These are the inheritances that Eleazer the priest and Joshua the son of Nun and the heads of the father’s houses of the tribes of the people of Israel distributed by lot at Shiloh before the Lord, at the entrance of the tent of meeting. So they finished dividing the land. – Joshua 19:51
From Joshua 10:16-21:45, we encounter a rather lengthy list of achievements and land divisions as Israel took the Promised Land. It’s tempting for us to want to flip through these words quickly as we ask: What’s the point? How is this relevant for me?
While it is true that there are a lot of details and names that we can get lost in, our reading is helped greatly if we keep the big picture in mind. Back in Genesis 12:1-9, God promised to give Abraham’s descendants the land of Canaan as their inheritance. Several hundred years would pass. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would all die well before this promise came to be fulfilled.
But read these words of Joshua at the completion of the Land’s division: “Thus the Lord gave to Israel all the land that he swore to give to their fathers. And they took possession of it, and they settled there… Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.” (Joshua 21:43, 45).
Each word found in those chapters—each king who was conquered, each division of fields that was made, and each name listed points to the fact that God is the promise-keeping God. Reading these words assures us of this: God kept his promises in the past, he will also keep his promises given us in Christ—promises of complete forgiveness, future resurrection, and a joy-filled eternity.
So, let us see these lists and descriptions not as boring substance to skip but as faith-strengthening scripture God gave us for our benefit.
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