You’re in the Land Because of Jesus

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Joshua 23:6-16.  Let’s go!

Joshua 23:6-16 (NIV) 
6  “Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left. 
7  Do not associate with these nations that remain among you; do not invoke the names of their gods or swear by them. You must not serve them or bow down to them. 
8  But you are to hold fast to the LORD your God, as you have until now. 
9  “The LORD has driven out before you great and powerful nations; to this day no one has been able to withstand you. 
10  One of you routs a thousand, because the LORD your God fights for you, just as he promised. ……

On verses 6-16:  Joshua’s parting message to the leaders of Israel is very clear: stay faithful to God and keep His commands.  If you do, you will flourish in the land God has given you.  If you don’t, you will perish from the land God has given you.

The same holds true for us today: obey God and stay in the land; disobey God and be driven from the land.  The problem is that all of us have sinned, served other gods and violated God’s commands.

The Witness of the Cross

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Joshua 22:31-23:5.  Let’s go!

Joshua 22:31-34 (NIV) 
31  And Phinehas son of Eleazar, the priest, said to Reuben, Gad and Manasseh, “Today we know that the LORD is with us, because you have not acted unfaithfully toward the LORD in this matter. Now you have rescued the Israelites from the LORD’s hand.” 
32  Then Phinehas son of Eleazar, the priest, and the leaders returned to Canaan from their meeting with the Reubenites and Gadites in Gilead and reported to the Israelites. 
33  They were glad to hear the report and praised God. And they talked no more about going to war against them to devastate the country where the Reubenites and the Gadites lived. 
34  And the Reubenites and the Gadites gave the altar this name: A Witness Between Us that the LORD is God.

On verses 31-34:  Phinehas and the rest of the delegation return and report to the western tribes of Israel what the eastern tribes of Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh (collectively, “Team RGM”) said.  The western tribes are pleased with Team RGM’s response and decide not to go to war against them (v31-33).  The Reubenites and the Gadites call the altar that they had built “A Witness Between Us that the LORD is God” (v34).

A Sign Across the River

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Joshua 22:21-30.  Let’s go!

Joshua 22:21-30 (NIV) 
21  Then Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh replied to the heads of the clans of Israel: 
22  “The Mighty One, God, the LORD! The Mighty One, God, the LORD! He knows! And let Israel know! If this has been in rebellion or disobedience to theLORD, do not spare us this day. 
23  If we have built our own altar to turn away from the LORD and to offer burnt offerings and grain offerings, or to sacrifice fellowship offerings on it, may theLORD himself call us to account. ……

On verses 21-30:  Here the tribes of Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh explain to the other tribes of Israel the reason why they built this huge altar. It wasn’t because they were worshiping another god as the other tribes of Israel had feared.  Much the opposite, it was to reaffirm their commitment to worshiping the same Lord as the rest of the Israelites, despite living on the other side of the Jordan River.  Their hope was that the altar would serve as a sign to all the Israelites on both sides of the river (“as a witness between us and you and the generations that follow” (v27)) that they were all one nation worshiping the same God.  The delegation representing the other Israelite tribes is pleased with this response (v30).

Look Before You Leap

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Joshua 22:10-20.  Let’s go!

Joshua 22:10-20 (NIV) 
10  When they came to Geliloth near the Jordan in the land of Canaan, the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh built an imposing altar there by the Jordan. 
11  And when the Israelites heard that they had built the altar on the border of Canaan at Geliloth near the Jordan on the Israelite side, 
12  the whole assembly of Israel gathered at Shiloh to go to war against them. 
13  So the Israelites sent Phinehas son of Eleazar, the priest, to the land of Gilead–to Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh. 
14  With him they sent ten of the chief men, one for each of the tribes of Israel, each the head of a family division among the Israelite clans. ……

On verses 10-20:  The tribes of Reuben, Gad and half of Manasseh (whom I’ll call collectively, “Team RGM”) are traveling on their way back to Gilead, their lands located east of the Jordan River.  On their way to Gilead they stop and build a huge altar on the western or “Israelite” side of the Jordan River (v10).  When the rest of the tribes see the huge altar that Team RGM have built, they immediately assume that Team RGM were worshiping another god. 

Until We Go Home

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Joshua 22:1-9.  Let’s go!

Joshua 22:1-9 (NIV) 
1  Then Joshua summoned the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh
2  and said to them, “You have done all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded, and you have obeyed me in everything I commanded.
3  For a long time now–to this very day–you have not deserted your brothers but have carried out the mission the LORD your God gave you.
4  Now that the LORD your God has given your brothers rest as he promised, return to your homes in the land that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you on the other side of the Jordan….

On verses 1-9:  The Reubenites, Gadites and the half tribe of Manasseh (whom I call collectively “Team RGM”) had already received their God-given inheritance, that being the lands east of the Jordan River.  But in obedience to God and out of love and loyalty toward their fellow Israelites, team RGM decided not to go home until they helped their fellow Israelites gain their land inheritance as well.  Only when they had finished helping their fellow Israelites did Team RGM go back home at Joshua’s command.

Rest on Every Side

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Joshua 21:34-45.   Let’s go!

Joshua 21:34-42 (NIV) 
34  The Merarite clans (the rest of the Levites) were given: from the tribe of Zebulun, Jokneam, Kartah, 
35  Dimnah and Nahalal, together with their pasturelands–four towns; 
36  from the tribe of Reuben, Bezer, Jahaz, 
37  Kedemoth and Mephaath, together with their pasturelands–four towns; 
38  from the tribe of Gad, Ramoth in Gilead (a city of refuge for one accused of murder), Mahanaim, 
39  Heshbon and Jazer, together with their pasturelands–four towns in all. 
40  All the towns allotted to the Merarite clans, who were the rest of the Levites, were twelve. 
41  The towns of the Levites in the territory held by the Israelites were forty-eight in all, together with their pasturelands.
42  Each of these towns had pasturelands surrounding it; this was true for all these towns.

On verses 34-42:  These verses conclude the list of towns that were given to the tribe of Levi, ending with the Merarite clans. “Merari” literally means “bitter”. The fact that these Levites could receive these towns as well as pasturelands, and this despite the sin that their forefather had committed in Genesis 34, is a pretty sweet deal made possible by God’s grace. 

When God Changed Your Destiny

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Joshua 21:23-33.   Let’s go!

Joshua 21:23-33 (NIV) 
23  Also from the tribe of Dan they received Eltekeh, Gibbethon, 
24  Aijalon and Gath Rimmon, together with their pasturelands–four towns. 
25  From half the tribe of Manasseh they received Taanach and Gath Rimmon, together with their pasturelands–two towns. 
26  All these ten towns and their pasturelands were given to the rest of the Kohathite clans. 
27  The Levite clans of the Gershonites were given: from the half-tribe of Manasseh, Golan in Bashan (a city of refuge for one accused of murder) and Be Eshtarah, together with their pasturelands–two towns; 
28  from the tribe of Issachar, Kishion, Daberath, 
29  Jarmuth and En Gannim, together with their pasturelands–four towns; 
30  from the tribe of Asher, Mishal, Abdon, 
31  Helkath and Rehob, together with their pasturelands–four towns; 
32  from the tribe of Naphtali, Kedesh in Galilee (a city of refuge for one accused of murder), Hammoth Dor and Kartan, together with their pasturelands–three towns. 
33  All the towns of the Gershonite clans were thirteen, together with their pasturelands.

On verses 23-33:  These verses continue to describe the towns given to the Levites.  In verses 23-26 we read of the towns given to the rest of the Kohathites (v23-26).  Then in verses 27-33 we read of the towns given to the descendants of Levi’s oldest son Gershon, known as the Gershonites. 

Where Saint and Sinner Meet

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Joshua 21:13-22.   Let’s go!

Joshua 21:13-22 (NIV) 
13  So to the descendants of Aaron the priest they gave Hebron (a city of refuge for one accused of murder), Libnah, 
14  Jattir, Eshtemoa, 
15  Holon, Debir, 
16  Ain, Juttah and Beth Shemesh, together with their pasturelands–nine towns from these two tribes. 
17  And from the tribe of Benjamin they gave them Gibeon, Geba, 
18  Anathoth and Almon, together with their pasturelands–four towns. 
19  All the towns for the priests, the descendants of Aaron, were thirteen, together with their pasturelands. 
20  The rest of the Kohathite clans of the Levites were allotted towns from the tribe of Ephraim: 
21  In the hill country of Ephraim they were given Shechem (a city of refuge for one accused of murder) and Gezer, 
22  Kibzaim and Beth Horon, together with their pasturelands–four towns.

On verses 13-22:  These verses continue to describe the towns given to the Kohathite division of the Levites, starting with the descendants of Aaron (v13-19) and then moving onto to the rest of the Kohathites (v20-22).  Notice that these Levites are given two cities of refuge, Hebron (v13) and Shechem (v21).  As discussed in Joshua 20, cities of refuge were towns where a person accused of murder could flee to for safety until he received a fair trial. 

Your Share in the Inheritance

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Joshua 21:1-12.   Let’s go!

Joshua 21:1-12 (NIV) 
1  Now the family heads of the Levites approached Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun, and the heads of the other tribal families of Israel
2  at Shiloh in Canaan and said to them, “The LORD commanded through Moses that you give us towns to live in, with pasturelands for our livestock.”
3  So, as the LORD had commanded, the Israelites gave the Levites the following towns and pasturelands out of their own inheritance:

On verses 1-12:  When Moses was still alive and leading the Israelites, God had commanded that upon taking possession of the promised land, the Israelites were to give the tribe of Levi towns to live in and to possess.  God even commanded that these towns and pasturelands for the Levites be taken from the Israelites’ own inheritance (see Numbers 35:1-5).  This was quite an act of grace and mercy toward Levi and his descendants.  That’s because when Levi was alive, he was notorious for a vengeful series of killings that he and his brother Simeon committed in Genesis 34.  Levi and Simeon’s sins had the effect of disqualifying their descendants from owning large areas of land for themselves (see Genesis 49:5-7).  By commanding the rest of the Israelite tribes to give towns and pasturelands to the Levites, God was showing great grace and mercy to Levi and his descendants.

Jesus > Cities of Refuge

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Joshua 20:1-9.  Let’s go!

Joshua 20:1-9 (NIV) 
1  Then the LORD said to Joshua:
2  “Tell the Israelites to designate the cities of refuge, as I instructed you through Moses,
3  so that anyone who kills a person accidentally and unintentionally may flee there and find protection from the avenger of blood.
4  “When he flees to one of these cities, he is to stand in the entrance of the city gate and state his case before the elders of that city. Then they are to admit him into their city and give him a place to live with them…….

On verses 1-9:  When Moses was still leading the Israelites, long before Joshua and the Israelites stepped foot onto the promised land, God gave instructions to the Israelites to set up six towns as “cities of refuge” (v2, see also Numbers 35).  What was the purpose of “cities of refuge”?   Keep in mind that the Jewish law was based on the principle of “an eye for an eye”. Thus, according to the Jewish law, if one person killed another, the killer himself would need to be killed.   The “avenger of blood” (v5) was the individual officially appointed to kill the killer.  However, if the killer killed his victim unintentionally, the killer could run to a city of refuge for safety.  As long as the killer was within the boundaries of the city of refuge, the avenger of blood could not touch him, until such time as he was put on trial and declared guilty of murder.