Joshua 14:1-5 Whatever my lot, I will give thanks and be content

Joshua 14:1-5  Whatever my lot, I will give thanks and be content

Now these are the territories which the sons of Israel inherited in the land of Canaan, which Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the households of the tribes of the sons of Israel apportioned to them for an inheritance, 2 by the lot of their inheritance, as the Lord commanded through Moses, for the nine tribes and the half- tribe. 3 For Moses had given the inheritance of the two tribes and the half- tribe beyond the Jordan; but he did not give an inheritance to the Levites among them. 4 For the sons of Joseph were two tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim, and they did not give a portion to the Levites in the land, except cities to live in, with their pasture lands for their livestock and for their property. 5 Thus the sons of Israel did just as the Lord had commanded Moses, and they divided the land.

Background

Land division on the Cisjordan (west of Jordan) continued by lot. As the lots were cast, every outcome was determined by God. Thus, the land was divided under God’s purview and all His decisions were just and righteous. Today’s devotion teaches us to be humble and whatever our lot, we must give thanks and be contented.

Observation

After Joshua had confirmed the allotments (for the two and a half-tribes) previously determined by Moses in the Transjordan, it was time for the remaining nine and a half-tribes to receive their inheritances. The Lord had previously commanded Moses that each tribe would receive land proportionate to its population size. This would be done by the casting of lots,

To the larger group you shall increase their inheritance, and to the smaller group you shall diminish their inheritance; each shall be given their inheritance according to those who were numbered of them. But the land shall be divided by lot. They shall receive their inheritance according to the names of the tribes of their fathers. According to the selection by lot, their inheritance shall be divided between the larger and the smaller groups. Numbers 26:54-56

Even as the lot was cast, random probabilities did not determine the tribal location, for the procedure was under God’s purview the entire time. Having said, there were seemingly inequities of land allotment in the final arrangement causing some tensions among tribes. Nevertheless, what was deemed as unfair in the eyes of man was righteous and just in the judgment of God.

Truth

As God is righteous and gracious in all his ways, whatever our lot, we must give thanks and be contented.

It is man’s nature to compare oneself against another. It is part of man’s survival instincts that contributes to a never-ending quest for justice. So much so it becomes incessantly disturbing to the soul that whenever we meet someone new, we instinctively scrutinise and profile him or her as better or worse off than we are. Hypothetically speaking, even if the world is fair, and everyone given a just lot, one may still prefer another’s lot to his own. For example, person may prefer health over wealth, and another giftedness over happiness.

Land distribution under Joshua’s supervision was a classic case of human discontentment. Despite God’s personal involvement in determining the location and boundaries for each tribe, many remained disgruntled over the divine edict. Therefore, the best policy is to give thanks for our lot and be content. Giving thanks is an act of faith on our part in giving God recognition for His righteousness and grace in our lives. The psalmist wrote,

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Psalm 16:5-8 (ESV)

Assets and wealth do not necessarily contribute to abundant living although it is good to possess them. It is being able to live the moment, to enjoy the present, to be content with all that we possess especially the people whom we love and cherish. And whatever my lot, God is my portion and security forever.

We can work to the best of our abilities, but it is God who determines our inheritance.

Although the people of Israel fought long and hard for the territories on both sides of River Jordan, it was God who determined who got what. Hence, we must not think that we are entitled to anything before the time. We must recognise that God is creator and we are mere creatures. And He determines the end from the beginning and does all that He pleases (see Isaiah 46:10). Proverbs 16:33 says concerning God’s overriding influence over our lives: The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord. And even the words of on our tongue are determined by Him (see Proverbs 16:1).

Therefore, the people who think (out of ignorance) that they can take on the world singlehandedly, who suppose human determination as the only variable in the equation to secure his inheritance must think again. Inheritance comes not from our work alone, but more importantly out of a faithful relationship with God. Abraham received his promise of inheritance because He never doubted the words of God and remained humble and faithful to Him.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. Hebrew 11:8

Therefore, we must work as if it all depends on us, and trust as if it all depends on Him.

Application

Are you filled up with angst thinking that world is an unjust place? Are you disgruntled with your salary and your standard of living? God is righteous and gracious, and He will in His time allot to us our due inheritance. Perhaps, we should in humility and faith give thanks for whatever lot we are given.

Dear Lord, I thank you for my family, friends, my church and the job that you have given me. I will remain faithful to the things that you have entrusted to me. Help me to do my part to the best of my ability and bless the work of my hands. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.


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