Joshua Lesson 15

Transition: From Battle Action to Inheritance of the Land

Joshua Chapters 13 and 14

A Lesson in Geography.  The size of the “Promised Land”, or the Bible’s referenced “Land of Canaan”, lies generally where the nation of Israel is today.  In physical size, the land is          approximately 150 miles from north to south and about 50 miles from east to west.  Joshua led the Israelites in an approximate seven year conquest of this land.  A total of 31 kings were conquered in this area, 16 in the south, and 15 in the north.  The conquered kings reigned over something like a city-state with only local authority.  This may be why confederations were formed among several kings to resist Joshua and the Israelites. 

1.    Some relevant facts:
    a.    Joshua was in his late 90s, perhaps about 100, and Caleb was 85 (Josh. 14:10) when they began dividing the land.  We know that Joshua died at age 110 (Josh 24;29).

    Q1. While they were old, God was still using them.  What does this say to us today?

    b.    Most military threats were removed with the conquest of the 31 kings.  Yet there were other areas to be conquered, including that of the Philistines, some coastland, and Lebanon. 
    c.    God directed Joshua to proceed with the allocation of the entire Promised Land.  Land east of the Jordan was allocated to 2 ½ tribes.  This was done before Joshua led them in crossing the Jordan, and at the beginning of the seven year conquest.  The land west of the Jordan River was given to the remaining 9 ½ tribes after the wars were over.  Each tribe was given the task of completing the remaining conquests in their assigned area, with Gods’ help.  Many tribes did not carry through with God’s mandate to drive out any lingering resisters, which led to significant turmoil later.

    Q2. Since God had directed the Israelites to kill all the inhabitants of the Promised Land, discuss some possible reasons why the land was divided before that task was fully completed?

    d.    The land was divided among all tribes except one (the tribe of Levite) who lived among all the tribes, and whose inheritance was service to the Lord.  Some people view this precedence as a scriptural basis for the paid ministry today.
    e.    Divisions were made by lots, for land on the west side of the Jordan River.   The land on the east had already been apportioned by Moses.

    Q3. What are the first thoughts you have, when you hear that someone has received an inheritance?  Are all inheritances good?  Discuss.  

    Q4. Discuss possible responsibilities for those who inherit something? 

    Q5. How do you feel when someone squanders an inheritance, that it has taken many years and much effort and sacrifice to acquire?  Relate that to how God may have felt about sacrificing His only Son, and men rejecting His gift to the world.

2.    Some Important Biblical Teachings About Inheritance
    a.    God’s Inheritance – The nation of Israel was God’s inheritance.  (Psalm 33:12)
    b.    Christ’s Inheritance – Christ will come and receive His own.  (John 14:3)
    c.    Inheritance of Israel - The Promised Land itself, a homeland for the Jews, was given by God and conditioned on their faithfulness as God’s people.  (Joshua 1:3-8)
    d.    Inheritance of Land and Possessions - Property in the Promised Land must remain within the tribe. (Numbers 36:7-9); the children of Israel were allowed to keep the livestock and booty in some of the cities they took, (Joshua 11:13, 14).
    e.    Messianic, Gentile, and Jewish Inheritance – Nations given as an inheritance to the Son, (Psalm 2:7, 8); the Messiah’s future inheritance expanded to include all nations, (Isaiah 54:3); faithful remnant of the Jews to possess an inheritance, (Isaiah 65:8, 9).
    f.    Levite Inheritance – God Himself was their inheritance, (Joshua 13:33); cities, within all the tribes, were given as an inheritance to the Levites, (Joshua 21:2-42).
    g.   Inheritance of the Christian - The benefits which God promises for our faithfulness, i.e., eternal life, (Matt 19:29); the kingdom of God, (Matt 25:34); Christians become heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, (Rom. 8:2, 3).
    h.    The Need for Faithfulness in an Inheritance- The children of Israel were slow in possessing their inheritance, perhaps because they were weary of fighting (Joshua 18:2-3); Jesus told the parable of the lost son, who wanted his inheritance before it was due him. This story symbolizes sinners, who waste their potential inheritance, and refuse any relationship with the Father, choosing instead a life of sinful indulgence, (Luke 15:11-13).