JOSHUA 16:1 – 18:28 and LUKE 6:1–19
The distribution of the land continues as the lot now falls upon Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim (vs 1-3). The borders of their land are stated in verses 5-9. One of the potential truths that we can gather from this distribution of land is the proximity of family members in the place of their inheritance. There are many questions as to what it will be like in eternity. Will we know each other? Will we be near each other etc.? The answer in my mind is yes. The people settled by family and tribe in Canaan. I do feel that this presents a picture of what it will be like in eternity.
God loves fellowship and this is something that will carry on after this life. In our walk as believers we find a certain blessing and joy in sharing the things of the kingdom together upon this earth. We are building together for eternity. Each component of the body of Christ has their function. Through my 37 years as a believer I have had association with my home church and its senior pastor. I have no doubt that there will be a carrying forth of this relationship throughout eternity. Whenever I am back in our home church my pastor and I will take a ride out into the country and just take time to share the goodness of God. We have done this through the many years of knowing one another. It sounds like a simple act but it is always been so special. Those conversations through the years have helped to prepare and equip me for my life as a believer. I somehow feel that this is a taste of what it will be like. God positioned Israel into their inheritance by tribes and families. I truly suspect this will be the case for the church at large. There is one other verse we need to note:
Jos 16:10 And they drave not out the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer: but the Canaanites dwell among the Ephraimites unto this day, and serve under tribute.
For some reason the Ephraimites did not drive out the Canaanites which was direct violation of God’s commandment. Was it because they could not do it? The fact they had them serving under tribute seems to indicate that they could have driven them out if they really wanted to. It turns out that this group of Canaanites were never removed until the time of Solomon. Joshua acknowledged at the time of his death that the Canaanites dwelt among the Ephraimites at Gezer (Jud 1:9). This is a reminder that the little foxes can spoil the vine (SOS 2:15). They may seem harmless at first but they can fester and grow resulting in major problems in future.
Something that should have been addressed at the taking of the land was never completed till the time of Solomon. In fact, it was Pharaoh of Egypt who gave them as a gift to his daughter who married Solomon (1 Kings 3:1). How is it that it took a heathen king to finish up the work that Ephraim should have managed many years before? When God moves we must be sure there is no compromise in our hearts; no little foxes that in the end may result in great harm. Ephraim apparently saw the Canaanites as a blessing since they were made tribute to them. This is not how God saw it. God should not have to rely on a heathen king to finish up a work that has been given to His people to perform. The church needs to arise and become the head and not rely on government or politics in taking the lead.
The lot for the tribe of Manasseh is determined and is covered in verses 1-11. We do see the matter of the daughters of Zelophehad arise regarding their inheritance. There were no brothers who would be heirs to his house so there had to be consideration for his daughters. We saw this addressed in Num 36:11. There was a total of ten portions that were given to Manasseh which was separate from the portions given to the other half of the tribe located on the other side of Jordan. Once again we see where the inhabitants could not be totally driven out (vs 12).
We see after a time that Israel was in a position to overcome the Canaanites but rather chose to put them under tribute. There is a sense of covetousness seen here as they should have been destroyed. They liked the gains in having a people being subject to them. This was against God’s commandment (Deu 7:1). There is a dispute over the allotment of land being given to Joseph (vs 14). They were a people who were great in number being given what they perceived to be an unsuitable portion of land. Joshua answers them with wisdom by saying that “you are a great people” go make more room for yourself.” He was playing upon their own words. Joshua did not change his mind or alter the allotment but he told them to go ahead and clear more area so as to have sufficient room. Remember, this allotment was designated by God and Joshua held firm (vs 17). He then showed them the advantages of being able to have mountain territory. It would give them control over a vast area. He also speaks the Word of the Lord to them in saying that He will drive out the inhabitants, even those in their superior iron chariots.
Israel had a certain disposition of never being satisfied or grateful. It can be seen clearly throughout their history. One of the highest characteristics in gauging the spiritual condition of a person is seeing how thankful and content they are. This is so well pleasing to God. It is a position of acknowledging God as being good in all situations. The reverse is also true. The first step to backsliding is when you begin to see hints of unthankfulness. Why is this so? A heart will become hardened and indifferent over time when unthankfulness is evident. This is clearly seen in Rom 1:21-32. We would do well to be warned by observing this digression into apostasy. On the other hand may we learn to major on being thankful in all situations and at all times. The Lord takes such great pleasure in a thankful heart.
The whole congregation at this time was assembled at Shiloh which was in the land of Ephraim’s inheritance and closer to Jerusalem which is where the Ark would eventually reside. We also see that there are 7 tribes which have yet to be settled into their inheritances. Joshua gives them a rebuke and then instructs that each remaining tribe take 3 men to scout out the remaining territory and take the needed measurements. It would be divided into 7 parts for the tribes who have yet to be settled. They would return to Joshua and at that time the lots would then be cast on their behalf at Shiloh. We need to consider again the sovereignty of God. Can you imagine the chaos if the matter of settling in Canaan was left to man instead of God? This is a truth that serves us well today. We oftentimes worry about our position, status or reputation. This can result in strife amongst the closest of brethren. We need to learn to rest in God’s sovereign hand.
Pro 16:33 The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.
God can be trusted and we need to learn to yield to His pleasure. It would certainly resolve many of the problems seen in churches today. Why were the others not pressing into their inheritances? Were they tired from all of the battles and wanderings that brought them this far? Were they being self-centered and not pressing in on behalf of their brethren? In any case Joshua took charge knowing that he was getting older and that time was of the essence. It was here at Shiloh where the Tabernacle of Moses was going to find a resting place for the next 300 plus years. The word Shiloh can be interpreted “secure”. It was a centrally located place where the tribes would be able to gather together at appointed seasons. Shiloh was located about 20 to 25 miles north of Jerusalem. It was once stated that the Levites would have no physical inheritance of their own but that the Lord would be their inheritance. What a special promise it is in having the Lord be your inheritance. This will be elaborated on when we consider the sons of Zadok later in our study (Eze 44).
The men returned from their survey of the land and reported to Joshua (vs 8-9). The next lot fell upon Benjamin. The cities and area that they were to occupy are covered in verses 11-28.
A few more thoughts about Shiloh. This could be likened to being Israel’s headquarters for the next several hundred years. Many church denominations have a place where the main branch and offices are located. The fellowship I am part of (Zion Fellowship International) is based in Waverly New York, USA. There are many churches, Bible Schools and Mission stations located throughout the world. Twice a year the Fellowship has conventions where people will gather from around the world to worship and hear from God. It is a wonderful time of refreshing and strengthening to the body of Christ.
The Tabernacle of Moses in its fullness will be established at Shiloh. There will be a major event that will take place at the end of the reign of the Judges around the time of the birthing of the prophet Samuel (1 Sam 4). The primary lesson that can be taken from this future event is that Israel as a nation was taking the presence of the Lord for granted. The establishment of the Tabernacle of Moses at Shiloh was a blessing and privilege extended to Israel. What developed was a false sense of security. Remember, the name Shiloh means “security”. We can be “secure” in our relationship with God as we walk humbly and circumspectly before Him. May God grant that the Fear of the Lord be our portion at all times and that we never take His presence for granted.
It is amazing to see how many instances of offense come to the Pharisees over incidents occurring on the Sabbath. It not only provides an opportunity for the Lord to show forth their hypocrisy but it also helps to give understanding to the true meaning of the Sabbath. In our commentaries to date we have seen this as a recurring theme. How did the Lord direct their attention in this instance? He alludes to an Old Testament example that they would be aware of, seeing that they were overly concerned with Sabbath violations. This is wisdom in action. “Have you not read..” If they were true Pharisees they would know of the account of David that Jesus is speaking of (1 Sam 21:1). If they were true Pharisees they would know of the verse that mentions David stating, “The Lord said unto my Lord…” (Psa 110). If you now put two and two together it would be clear that David did the very thing that the Lord and His disciples were doing here. Secondly, they would know that the Messiah would be the Son of David (Math 22:42-45). Jesus is using the Old Testament, the resource that the Pharisees were always referring to, to validate Himself as the Son of David and as a result, the Lord of the Sabbath (Luk 6:5). The Lord is demonstrating great wisdom in this exchange. In one sense He is recognizing their understanding of scripture but in doing so demonstrates His authority in plucking the ears of corn on the Sabbath. In other words, the so called strength of the Pharisees (The Old Testament Scripture) is now their weakness as they cannot defend the Lord’s authority. It is absolutely brilliant! It truly represents wisdom in action.
This then leads to another Sabbath event. There was a man who had a withered hand who entered into the synagogue while Jesus was teaching. As an aside, wouldn’t you love to have been able to hear Jesus teach in the synagogue and to see how He handled those who challenged Him? Here we see Scribes and Pharisees who had no concern for the man who needed a healing but rather were looking to see if Jesus would violate Sabbath laws. They now were only interested in trying to find a way to accuse and discredit Him. The Lord knew their thoughts (vs 8) which was probably not hard to interpret seeing their track record. Here is another remarkable demonstration of the power and wisdom and God. Here is where we see the Lord showing forth their pure hypocrisy. You have to love this question and how He handled this situation.
Luk 6:9 Then said Jesus unto them, I will ask you one thing; Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save life, or to destroy it?
Luk 6:10 And looking round about upon them all, he said unto the man, Stretch forth thy hand. And he did so: and his hand was restored whole as the other.
How would they answer Him in a public setting? Are they going to argue their stand before a man who has a serious need of healing? The people would turn on the Pharisees in a heartbeat. As I write these thoughts there are many similarities that come to mind today. Hypocrisy abounds in every area of life. What is needed is for Truth to come to the fore. It must be Truth entwined in wisdom. The Scribes and Pharisees were hypocrites, pure and simple. They put on a show of concern and spirituality but it was always done for personal benefit. They had no genuine concern for the need of others and Jesus was able to flesh that out in a way that was able to be seen by all. Can you imagine this scene playing out in the synagogue when Jesus asked that question? Who would dare speak against a healing of a man’s need? The result of this humiliation of the Pharisees was increased anger and hatred towards the Lord. It is important to understand that this is what will be seen in the last days. When a people stand for truth and justice they will be opposed. We need to cry out for the fulfillment of Isaiah 33:6.
Isa 33:6 And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD is his treasure.
Soon after this event Jesus again retreats to a solitary place to pray and spend time with his Father; in fact He spends the whole night in prayer (vs 12). We have called these moments where the Lord gets away in prayer with His Father as being in a “Position of Rest”. What was the fruit of this particular night in prayer? No doubt, He was refreshed and revived but He was also given instruction on a very important matter. The next day He called His disciples and out of those disciples He chose the twelve who would become Apostles (vs 13-16). In a Position of Rest, the Lord came to the place where He chose the 12.
In verses 17-19 we see the Lord ministering to the multitudes who needed healing and deliverance. It was a season of healing due to the people recognizing that there was “virtue” flowing out of Him. This is also seen in Math 14:36. The woman with the issue of blood is but another example (Mark 5:30). It also needs to be noted that people came to hear Him. We must never underestimate this quality of Jesus. He was a master teacher and was able to captivate audiences wherever He went. Many would be offended, especially the priests, lawyers and scribes but the majority of the people heard Him gladly. Today the modern day news media seeks to control the narrative. They try to implant their values and sense of what is right and wrong. These modern day Pharisees and Scribes will feign interest and concern for social justice however it is veiled behind a self-absorbing agenda. It is Truth coupled with wisdom that will expose their hypocrisy. This is where the church must arise. A love for God’s Word, His Law and His ways is the prescription that is required. Will we be able to make a stand for Truth as Jesus did, exposing the lies and schemes of the enemies of the Cross? Are we willing to accept the fact that there will be strong opposition poised against those ambassadors of Truth? Jesus had the ability to teach the Truth, heal the sick, deliver the oppressed and expose the hypocrisy of the learned and esteemed elites. May God grant that we can faithfully follow after His example.
There was a clever advertisement in the 1970’s for a particular brand of oil filter for one’s car. It featured a mechanic in a garage with a car in the background having an engine that was being overhauled. The mechanic also had a $6.00 Fram oil filter in his hand. He then stated the following words: You can pay me now or pay me later. In other words you can pay a small price of $6.00 for an oil filter today to help maintain proper maintenance and longevity for your engine or you can forego the payment today for a much higher price when your engine fails later on. Why do I bring this up? This happened to me. I totally fulfilled the admonition that was sounded out in the ad. I put off doing routine car maintenance only to have my engine totally seize up. It’s a practical lesson that presents an eternal truth.
If we learn to give heed to God’s Word, His Laws and warning today it could well prevent future catastrophe in future. This is the gist of what the Lord is teaching as He expounds on some of the Beatitudes. Yes, there is a price in seeking the Lord wholeheartedly now. There may be seasons of weeping, of being in need, of being reviled and scorned but the time will come when the tide will turn (vs 20-23). The Lord makes clear that such a people are to rejoice and leap in those days. He goes on to say that the fathers and prophets of old endured such difficulties as well. It is a privilege in being able to be identified with them. Ultimately, we are identifying with an aspect of the suffering of Christ. What the church truly needs is perspective at such times. This is the ability in having our eyes lifted up to see the bigger picture. A narrow minded view will be a person who lives day to day through the up and down circumstances of life. A narrow minded view will be a person who opts for the easier way, finding satisfaction and joy in the temporal things of life. Jesus sends a strong warning to those who live in such a way (vs 24-26).
The Lord then gives instruction in how one should live and view life. It is a prescription that is contrary to what is the norm. The thought of loving one’s enemy and blessing those who seek to do harm does not make sense to a world where people live for themselves. The bottom line in the Lord’s teaching is that the emphasis is to be upon others as opposed to ourselves. This is true even when you are being taken advantage of. It is the example and way by which the Lord Himself lived. This model of living helps us to understand how the Lord is able to love us as sinners and reconcile us to Himself. It is the ability to see people as God sees them. It enables us to be instruments that God can use to reach a lost and dying world. If we have a “live for today” mentality we will reap its consequences in short order. On the other hand if we can appropriate the Lord’s instruction as seen in these teachings, we will have an eternity of rejoicing in His presence.
Is there a particular verse that comes to mind when the subject of tithing is addressed? In many cases it would be Luke 6:38 “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom…”. This verse is often linked to Mal 3:10 where we are encouraged to prove the Lord and see if He will not pour out a blessing. What is the motive in using these verses in such a way? It is true, that God does bless a cheerful giver and that we could never out give the Lord, but what is the motive for giving?
If we can learn to love our enemies and do good to those who despitefully use us we become candidates to receive such blessings. The act of giving or caring for others comes from a dying or a divesting of SELF. We give because we desire to meet a need in someone else’s life. As we are motivated to give in such a way it allows God to freely meet needs in our own life. This is captured in a strong and fruitful marriage. The love reciprocates between husband and wife as one seeks to bless the other; as one looks after the needs of the other at the expense of themselves.
This is the message and the life that Jesus presents to mankind. One will be able to appreciate Luke 6:38 when it is taken into context with the teachings of Christ in the previous verses. The blessings and the promises of this verse come as a result in how we treat and view others. This should always be the basis for our giving; that we are giving to God for the extension of His kingdom. This is what distinguished the offerings between Cain and Abel. One gave out of convenience while the other gave of his best; one gave conditionally while the other gave an offering predicated on faith (Heb 11:4).
The subject of having a right foundation is covered in verses 43-49. It is a subject of extreme importance. The Book of Genesis is the foundation Book of the Bible. It is a Book of Beginnings where the entirety of God’s Word is established. The situations we see in life today can be traced back to Genesis. The Bible makes this following statement: “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do” (Psa 11:3)? Every work will be tested; what kind of foundation is our ministry or our life founded upon? Jesus gets to the core of where good fruit originates; it is in the heart (vs 45). One can have the appearance of being fruitful by a good outward show. This can be an individual or perhaps even a church. On the outward all can look well and good. The question is what is the root like, what is the foundation like, what is actually in the heart? We are living in a day when the Lord is seeking to get to our hearts. We have seen this concerning Joshua, his visitation from the Lord of hosts is a picture of what Jesus is doing today (Jos 5:13-15). Do we welcome the sword and the Word to probe the depths of our hearts? This is the tempering process by which the Lord tests our foundations to see where we are really rooted. How does He apply this process to our lives? How can we be among those who have strong and established foundations in place?
The Lord gives the steps in verses 47-48. “Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom He is like: He is like a man which built a house, and digged deep, and laid a foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock”. Simply put the key is to hear what God is saying and to do it. Do we have ears to hear? The key in these last days is to have established foundations and roots that go deep in the earth. Such a person and ministry will stand when testing’s come and will be able to provide needed fruit in a time of drought and adversity.
Jer 17:8 For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.