we want to throw in the towel in our spiritual lives?
battling with sin in your life?
find it tempting to engage in the sin of the world?
As I have mentioned to you, I
have been reading a riveting book about the Rwanda
genocide in the civil war of 1994. The book is one man’s story, Lt. Gen. Dalliare, who was
given a mandate from the UN called UNAMIR or United Nations Aid Mission in Rwanda.
Because of the overwhelming humanitarian need that developed due to the
genocide, UNAMIR had to adjust it’s original mandate to bring both the two warring
parties to the negotiating table and institute the Arusha
Peace accords they had signed months earlier. Now they had to expand the
mandate with approval from the UN to include addressing the massive
humanitarian need for safe zones and hospital care, and refuge protection
embodied in UNAMIR2, the new mandate was called. Joshua also had a mandate from
God. That mandate was to conquer the land
of Israel. As we come to Joshua 13
we turn a corner from conquest to settlement. Joshua had been leading under God’s instructions to conquer Canaan
or GITCC. But now Joshua is called to fulfill the final part of his mandate—settlement in the land. To divide the land
so that each tribe can claim it’s
inheritance and enjoy this gift from God. He moves from a soldier to an
administrator. Years of hard fighting is now followed by the people settling
down in the land, by completing the conquest, then, building houses,
cultivating soil, raising families and living peacefully in their own land.
1. THERE COMES A TIME WHEN YOUR WORK FOR GOD ENDS THO NOT COMPLETED 1-7
1 Here we have a description of
the situation. Joshua was “old and
advanced in years” suggesting that his
faculties were failing him. He was starting to lose it physically and
mentally.He was not the man he was. He
was eighty when he was named the leader of the nation and it’s army. When he succeeded Moses, he
was a vigorous, focused and determined leader. Now the ensuing years of war
have left him battle-scarred and the campaign had obviously taken a toll of
him. But the work is not completed. There is still more land to be possessed.
Much of it was conquered but it was not possessed and yet much still need to be
conquered before it could be possessed.
2-7 describes the land still
needing conquering and possessing. There still remained small enclaves of
Canaanite opposition on the periphery, the coastal plain, the northern coast
and near Mt Herman and the surrounding mountain range up north. God noticed
what remained. It is not failure on Joshua’s
part. He did what he could in the time he had. But now God wanted him to divide
and distribute the land among the 9 1/2 tribes west of the Jordan river. It would then be up to them to
dispossess the Canaanites and possess their inheritance from God.
(1) We may realize our own human
limitations and discover that we may never accomplish everything that we
planned or wished to accomplish for God, His kingdom, our ministries. That
could be discouraging tho we read of none of that in
(2) Yet vs
6 God promise is that the ongoing work of possessing inheritance is God’s responsibility and it rests with His
power and plan. So as we work our work here, we recognize not only the
limitations of our involvement but the promise of God to see His work thru to
the end. It does not depend upon me even tho I can
participate in that work with Him.
(3) God encourages us along the
way so that we can remain steadfast to the end. Several references to ‘Moses”
in this setting may be used to encourage Joshua as he puts in motion this final
stage of his mandate. Joshua trained under Moses leadership and watched Moses
divide the land east of the Jordan.
He watched as Moses climbed up Mt Nebo to view this promisedland and heard God tell him he would
never enter into it. He would die with his mandate unfinished. Now these many
years later, he hears the same thing about his own mandate. But he understands
that that will never hinder God. God is ultimately responsible for His work getting
done. Keep discipling people—your kids, new believers, old believers.
(4) We could probably argue that
it is not possible to remove every last Canaanite, yet that is exactly what was
needed and leaving any of them is their eventual downfall. The solution for us
today, is to be committed to a lifestyle of spiritual warfare. There is always
sin in our lives left unconquered. So the spiritual life is a constant
spiritual warfare if weareprogressingand possessing. No
warfare means no spiritual progress. Cp vs 6 & 13. The Canaanites
continued to live among Israel.
(5) This whole chapter focuses on
Moses division of the land east of the Jordan river,
dividing it between Reuben, Gad and half of Manasseh. At the end of the chp is a summary in vs 32.
Several times in this chapter it refers to Inheritance.
50 times in this second half of Joshua. The point
is that they inherited their land. They did not win it in a lottery or receive
it as a prize or purchased it in a business transaction. The Lord Himself gave
it to them as the sole owner of it. Lev 25:23 clearly teaches that God was the
landlord and the people were tenants. The rent required was complete devoted
obedience to God, the landlord. They had ratified this lease agreement in Chp 8 on Mt Ebal and Mt Gerizim when they reiterated and accepted the requirement
of cursing and blessing they could expect if they played or did not play by
these rules. In our age we have Christ’s
commands which we are required to obey. The judgment seat of Christ will be the
place to determine our reward or lack of it. There are real consequences for
ourchoices as believers just as there
was for Israel.
2. WHILE FREE TO CHOOSE TO PARTCIPATE IN
GOD’S WORK WE NEED TO DO SO WISELYThe
rest of chapter is Joshua’s recognition & confirmation of Moses’ allotment of land to tribes on east of Jordan (8, 15, 24, 29, 32). These wanted possession there because they had large herds
of cattle and the rich grazing land there was desired even tho
this placed them outside boundaries of Canaan.
But was this request a wise one? (1) There were no natural boundaries exposing
them to invasions by regional enemies. They eventually became a buffer zone
between Jews in Canaan and pagan nations. So they became extremely
vulnerable. They were also the first to be carried away into captivity by Assyria. (2) They made them selves vulnerable to the pagan influences of their
neighboring enemies. This ungodly influence threatened their obedience to God
by introducing idolatry and rebellious children who moved the tribes further
away from God in succeeding generations. This is a warning to borderline xians today. If the quality of your material life is more
important than your eternal life your heading for
3. OWNED BY GOD WE MUST DEVOTE OURSELVES
FULLY TO HIS SERVICE
contrast to transjordan
tribes, twice (v 14 & 33) mentioned tribe of Levi received no inheritance.
They were allotted sacrifices and God Himself! Who could have dreamed of a
greater inheritance than that? (1) God did not want tribal responsibilities to
distract from work He gave them. (2) He wanted them fully devoted to his
service. Salt & lite to the tribes, teachers of
the Law reminding the people God wanted them to be the same—to stay focused on their God. A. 2 ½ tribes chose, as Lot
did, on basis of appearance (Gen -11)
and their inheritance ultimately lost. B. Levites requesting no portion given
one of abiding spiritual significance. We are the Levites of today. Speak truth
wherever. No one serving as soldier involved in civilian affairs—he wants to please his commanding officer (2 Tim 2:3-4). Don’t resign from service. Stay owned to God.