Day 22

Joshua Divides the Land

from the Joshua reading plan

Joshua 18:1-28, Joshua 19:1-51, Acts 13:16-23, Romans 4:16-22

BY Jen Yokel

From the crafting of Eden, to the building of cities, from Abraham setting out toward a promised land he’d never see, to a scattered kinship across every tribe and nation, and the future promise of a new creation—the Bible is, in a sense, the story of God’s people seeking and finding a home. Once you see this, it becomes harder to miss, even in the long and detailed records of land allotment tucked into the middle of Joshua.

When I say detailed, I mean all the way down to the borderlands, geographic features, and names of every town within them. You may need one of those handy maps in the back of your Bible or in your Study Book to make sense of it. But God, it turns out, is in the details. So perhaps, we could read this not as a tedious historical list, but as an intricate record of God’s faithfulness to the people He loves.

It’s interesting to note where and how the land division took place. At that time, seven of the tribes had yet to divide up their inheritance, so they gathered at Shiloh, the tabernacle meeting tent. Joshua asked for a detailed document of all the land, then told them he would decide by “cast[ing] lots…in the presence of the LORD our God” (Joshua 18:6). It’s a method that seems to us as arbitrary as a coin flip, but the involvement of a priest and the location of God’s dwelling place suggest that this is a sacred moment of discernment.

As we’ve already explored in this study, land, a place to live, was a matter of economic stability. This was especially true for these descendants of slaves, who carried God’s promise to Abraham in their memories and stories. And yet, they didn’t live happily ever after in the promised land. There would be struggles to come: invasions, corruption, communal sin, and all the consequences to go with it. They would live under the rule of judges and kings and, eventually, Roman occupation. They would  be scattered sojourners once again.

Yet hope endures, though no one can quite see what God has been building all along. In guiding them through the wilderness, God ensured their survival. In giving these tribes a home, God laid the foundation for a new nation. In relenting to their demands for a king, God gave them the line of David, and in time, Christ the true King (Acts 13:16–23).

The kingdom is still being built, one with room and space not just for the direct descendants of Abraham, but for all who share in his faith. Even now in redemption’s history, God’s promised land is still being tended, still being built with ever-expanding borders. These lists and maps are just a preview, a testament in writing to God’s faithfulness. And thankfully, they’re only the beginning.

Post Comments (37)

37 thoughts on "Joshua Divides the Land"

  1. Brandy Deruso says:

    Great is thy faithfulness lord!

  2. Paula Strong says:

    My takeaway was in Romans 4:16-22. Do we fully believe God can do what he promised? Do we know God can do God-sized things? We should be fully convinced of this but we still doubt.

  3. Gina says:

    It’s interesting how depraved our hearts are. I moved to the land that I’m presently in about a year ago. And even though I love it for so many reasons, my heart aches for the land I came from. This passage reminds me of how God has ordained the very dwelling place we live. And that He chooses this place for our benefit and His glory. And yet, I can see the very same dissatisfaction in me. The enemy comes to steal and destroy. But Jesus…He came to give us life and that life is to be full and satisfying. I am holding onto that truth today. Thank you so much a rich and beautiful study.

  4. Chelsea Little says:

    Soooooo good!!! I love this group!! I love the devotional and the takeaways! Thanks for sharing ladies!

  5. Lisa C says:

    Thank you❤️

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