Wednesday, January 23, 2019

2019.01.23 Hopewell @Home ▫ Joshua 13:7-33

Questions for Littles: What does God tell Joshua to do with the land in v7a? To which tribes? How much of Manasseh? With whom had the other half of Manasseh inherited (v8)? Who had given it to them (cf. v32a)? What was his title? What kind of topography had they inherited (v9, v11, v32b)? Whose kingdoms had these areas been (v10, v12a)? What were the people like (v12b)? Although the land was conquered, who were not driven out (v13)? Which tribe had received no inheritance (v14a, v33a)? What (Who!) was their inheritance (v14b, v33b)? Which tribe’s inheritance is described in vv15-23? What kind of topography did it have (v16)? What cities (v17-20)? Which ruler and rulers had it had (v21)? Whom else had they had to defeat? Which tribes inheritance is described in vv24-28? Which cities (vv25-27a)? What topography (v27)? What king (v27)? What (half!) tribe’s inheritance is described in vv29-31? What topography and cities? What king?
In the passage for this week’s Old Testament reading, we again have a passage about promises kept. It doesn’t make for great devotional topic variety, but it does make for great devotional comfort, and we will soon grow accustomed to this being the topic of our Joshua passage! After all, the great theme of the book, as recognized in one great commentary by the same name, is “No Falling Words” (cf. 21:45 and again in 23:14).

So, there is the kept promise of God about the land of the 2½ tribes. Plains, river valleys, rivers, a great mountain slope. This was premium real estate. They had been granted it almost a generation ago now, but only the wives and children had been able to begin settling down. Truly possessing the land had had to wait. And now they were coming back. Promises kept to the 2½.

And there is the kept promise of God about the land of the 9½ tribes. The reason the 2½ were free to come back now was that the land west of the Jordan had been conquered. In exchange for the land east of the Jordan, they had promised to fight with their brothers of the 9½. The fact that they can come back now shows that God has kept the promise of subduing the land on the west.

Which brings us, of course, to the promise kept by the 2½ tribes. Any measure of faithfulness by men is a gift from God. When it happens among the people of God, it is a display of His character in them. How many peoples in world (or church) history have made a contingent promise, but then kept it even after they really had an opportunity to take their share and cop out? Even man’s kept promises testify to God’s grace!

Finally, there is the most important kept promise of all. In all Scriptural likelihood, in the New Heavens and New Earth, there will be a region that corresponds to what was then the promised land. Even so, the land itself was not the point of the land! Rather, nearness to the Lord Himself was the point of the land. Levi got left out of the land promise (awwwww!) because he received its benefit far more directly in the priesthood (AHHHH!).

What do all believers ultimately receive? Better than the best of both!  New Heavens and New Earth, with the dwelling of God among His people. Adoption by God. Union with Christ. The indwelling of the Spirit. Promises kept!
When, in your life, do you take time to rest in, relish, and rejoice God’s kept promises?
Suggested songs: ARP180 “Christ Shall Have Dominion” or TPH89B “My Song Forever Shall Record”

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