This week at my table is my dear friend and sister in Christ, Kasey McFarland. She has been studying the book of Joshua and found some things that have captured her attention and I’ve asked her to share with us what those things are. Kasey and I have known each other for a few years and have grown our friendship abundantly over the last year or so. I have a tremendous amount of respect for her as I see her wanting to follow hard after God’s truth and plan for her life.
You know those chapters of the Bible where the genealogies are listed… the ones where so-and-so begat so-and-so and half way through you want to gouge your eyes out and all you can hear is the voice of Charlie Brown’s teacher until your ears burn? Ah…I see you know what I’m talking about! I love the Bible, but some parts are a much easier read than others. However, because the Holy Spirit directed God’s servants to write these letters and scrolls, there must be something important to be learned in every part, even the genealogies!
So…with that thought in mind, my Bible reading plan for today had me in Joshua chapters 16-21 and if any of you know about some of the chapters in Joshua after the little battle of big Jericho and the big defeat of little Ai and Achan’s sneaky sin, there are about a half a dozen or so chapters of how Joshua divided the promised land for the tribes of Israel. These chapters list all the tribes, sons, some grandsons, and all the Levite descendants of Aaron, the names of cities and towns, the sanctuary cities, and the border towns to the North, South, East and West and who got what. It is a monotony of names that you can’t pronounce, with directions you can’t understand, and people you have no emotional connection to. Remember that eye gouging, ear burning thing we talked about…yah, it’s like that.
So, on my way to work this morning, my audio Bible app began reading these chapters over the Bluetooth radio and because I had been studying the book of Joshua leading up to this section, I noticed something very interesting…there were names, places, and people that I recognized! My ears stopped burning and I tuned in!
To give a little context, In Joshua chapter 11, the last battle scene is a union of five powerful kings who gather all their war horses and an army that can’t be numbered and who go out to defeat the Israelites. But God wins the victory and the chapter ends with “so Joshua took the whole land according to all that Lord had said to Moses; and Joshua gave it as an inheritance to Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. Then the land rested from war.” Finally, the battles for who controlled the promised territory was decided. And it was now time to parcel out the land.
Joshua called the remaining nine and half tribes (2 and half had been given land on the other side of the Jordan, which is a story for another time!) and one by one he designated where each tribes patch of ground was to be located. There were tribes that got more land than they could handle, and some who got too little who asked for more. There were some who shared their inheritance willingly, and some who needed to be asked to give a little more. There were tribes whose lot it was to give a portion to those seeking refuge for unintentional crimes, and some who gave a part of theirs to the Levites for their cattle because they had no inheritance (in accordance with God’s instruction to Moses and Aaron). Then there some who complained that they had too much forest area and requested an expansion into the fields in another tribe’s territory. Joshua gently dealt with each situation, sometimes accommodating an expansion, sometimes telling the tribe to put their shoulders to the grindstone and work out their own expansion. Some tribes even had those pesky defeated enemies still living in their territory who needed to be constantly dealt with. No inheritance was perfect. It was going to be work in one way or another for this war-torn land to become a peaceful, fruitful home. Everyone had a job to do and a part to play in the success of the whole nation.
So today, our Joshua has defeated the seemingly invincible enemy, securing for us an inheritance, and then He has assigned us each a patch of ground. Do you find your little patch of ground a little too big to subdue alone? Or too small? Is your inhabitable space closing in on you to the point that it’s time to get to work and expand into the trees? Maybe it’s time to open up a spot to those who need some refuge, or to provide a portion to the priests? Are the defeated enemies that seek to rule us getting stronger or are they still a defeated foe? What do you need to do today in your little patch of ground?
Joshua chapter 23 ends with this, “So the Lord gave to Israel all the land of which he has sworn to give to their fathers, and they took possession of it, and dwelt in it…not a man stood against them…not a word failed of any good thing which the Lord has spoken to the house of Israel. ALL CAME TO PASS.”
It’s time to take possession of our little patch of ground…to settle down in it and work it. The promise is that no one will be able to stand against us, and everything that God has said will come to pass.
Who knew that the division of the promised land would be soNOTboring! That it could teach us so much? It’s my prayer that our hearts are planted even more firmly in the spot that God has for us to work and that we will be wise to seek our leaders counsel for help, or expansion, or if we are called to work harder, go to battle, or allow someone else to shelter in our spot. Let’s resolve to tend our little patch of ground, as good stewards of the inheritance we’ve been given…with our eyes and ears intact!
BBQ chicken foil packs
Chicken breasts or tender loins cut into chunks
1 Red bell pepper
1 small red onion
2 cups BBQ sauce
Toss chicken bites and BBQ sauce together until coated. Spoon about ½ a cup onto individual foil sheets (big enough to make foil packets). Top with chopped red onion, chopped red pepper, and pineapple tidbits. Bake at 375 digrees, For about 40 minutes. Make as many foil packs as you have ingredients. This can also go onto the grill for backyard BBQ gatherings. Add any additional items you like! Serve over rice, or noodles, or just the packs. Enjoy!