Joshua 12:1-24 Start Small, Think Big, Build Deep

Joshua 12:1-24

1 Now these are the kings of the land whom the sons of Israel defeated, and whose land they possessed beyond the Jordan toward the sunrise, from the valley of the Arnon as far as Mount Hermon, and all the Arabah to the east:2 Sihon king of the Amorites, who lived in Heshbon, and ruled from Aroer, which is on the edge of the valley of the Arnon, both the middle of the valley and half of Gilead, even as far as the brook Jabbok, the border of the sons of Ammon; 3 and the Arabah as far as the Sea of Chinneroth toward the east, and as far as the sea of the Arabah, even the Salt Sea, eastward toward Beth- jeshimoth, and on the south, at the foot of the slopes of Pisgah; 4 and the territory of Og king of Bashan, one of the remnant of Rephaim, who lived at Ashtaroth and at Edrei, 5 and ruled over Mount Hermon and Salecah and all Bashan, as far as the border of the Geshurites and the Maacathites, and half of Gilead, as far as the border of Sihon king of Heshbon. 6 Moses the servant of the Lord and the sons of Israel defeated them; and Moses the servant of the Lord gave it to the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half- tribe of Manasseh as a possession.

7 Now these are the kings of the land whom Joshua and the sons of Israel defeated beyond the Jordan toward the west, from Baal- gad in the valley of Lebanon even as far as Mount Halak, which rises toward Seir; and Joshua gave it to the tribes of Israel as a possession according to their divisions, 8 in the hill country, in the lowland, in the Arabah, on the slopes, and in the wilderness, and in the Negev; the Hittite, the Amorite and the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite:9 the king of Jericho, one; the king of Ai, which is beside Bethel, one; 10 the king of Jerusalem, one; the king of Hebron, one; 11 the king of Jarmuth, one; the king of Lachish, one; 12 the king of Eglon, one; the king of Gezer, one; 13 the king of Debir, one; the king of Geder, one; 14 the king of Hormah, one; the king of Arad, one; 15 the king of Libnah, one; the king of Adullam, one; 16 the king of Makkedah, one; the king of Bethel, one; 17 the king of Tappuah, one; the king of Hepher, one; 18 the king of Aphek, one; the king of Lasharon, one; 19 the king of Madon, one; the king of Hazor, one; 20 the king of Shimron- meron, one; the king of Achshaph, one; 21 the king of Taanach, one; the king of Megiddo, one; 22 the king of Kedesh, one; the king of Jokneam in Carmel, one; 23 the king of Dor in the heights of Dor, one; the king of Goiim in Gilgal, one; 24 the king of Tirzah, one: in all, thirty- one kings.

Background

This section details the conquests of Moses and Joshua. Moses and Joshua led the people from Egypt eastward arriving at the west of River Jordan where they began a long and laborious conquest of the land. However, little did they know the work that spanned 47 years became a legacy through which the salvation of Christ came. Today’s devotion shows us the importance of doing what truly matters and not be caught by the busyness and the cares of life. Believers in all their endeavours must learn to start small, think big, and build deep towards an enduring legacy.

Observation

Moses the servant of the Lord and the sons of Israel defeated them.

Verses 1-6 detail the victories of Moses on the east side of River Jordan (see figure A). This territory was assigned to the tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh.

Figure A
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Turning to figure B, Moses and the children of Israel made their way starting from point “A” until they reach point “B”. Here, Moses and the people fanned out and attacked Sihon, the king of the Ammorites and captured their territories. Moses also took territories belonging to Og, king of Bashan, a remnant of Rephaim.

Figure B
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Now these are the kings of the land whom Joshua and the sons of Israel defeated beyond the Jordan toward the west.

Verses 7-24 detailed the victories of Joshua over 31 kings (see figure B). Looking at figure B, Joshua continued the campaign west of River Jordan at point “C” where Joshua first took the central region followed by the southern and the northern territories in a span of seven years. Detailed in this section were 16 kings belonging to the southern region (v.9-16) and 15 kings in the northern territories (v.17-24). These 31 kings that occupied the land stretching 280 km north to south and 90 km east to west were war lords reigning over local cities.

Truth

Start small, think big, build deep.

Before we decide on an endeavour, we must first understand the impact our work may have in the world at large. Can it stand the test of time? Does it enable the next generation to bear fruit thus perpetuating the legacy of the vision? Some works are a flash in a pan, a hype that catches attention, but only for a brief moment. Some works however, are seemingly small and insignificant, but it carries a far-reaching and wide-ranging impact. Works that become legacies usually start out small with an inconceivably large vision. With that end in mind, the builders build deep painstakingly laying a foundation based on unchanging principles. An anonymous writer wrote “There has never been a greater war for a greater cause. The battle of Waterloo decided the fate of Europe, but this series of contests in far-off Canaan decided the fate of the world.” Moses and Joshua secured the promised land so that the people of Israel did not have to live as nomads having a land of their own. Never did they imagine the impact their work had on the whole of humanity. It was through the preservation of Israel and the Law, that Christ came to save the world. The apostle Paul wrote a series of letters to the churches during his time. However, Paul would never have envisioned his letters becoming part of the bible that upheld the faith of Christendom. Do the battles we fight today contribute to the betterment of future generations towards the coming of God’s kingdom?

What secures the blessing of a people is not land or material wealth but the right culture and values system. 

There is a chinese saying that wealth doesn’t last three generations (富不过三代). What the fathers had so laboriously built and gathered shall surely be squandered by his descendants. Hence, the importance of inculcating the right values system and culture into our children cannot be understated. Legacy is not preserved by the inheritance of material wealth but by culture and values system.

What Israel fought to secure was not land, but more importantly the preservation of the tradition of God’s Law. History shows us the land that Israel so painstakingly acquired was lost through the ages falling into the hands of the Gentiles. And by the time of Jesus, Israel was already under Roman rule. Even though Israel was no longer a sovereign nation, the people remained intact in their culture and their identity as children of God. It was through the strict observance of the Law that kept their integrity as a nation through which the Messiah came. It was through the people of Israel that Christ’s salvation spread to the world. And it is because of the Law that Israel is what she is today.

Therefore, parents must defocus from satisfying the material wants of their children to inculcating the right values into their hearts by being exemplary in living out the truth. Parents must make the reading of the Word and teaching of the truth as the center of family life. 

Application

1.  Are you gripped by the busyness of your career such that you find little time for the Word? Without the Word, it is almost impossible to build anything of lasting value for your children. Truth and values can only be taught over a period of time. As our children observe the Word first coming alive in our lifestyle. They will in time develop a conviction that shall perpetuate through the generations.

2.  Are you doing something in your church that contributes to a lasting legacy for our nation? By investing our time in the education of people towards the virtues of mercy, justice and humility, we contribute to the building of God’s kingdom. By paying special attention to the education of children, we build a next generation that will function as salt and light to the world.

Dear Lord, reveal to me what I can do to contribute to the building of your kingdom. Use me to inspire the next generation by exemplifying the lifestyle of Christ. Increase my abilities and cause me to be more effective and creative in all my endeavors. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.



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