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Bible Pathways 03/19/05

March 19

Read Joshua 17 - 19

In Today's Reading:

Distribution of land to all the tribes; Manasseh fails to drive out Canaanites; Tabernacle set up at Shiloh; Joshua's inheritance

The conquest of Canaan was completed and the land was divided, not by majority vote, but by the Lord's decree. The whole congregation of the children of Israel assembled together at Shiloh, and set up the Tabernacle of the congregation there. And the land was subdued before them (Joshua 18:1). Then, Joshua cast lots for them in Shiloh before the LORD: and there Joshua divided the land to the children of Israel (18:10).

Although they had received some of the best territory in the promised land, the tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim complained that they should have more territory given to them because of their great numbers and what they perceived as their prominent position among the tribes. The Ephraimites were proud of their history as descendants of Joseph and that Joshua, the victorious commander who had led in the conquest of Canaan, was also from their tribe. They said to Joshua: The hill is not enough for us. Joshua did not yield to their appeals for favoritism, but said: You are a great people . . . drive out the Canaanites, though they have iron chariots, and though they be strong (17:16-18).

Sadly, these two tribes chose the easy way of compromise and let the Canaanites reside within their borders rather than fight for their God-given territory. The blessings of God often depend upon faith and we know that faith without works is dead (worthless) (James 2:20). It is sometimes wise to refuse to help those who express no concern for the will of God nor make any effort to help themselves.

In a striking contrast to the tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim, Joshua chose to be the last to lay claim to any territory (see Joshua 19:49). As captain, we would expect him to be first and even to take the best for himself. Instead, he chose last. His choice was a very small area, but it was near Shiloh where the Tabernacle was erected and where he could best worship and serve the Lord. It was there, in the nearness of the Lord's presence, that Joshua built his small city. Joshua illustrates the importance of being fervent in spirit; serving the Lord (Romans 12:11). When we have our priorities centered upon the Lord, we need not fear losing our share of anything. Remember James' admonition: Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up (James 4:10).

Word Studies:

17:13 tribute = forced labor; 18:1 Shiloh = the location of the Tabernacle in the tribe of Ephraim; 18:6 describe = map out, survey, diagram.

Christ Revealed:

Through Shiloh, meaning the children of Israel assembled together at Shiloh, and set up the Tabernacle (Joshua 18:1). Shiloh was the dwelling place of God's presence in the Tabernacle and was prophetic of Jesus. The Word (Jesus) . . . dwelt (tabernacled) among us (John 1:14).

Prayer Needs:

Pray for Country: Qatar (724,000) in southwestern Asia · Major languages: Arabic and English · Muslim conversion to Christ is forbidden, but expatriate Christians are allowed to meet informally · 92% Muslim; 4% Protestant; 2% Roman Catholic; 1% Hindu; .5% Eastern Orthodox · Prayer Suggestion: Give praise to God that His Word will stand forever (Isaiah 40:8).

Optional Reading: John 10

Memory Verse for the Week: Colossians 2:9

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