot will be theirs. Distribute it according to your ancestral tribes. 55 “‘But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land, those you allow to remain will become barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides. They will give you trouble in the land where you will live. 56 And then I will do to you what I plan to do to them.’”

 (Refer to Promised Land map)

As you would expect, after the land and responsibilities are handed out, there would be varying attitudes, opinions, and levels of determination and success.   That’s what we’ll be focusing on today.  First we’ll do a short review of the tribes who received their lands in Joshua 13-16, then we’ll spend a little more time on the tribes mentioned in Joshua 17-19.

In Joshua 13 (and Numbers 32) we were told of the that the tribes of Rueben, Gad, and Half-tribe (East) Manasseh settled for lands east of the Jordan river because they assumed it would be better than the lands west of the Jordan that God had originally instructed them to conquer.  Not only did they settle for a lessor gift…  13 But the Israelites did not drive out the people of Geshur (East Manasseh) and Maakah (Northwest East Manasseh), so they continue to live among the Israelites to this day.  Their decision to live on the less protected east side of the Jordan river made them more vulnerable to enemies.  These tribes would eventually be captured by Assyrians and led into captivity 600 years later (2 Kings 15:29, 1 Chronicles 5:26).

In Joshua 14 the process for assigning the lands west of the Jordan River begins through the casting of lots.  The tribe of Judah drew the first lot. We learned about how Caleb and the tribe of Judah were proactive or eager in their desire to receive their allotment. Caleb’s performance in occupying his land may be considered successful. However, in Joshua 15, we learned that the tribe of Judah as a whole, could not dislodge the enemy from their land completely (Judges 1:19) “They took possession of the hill country, but they were unable to drive the people from the plains, because they had chariots fitted with iron.”

In Joshua 16, the tribe of Joseph was chosen through the drawing of the next lot.   Technically, the tribe of Joseph was treated as two different tribes Manasseh and Ephraim.  This was because in Genesis 47 – 48, Jacob, as he was about to die, blessed Joseph’s two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. The blessing that Jacob gave Joseph was that Joseph’s two sons would become his sons. The boundary description in Joshua 16:1-2 is of the entire area that Ephraim and Manessah would hold when taken together. Then in Joshua 16:5-9, it describes the specific territory that was given to Ephraim (getting their land first because of Ephraim’s preeminence as having been given firstborn rights).  We learned that they had similar results as Judah (Joshua 16:10 and Judges 1:29) “Nor did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites living in Gezer, but the Canaanites continued to live there among them.”

This brings us to Joshua chapters 17 – 19, which describe the geography and process for allotting lands to the remaining 7 ½ tribes.

JOSHUA 17 - Manasseh (West, the remaining half)


In Joshua 17:1 we are reminded about the part of the tribe of Manasseh who received land east of the Jordan (Joshua 13:8-13).


Joshua 17:1 - This was the allotment for the tribe of Manasseh as Joseph’s firstborn, that is, for Makir, Manasseh’s firstborn. Makir was the ancestor of the Gileadites, who had received Gilead (city) and Bashan (city) because the Makirites were great soldiers.


Verse 2 begins a description of the allotment give to West Manasseh.  Before reading the next few verses it will help to know a little about their family tree.  Jacob’s firstborn son was Joseph, Joseph’s firstborn son was Manasseh, Manasseh’s firstborn son was Makir, and Makir had a son named Gilead.  Gilead had a total of six sons. The five clans named after the sons of Gilead that received an allotment were Abiezer, Asriel, Helek, Shechem and Shemida.  The sixth son, Hepher, was a special case. He had a son Zelophehad, who had only daughters.  The names the 5 daughters of Zelophehad were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, Tirzah.


 So this allotment was for the rest of the people of Manasseh—the clans of AbiezerHelek, Asriel, Shechem, Hepher and Shemida. These are the other male descendants of Manasseh son of Joseph by their clans. 3 Now Zelophehad son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Makir, the son of Manasseh, had no sons but only daughters, whose names were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milkah and Tirzah. 4 They went to Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun, and the leaders and said, “The Lord commanded Moses to give us an inheritance among our relatives.” So Joshua gave them an inheritance along with the brothers of their father, according to the Lord’s command. Manasseh’s share consisted of ten tracts of land besides Gilead and Bashan east of the Jordan, because the daughters of the tribe of Manasseh received an inheritance among the sons. The land of Gilead (East) belonged to the rest of the descendants of Manasseh.


So we learn that the ”West Manasseh” half-tribe was proactive and received 10 tracts of land, one for each of Gilead’s five sons, and one for each of Zelophehad’s five daughters.  But let’s talk a little more specifically about these five daughters because this is the third time this group of women is mentioned in Bible.


The first is in Numbers 27:2-8, just before God told Moses that Joshua would be the new leader, and long before any territory was even handed out. Knowing that portions of the promised land were going to be distributed, and because their father had died without sons, they appealed to Moses and requested that his inheritance be passed on to the daughters. In the Israelite tradition, the sons were the ones who would inherit property from the father. Moses took their case to the Lord and God told Moses to change the property laws of the nation not only for these daughters but for other woman in similar circumstances.


The second time these women were mentioned was in Numbers 36.  In these verses, again, before any official lands have been decided, the leaders of Manasseh bring their situation before Moses. This time there is concern that if the daughters marry outside their tribe, they will lose their lands.  Moses hears their case and makes a rule that the daughters must marry within their tribe to ensure the land stayed within Manasseh.


Now, over 20 years later these women approach Joshua and remind him of those previous decisions.  Talk about some persistent women!  Like Moses, Joshua also assures them that they will get an inheritance. The behavior of these women is similar to how Caleb’s daughter, Achsah, requested land in Joshua 15:17-19. The daughters of Zelophehad, part of the tribe of Manasseh, provide us with another example of women who were eager or proactive in their desire for a land of their own.


Joshua 17:7-11 describes the geography of West Manasseh’s territory.

7 The territory of Manasseh extended from Asher to Mikmethath east of Shechem. The boundary ran southward from there to include the people living at En Tappuah. 8 (Manasseh had the land of Tappuah, but Tappuah itself, on the boundary of Manasseh, belonged to the Ephraimites.) 9 Then the boundary continued south to the Kanah Ravine. There were towns belonging to Ephraim lying among the towns of Manasseh, but the boundary of Manasseh was the northern side of the ravine and ended at the Mediterranean Sea. 10 On the south the land belonged to Ephraim, on the north to Manasseh. The territory of Manasseh reached the Mediterranean Sea and bordered Asher on the north and Issachar on the east. 11 Within Issachar and Asher, Manasseh also had Beth Shan, Ibleam and the people of Dor, Endor, Taanach and Megiddo, together with their surrounding settlements (the third in the list is Naphoth[a]).


If we look at a map of the tribal lands, we can see that Ephraim and Manasseh received a great deal of land in the northern regions of Canaan. Their allotment extended from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, with Ephraim south of Manasseh. These territories had a mixture of mountains, hills, and valleys.  The land was among the most fertile in all of the Promised Land. In addition to this, you'll recall that half of the tribe of Manasseh had already been given land to the east of the Jordan. Again, this honor of such a large and rich portion of Israel's inheritance was a result of the blessing given to Joseph and his sons (Genesis 48-49).

We know the people of West Manasseh were eager and persistent when it came to receiving their land, but how did they fare in conquering it?

12 Yet the Manassites (West) were not able to occupy these towns, for the Canaanites were determined to live in that region. 13 However, when the Israelites grew stronger, they subjected the Canaanites to forced labor but did not drive them out completely.

We are all familiar with how the luster of new things wears off, and what we once thought exciting or a blessing, can even become a burden.  So too, after the tribes of Joseph had become land owners, their attitude took a negative turn.

14 The people of Joseph (which would include Ephraim and West Manasseh) said to Joshua, “Why have you given us only one allotment and one portion for an inheritance? We are a numerous people, and the Lord has blessed us abundantly.”

Given what we’ve learned about the large size and quality of the two separate lands given to the people of Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh, including both sides of Jordan as well), how valid was this complaint about having “one allotment” and it being too small?

Doesn’t it bother you when someone intentionally mis-states or mis-represents a situation in order to receive some kind of benefit?  That is always a sign that the person is trying to cover up the truth.  How much you want to bet that the real reason the tribes of Joseph were asking for more land was because they couldn’t drive out the Canaanites that were in the land they had already been given?  Especially since it seems that the enemy they were unable to drive out occupied the best parts of their land.

Being the great leader that he was, Joshua had a keen response to their request.

15 “If you are so numerous,” Joshua answered, “and if the hill country of Ephraim is too small for you, go up into the forest and clear land for yourselves there in the land of the Perizzites and Rephaites.”

Joshua knew that these people had the resources to make improvements to the land they had already been given and he challenged them to do so.  What did they say in response to Joshua?

16 The people of Joseph replied, “The hill country is not enough for us, and all the Canaanites who live in the plain have chariots fitted with iron, both those in Beth Shan and its settlements and those in the Valley of Jezreel.”

In other words, they said, “No, even if we clear the hill country that still won’t be enough.  Plus, in the flat lands, the enemy who lives there have weapons of war that make it too difficult for us to win.”  Granted, the Israelites don’t have chariots they can use to match up against the enemy’s chariots (they don’t until time of Solomon.  See 1 Kings 9:221 Kings 10:26–29).  However, when has it ever been important for the Israelites to be on equal military footing as the enemy in order to win battles?  Does it sound like these people are being strong and courageous?  Have they forgotten the past victories at the hand of God?  In some ways they remind me of the 10 spies sent by Moses who were afraid to go into the promised land.

17 But Joshua said to the tribes of Joseph—to Ephraim and Manasseh—“You are numerous and very powerful. You will have not only one allotment but the forested hill country as well. Clear it, and its farthest limits will be yours; though the Canaanites have chariots fitted with iron and though they are strong, you can drive them out.”

Joshua tells the people of Ephraim and West Manasseh that if they would get to work, clear land, and conquer the enemy, that they would have plenty of places to live.  There is no need to give them land above and beyond what they already have (potentially taking if from other tribes). Joshua also knows that if he gives them more land, that they will just have more enemies that they need to fight against.

To summarize, the tribes of Ephraim and West Manasseh, although they showed desire to have a land of their own, complained about what they had been given and lacked the determination and faith needed to succeed.  In reality, their complaint was against God – because He was the one who directed them to this land.

So far, Judah, Ephraim, West Manasseh, Rueben, Gad and East Manasseh have either actively requested their land in some way, had it assigned to them, and had taken some kind of action.  But the tribes of Benjamin, Simeon, Zebulun, Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, and Dan have not.



1 The whole assembly of the Israelites gathered at Shiloh and set up the tent of meeting there. The country was brought under their control, 2 but there were still seven Israelite tribes who had not yet received their inheritance.

The Israelites move their base camp about 15 miles from Gilgal to Shiloh within the lands assigned to the Ephraim. It is here at Shiloh that God’s Divine Presence resided in the Tent of Meeting or Sanctuary.  This made Shiloh the center of worship, as well as center for the civil court of law for the twelve tribes of Israel. It was to remain the religious and administrative center until Shiloh was destroyed by the Philistines in the late eleventh century BC (1 Sam 4; Jer 7:12-14; 26:6-9).  In this city, there is a sense of community, safety, and comfort.   

3 So Joshua said to the Israelites: “How long will you wait before you begin to take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has given you?

Some scholars and commentators think that these remaining tribes had stayed at Shiloh for anywhere from one to seven years before Joshua asks them this question.  Joshua is annoyed that these remaining tribes are just hanging around Shiloh, so he decides to kick them in the butt.  He forces them into action by gathering a group of men who will travel throughout the parts of the promised land that had not yet been given, to survey it into 7 approximate areas in such a way that the remaining tribes would each have enough resources and would be reasonable to live in. 

4 Appoint three men from each tribe. I will send them out to make a survey of the land and to write a description of it, according to the inheritance of each. Then they will return to me. 5 You are to divide the land into seven parts. Judah is to remain in its territory on the south and the tribes of Joseph in their territory on the north. 6 After you have written descriptions of the seven parts of the land, bring them here to me and I will cast lots for you in the presence of the Lord our God. 7 The Levites, however, do not get a portion among you, because the priestly service of the Lord is their inheritance. And Gad, Reuben and the half-tribe of Manasseh have already received their inheritance on the east side of the Jordan. Moses the servant of the Lord gave it to them.”

This tells us that Joshua criticized these tribes before the lands were surveyed and determined, and before the lots were cast.  This reveals they have a reluctant attitude as compared to the tribes that had already received their lands. 

In verses 8-10 we see that they take the journey, doing as Joshua commands. 

8 As the men started on their way to map out the land, Joshua instructed them, “Go and make a survey of the land and write a description of it. Then return to me, and I will cast lots for you here at Shiloh in the presence of the Lord.” 9 So the men left and went through the land. They wrote its description on a scroll, town by town, in seven parts, and returned to Joshua in the camp at Shiloh. 10 Joshua then cast lots for them in Shiloh in the presence of the Lord, and there he distributed the land to the Israelites according to their tribal divisions.

When they return, Joshua casts lots again to determine who would get these remaining allotments.  The first lot of these seven comes up for Benjamin.

Joshua 18:11-28 Benjamin.  We already learned about their attitude in receiving their land.  What kind of success did they have? (Judges 1:21) “But the sons of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites who lived in Jerusalem; so the Jebusites have lived with the sons of Benjamin in Jerusalem to this day.”



This chapter summarizes the land given to the remaining 6 tribes, including the land given specifically to Joshua.   In this chapter we are going to learn that some of the lands originally given to the more proactive tribes are given to the slackers. This seems to indicate that the surveyors couldn’t find 7 good parts in the lands not yet assigned, or their journey was a more official survey of the entirety of the promised land.   Regardless, based upon this new information, Joshua realized that in order to fit the sizes of the tribes that had not yet received their allotment he needed to carve out area that had previously been given to the other from the tribes. What we see in the land allotment process is the working together of God’s sovereign hand, and man’s wisdom, free will and performance.

Joshua 19:1-9 Simeon - We already learned about their attitude in receiving their land.  There is no direct statement in scripture of their overall performance.  However, in, Judges 1 they do have some success fighting alongside Judah.  Joshua reconsiders the great amount of land originally given to Judah, then carves out a section for Simeon within Judah. 

Joshua 19:10-16 Zebulun We already learned about their attitude in receiving their land.  What kind of success did they have?  (Judges 1:20) “Neither did Zebulun drive out the Canaanites living in Kitron or Nahalol, so these Canaanites lived among them, but Zebulun did subject them to forced labor.”

Joshua 19:17-23 Issachar - We already learned about their attitude in receiving their land.  There is no direct statement in scripture of their overall success.  

Joshua 19:24-31 Asher - We already learned about their attitude in receiving their land.  What kind of success did they have?  (Judges 1:31) “Nor did Asher drive out those living in Akko or Sidon or Ahlab or Akzib or Helbah or Aphek or Rehob. 32 The Asherites lived among the Canaanite inhabitants of the land because they did not drive them out.”

Joshua 19:32-39 Naphtali - We already learned about their attitude in receiving their land.  What kind of success did they have?   (Judges 1:33) “Neither did Naphtali drive out those living in Beth Shemesh or Beth Anath; but the Naphtalites too lived among the Canaanite inhabitants of the land, and those living in Beth Shemesh and Beth Anath became forced laborers for them.”

Joshua 19:40-48 Dan –

Dan was the last tribe to receive its territorial inheritance.  We already learned about Dan’s attitude in receiving their land.  What kind of success did they have?  (Judges 1:34) “The Amorites confined the Danites to the hill country, not allowing them to come down into the plain.” We also learn of their inability to be victorious in Joshua 19:47, and learn that they eventually move way north to a land of their choosing in Judges 18 and Isaiah 10:30.  

The land originally allocated to Dan was a small enclave in the central coastal area of Canaan, west south/west of Ephraim.  This land was taken out of what had been originally been given to Ephraim (because Joshua 16:5-9 describes Ephraim’s Northern and Southern boundaries as having gone all the way to the Mediterranean Sea).

At this point, all the lots had all been cast and the various tribes received their lands and displayed some amount of eagerness, hesitation, or dissatisfaction.  We also know about how successful the tribes were.  But as of yet, Joshua, the leader of the Israelites has not received anything personally.

Joshua 19:49-50 Joshua (tribe of Ephraim) –

49 When they had finished dividing the land into its allotted portions, the Israelites gave Joshua son of Nun an inheritance among them, as the Lord had commanded. They gave him the town he asked for—Timnath Serah[d] in the hill country of Ephraim. And he built up the town and settled there.

Joshua, waits patiently, until everyone else in Israel has received their inheritance before he claims his own.  Similar to Abraham, who let Lot choose his land first, Joshua is willing to wait and trust God to supply his portion.  This city he chose was pretty much in the middle of his tribe’s land.  There isn’t any scriptural evidence that Joshua had necessarily been there.  There are no battles recorded in the city.  The spy trip route described in the Bible that Joshua had taken part in only names cities that were more likely east of Timnath Serah (between Bethel, Shiloh, Shechem).   Somehow, he had knowledge of this city though. Possibly, a battle was fought there that wasn’t recorded in scripture (after all, the city was in ruins).  Maybe the spies did go through that area on their trip through the promised land, but it wasn’t recorded.  Perhaps he received information about this town from the most recent survey trip at the beginning of chapter 18.  No matter how he came to know about this city, He didn’t ask for the biggest and best, instead he asked for a city lying in ruins. He was a man who did what he told others to do….he took possession, rebuilt, and settled in. 

51 These are the territories that Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun and the heads of the tribal clans of Israel assigned by lot at Shiloh in the presence of the Lord at the entrance to the tent of meeting. And so they finished dividing the land.

The allotment process was now complete. In almost every tribe’s case, there is a statement within Joshua or Judges that says “they were not able to drive out the enemy”.  These statements seem to be an overall assessment of their performance over time – from the moment they were allotted the lands all the way through whatever amount of time it takes to get to Judges and even later.  Based upon what unfolds in the book of Judges, it becomes evident that none of the tribes fully conquered all the enemy in their land.  



In Joshua chapters 1-12, before the allotment process, even though they were imperfect, the Israelites displayed unity, strength, courage, won victories, and gained their foothold in the land.  Throughout this time, God was faithful, lived up to his end of the promise, and always brought them victory.  We’ll be reminded of this in Joshua 20.   After the last victory the Israelites had over the Northern kings in chapter 11, they were granted a reprieve and rest from war (Joshua 12:23).

However, the levels of success that the tribes have individually, after having received the allotments of land, leaves much to be desired.  Once they are required to embark on their own, out in the real world, away from the safety and security of numbers, and their base camp, things got tougher.  The books of Judges, 1st and 2nd Samuel, and 1st and 2nd Kings, also describe cases of distrust, abuse, division, and war between the tribes after the land allotment process ends. 



The Old Testament promised land was a specific geographical area just east of the Mediterranean Sea.  Each Israelite tribe’s territory was a specific section of land within that larger area.  Each section of land had unique geographical characteristics. Each section of land contained one or more different enemies (e.g. Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Girgashites).  But where is our allotment?  What does our land have in it? 

First, God has promised us a home in Heaven – the ultimate, perfect, everlasting promised land, with Jesus, where there are no battles to fight or struggles to face.  Right now, we can only catch faint glimpses of what it will be like.  For the most part, we find ourselves, longing for that new place and anxious to get there.

(2 Corinthians 5:1-10) - For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.

Until we get to that promised land, we are called to do and experience things now, that are represented in what the Israelites had to do so many years ago.  In a sense, each of has been granted an allotment in this life on this earth.

Our allotment is definitely not at Shiloh – our place of worship.  The Bible never commands Christians to conquer the area within the 4 walls of a church building – getting people to come as often as possible, making the activities that go on there so attractive that seats are filled, and people never want to leave. The Christian walk wasn’t meant to be restricted to a land filled with smiling faces, pats on the back, the smell of coffee and cookies, and the inspirational sounds of worship music.   Jesus told his disciples where the church was supposed to go and what it was to do.

(Matthew 28:19-20) - Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Jesus wasn’t saying that each individual believer had to go to ends of the earth, but that the church (Christ’s followers) would expand the church into the entire world.  Some people have the desire to go to other countries to do that, but we also know there are plenty of lands to conquer right here at home, in our neighborhoods, work places, city, state, and country.

What about our personal allotment?  Just like each Israelite tribe had certain places to conquer, while having certain abilities and desires, so do you.  Whatever your current life situation is, that is your earthly allotment.  The geography of your land, would include your relationships, your physical strengths and weaknesses, personal talents and gifts, good and bad circumstances. The enemy in your land isn’t any other person or people group.  Instead, you are involved in spiritual warfare that occurs within your soul and spirit - those places where specific issues and sins reside, that don’t want to be driven out.  


·         Seek to conquer the land God has given you, not the land you desire to have (Reuben, Gad, East Manasseh). 


Humans naturally view things from a short-term, ease of access, convenience, pleasure perspective.  But as followers of Christ that shouldn’t be our outlook. You probably won’t get exactly what you want - you’ll be given things you didn’t expect.  It is going to be hard, you will be attacked, there will be trial and error, some of what you gain might be taken.  If God has led you to a place of difficulty, don’t shy away from it and settle for less.  There is good that comes from needing to live in an imperfect land and battling against the enemy.  If you aren’t currently in a place of difficulty, get ready because you soon will be.


(John 16:33) “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

(Philippian 2:12-13) Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.


·         Don’t complain about the land you’ve been given (Ephraim, West Manasseh).


Yes, every believer has some level of disappointment with the land they’ve been given.  Some people might have mountains they consider beautiful, but for others their mountains are just tall obstacles.  Some people have way more trees than they’d like and not enough pasture.  Remember that God always has your best interests at heart so you can trust Him with your life.

(Philippians 2:14-15) 14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”[c] Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.


·         Accept your promised land with humility (Joshua)

Trust God with your inheritance.  Don’t make your ministry at the expense of others!   Don’t be jealous or regretful if you have an abundance of something that God seems to be taking from you and giving to others.  God has promised to meet our needs, so you don’t need to seek to be first.

(Matthew 20:16) - So the last will be first, and the first will be last

(James 4:1-10) - 1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. 4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us ? 6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

·         Root out the enemy (sin) that resides in your land, it will rob you of peace, joy, and away from God.

(Hebrews 12:1-4) “…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. 4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.”

(James 1:7)…” Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you”.

·         Be not be discouraged, but be strong and courageous (Caleb and Joshua)

For believers there is always some kind of work to be done or battle to face on this earth. Every one of us will fail at times.  Life isn’t perfect, but do not let discouragement cause you to lose focus.  Remember that God’s power is made perfect in our weakness.  Continued reliance on God’s power brings victory.

(2 Corinthians 12:9) - “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

(1 Corinthians 15:57) - But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

(2 Corinthians 4:1-18) - 4 Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”[a] made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. 13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.”[b] Since we have that same spirit of[c] faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

·         Live in expectation of ultimate victory and the perfect promised land

(Philippians 3:7-14) -  But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in[a] Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.  12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.


(2 Corinthians 5:1-10) - For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.


“Taking Hold of the Promise”

Joshua 17 – 19





Level of Success

East Manasseh (Joseph)












Caleb (Judah)








Ephraim (Joseph)




Daughters of Zelophehad (West Manasseh)




West Manasseh (Joseph)

































Joshua (Ephraim)










·         God has promised us a home in H__________ – the ultimate, perfect, everlasting promised land, with Jesus.         (2 Corinthians 5:1-10)


·         Our allotment on this earth is not at Shiloh – our place of w___________.    

(Matthew 28:19-20)


·         Whatever your current l______  s_____________ is, that is your earthly promised land. 



·         Seek to conquer the land God has given you, not the land you d__________.              

(John 16:33, Philippian 2:12-13)


·         Don’t c___________ about the land you’ve been given.                                        

(Philippians 2:14-15)


·         Accept your promised land with h____________.                                                     

(Matthew 20:16, James 4:1-10)


·         Root out the e_________ (sin) that resides in your land.                                        

(Hebrews 12:1-4, James 1:7)


·         Be not be d_____________, but be strong and courageous.                 

(1 Corinthians 15:57, 2 Corinthians 4:1-18, 2 Corinthians 12:9)


·         Live in e________________ of ultimate victory and the perfect promised land.           

(Philippians 3:7-14, 2 Corinthians 5:1-10)