Finish the Job

Posted: March 5, 2009 in Joshua

Joshua 13-19, “Finish the Job”
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Joshua 13 (NKJV)
1 Now Joshua was old, advanced in years. And the LORD said to him: “You are old, advanced in years, and there remains very much land yet to be possessed.

A. How old was he? Somewhere between 90-100 yrs old. Keep in mind he was one of the original Israelites to leave Egypt. He had been with Moses throughout the 40 years in the wilderness. And now he has gone through the days of the conquest…

B. But that didn’t mean Israel was through! One of the most amazing phrases uttered by Jesus at the cross was “It is finished!” (glorious!… ) The price was completely paid for sin – but that doesn’t mean it’s been put out of existence. The penalty is taken care of, but we still deal with the presence & temptation of sin every day. For Christians, we are enjoying our rest in the land of salvation – but until we see Christ face-to-face, there “remains very much land yet to be possessed.” We never get so mature in our walk that we don’t stop fighting against sin…never stop!
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2 This is the land that yet remains: all the territory of the Philistines and all that of the Geshurites, 3 from Sihor, which is east of Egypt, as far as the border of Ekron northward (which is counted as Canaanite); the five lords of the Philistines—the Gazites, the Ashdodites, the Ashkelonites, the Gittites, and the Ekronites; also the Avites; 4 from the south, all the land of the Canaanites, and Mearah that belongs to the Sidonians as far as Aphek, to the border of the Amorites; 5 the land of the Gebalites, and all Lebanon, toward the sunrise, from Baal Gad below Mount Hermon as far as the entrance to Hamath; 6 all the inhabitants of the mountains from Lebanon as far as the Brook Misrephoth, and all the Sidonians—them I will drive out from before the children of Israel; only divide it by lot to Israel as an inheritance, as I have commanded you. 7 Now therefore, divide this land as an inheritance to the nine tribes and half the tribe of Manasseh.”

A. God outlines the land still to be taken by the individual tribes. In the process, God also appoints out the land to the people – not unlike how God appoints the believer’s gifts & ministry…

B. Next several chapters are going to deal with the division of the land. Going to get into some pretty deep detail (which we’re not going to read every name). Why the detail? Is it really all that important? It was to the tribes who were moving into the land! They needed to know where they were supposed to go & what they were expected to do. No one had ever been down this path in the past & God in His grace let them know very specifics about the inheritance He was giving them.

C. This was the land God had ordained for them. Their responsibility was to simply act on the promises of God & take it… That’s no different from us. Our salvation is completely won in Christ – and the Holy Spirit empowers us to walk as His witnesses & disciples. But if we’re going to walk, we still need to put one foot in front of the other… God doesn’t give us His word & His promises so that we can read it & just close the book. He gives us His word so that we would act upon it!
__a. What promises of God have we not trusted? What commands of God have we not obeyed? This isn’t a matter of legalism; it’s a matter of lordship. Do we truly trust Jesus as our LORD & Savior? If so, we need to put our faith into action! James 2:18-19 (18) But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. (19) You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! []

Vs. 8-12: Summary of Trans-Jordan borders…

13 Nevertheless the children of Israel did not drive out the Geshurites or the Maachathites, but the Geshurites and the Maachathites dwell among the Israelites until this day.

A. Job was incomplete…get used to seeing this among the various tribes. They were given the land by God – the conquest had been delivered to them through Joshua – but they were content to live with & compromises with sin & sinful people. It’s going to plague them with troubles throughout Judges & the early Kingdom.
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14 Only to the tribe of Levi he had given no inheritance; the sacrifices of the LORD God of Israel made by fire are their inheritance, as He said to them.

A. They had the best inheritance of all: the LORD God! Physical blessing was minor compared to the spiritual blessing they received from serving God in the Tabernacle.

B. The church today could in many ways be compared to the Levites in that we are a royal priesthood of believers in Jesus Christ. Yes, Jesus provides for us physically – but how much more of an inheritance have we received in the fact that we are invited to worship & serve the Almighty God? We look forward to reigning with Christ…that’s better than any “prosperity gospel” could promise!
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Going to look at the various tribes in the TransJordan…
– verses 15-21: Reuben’s inheritance… [MAP]

22 The children of Israel also killed with the sword Balaam the son of Beor, the soothsayer, among those who were killed by them.

A. Review Balaam (Numbers 22-24)… Eventually he gave up trying to prophesy against Israel & simply told Balak how to sabotage Israel through harlotry…

B. The biggest tragedy with Balaam is that he was a man that God revealed an incredible amount to…even to the point of having a vision of the coming victorious Messiah. Numbers 24:17 “I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; A Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel, And batter the brow of Moab, And destroy all the sons of tumult. [That’s Jesus!!] Yet Balaam’s life ended in rebellion against God & His people…
__a. It doesn’t matter how much knowledge we have about the Lord, if we don’t know the Lord. It doesn’t matter how much Scripture we have memorized, if we don’t believe its truth & the One who wrote it. … There are a lot of people (especially in the South) good at ‘playing church…’ But playing church has nothing to do with actually being the church! There will be many who cry out “Lord, Lord” to whom Jesus is going to refuse saying, “Depart, I never knew you.” (Matt 7:23)… Don’t be one of them!
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23 And the border of the children of Reuben was the bank of the Jordan. This was the inheritance of the children of Reuben according to their families, the cities and their villages. [summary…]

– verses 24-28: Gad’s inheritance… [MAP]
– vs. 29-33: ½ (East) Manasseh… [MAP]

A. Completes the east side of the Jordan – these were the tribes that “settled” for grazing country (what they could see) rather than the full promise of God (which they had not yet seen)…
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Joshua 14 (NKJV)
1 These are the areas which the children of Israel inherited in the land of Canaan, which Eleazar the priest, Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel distributed as an inheritance to them. 2 Their inheritance was by lot, as the LORD had commanded by the hand of Moses, for the nine tribes and the half-tribe. 3 For Moses had given the inheritance of the two tribes and the half-tribe on the other side of the Jordan; but to the Levites he had given no inheritance among them. 4 For the children of Joseph were two tribes: Manasseh and Ephraim. And they gave no part to the Levites in the land, except cities to dwell in, with their common-lands for their livestock and their property. 5 As the LORD had commanded Moses, so the children of Israel did; and they divided the land.

A. Summary stating the land was going to be divided up by the remaining tribes on the west side of the Jordan.
B. Land was to be divided by “lot”. Not by chance; but according to the Lord…
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6 Then the children of Judah came to Joshua in Gilgal. And Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him: “You know the word which the LORD said to Moses the man of God concerning you and me in Kadesh Barnea. 7 I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh Barnea to spy out the land, and I brought back word to him as it was in my heart. 8 Nevertheless my brethren who went up with me made the heart of the people melt, but I wholly followed the LORD my God.

A. Caleb was one of the original 12 spies. 40 years old at the time of the rebellion & then he watched an entire generation die off over 38 years in the wilderness…

B. What made Caleb (and Joshua) different than the other spies? After all, they saw the same things… Caleb “wholly followed the LORD” – IOW, Caleb saw the challenges, but he looked through eyes of faith. The Lord had promised them the land – the Lord had promised He would fight for them – the spies’ job was simply to go in there & see what the Lord would do…how Israel was to follow God through the conquest. The 10 spies feared man; Caleb & Joshua feared the Lord & followed Him in faith. Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. []
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9 So Moses swore on that day, saying, ‘Surely the land where your foot has trodden shall be your inheritance and your children’s forever, because you have wholly followed the LORD my God.’ 10 And now, behold, the LORD has kept me alive, as He said, these forty-five years, ever since the LORD spoke this word to Moses while Israel wandered in the wilderness; and now, here I am this day, eighty-five years old. 11 As yet I am as strong this day as on the day that Moses sent me; just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for war, both for going out and for coming in.

A. 2 blessings from God here. 1st blessing: a particular inheritance in the land. Caleb wasn’t just getting part of the land of Judah; he was getting his own home directly from the Lord.
B. 2nd blessing: the strength of a 40 year old at 85 years of age…
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12 Now therefore, give me this mountain of which the LORD spoke in that day; for you heard in that day how the Anakim were there, and that the cities were great and fortified. It may be that the LORD will be with me, and I shall be able to drive them out as the LORD said.”

A. I love this! “Give me this mountain”…what a declaration of faith! Prepared to keep fighting more giants as long as the Lord is with him. The Anakim had already been tossed out once & now they had come back in…Caleb is ready to take them on by himself. Why? Because if God is for us, who can be against us?
__a. (Redpath) “A faith that never wavered had enabled him to lay hold on a strength that never weakened – the very power of God Himself.”
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13 And Joshua blessed him, and gave Hebron to Caleb the son of Jephunneh as an inheritance. 14 Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite to this day, because he wholly followed the LORD God of Israel. 15 And the name of Hebron formerly was Kirjath Arba (Arba was the greatest man among the Anakim). Then the land had rest from war.

A. Implies Caleb actually completed the job…unlike the rest of Israel.
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Joshua 15 (NKJV)
– vs 1-12: Boundaries of the land of Judah… MAP

13 Now to Caleb the son of Jephunneh he gave a share among the children of Judah, according to the commandment of the LORD to Joshua, namely, Kirjath Arba, which is Hebron (Arba was the father of Anak). 14 Caleb drove out the three sons of Anak from there: Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai, the children of Anak. 15 Then he went up from there to the inhabitants of Debir (formerly the name of Debir was Kirjath Sepher). 16 And Caleb said, “He who attacks Kirjath Sepher and takes it, to him I will give Achsah my daughter as wife.” 17 So Othniel the son of Kenaz, the brother of Caleb, took it; and he gave him Achsah his daughter as wife. 18 Now it was so, when she came to him, that she persuaded him to ask her father for a field. So she dismounted from her donkey, and Caleb said to her, “What do you wish?” 19 She answered, “Give me a blessing; since you have given me land in the South, give me also springs of water.” So he gave her the upper springs and the lower springs.

A. Caleb’s daughter & future son-in-law (and judge – Jud 3:9-11)… Othniel proved his worth as a son-in-law by conquering the city of Kirjath Sepher. In essence, Caleb was promoting the same faith that he himself showed & demonstrated – teaching the next generation how to trust the Lord. (That’s part of what we teach one another within the church – Titus 2)
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– vs 20-62: lists the cities of Judah…

63 As for the Jebusites, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the children of Judah could not drive them out; but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Judah at Jerusalem to this day.

A. Again, more people whom the Hebrews should have fought, but didn’t. Ultimately, they compromised and lived among the people of God…
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Joshua 16 (NKJV)
– Vs 1-9 describe inheritance of Ephraim & Manesseh & specifically the borders of Ephraim. MAP

10 And they did not drive out the Canaanites who dwelt in Gezer; but the Canaanites dwell among the Ephraimites to this day and have become forced laborers.
A. Notice a pattern here? More people that should have been fought…
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Joshua 17 (NKJV)
1 There was also a lot for the tribe of Manasseh, for he was the firstborn of Joseph: namely for Machir the firstborn of Manasseh, the father of Gilead, because he was a man of war; therefore he was given Gilead and Bashan.

A. Vs. 2-11 describe the borders & cities of the other ½ of Manasseh… MAP. Includes the daughters of Zelophehad, to whom Moses had promised an inheritance (Num 36)
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12 Yet the children of Manasseh could not drive out the inhabitants of those cities, but the Canaanites were determined to dwell in that land. 13 And it happened, when the children of Israel grew strong, that they put the Canaanites to forced labor, but did not utterly drive them out.

A. Again, there’s a lack of a full conquest. This time, the Canaanites serve as the Gibeonites did (forced labor) – but they shouldn’t have been serving at all. God had commanded their extermination due to their wickedness & had warned Israel about compromising with them…it would just lead to idolatry & sin. He specifically told them to utterly destroy them, make no covenant nor marriages with them, to destroy their sacred pillars, cut down their wooden images & burn them with fire (Deut 7:1-5). Why? Because God loved Israel! Deuteronomy 7:6 “For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. [] He wanted to protect them from idolatry & sin…

B. It’s the same with us. Why does God repeatedly tell us to live in holiness & purity in the NT? Because He loves us! He’s chosen us for His own – He’s purchased us as His own possession & people. Walking in sin only drives us away from Him, causes us pain, and grieves the Holy Spirit. Like any loving Father, God wants the best for us – and the best for us is His will & holiness.
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14 Then the children of Joseph spoke to Joshua, saying, “Why have you given us only one lot and one share to inherit, since we are a great people, inasmuch as the LORD has blessed us until now?” 15 So Joshua answered them, “If you are a great people, then go up to the forest country and clear a place for yourself there in the land of the Perizzites and the giants, since the mountains of Ephraim are too confined for you.”

A. The problem: the people were too big for the land… Joshua’s answer? ‘Prove you’re too big. Go fight for it…’
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16 But the children of Joseph said, “The mountain country is not enough for us; and all the Canaanites who dwell in the land of the valley have chariots of iron, both those who are of Beth Shean and its towns and those who are of the Valley of Jezreel.” 17 And Joshua spoke to the house of Joseph—to Ephraim and Manasseh—saying, “You are a great people and have great power; you shall not have only one lot, 18 but the mountain country shall be yours. Although it is wooded, you shall cut it down, and its farthest extent shall be yours; for you shall drive out the Canaanites, though they have iron chariots and are strong.”

A. Joshua doesn’t back off from the challenge. They may have wanted mountains instead of forests, but they still had to go conquer it for themselves. If they wanted more, they were going to have to step out to go get it.

B. What’s the difference between Caleb & Ephraim? Faith! Caleb knew that if God was with him, nothing was impossible. Ephraim/Manasseh wanted their inheritance (and extra) handed to them on a platter…that’s not faith; it’s laziness or worse. (Walvoord & Zuck) “Caleb’s request was motivated by faith, whereas that of the Josephites stemmed from fear.” Ephraim saw the iron chariots & feared – understandably so…they were fearsome weaponry for the day. And note that Joshua acknowledges the iron chariots. It’s not that he was ignoring the challenge that Ephraim faced; but rather he knew that the God he served was infinitely bigger than their challenges… Caleb had no less challenges – he faced the giants of the land. But giants are no match for the Creator God of the Universe, and neither were a bunch of iron chariots.
__a. To walk in faith is not to deny reality. Trusting God is not to blindly proclaim that our problems don’t exist or that we can declare them gone in Jesus’ name. (That’s not faith; that’s divination.) Caleb saw the giants, but understood his God is infinitely bigger than giants. We see the job layoff – the cancer – the heart problems – the wayward children…those issues are very real & very daunting. But our God is infinitely bigger than all of them! Part of walking in faith is trusting God is still on the throne – still in command – and will glorify Himself in every situation His children go through. (Rom 8:28)
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Joshua 18 (NKJV)
1 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.

A. This would be the home for the tabernacle until David moved it to Jerusalem…
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2 But there remained among the children of Israel seven tribes which had not yet received their inheritance. 3 Then Joshua said to the children of Israel: “How long will you neglect to go and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers has given you? 4 Pick out from among you three men for each tribe, and I will send them; they shall rise and go through the land, survey it according to their inheritance, and come back to me. 5 And they shall divide it into seven parts. Judah shall remain in their territory on the south, and the house of Joseph shall remain in their territory on the north. 6 You shall therefore survey the land in seven parts and bring the survey here to me, that I may cast lots for you here before the LORD our God. 7 But the Levites have no part among you, for the priesthood of the LORD is their inheritance. And Gad, Reuben, and half the tribe of Manasseh have received their inheritance beyond the Jordan on the east, which Moses the servant of the LORD gave them.”

A. People just lying around waiting for land to drop in their lap! True laziness…
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8 Then the men arose to go away; and Joshua charged those who went to survey the land, saying, “Go, walk through the land, survey it, and come back to me, that I may cast lots for you here before the LORD in Shiloh.” 9 So the men went, passed through the land, and wrote the survey in a book in seven parts by cities; and they came to Joshua at the camp in Shiloh. 10 Then Joshua cast lots for them in Shiloh before the LORD, and there Joshua divided the land to the children of Israel according to their divisions.

– Vs. 11-20 deal with the borders of Benjamin… MAP
– Vs. 21-28 deal with the cities of Benjamin…
– Ch 19:1-9 deal with the cities of Simeon. Their lot was within the lot of Judah since Judah’s was so big. MAP
– Vs. 10-16 deal with the borders & cities of Zebulun… MAP
– Vs. 17-23 deal with the borders & cities of Issachar… MAP
– Vs. 24-31 deal with the borders & cities of Asher… MAP
– Vs. 32-39 deal with the borders & cities of Naphtali… MAP
– vs. 40-48 deal with the borders & cities of Dan… MAP

49 When they had made an end of dividing the land as an inheritance according to their borders, the children of Israel gave an inheritance among them to Joshua the son of Nun. 50 According to the word of the LORD they gave him the city which he asked for, Timnath Serah in the mountains of Ephraim; and he built the city and dwelt in it. 51 These were the inheritances which Eleazar the priest, Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel divided as an inheritance by lot in Shiloh before the LORD, at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. So they made an end of dividing the country.

A. Joshua’s own personal inheritance…like a good leader, he waited till the end. As with Caleb, he got his own city as the other half of the original faithful spies.

Conclusion:
So much land & so much inheritance – to look at just the boundaries on the map, it’d be tempting to clap our hands & congratulate the Israelites on a “job well done.” But whereas we could say that about Joshua & Caleb…the rest of the Israelites still had a long way to go. They had land given them by God Almighty, but they allowed people whom God had cursed to dwell among them & drag them down into sin. They had much fighting yet to do – they were just unwilling in many ways to do it.

How often are we as Christians the same way? We’ve been given a wonderful new life in Christ! We’ve been freed from the power of sin over our lives & because of the work of the cross & resurrection, we can resist temptation, & walk in the power of the Spirit in holiness. The one challenge is that we’ve got to be willing to continue to fight. Jesus has given us everything we need to wage the battle; but we’ve still got to stand strong against temptation & not give in nor compromise to sin or our flesh.

Too often Christians (including myself) have simply not been willing to fight that battle – like the 7 tribes in Shiloh, we’re content to just keep wandering along & not step into the promise that God has for it. Instead of wandering listlessly in our walk with Christ, let us be like Caleb & finish the job. Caleb saw a legitimate challenge facing him & faced it right back.
A. He remembered what the Lord had done in the past…
B. He trusted the promises of God in the present…
C. He wasn’t willing to settle for anything less that God’s will & God’s best…
D. He faced his legitimate challenges in faith…

Let us do the same! … When faced with sin & trials, may we say to God, “Give me this mountain!”

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