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The tribes of Israel receive their inheritance Joshua 14
The tribes of Israel receive their inheritance
Joshua 14

In Proverbs 13:22 it says; "A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children, but the sinner's wealth is laid up for the righteous."

Periodically you and I think about the subject of inheritances- and whether we are going to receive one

-At times we hear of people inheriting vast fortunes. ie Paris Hilton
-Most often inheritances are passed to children and relatives.
-Sometimes inheritances are given to favorite charities or close friends
-Issues of inheritance amongst families is often a source of conflict (so make sure you have an up to date will and anticipate how your children or the other recipients will respond)
-Receiving an inheritance is not a guaranteed thing. (People change their wills. Some people exhaust all their resources before dying. Others contest the will. Sometimes people assume they will be a beneficiary when they are not)

On a personal level, while I've been told that I am a beneficiary of a will or two, I'm not counting on it. It's not that I don't believe it, it's just that I realize that situations change in this life and that I have a responsibility to provide for my family. While I may receive money and property one day, Lord willing, I'm going to work hard and do what I can to prepare for the future.

I've brought up the subject of inheritances because this morning we are going to take a look at Joshua 14. In this passage (which is one of a number in Joshua that do this) we find ourselves in the midst of the tribes of Israel receiving their inheritance in the Promised Land.

FYI: The term "inheritance" occurs about 49 times in the Book of Joshua - so that tells us that its a big theme that warrants our study.

There receiving of their inheritance show that God keeps His promises. 400 years prior (Genesis 15) God promised Abraham that his descendants would inherit the land of Canaan.

One of the neat things about the parcelling out of the land was this: It was done by lots and according to the size of the tribes. Joshua 14:2; Numbers 33:50-54)

The practice of casting lots is mentioned 70 times in the Old Testament and seven times in the New Testament. Proverbs 16:33 tells us that it was a legit way to determine the will of God. In spite of the many references to casting lots in the Old Testament, nothing is known about the actual lots themselves. They could have been sticks of various lengths, flat stones like coins, or some kind of dice; but their exact nature is unknown. The closest modern practice to casting lots is likely flipping a coin.


The New Testament nowhere instructs Christians to use a method similar to casting lots to help with decision-making. Now that we have the completed Word of God, as well as the indwelling Holy Spirit to guide us. The Word, the Spirit, and prayer are sufficient for discerning God's will today-not casting lots, rolling dice, or flipping a coin.

Side note: The benefit of casting lots to determine the tribal land inheritances

-no one could say it was unfair (for it was recognized to be the will of God)
-no mad scramble ensued amongst the people to take what they wanted
-would have eliminated all arguing and posturing

READ JOSHUA 14

While all chapters we read this week have to do with the tribes of Israel receiving their inheritance from the Lord, chapter 14 is special because it also touches on the Levites and Caleb as it regards the subject at hand.

WHERE WE ARE GOING FOR THE REST OF TODAY'S LESSON

1. I already have talked about how the Tribes of Israel received their inheritance from the Lord
2. I want to draw your attention to the special inheritance that Caleb received from the Lord
3. We are going to address the exclusion of the Levites from receiving land as an inheritance from the Lord
4. I want to talk about the inheritance that awaits us as the followers of Christ


I. CALEB'S RECEIVES HIS INHERITANCE v.6-15

Who was Caleb?

-One of 12 spies sent out to explore the Promised Land (about 2 years after the exit from Egypt).
-He, along with Joshua came back to the people with a good report-- telling Moses and the people that the land was great and that it could be taken (See Numbers 14)
-For his faithfulness, he along with Joshua were the only 2 of fighting age (old enough to serve in the army) to survive to survive the wilderness period
-For his faithfulness Caleb was promised the area where he did the spying (a city in Hebron-- a city made up of giants-- super tall people who some speculate were the product of fallen angels having sexual relations with the local women)

Caleb's request

It's time for me to receive my inheritance!

-Note that he had waited for 45 years v.10. (this is important as it regards us having patience and persevering in our faith as we wait upon the promises of God and the future He has in store for us)
-Note his zeal and enthusiasm about receiving it (this is important as it regards us and our inheritance in Christ)
-Note his key spiritual attribute "wholehearted following of God" v.8. Such is also noted in Deuteronomy 1:36 and Numbers 14:24 (God's observation)
-Note also his continued courage-- he knew it had to be fought for (those he went up against were the biggest and strongest in the land)-- but he also knew who was on his side and by whose strength he would triumph.

The way Caleb followed God is the way you are to follow Christ***

Wholeheartedly, patiently, not halfway, without wavering, keeping the faith, holding on to the promises given him, keeping ourselves pure, not being stained and defiled by the ways of the culture


For his faith, for his devotion to God, for His zeal for the Lord, for his obedience, and according to the grace of God, Caleb received his reward.


Another thing: Caleb's receiving of his inheritance reminds us that God always keeps His promises***


II. THE SPECIAL INHERITANCE OF THE LEVITES

In Joshua 14:4 we are told that the Levites received no share of the land (as the rest of the tribes did) but only a few towns to live in (throughout all of Israel). Such fulfills God's word of judgment on Levi (see Genesis 49:7 and Jacob's prophecy that Levi would be scattered throughout the tribes of Israel). Interesting how what was initially judgment turned into a blessing (see Exodus 32 and how they stayed faithful when Israel made the golden calf)

So what did the Levites get as an inheritance that was better than physical land to call their own?

Check out Numbers 18:20-21 "The LORD said to Aaron, "You will have no inheritance in their land, nor will you have any share among them; I am your share and your inheritance among the Israelites. I give to the Levites all the tithes in Israel as their inheritance in return for the work they do while serving at the Tent of Meeting."

Fast forward to the parcelling out of the land in Joshua 13:14 "But to the tribe of Levi he (Joshua) gave no inheritance, since the offerings made by fire to the LROD, the God of Israel, are their inheritance, as He promised them"

Joshua 13:33 "But to the tribe of Levi, Moses gave no inheritance; the LORD, the God of Israel, is their inheritance, as he promised them."

The big blessing the Levites got was not money and riches

YES they got fed and supplied from the offerings (but the truth is, most of the time the people didn't tithe, so physically the Levites were often on the edge)

YES they had an honored position that allowed them to touch and handle the furnishings of the Tabernacle, to teach the people the ways of God, to be in the vicinity of the presence and glory of God, and some of them to serve as Priests

The big blessing the Levites got was God

God said to them "I am your inheritance"

It's hard to wrap our heads around us because land is real tangible. You can sit on it, farm it, mine it, rent it out, touch it, build on it, look out your back door and see it etc)

Having God as ones inheritance is for more valuable, it's eternal- and yet in a lot of peoples eyes, its hard to grasp and understand. Having God as ones inheritance requires walking by faith. It entails trusting God. It necessitates the understanding that ones reward is not principally here.

David - as rich as he was materially- understood the preciousness of having God as his inheritance. David said in Psalm 16:5 The Lord is my chosen portion (inheritance) and my cup; you hold my lot." David then goes on to speak of his belief in the resurrection and in the joy of being at God's right hand."

David understood that with God he had everything, without God he had nothing. For David, God was his shield, his protector, his provider. David understood that where he spent eternity depended on his being in right relationship with God

Amongst the Israelites the Levites were supposed to function as a living examples of people who walked by faith with God and whose eyes were fixed on the rewards to come- all the while enjoying His presence (visibly manifested at times at the Tabernacle). This of course has great relevance to us as we ponder our last point today.


So far we've consider the land inheritances of the tribes of Israel. Next we considered the special inheritance of Caleb who patiently waited for his reward and who served God wholeheartedly. Moments ago we considered the incredible inheritance of the Levites-- their inheritance of God-- God as their protector, provider, hope, future, God in the midst of the Tabernacle in which they served.


NOW FOR US TO CONSIDER THE INHERITANCE THAT IS OURS AS THE FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST

-Our inheritance is not iffy, maybe, depending upon the whim, mental state, or ability of the giver
-Our inheritance is guaranteed by God who does not does change and who cannot lie
-Our inheritance is a present possession (for in knowing Christ we have eternal life, we have the forgiveness of sins)
-Our inheritance is secured by the indwelling of the Spirit of God -who speaks to our hearts and assures that we are His
-Our inheritance is one that we receive by faith-- by faith is one saved and by faith we receive the promises of God
-Our inheritance is grounded in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead- ours is a faith in a living Savior. If Jesus did not rise, then our faith is in vain.
-Our inheritance is one that we are to look forward to
-Our inheritance can be built upon -- for we are to store up for ourselves treasures in Heaven by serving others in the name of Christ, forgiving others in the name of Christ, pouring our energy into the work of Christ's kingdom.
-God provides us with continual glimpses that our inheritance is real (We start with the reliability and truthfulness of the Scriptures, answered prayer, the testimony of the world around us which bears his stamp and majesty, the transforming work of Christ in our lives and in the lives of those who follow him, miracles, and the Spirit's voice)

In speaking of the spiritual blessings that are ours in Christ (Ephesians 1:13- 14) The Apostle Paul writes "When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession-to the praise of his glory.

As for our inheritance, consider 1 Peter 1:3-5 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

Consider also 2 Peter 1:3-4 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

Hebrews 11:16 speaks of "longing for a better country-a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

AS THE ISRAELITES, CALEB, RECEIVED A GREAT INHERITANCE, WE, LIKE THE LEVITES TYPIFIED, HAVE A GREATER ONE-- WE HAVE CHRIST AS OUR SAVIOR AND LORD. GOD AND ALL HIS BLESSINGS IS IN OUR INHERITANCE. Let us be found to continue to walk by faith

COMMUNION

Focus on Christ the blessings we have in Him

Ephesians 1:3-14

3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will- 6to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace 8that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment-to bring all things in
heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. 11In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession-to the praise of his glory.

Philippians 3:12-21

12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 15All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16Only let us live up to what we have already attained. 17Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. 18For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. 20But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.