Sunday Evening Bible Study
May 16, 1999
The book of Joshua is a book about taking the Promised Land.
The Promised Land of learning to receive all that God has for us in our personal lives - victory over sin, experiencing God's peace, joy, love, power.
The principles that governed the nation taking the Promised Land are the same principles that help us live in God's promises.
Israel has now finished the major portion of conquering the Land, and itís time to hand out portions to each tribe.
:1-6 Eastern Kings Conquered
:1 from the river Arnon unto mount Hermon
This was the overall southern and northern limits to the eastern part of the kingdom, on the eastern side of the Jordan river.
:2 Sihon king of the Amorites
The first big king that the Israelites conquered under Moses, on the eastern side of the Jordan.
:2 children of Ammon
:4 Og ... remnant of the giants
He was the second big king that the Israelites conquered under Moses.
And he was really BIG:
Deuteronomy 3:11-AV For only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnant of giants; behold, his bedstead [was] a bedstead of iron; [is] it not in Rabbath of the children of Ammon? nine cubits [was] the length thereof, and four cubits the breadth of it, after the cubit of a man.
His bed was 13 1/2 feet long and 6 feet wide!
:6 unto the Reubenites ... Gadites ... half tribe of Manasseh
These 2 1/2 tribes wanted to settle on the eastern side of the Jordan, and they were allowed to do that as long as they helped the others conquer the western side as well.
The "half tribe of Manasseh" doesn't refer to the fact that Manasseh was half of the tribe of Joseph, but refers to the fact that half of Manasseh split off and settled on the eastern side of Jordan. The other half settled on the western side of Jordan.
:7-24 Western Kings Conquered
:7 Baal-gad ... Lebanon ... Halak ... Seir
Here we have the northern and southern borders of the land on the western side of the Jordan.
:24 all the kings thirty and one
The first 16 mentioned are the kings in the south, the last 15 are the kings of the north.
We've seen the battles for most of these kings.
There are a few that we hear of first in this list (Like Lasharon, Kedesh, Jokneam, Tirzah), leading us to the conclusion that there was more battles going on than we have read about. I know Iím kind of going off on a limb but Ö
You wonít always see the battles.
You donít always see the battles that people around you are going through. Sometimes people arenít very nice to you. Sometimes theyíre downright rude. Itís possible that theyíre going through a battle youíre just not aware of.
What's the significance to the number thirty-one?
That's how many kings Joshua conquered. Period.
I think that we can go a bit overboard sometimes in trying to understand deep symbolic significance in things.
I see it happen in people's lives, as if we are to somehow live our lives by making things out in the tea leaves.
We need balance, keep your head on your shoulders.
:1-6 Much left to be taken
:1 Thou are old and stricken in years
Joshua lived to be 110 years old, he's probably around 100 years old here.
:3 five lords of the Philistines
As you're reading your Bible, these will become familiar enemies of Israel, particularly during the days of King Saul and King David, about four hundred years later.
The names of the cities are: Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkalon, Gath, and Ekron
:1 there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed
When you look at the locations, there was land to be possessed spread from the farthest south to the farthest north.
The Philistines were in the south
The land of "all the Canaanites" was the land of ancient Phoenicia, the coastland of northern Israel, including Sidon
All Lebanon was to the north of Israel.
There was plenty left to do.
But didn't last week's chapter end with :
Joshua took the whole land ...?
You haven't arrived.
You aren't as mature as you could get.
But there are times when honestly, we think we've come about as far as we can.
Signs of when you've arrived:
1. The pastor's sermons seem predictable. You've heard all his illustrations, twice.
2. The worship leader keeps picking out the same songs over and over and over.
3. Whenever you pick up your Bible, nothing new ever jumps out at you.
I think this is a dangerous place to be.
Philippians 3:12-1412 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but [this] one thing [I do], forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Paul knew he hadn't arrived yet, and never would until the day of the resurrection.
I wonder if at times the sense of "same old, same old" is none other than a loss of our first love.
It's not as fresh and new as it used to be with the Lord.
Revelation 2:4-5 AV Nevertheless I have [somewhat] against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. 5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
Donít leave things undone.
At the same time, though we havenít arrived, we shouldnít get comfortable in not having arrived.
(Num 33:55 KJV) But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell.
This will become Israelís problem. They will leave some of the unconquered areas unconquered. The Canaanites will be a problem.
:6 them will I drive out
Even though the Israelites have much more to do, God isn't finished with helping them out either.
Sometimes we can get to thinking that God is only going to help us so far, and that we have to do the rest of it ourselves. WRONG!
1. We never stop needing God's help
Maturity as a Christian is not learning to do it all by yourself, it's learning to do nothing by yourself.
John 15:4-5 AV Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye [are] the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
2. God isn't finished helping us.
Jude 1:24-AV Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present [you] faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
God is able to keep you from sin, if you let Him.
He is working on us and refining us, getting ready to meet Him face to face.
He plans on working on us until we meet Him!
:7-14 General description of Eastern portion
:11 Geshurites and Maachathites
Geshur is just three miles east of the Sea of Galilee
David would marry a girl named Maacah, who was the daughter of Talmai, the king of Geshur. Their son's name was Absalom, his third son.
Maacah is about thirty miles northeast of the Sea of Galilee
:13 Israel expelled not the Geshurites ...
Why? Who knows?
:14 the tribe of Levi he gave none inheritance
more about this later...
:15-23 Reuben's inheritance
This is the same as Baal-peor
The place where one of the big falls of Israel happened.
Numbers 25 -
The rent-a-prophet named Balaam couldn't talk God into cursing Israel, so he figured out a way of getting God mad at them.
He told the king to send down the young ladies to seduce the Israelite men.
Immorality brings God's people down
Israel joins to the god Baalpeor
There's great judgment, 24,000 people die
It was a very tragic time in Israel's history
This place is now going to be inhabited by the Reubenites.
:21 dukes of Sihon
No, they didn't race around in the woods with souped up chariots with confederate flags painted on them.
They were princes or leaders that were aligned with King Sihon
This was the guy that caused all the trouble at Baal-Peor.
This is the guy who talks to donkeys. Rent-a-prophet.
It was his idea to have the Moabite and Midianite women entice the Israelite men.
:23 This was the inheritance of the children of Reuben
All these scary places, with memories of some pretty tough times.
Now it's long conquered, and given to Reuben as an inheritance.
The past is behind
The blessings of living in conquered territory
The place isn't known as Baal-peor (lord of Peor) any more, named after the local god of the land. (vs.20)
It's just called Beth-peor, house of Peor, house of the cleft.
The blessings of when you can say, "I'm forgetting what lies behind and pressing on towards what lies ahead"
2Corinthians 5:17-AV Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
It's a wonderful thing when one of those areas in your old life is no longer a threat.
For some of you, this is the challenge ahead of you, to let God conquer those enemies for you.
:24-28 Gad's Inheritance
Seemap They split Sihon's kingdom with Reuben.
They get a portion just to the north of Reuben.
Why describe all this stuff?
These are kind of like those legal documents describing the exact plot your house is sitting on.
Being recorded in God's Word, it shows once and for all just what belonged to whom.
If you had a dispute with another tribe as to what city belonged to whom, you'd have to dig out your Bible to find the answer!
It's the same way for us.
How do we find out what these promises are that God gives to us?
Get out the tract description, get out your Bible.
:29-33 1/2 Manasseh's Inheritance
:30 all Bashan
Bashan is one of those places you'll see from time to time in the Bible.
It refers to the northern most area, on the east of the Jordan.
It was the former kingdom of Og, the giant.
:32 which Moses did distribute
These three tribes had already been promised these lands.
:33 the LORD God of Israel was their inheritance
Earlier we read:
Joshua 13:14-AV Only unto the tribe of Levi he gave none inheritance; the sacrifices of the LORD God of Israel made by fire [are] their inheritance, as he said unto them.
It's not that they were bad or anything and so God cut them off from their inheritance.
This was actually the agreement that the Lord had with the high priest Aaron:
Numbers 18:20-21 AV And the LORD spake unto Aaron, Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land, neither shalt thou have any part among them: I [am] thy part and thine inheritance among the children of Israel. 21 And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, [even] the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.
This means that when it came to dividing up the land into tribal areas, and then the areas divided up into large family farms, that the Levites wouldn't get a portion on the map with the name "Levi" on it that would be handed down from generation to generation.
Actually they would end up going into clothing manufacturing, and have their name on the back of everybody's pants (bad joke!).
The Levites would be given cities to live in and pasture lands around the cities, but that was only for basic living needs. They didn't get the large possessions of land like the other tribes.
Instead, God said their main support would be through their portion of the sacrifices from God's altar.
Now it gets even better.
God Himself is the inheritance of the Levites.
It reminds me of what God said to Abraham.
Abraham, in rescuing his nephew Lot from a band of marauding kings, had also rescued the city of Sodom, where Lot had been living.
Genesis 14:21- 15:1. And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself. 22 And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, 23 That I will not [take] from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that [is] thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich: 24 Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion. 15:1. After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I [am] thy shield, [and] thy exceeding great reward.
Abraham refused the treasures of the world. And God was Abraham's reward.
Our treasure is the Lord
It's not just the things that God does for us.
It's not just the things that God gives to us.
But it's Him.
He Himself is our great treasure.
Why do you love the Lord?
Is it because of all He does for you?
That's not a bad reason. In fact, we ought to be thankful for all He does for us.
But the problem with only loving Him for what He does is because there's going to be times when He's going to have to do some unpleasant things for our own good.
If we're not careful, we might stop loving the Lord because of it.
:1-5 Background to the division
:1 Eleazar ... Joshua ... the heads
These are going to be the chief guys involved in setting up of the tribal boundaries.
Eleazar was the high priest at the time, the head of the religious community.
Joshua was in charge of everything.
The heads of the tribes are there to represent the tribes.
:2 By lot was their inheritance
They would be deciding on who got what by the casting of lots.
Kind of like rolling dice.
It was a way of determining God's choice.
Proverbs 16:33-AV The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof [is] of the LORD.
It also was one way of impartially making decisions. Nobody could complain that Joshua was playing favorites.
Proverbs 18:18-AV The lot causeth contentions to cease, and parteth between the mighty.
:4 the children of Joseph were two tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim
This is to explain how there could be twelve divisions of the land, yet the Levites didn't get any inheritance.
The tribes of Israel were descended from the twelve sons of Israel, or, Jacob.
His sons were Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Zebulun, Issachar, Dan, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Joseph, Benjamin, twelve in all.
But in the allotment of the land, there were to still be twelve tribes, but some changes were made.
Because of Joseph's faithfulness, his father Jacob gave him the position of "firstborn son", and hence he would get a double portion of the inheritance. (Gen.49:26; 48:22)
When Joseph brought his two sons (Manasseh and Ephraim) to Jacob to be blessed, Jacob made each of them as equal to their uncles, hence they each became a tribe.(Gen.48:5)
Levi would be getting no earthly inheritance, because the Lord was their inheritance (see last week, Josh.13:33).
So, in adding one tribe, and subtracting one tribe, there still comes up twelve portions, but with different names on them.
:6-15 Caleb's Portion
:6 Caleb ... said unto him
It's important to understand that the land that was handed out in last week's study (ch.13) was land that had already been pre-alloted by Moses.
There wasn't anything new or unexpected about it. In fact, in a way, it wasn't really included in "the Promised Land".
In a strict sense, the Promised Land seems to start at the river Jordan.
So, this is the first opportunity to divide up the main part of the Promised Land.
And somebody's standing at the head of the line ... old Caleb.
:7 to espy out the land
Let's take a trip back in time, going back 45 years ... instead of 105, Joshua is 60 years old, and his buddy Caleb is a mere 40 years old ...
Read Num.13:1-2; 17-33; 14:1-14
It was God's idea to spy out the land
God wanted them to see what they were up against.
It's not His idea that we always go into something with our eyes shut.
They saw the great abundance in the land.
They also saw the giants ("sons of Anak", or, "Anakim", were known to be giants)
Caleb knew they could handle the problems.
But the bad report discouraged the people
The outcome was wandering in the wilderness for 40 more years.
:7 I brought him word again as it was in mine heart.
Caleb didnít have to make something up, he was able to just speak from his heart.
Itís got to be in your heart.
Calebís positive enthusiasm wasnít just some psyched-up "I hope so" thing. He really knew in his heart that God was going to do it.
Thatís what made him so great.
:8 my brethren ... melt
Encourager or Discourager?
There were two type of men that went out spying in the Promised Land.
One set came back to encourage the people
The other set came back to discourage the people.
You can be a discourager or an encourager
It's not that we are to be ignorant of the negatives.
I'm not trying to say that we have to be the syrrupy-sweet always positive kind of person.
But we don't need to dwell on the negatives any more than is necessary either.
This Is Good!
I heard the story told recently about a king in Africa who had a close friend that he grew up with. The friend had a habit of looking at every situation that ever occurred in his life (positive or negative) and remarking, "This is good!" One day the king and his friend were out on a hunting expedition. The friend would load and prepare the guns for the king. The friend had apparently done something wrong in preparing one of the guns, for after taking the gun from his friend, the king fired it and his thumb was blown off. Examining the situation the friend remarked as usual, "This is good!". To which the king replied, "No, this is NOT good!" and proceeded to send his friend to jail. About a year later, the king was hunting in an area that he should have known to stay clear of. Cannibals captured him and took them to their village. They tied his hands, stacked some wood, set up a stake and bound him to the stake. As they came near to set fire to the wood, they noticed that the king was missing a thumb. Being superstitious, they never ate anyone that was less than whole. So untying the king, they sent him on his way. As he returned home, he was reminded of the event that had taken his thumb and felt remorse for his treatment of his friend. He went immediately to the jail to speak with his friend. "You were right" he said, "it was good that my thumb was blown off." And he proceeded to tell the friend all that had just happened. "And so I am very sorry for sending you to jail for so long. It was bad for me to do this." "No," his friend replied, "this is good!" "What do you mean, 'this is good'! How could it be good that I sent my friend to jail for a year." "If I had NOT been in jail, I would have been with you."
:8 I wholly followed the Lord
other translations: "wholeheartedly followed ..." Literally: "I fully satisfied following the Lord"
In fact, this wasn't just what Caleb thought of himself, it was actually the way God saw it:
Numbers 14:24-AV But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.
Note: Caleb wholly followed the Lord, but the people still didn't follow his advice.
Caleb's success was in faithfulness, not results
In our modern day world, we might tend to look at Caleb and think of him as somewhat of a failure.
He was right, but he failed to convince the people.
God's measure of success is based on faithfulness, not on results.
God is concerned that we just learn to follow Him, whether or not anybody responds.
Mat 25 - the parable of talents
The master had handed out different amounts of money to his servants.
The one with five talents made five more, the one with two made two more, and the one with one just hid his.
Have you noticed how the master said the exact same thing to both the five talent man and the two talent man?
Matthew 25:21-AV His lord said unto him, Well done, [thou] good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
It wasn't the amount of return that the master is looking for, it's whether or not you're just faithful to do what few things you know He's asked you to do.
:10 these forty and five years
This kind of gives us a window on the chronology of the book of Joshua.
We know the Israelites were in the wilderness for forty years.
This means that they took five years to conquer the land.
It wasn't taken overnight!
Promises take time
Caleb waited 45 years for his inheritance.
And it wasn't even his fault that it took so long.
Moses thought it was time for him to deliver the Israelites when he was forty, but God let him spend 40 more years in the wilderness tending sheep before he was ready.
It took me twenty years from my call to the pastoral ministry, until I became a senior pastor.
Hang in there!
:11 I am as strong this day
Here's an 85 year old man claiming to be as strong as he was when he was 40.
Jack LaLane watch out!
It doesn't sound like he's worried about collecting Social Security and retiring.
What a treasure this Caleb was!
In our culture, we seem to worship youth.
But there used to be a time when people would honor and respect older people.
They have great wisdom and experience. We could learn lots from them.
Leviticus 19:32-AV Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I [am] the LORD.
:12 give me this mountain
When the spies were sent out, apparently they all went in several groups, and in various directions.
That's how twelve guys were able to cover the entire area of land in forty days on foot.
Caleb was promised by Moses that he would inherit the portion of land that he had individually spied out.
Numbers 14:24-AV But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.
Apparently, one of the places that Caleb personally had spied out was the city of Hebron.
Hebron was known as a city of giants.
In fact, in the report sent back from the spies, the only giants that the spies specifically identify are those living in the city of Hebron.
When they went through the land, it was recorded that they went through Hebron, and saw the giants, the sons of Anak.
Numbers 13:22-AV And they ascended by the south, and came unto Hebron; where Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the children of Anak, [were]. (Now Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.)
When they gave their report, they mentioned the sons of Anak (the giants).
Numbers 13:28-AV Nevertheless the people [be] strong that dwell in the land, and the cities [are] walled, [and] very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there.
It's not that there weren't any other giants, but the ones in Hebron are the only ones we know they saw. In other words, Caleb is the only spy we know that definitely saw the giants.
Isn't it interesting that of all the places to choose, Caleb picks Hebron?
Caleb's goals weren't threatened by giants, just challenged by them.
Not "stopped by giants", but just "giant-challenged"
Talk about facing some giants ....
I heard a story the other night about a truck driver who dropped in at an all-night restaurant in Broken Bow, Nebraska. The waitress had just served him when three swaggering, leather-jacketed motorcyclists -- of the Hell's Angels type -- entered and rushed up to him, apparently spoiling for a fight. One grabbed the hamburger off his plate; another took a handful of his French fries; and the third picked up his coffee and began to drink it.
The trucker did not respond as one might expect. Instead, he calmly rose, picked up his check, walked to the front of the room, put the check and his money on the cash register, and went out the door. The waitress followed him to put the money in the till and stood watching out the door as the big truck drove away into the night.
When she returned, one of the cyclists said to her, "Well, he's not much of a man, is he?"
She replied, "I can't answer as to that, but he's not much of a truck driver. He just ran over three motorcycles out in the parking lot."
When faced with giants, I need to find out:
Has God called me to do this?
There is always a possibility that God's trying to stop you.
But if God has called you, and if there are still negatives, let the negatives just drive you closer to the Lord, because that's where your victory will come from.
2Corinthians 12:7-10 AV And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
Paul knew that when it looked like he wasn't strong enough to face something, when the giants looked overwhelmingly large, then it was time for God's strength to be even greater, and a time for Paul to learn to trust even stronger in the Lord.
lit., "city of Arba" = Hebron Ė Seemap