Joshua 18:1-10 (NIV) 1 The whole assembly of the Israelites gathered at Shiloh and set up the Tent of Meeting there. The country was brought under their control, 2 but there were still seven Israelite tribes who had not yet received their inheritance. 3 So Joshua said to the Israelites: “How long will you wait before you begin to take possession of the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, has given you?
4 Appoint three men from each tribe. I will send them out to make a survey of the land and to write a description of it, according to the inheritance of each. Then they will return to me. 5 You are to divide the land into seven parts. Judah is to remain in its territory on the south and the house of Joseph in its territory on the north. 6 After you have written descriptions of the seven parts of the land, bring them here to me and I will cast lots for you in the presence of the LORD our God. 7 The Levites, however, do not get a portion among you, because the priestly service of the LORD is their inheritance. And Gad, Reuben and the half-tribe of Manasseh have already received their inheritance on the east side of the Jordan. Moses the servant of the LORD gave it to them.” 8 As the men started on their way to map out the land, Joshua instructed them, “Go and make a survey of the land and write a description of it. Then return to me, and I will cast lots for you here at Shiloh in the presence of the LORD.” 9 So the men left and went through the land. They wrote its description on a scroll, town by town, in seven parts, and returned to Joshua in the camp at Shiloh. 10 Joshua then cast lots for them in Shiloh in the presence of the LORD, and there he distributed the land to the Israelites according to their tribal divisions.
On verses 1-10: The Tent of Meeting was a portable tent that was set up as a place where God could meet with the people of Israel. The Tent of Meeting is set up at Shiloh (v1) and there Joshua speaks to the entire assembly of Israelites, saying “How long will you wait before you begin to take possession of the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, has given you?” (v3) At this point 7 tribes of Israel had still not received their allotments and had been waiting to take over some land in the promised land. So Joshua sends 21 surveyors, 3 from each of the remaining 7 tribes that did not have land, to survey the remaining land (v4-9). Joshua then cast lots to see which tribes would get what land (v10).
Look again at verse 3: “So Joshua said to the Israelites: ‘How long will you wait before you begin to take possession of the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, has given you?’” Is Joshua rebuking these 7 tribes? Probably. That’s because much of the best land had already been allotted to the people who lined up first and who had taken the initiative to ask for land. The remaining land – the leftovers – was now being divided among the remaining seven, more passive tribes.
What can we learn from this? You can either wait for land to be assigned to you (in which case you’ll probably get the leftovers), or you can take the initiative to ask and fight for the best that is available. It seems that a running theme in Joshua is “blessed are the proactive”; that is, that those who boldly take the initiative to ask for land tend to get it before anyone else does. Likewise, when it comes to your life, be proactive, be bold and take hold of everything that God has for you. Don’t just sit there and wait all your life for your destiny to be handed to you.Be bold enough to ask God and to fight for everything God placed you on this earth for.
Heavenly Father, I pray that I would not be passive and lazily wait for things to be handed to me. I pray that I would take initiative and, with courage and faith, ask You for and fight for everything You placed me on this earth for. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!