August 8, 2021
The generation that rises up with Joshua to take the promised land were a rugged, fearless group who remind me of mountain men. In fact, throughout the middle portion of Joshua, Mountains are very important. In particular, the hill country of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Hebron are all important to the text. Even the tabernacle is place near a mountain.
1. Mountain men
These aren’t warriors. They are men who have seen war, but they are little more than the sons of ex-slaves. Furthermore, every battle they have seen has been non-conventional. They don’t win using normal tactics of war; they win by trusting in God who leads the way into the promised land giving them miracle after miracle.
Joshua fought thirty one battles; and won thirty one battles. He got a rematch at AI.
The combat in Joshua happened in two campaigns stretching over seven years.
In Joshua 11, they are attacked by an alliance of kings lead by Jabin king of Hazor. God tells Joshua not to be afraid; but he also commands him to destroy the chariots and horses they capture. This is a mark of faith. They will not need the enemies tanks for the future battles. Their tank is Yahweh.
2. Mountain Men Act
In Joshua 11:23, Joshua takes the land according to what was promised Moses. God’s promise alone was not enough to secure the land, he had to act on it.
Joshua 12 lists 31 defeated kings.
Joshua 13 God tells Joshua that even though Joshua is getting old, the Lord will still fight Israel’s battles. Israel has been victorious not because of Joshua, but because of Yahweh. What Joshua is commanded to do next is give each tribe an allotment. Now once they had their land, they still had to go drive out those who were there.
Joshua 13-21 uses the word “inheritance” over fifty times. The Lord gives the land. He is ultimately the ruler and owner of the earth. He’s the landlord. The nation does not own the land they inherit, they merely sharecrop on that which belongs to the Lord. Their rent is their obedience to the covenant of the Lord.
When you read about the tribal lands being distributed, you should get a little excited. Even though it reads like a long list, it is actually the fulfillment (the realization) of a promise made much earlier to Abraham.
In Genesis 12:7, God promises Abram: “To your offspring I will give this land.”
Gen 15:18: “To your descendants I have given this land,
Gen. 17:8, “The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you.”
In Joshua 18, the nation established a worship center at Shiloh. This is where the ark would be set up and for centuries to come this would be the spiritual center of Israel until David moved the ark to Jerusalem.
The Levites were spread throughout the nation; they were not given an “inheritance” of land, but cities among the people so that the Lord’s representatives would always be among them. Four times it says they got no portion because the Lord is their heritage.
Joshua 19:50 records the inheritance the nation gave Joshua. Unlike other cities given to individuals, Joshua’s city was not controlled by the tribe it was located in. His city was wholly independent.
In Joshua 20 the nation establishes cities of refuge.
3. Mountain Men Don’t
Joshua 14 tells of 85 year old Caleb, one of the original 12 spies, who asks that he be given a spot to fight for and possess. “Give me this mountain,” he says.
4. Mountain Men are
Joshua 17:12-18: Tells the story of the whiny tribe of Manasseh (sometimes called the tribe of Joseph.) Unable to drive out the Canaanites, they complain there is no where for them to settle. Joshua suggests they cut down the forest, but they say that is not enough land. Unmoved, Joshua tells them to either clear the Canaanites off the land or the trees, but he refuses to give them a second plot of land. Now, all that said, take a quick look at a map of the tribes of Israel. Manasseh’s lot is huge!
5. Mountain Women Don’t Want to
Among the tribe of whiners is the story of five outstanding women. (So the boys whine, while the women gear up to take the land.) The five women, “Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah” had been promised an inheritance by Moses because their father had no sons. In Joshua, that promise is completed, with a stipulation. The women may not marry outside the tribe, or they forfeit the land they were given. This is to protect the tribal boundaries.
Have you ever known someone who just wanted everything God has for them? They show up to every Bible study, they are first to sign up to serve.