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Bible Pathways 3/19/2001

March 19

Read Joshua 17 -- 19

The conquest of Canaan was completed and the land was divided, not by majority vote, but by the Lord, when the whole congregation of the Israelites assembled together at Shiloh, and set up the Tabernacle. . . . Joshua cast lots for them in Shiloh before the Lord: and there Joshua divided the land . . . at the door of the Tabernacle (Joshua 18:1,10; 19:51).

Only the descendants of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim, had expressed dissatisfaction with their lot. Although they had received some of the best territorty in the Promised Land, the tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim complained that they should have more territory given to them because of their great number and what they perceived as their prominent position among the tribes (17:14-18). The Ephraimites were proud of their history as descendants of Joseph, the prestigious ruler of Egypt, and were proud that Joshua, the victorious commander who led in the conquest of Canaan, was also from their tribe. Undoubtedly, they expected Joshua to show them favoritism, since they argued: Why have you given (us) but one lot . . . seeing we are a great people? (17:14). Joshua expressed true submission to the Lord as he faced peer pressure from leaders of his own tribe. Since he received his orders from the Lord, Joshua would not be intimidated.

The real problem here was that Manasseh and Ephraim would have to work and do battle while exercising their faith, in order to assume ownership of their territories. Joshua had assured them: You shall drive out the Canaanites, though they have iron chariots, and though they be strong (17:18). Sadly, these two tribes chose the easy way of compromise with the Canaanites. The blessings of God often depend upon faith, and faith without works is dead (James 2:20). It is wise to refuse to help those who will not 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 (Joshua 19:49). As captain, he could be expected to be the first and take the best for himself. Instead, he chose last. When he did make his choice, it was a very small area near Shiloh where the Tabernacle was erected and where he could best serve and worship the Lord. It was there, in the nearness of the Lord's presence, that Joshua built his small city. He illustrates the biblical principle of preferring one another (Romans 12:10) and let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves (Philippians 2:3). When we have our priorities centered upon the Lord, we need not fear losing our share of anything. In fact, we will gladly accept less to maintain peace with others.

The truly great men of God do not complain and are never greedy. They do not expect others to serve or praise them. Their goals and aspirations are not for material greatness nor for recognition from others. Godly men find their satisfaction in being servants of the Lord and fulfilling His will. Self-pity, pride, and finding fault with others not only disqualify a person from serving the Lord but are often excuses to avoid one's responsibilities.

He that is greatest among you . . . and he that is chief, (let him be) as he that serves (Luke 22:26).

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

Word Studies: 17:13 tribute means forced labor; 18:1 Shiloh means "Him to whom it (the scepter/kingdom) belongs";18:6 describe means map out, survey.


BPM Staff: Benjamin Wallace · Pray for our Arabic translator · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio broadcast in honor of Bonnie Wilhite · Country: Belgium (10 million) in northwestern Europe · Major languages: Flemish and French · Religious freedom · 87% Roman Catholic; 3% Muslim; .8% Protestant; .5% Orthodox · Prayer Suggestion: Praise the Lord for His love (Psalms 63:3).

Optional Reading: John 10

Memory Verse for the Week: Colossians 2:10

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