The remaining tribes of Israel received land in Canaan as allotted by Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun, and the tribal leaders. 2 These nine and a half tribes received their grants of land by means of sacred lots, in accordance with the Lord’s command through Moses.
In case you’re just joining us, we have been following along in the book of Joshua, who has taken over leadership of Israel after Moses died.
The people of Israel, though one body of beloved people in God, were divided into 12 tribes, descending from the 12 sons of Jacob. These tribes were:
- Judah (forefather of Jesus),
- Joseph (read his story here)
By this time, these 12 tribes had multiplied into thousands of God’s people, just as he promised Abraham (Genesis 17). As always, God remains true to his word.
Now that much of Canaan has been conquered we see the leaders using the system of lots to distribute land to the different tribes. God gave the execute direction and those rules must be strictly observed (Numbers 26:53-56).
We learn a few new things in chapter 14 –
- The tribe of Joseph became 2 “half” tribes: Manasseh and Ephraim.
- The tribe of Levi was not allotted land. God chose and appointed Levi as priests for his people. As servants to the population it would not do to have them all separated into their own land. Priests needed to be sprinkled in among the populace, so instead, they were given only towns in which to live (v 4).
Now that they have done the hard work of fighting and conquering land, Israel now faces a new kind of challenge: To inhabit the land.
At this point, thousands of Israelites are still living closely encamped in one huge mass of people. It’s safe, familiar and for many of them, it’s the only way of life they have ever known.
However, God did not lead His people through all these trials just to have them stay in their same little comfort zone. “These countries were, not conquered to be left desert, a habitation for dragons and a court for owls” (Isaiah 34:13). The next step for Israel is to actually take possession and settle into their new home. (Easier said than done!)
Israel wasn’t going to turn around and return to slavery in Egypt, nor are we walking in God’s will when we forsake a blessing because it’s a bit uncomfortable.
Can you think of a time of trial where God has led you through a battle? Returning to your old ways makes all the fighting done in vain, so where did you go from there?
Dear Lord, thank you so much for your provision and unwavering devotion to me and my welfare. You chose and accepted me as part of your family, and by definition I cannot be the same person I was when you found me. So do not let me be tempted to return to my old ways. Help me, day by day, to take possession of the wonderful new future you have in store.