Joshua Chapter Thirteen (Part One)

Introduction: A key idea in Joshua is that God blesses obedience. Today, we hope to discuss the instructions of Joshua, in dividing the land of Canaan.

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Read Joshua 13:1-7

III. Dividing the Land of Canaan. A. Instructions to Joshua. The Lord tells Joshua that he is very old. However, there is a great deal of work that yet needs to be done. There is land to conquer.

And there is land to be divided among the 9 ½ tribes who are yet waiting on their land.

Applications -

- Getting older. Notice in vs. 1 that Joshua was old. Scholarship suggests that he was between the ages of 90 and 100. On one hand, there are blessings attached with getting old.

We should thank God that we made it to old age, when so many young people are dying and being killed. We should be thankful for resources, health, relationships, and the contributions that God has allowed us to participate in.

On the other hand, with old age comes some limitations. Our energy and strength is not what is used to be.

Thus, we have to influence others to do what we used to do and really accept that the work of God is bigger than our personal contributions. Let’s work on appreciating the blessings and limitations of getting older.

- God’s generational plan. Notice in vss. 1-5 that God has plans to bless His people beyond the current leader. In the text, just as Moses came and went, Joshua came and will go, and others leaders will do the same - all as a part of God’s plan to bless His people.

In like manner, God uses leaders today who come and go, but God’s plans for His people are still in tack. Let’s live like we understand that God’s plans to bless His people are not built on simply who is in the seat of leadership.

This application should help us respect leaders without making them idols. This application should also help us refrain from being to upset when leaders seem to be getting out of line. God has away of moving obstacles to His will being done.

- Sidonians. Notice in vs. 6 that God promises to handle the Sidonians. The people of Israel did not have to worry about them. In like manner, there are some things in our lives that God will handle. We don’t have to concern ourselves with them. 

The “Sidonians” in your life may be different than the “Sidonians” in my life. But whatever the case, we can trust God to do what He said He will do. 

Think about how God has handled enemies on our jobs, in our communities, in our churches, and even in our families. Since God did it in the past, He can be trusted to do it again. 

Let’s live like we trust God to handle the Sidonians in our lives. This kind of living should be known for confidence in the Lord, instead of worrying about our “Sidonians.” 

- God’s blessed people. Notice in vss. 6-7 that God’s plans included blessings for all of His children. First, just as those on the east got their blessings before those on the west, there will be times that others may get their blessings before you. But you ought to trust the timing of God. 

Second, if you have your blessings already, you ought to give effort to helping the rest of God’s people get theirs as well. Don’t be guilty of taking your blessings and run off, while others are still struggling. 

Third, a key to the people being blessed was that they trusted God enough to obey His instructions to fight. In like manner, we must trust God enough to obey His will today. 

It is God’s will for us to be wise stewards of our health, wealth, relationships, and involvement in our communities. It is God’s will for us to be an asset in our churches. Let’s do our part in seeing that God’s people are blessed. 

Read Joshua 13:8-13

B. Division of Transjordan. There is a recounting of the land that Moses conquered and gave to the 2 ½ tribes on the east side of the Jordan River. 

The tribes were Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh. There is also mention that the people of Geshur and Maacah were not totally conquered. 

Applications -

- Appreciating and building on history. Notice in vs. 8 that Moses’ accomplishments are mentioned. First, it is good to mention from time to time those whose shoulders we stand on. It is dangerous to forget our history. 

Second, we should aim to build on our history. It is one thing to mention and appreciate history. But it is another to be stuck in history. Let’s work on having the right balance of appreciating our history and building upon it. 

- Enjoying our blessings and helping others. Notice in vss. 8-12 that there is nothing wrong with being blessed like the 2 ½ tribes on the east. However, we are called to make sure that we don’t simply take our blessings and leave others to struggle along as best they can. 

In other words, you can have a nice house, car, and retirement fund without sinning. The sin comes when you make no effort to help those who are less fortunate than you are. This is especially the case, when you are the product of so many people helping you to get what you have. 

Every middle class African American has benefited from the hard work on millions of people who helped to pass the federal legislation that allowed for more civil and voting rights. Let’s make sure that we balance the enjoyment of our blessings with helping others. 

- Managing until you can eliminate. Notice in vss. 12-13 that there were some people who were not driven out. They were managed. In like manner, there are some issues in our lives that should be gone, but they are not. 

We may be working on them, but it will take more time and energy. In the meantime, we are called to manage the issues. 

Think about how this principle relates to our weight, our wealth, our relationships, and even bad habits. Let’s work on managing our issues, until we can eliminate them. 

Conclusion: Let’s work on obeying God’s will. God has much for those who obey His will. 

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