Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is: Joshua 12-15
For those that love geography...today's passage is primarily intended to describe the areas conquered by the Israelites, and the dwelling places of each tribe and the subsequent descendants.
A few of the key verses and thoughts as I read through the passage:
1) It is truly amazing to read about how vast the land is that God provided for His people. I think back to the Israelites wandering in the wilderness as they left Egypt...If only they could have a glimpse of what God was going to provide for them. Often for us too, we grumble and complain about the difficulties we encounter as God leads us on our journey- but we need to trust and be faithful... His history of promises fulfilled and ability to see the path to the future should provide daily reassurance that we need to remain faithful and daily commit our ways to him.
2) When God places a task before us, He partners with us. God had asked the Israelites to drive out the various inhabitants of the land...and then in Chapter 13 vs 6 it states: “As for all the inhabitants of the mountain regions from Lebanon to Misrephoth Maim, that is, all the Sidonians, I myself will drive them out before the Israelites. How reassuring it is that as the tribes carried out God's commands...he actively worked along side them. God is still active today, and works along side us...just as he did with the Israelites.
3) In our relationship with God, we need to be content with any blessings God bestows on us and need not compare to the blessings God might provide to other believers. The Levites provide an example of this, as twice in the passage it mentions that no land would be allotted for the Levites. When you think of the Levites and their dedication to God's service...I can see how jealousy might creep in as they witness the land being bestowed on the other tribes; But to the tribe of Levi he gave no inheritance, since the food offerings presented to the , the God of Israel, are their inheritance, as he promised them....But to the tribe of Levi, Moses had given no inheritance; the , the God of Israel, is their inheritance, as he promised them. I pray that I too will be like the Levites and be selfless in my service.
4) We need to complete the tasks that God lays before us and never become satisfied that we" have done enough". In Joshua 15:63 we read that : Judah could not dislodge the Jebusites, who were living in Jerusalem;to this day the Jebusites live there with the people of Judah. For all the land that God's chosen people conquered, it really stood out to me that there remained this small parcel of land in Jerusalem that remained "unclaimed". I read a few commentaries to gain perspective as I wanted to better understand what happened here. Most commentators agreed that at one time Judah gained this portion but subsequently lost it, and then became content with the land they had and never completed the task or driving out the nations. Essentially, when God places a task in front of us, we need to complete it! Failure to do so can have long term implications.
A lot of geography in today's passage, yet a lot of key lessons we can take away and apply to our lives.