God informs Joshua that he’s getting older and yet there remained much land to be possessed. Israel had gained the upper hand in the land, but there was still territory to claim, especially in the western and northern regions.
Moses had divided the land on the east side of the Jordan to the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh. Now it was time for Joshua to divide the land on the west side of the Jordan.
A few items jump out to us in Joshua 13.
First of all, it’s heartbreaking to read that the children of Israel did not drive out the Geshurites and the Maachathites – that they allowed these people to dwell among the Israelites “until this day.” (Joshua 13:13) This description of the east side of the Jordan would be a warning for Israel on the west side. If don’t drive out sin the day may come when we can’t drive out sin; if we tolerate sin we will be troubled and even tormented by it.
Secondly, we read repeatedly that the Levites did not inherit land – the LORD and their service to Him was their inheritance.
Joshua 13:14 (NKJV) “Only to the tribe of Levi he had given no inheritance; the sacrifices of the LORD God of Israel made by fire are their inheritance, as He said to them.”
Joshua 13:33 (NKJV) “But to the tribe of Levi Moses had given no inheritance; the LORD God of Israel was their inheritance, as He had said to them.”
Joshua 14:4b (NKJV) “…and they gave no part to the Levites in the land, except cities to dwell in, with their common-lands for their livestock and their property.”
We may never own land, or a whole lot a “stuff” on this side of time, but if we’re believers and servants of the Lord, we are also joint heirs with Christ – and all that’s His, in one sense, is ours (Romans 8:17). Keep serving the Lord and let Him determine those kinds of details.
Thirdly, we once again have the tragic account of Balaam’s end – he did not die the death of the righteous (Numbers 23:10). Here was a man who conversed with the LORD, and prophesied for the LORD, but because was a prophet for profit, greedy for gain, he was slain with the enemy – the prophet died as an enemy of God. It’s interesting to note the contrast in the midst of Joshua’s message, between Balaam and the priests whose portion was not of this world.
Caleb is one of my favorite characters in the Bible. He and Joshua were the only two spies that brought back a good report after scouting the land thirty eight years earlier, they did their best back then to influence Israel to go up at once to conquer the land, they had that faith, but Israel refused (Numbers 13:26-14:10).
Here we see Caleb forty-five years later and he hasn’t lost any of that passion for God. He is repeatedly described as a man who “wholly followed the LORD.” (Numbers 32:12; Deuteronomy 1:36) We see that manifested in his bold request:
Joshua 14:12 (NKJV) “Now therefore, give me this mountain of which the LORD spoke in that day; for you heard in that day how the Anakim were there, and that the cities were great and fortified. It may be that the LORD will be with me, and I shall be able to drive them out as the LORD said.”
The rest of the children of Israel were sitting back, waiting for their inheritance, but at this point, Caleb is a go-getter. He asks for land, and not just any land, he asks for “this mountain.” It mattered not that there were giants there and that the cities were fortified, he knew Romans 8:31 before it was ever written, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
The Bible Knowledge Commentary put it this way, “Caleb concluded his speech to Joshua with an astounding request. At age 85, when he might have asked for a quiet place to spend his last days raising some vegetables or flowers, he instead requested that he be given the same section of land that had struck fear into the hearts of the 10 spies. This was the inheritance he desired in fulfillment of God’s earlier promise. Though most older people are more apt to talk about old conflicts than to take on new ones, Caleb was ready for one more good battle. He was eager to fight the Anakites at Hebron and take that city for his possession. Caleb chose a large and foreboding task. Not that he was filled with pride in his own ability. Rather he believed God would be with him. Caleb had faith in the presence of God. With flashing eyes and a strong voice he concluded, the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as He said. And drive them out he did, as Joshua (15:13–19) recorded. Joshua’s response to Caleb’s request was twofold: (a) he blessed Caleb, that is, he set him apart for God’s enablement so he would be enriched and successful in his task, and (b) Joshua gave him Hebron, a statement which emphasizes that this land grant was a legal transaction.”
A large portion of this chapter has to do with prayer. If there’s one thing in our lives that the enemy does not want us to do, is to pray. It’s been said that, “The Devil trembles when he sees even the weakest saint on his knees.”
The parable of the widow and the unjust judge is a lesson on maintaining a persistent prayer life. Keep praying friend, don’t lose heart. As Warren Wiersbe said, “If an unjust judge helps a poor widow, how much more will a loving Father meet the needs of His children?”
When it comes to prayer, the main question is, do we have faith? A healthy prayer life usually reveals a man or woman who honestly believes, the God of the universe hears me, love me, and is able to help me, my family, my church, and my community. Prayer is a sweet time we can spend with God in A-doration, C-onfession, T-hanksgiving and S-uppliction (A.C.T.S.)
When we pray however, we must pray in humility. We can’t go to God and tell Him how great we are, “O Lord, thank You that I’m not like all those ugly sinners our there!” Actually, we are (apart from God) – and we are always in need of God’s mercy. The Pharisee went home without his prayers even heard by God, he prayed with himself (Luke 18:11), while the Tax Collector went home in right relationship with God (Luke 18:13-14) imagine that.
What happens at the end of your prayers?
Don’t you just love the children? We can learn so much from them, especially the way they simply believe. That’s how we’re saved, simply believe on the Lord Jesus Christ with the faith of a child. In Luke 18:17 Jesus issues a heavy warning, if we don’t have that childlike faith, we won’t go to heaven!
This Psalm seems to have been written after the exile – Israel has returned to the land (Psalm 85:1) her iniquity has been forgiven (Psalm 85:2) but they find themselves in need – there was a need of restoration for the nation (Psalm 85:4).
It’s one thing to have land, to have a building, to have a church, but that’s not the same as being in right relationship with God. Survival is different than revival.
Psalm 85:6 (NKJV) “Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?”
Do you ever long for more? The power of the Holy Spirit leading to a passion for God? He is willing to bless us in that way, if we are wanting and willing to ask. (Luke 11:13)
At the intersections of mercy and truth, and righteousness and peace, God brings it all together for the benefit of the people – it’s the kiss of God upon His children. It would one day be demonstrated on a cross of love that would be able to bless all who believe.
V. 7 – I’m sure you know that there are those who end up as miserable millionaires. Anyone not willing to share, will be there. Friendless, loveless, and therefore lifeless; they make themselves rich, yet have nothing. Nothing of real value.
But if a person is generous enough to the point of living in poverty due to their generosity, there will be even greater riches one day.
I couldn’t help but think of Jesus:
2 Corinthians 8:9 (NKJV) “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.”
V. 8 – Usually where there’s big money; there’s big problems; the rich man or his children are more vulnerable to being kidnapped and held for ransom.
But the poor man, as the NIV translates this verse, “hears no threat.” His kids won’t get kidnapped for ransom. There are some who can handle riches, but not most, so be careful the next time you play and pray to win the lottery; it might not be such a good thing after all. (Hebrews 13:5)
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.