Today’s reading in Joshua is the final settlement of the 12 tribes of Israel. I must admit, when I first read through the scripture, I wondered how I could bring more meaning to His word for us today. What happens in Joshua 19 is primarily a description of the allotment of lands for the remaining tribes of Israel. It’s sort of like the book of Numbers, lots of lineage and description of boundaries but not much dialogue. At the very end though, there’s a lesson for us:
“When they had finished distributing the several territories of the land as inheritance. The people of Israel gave an inheritance among them to Joshua the son of Nun. By command of the Lord they gave him the city that he asked, Timnath-serah in the hill country of Ephraim. And he rebuilt the city and settled in it.” Joshua 19:49-50
Joshua waited until all his tribes were settled before asking for any type of provision for himself. He was content to serve his people before he was served. Imagine that. Imagine walking in Joshua’s shoes, leading the Israelites through the desert, across the Jordan, literally years of striving for a promised land without knowing how long it would take to get there. Then, finally when they do arrive, when they finally conquer and settle in to their territory, Joshua waits. He waits because he knows obedience to his Father requires him to first secure the eternal inheritance for his people. Like Jesus who came to dwell on earth not in splendor but in poverty. Joshua must put the welfare of his people above his own comfort and rest.
Today’s Proverb says this:
Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.
What is desired in a man is steadfast love,
and a poor man is better than a liar.
The fear of the Lord leads to life,
and whoever has it rests satisfied;
he will not be visited by harm.
Just as Joshua had plans for his personal inheritance so do we. We scheme and sometimes even manipulate in order to reach our goals. But what we know from these scriptures is that it is only God’s purpose that will prevail in our lives. What he wants from us is our service to others, our steadfast love and devotion to Him. Together, these scriptures have called me to reflect on what God truly has planned for me. What has God promised me? Am I in relationship with Him often enough that He can communicate His promises? Can I still my racing mind and quiet my heart in order to see the invitation to serve my tribe? Lord, help us serve our tribes this week. Help us to minister to our spouse or children, our small group, our colleagues and friends. May we settle in with you in the coming days. Amen.