Day 54--Finally!!!--"The Sought Blessing" -Josua 12:1 - 17:18
February 23, 2021, 7:02 AM

Day 54—Finally!—“The Sought Blessing”—Joshua 12:1 – 17:18

This is the triumphant section of the book of Joshua. First we read the list of the kings who were conquered (ie: people groups and land) by both Moses and Joshua. Next, we have the listing of the allotments of lands to the tribes.

BOR-ING!! Even the Bible Project said that we could probably skim some of this because it contains details and boundaries about land rights, and yet, this is what all that wandering in the desert was for, this is the final realization of the plans that Moses carried in his heart for his people, this is the reason for the conquests and battles, this is the time we have waited for, the time when the people take possession of the Promised Land.

What does land mean? It means that a tribe can now build homes, till land, set up markets, establish schools and ways to worship. Land means that there will be boundaries between the tribes after all the time has been spent wandering in a big, conglomerate group. Land also means that whatever riches are to be found in these territories will be useful, not only for the tribe which occupies the land, but also for tribes in surrounding areas who may need to barter or purchase portions of goods or items that the occupying tribe controls. It means that all the work will now be dedicated to establishing a permanent place to live and to create new generations. No one will have to pull up tent stakes, wrap up possessions, and begin to walk, to walk and to walk some more until the next campground. And as we heard yesterday—no more manna—woo hoo!!!

But one astute writer used this great description about what is going to happen:

“When the head of a large family business grew old, he determined that it was time for his five sons to take over. So, the father gathered his sons in the central office, handed each of them legal shares in the company and laid it on the line. ‘Each of you now owns a part of the business," he said. "And all of you have to take your places and work together as never before.’”

I don’t have to tell you how difficult that balance is going to be. Impossible, in fact. The very day that Joshua is announcing the allocations (and please note that the daughters of Zelophehad received their portions as well—Joshua 17: 3-5), there is an argument. The tribe of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh protest that they did not receive enough land. If you look at the map on FB, you will see a fairly substantial portion of land, right in the center of the Promised Land, that has been given to the tribe, and yet they complain.

Joshua is very funny, however, when they whine and say that they are a numerous people and require more land, he tells them “If you are a numerous people, take all those people up to the hill country and clear the land so you have more space.” In other words—go to work, people!

But in terms of relevance to us today, note how hard the Israelites fought for their land, how they heard God tell them to take the land, how it was distributed to the people by the words of Moses and Joshua, and recognize that these words still run deep in the bloodstream and DNA of those Jews who still fight today for the right to own and populate the land. I am not speaking of right or wrong on this, but these biblical precedents make the conversations very difficult, even for those who no longer practice traditional Judaism. Land has history, value and emotional power. While these verses from today (and tomorrow!!) may not sound compelling to us, these allocations provide the stage and setting  for the remainder of Bible, and the story can become very dark, and still is even today as people continue to fight, kill and hate each other while they fight for possession of the Promised Land.

Be blessed and be a blessing to others,

ML

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