Day 15

Tribal Divisions

from the Joshua reading plan


Joshua 17:1-18, Joshua 18:1-28, Hebrews 9:1-14

BY Andrea Lucado

Text: Joshua 17:1-18, Joshua 18:1-28, Hebrews 9:1-14

As much as I love traveling, there is nothing like coming home. Sleeping in my own bed, waking up to my own coffeemaker, hearing the familiar hum of traffic outside my window—home is truly a restful reprieve.

In Joshua chapter 18, we see a new home established for the nation of Israel at Shiloh: “Now the whole congregation of the children of Israel assembled together at Shiloh, and set up the tabernacle of meeting there. And the land was subdued before them” (Joshua 18:1).

The tabernacle was the physical manifestation of God’s presence among His people. He dwelled in the innermost part of it, the holy of holies. In the midst of dividing territory and separating themselves physically from one another, it’s significant that the Israelites—all of the Israelites—now gathered in this one place to be in the presence of the Lord. God was the center, the core, of this people. And Shiloh would be His resting place for the next 300 years, until the Israelites were defeated by the Philistines.

When I looked up “Shiloh” in Hebrew, I came across a couple of definitions. One was “a place of rest” and the other, “peace.”

I don’t know that we can fully understand how the Israelites must have felt to finally settle and put down roots after years and years of traveling as nomads. An entire generation had been born and raised on foot, a generation that didn’t know what it meant to have a home—to have something to return to, a place to rest.

This is something we all understand: to have wandered far and long, to be weary and tired and thirsty, to desire peace—real peace. We all desire a place to call home.

What this scene at Shiloh points us to is the place we, as Christians, now find our rest. “But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption” (Hebrews 9:11-12).

The atonement for our sin that was once achieved through sacrifice and ritual in the tabernacle, is now complete through Christ’s blood. He entered the Most Holy Place once, and for all. For me and for you.

Jesus is our Shiloh.

Are you weary? “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

Are you thirsty? “Whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again” (John 4:14).

Are you hungry? “I am the bread of life… No one who comes to Me will ever be hungry” (John 6:35).

Are you restless? “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

In Christ, we have rest and reprieve. In Christ, we have a home.

Let us gather at Shiloh today and rest in that truth.

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Post Comments (40)

40 thoughts on "Tribal Divisions"

  1. Ashdon K Allen says:

    I’ve been struggling with anxiety recently, and this had been my mantra through it all – God is my resting place. Today, especially in Hebrews 9: 6-14, I was reminded that I don’t have to be like the Israelites! I don’t have to constantly struggle to define myself and to work to be good enough, because Christ has already done that for me! Amen! Praise Jesus!

  2. Meg says:

    Reading the passage in Hebrews today, I finally understand why the veil of the temple being torn in two at Jesus’ death was such a big deal. For as long as the curtain was there, nobody could enter without the proper preparation. And yet, this veil being torn in two means that we are able to be in the presence of God, thanks to Jesus! What a gift!

    1. Crystal says:

      Wow. What a great visual. Thank you!!

  3. Mary Joe says:

    And then there were the Levites, “But the Levites have no part among you, for the priesthood of the Lord is their inheritance.” I wonder if they felt any jealousy for their brethren over the land being divided between all but them, or if they rejoiced in the greatest inheritance of them all?

    1. Robin W. says:

      I did a study years ago that explained this a bit. The other tribes received land, the Levites received that special relationship with God. God was their inheritance. The study linked it to our inheritance and that sufficient for the Levites, and sufficient for us is the personal relationship with God. I don’t know if that helps. I think it’s always easy to be jealous of the material wealth that people have, and I’m sure the Levites had their moments, too. But ultimately they had something that no one else did. They were truly set apart.

  4. churchmouse says:

    How timely are the Scriptures and, indeed, today’s devotion by Andrea. Here in the US, over the last 18 months we have surveyed our political land and found ourselves dramatically divided and separated from one another. Tomorrow we will determine boundaries, decide on territories and put down our stakes. There will be relief that the process is over but there will be no Shiloh in the result, regardless who comes out the victor. This place is not our home. “In Christ we have rest and reprieve. In Christ we have a home.” Let us not forget that as we go to the polls. “Jesus is our Shiloh.” At the polls, may we prayerfully enter in and may we prayerfully exit with our eyes firmly focused on Him who is our Peace. In Christ alone. Christ alone.

    1. Stacey says:

      Yes. Yes yes yes. Thank you for this reminder.

    2. Mary Beth says:

      Awesome insight! We need to remember that no matter who is President, God is still King!

    3. Angela says:

      Yes! After much internal struggle, I finally decided which candidate to support. But when I went in the booth to early vote last week, I had trouble moving my hand to actually do it. I closed my eyes and said an unexpected, silent prayer. I suddenly felt a sense of peace knowing that God – not either political party – is ultimately in control. I walked out feeling better than expected. Plus, it felt just a little sneaky to be praying right inside a voting booth!

    4. Robin W. says:

      Your will, Lord. Not ours. Amen!

    5. Aimee says:

      Amen! I have prayed over this to know how to vote for months. The Lord finally gave me an answer and peace with it even though my logical mind says there is no choice this year. I voted last week and just prayed in the voting booth that God’s will be done. The Bible says that God puts our authorities in place. No matter who wins we must know that God has allowed it for a reason. We must pray for and obey our authorities unless they command us to violate God’s word. As people of God we must present ourselves as belonging to Christ no matter what. Social media is a place to show our maturity in Christ – to show love and grace and not to voice our options and stir up controversy. It is a difficult day my sisters. I am so glad that we know our God is on the throne and we can trust Him because no matter what today looks like, He has won the war!

      1. Aimee says:

        Opinions not options. Sorry about that.

    6. TinaW says:

      Totally agree… our true home is found in Christ Alone…and though the election process will be final tomorrow, let us remain mindful to pray for God to be in the midst of our Government. thanks for your input.. it really helps me to see more clearly, as do all the other comments…

    7. Ashdon says:

      Yes! After tomorrow, we must remember that Jesus Christ is still on his throne, and he is infinitely greater than the US government! What a beautiful testimony.

  5. Brandi says:

    Joshua 18:3 – “So Joshua said to the people of Israel, “How long will you put off going in to take possession of the land, which the Lord, the God of your fathers, has given you?” This verse leaped off the page at me this morning. How long will we put off taking possession of the blessings and bounty the Lord has prepared for us? How long do we wait until we gather up the courage and stop procrastinating to go and do what we need to do? Sometimes we all need a little nudge to go do what we need to do.

    1. Mary Beth says:

      Great insight! Noted that in my Bible. Thanks for sharing.

    2. Christine says:

      Yes! It jumped out at me as well! How long will I waiver? How long will I put off claiming His promises as truth?

    3. Ashdon says:

      Solidarity, sister! God provides, but you must accept!

  6. Lesley says:

    After such a long journey to the Promised Land, the Israelites must have hoped that once they got there it would be easy and they would find rest, but what has struck me over the last few days is that it was not easy at all- lots of battles to be fought and tribes that they were unable to completely defeat.
    I love that they gathered at the Tabernacle in the midst of this- in the middle of the uncertainties and the difficulties and the unfinished business. It reminds me where our rest is found- not in our circumstances being fixed with all the loose ends tied up, but in knowing God’s presence even in the middle of life’s challenges.

    1. Michele says:

      Good insight! Amen!

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