Bible Readings for July 13th
For the seven remaining tribes who had yet to receive their inheritance (Josh. 18:1–7), Joshua does not divide up the land unilaterally. Instead, Joshua puts the responsibility of claiming the rest of the land on the remaining seven tribes themselves. Oddly, it sounds as though those seven tribes were not eagerly waiting to receive their inheritance but perhaps had been apathetic about it. Joshua presses them, saying, “How long will you put off going in to take possession of the land, which the LORD, the God of your fathers, has given you?” (Josh. 18:3).
So, Joshua commands those remaining tribes to send three men from each tribe to survey the land and to divide it for themselves into seven portions. Then, Joshua casts lots to assign those portions of the land to their respective tribes (Josh. 18:3–7). And finally, Joshua himself receives his special portion of the inheritance among the rest of his tribe of Ephraim for his faithful, courageous leadership of Israel these years (Josh. 19:49–50).
This subject of Israel’s inheritance can strike modern Christians as irrelevant to our own lives, since the New Testament shifts the focus away from real estate in the Middle East onto Jesus Christ himself. What, then, should we take away from these lengthy passages regarding Israel’s inheritance that we have been reading for the past few days?
First, we must understand that the Promised Land was always a shadow of Christ himself. In fact, the New Testament is full of discussions about the inheritance we stand to receive, since as the children of God we have been made “heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:17). Typologically, the Promised Land teaches us about what it means to inherit Christ.
But second, we should learn from the sluggishness of the remaining seven tribes. It is easy to forget about the eternal weight of glory when we become caught up in the busyness of our day-to-day tasks. Or, we can too easily set our hopes on other prizes in life—relationships, riches, significance, or power—which distract us from seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness (Matt. 6:33).
One of the best ways to fix our hearts on Christ, then, is to survey him. Just as the Israelites surveyed the entire Promised Land to stake out their claim, let us survey the entire glory of Christ. Seek out the mountains of his righteousness (Ps. 36:6) and the lilies of his valleys (Song 2:1). Drink from his rivers of living waters (John 7:37–38), and relish the sweet honey of his word (Ps. 19:10). Study Christ. Know Christ. Delight in Christ.
How long will you put off going in to take possession of Jesus Christ himself, whom Yahweh, the God of your fathers, has graciously given to you?
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.