Joshua 19:1-9 In any circumstances, God has intended restoration and prosperity, not harm

Joshua 19:1-9

Then the second lot fell to Simeon, to the tribe of the sons of Simeon according to their families, and their inheritance was in the midst of the inheritance of the sons of Judah. 2 So they had as their inheritance Beersheba or Sheba and Moladah, 3 and Hazar- shual and Balah and Ezem, 4 and Eltolad and Bethul and Hormah, 5 and Ziklag and Beth- marcaboth and Hazar- susah, 6 and Beth- lebaoth and Sharuhen; thirteen cities with their villages; 7 Ain, Rimmon and Ether and Ashan; four cities with their villages; 8 and all the villages which were around these cities as far as Baalath- beer, Ramah of the Negev. This was the inheritance of the tribe of the sons of Simeon according to their families. 9 The inheritance of the sons of Simeon was taken from the portion of the sons of Judah, for the share of the sons of Judah was too large for them; so the sons of Simeon received an inheritance in the midst of Judah’s inheritance.

Background

Jacob pronounced a curse on the descendants of Simeon and Levi on account of their wicked and treacherous deeds. As we know it, the Simeonite never recovered. They lost their identity, inheritance, most of them died by plagues, and the rest were scattered throughout Israel. On the other hand, the descendants of Levi were elevated to the role of priests of whom the Lord Himself became their inheritance. God had not intended punishment for sins committed to continue indefinitely. He is looking for men and women who would respond to His commandments in repentance and faith. Moses and Phinehas’ obedience and faith towards God’s commands broke the curse over the Levites and restored them to honor and glory.

Observation

Simeon was apportioned inheritances within Judah’s territory. It appeared that no borders were specified in Simeon’s allotment as did other tribes, but instead 17 towns were mentioned as inheritances within Judah’s territory. The hesitant manner in which Simeon’s inheritance was specified: names of towns instead of borders alluded to the eventual scattering of the tribe. The peculiar description of Simeon’s portion: The inheritance of the sons of Simeon was taken from the portion of the sons of Judah, for the share of the sons of Judah was too large for them, did not give due assurance of its permanence either (see figure below).

Screenshot 2016-02-13 13.17.00

As we know it, the Simeon tribe was scattered and many migrated northwards to Ephraim and Manasseh. And it became apparent when the kingdom was divided into two following Solomon’s reign: 10 tribes in the north and 2 tribes in the south (Judah and Benjamin). Simeon’s identity as a tribe faded into oblivion as her territory was eventually absorbed into Judah. Simeon’s fate in oblivion was attributed to Jacob’s prophecy concerning Simeon and Levi,

Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce,
and their wrath, for it is cruel!
I will divide them in Jacob
and scatter them in Israel. Genesis 49:7

Jacob’s prophecy was tied to a past event of violence and perversion of the seal of circumcision to exact revenge on the Shechemites. The Shechemites violated Dinah (the sister of Simeon and Levi), and Simeon and Levi agreed to put the matter to rest should the Shechemites agree to be circumcised as a seal of peace and repentance (see Genesis 34). Subsequently, Simeon and Levi led the slaughter of the entire Shechemite city when they were still recovering from their circumcision. On account of their treachery and sin, their descendants would be scattered throughout Israel.

Truth

In any circumstances, God has intended restoration and prosperity, not harm.

Jacob’s prophecy concerning Simeon was in every sense self-fulfilling because they did not deviate from the wickedness and idolatry of their progenitor. Hence, the Simeonite population dwindled from 59,300 to 22,200 at the close of their desert wanderings. As we know it, the Simeonites lost their earthly and heavenly inheritances because they did not repent from the sins of their ancestors.

Levi, even though joined with his brother Simeon in Jacob’s prophecy, were instead rewarded and chosen as priests (see Numbers 3:5-13). And Levi’s curse was effectively overturned and nullified. The Levites’ restoration proved that God had never intended for Jacob’s curse to perpetuate. Moses, a descendant of Levi, in refusing to resign himself to the curse of the patriarch, resurrected like a phoenix out of the ashes of oblivion. He was defiant against the power of the curse refusing to accept the pulse of failure that resonated through the tribal bloodline. By responding to God’s call to deliver Israel from slavery in Egypt, he forever altered the fate of his tribe.

Phinehas, a Levite stopped the plague when he impaled Zimri and a Midianite woman with a spear. Because Phinehas was zealous for God and in protecting Israel from sin. God said, “Behold, I give him My covenant of peace; and it shall be for him and his descendants after him, a covenant of a perpetual priesthood, because he was jealous for his God and made atonement for the sons of Israel.” Numbers 25:12-13. My covenant of peace represents God’s exoneration of the Levites from the curse of Jacob. 

In honor of Moses and Phinehas’ obedience, the Levites were honoured and rewarded with the inheritance not of land, but of God Himself.

The different destinies of Simeon and Levi showed that grace is greater than the curse of sin. Most importantly, it showed every man a free agent, free to subject himself to the curse of the forefathers or the grace of God. However, many choose to fight by their own moral strength, determined to be styled as self-made men. Yet some choose to “depend” on God to fight their battles without doing anything for themselves. Yet a few choose to believe in God while working diligently and obeying all that God has commanded.

It is through faith and obedience that we transcend our own circumstances and the fortresses of misfortune. You could be trapped in your peculiar circumstances of sickness, poverty or familial disharmony. If you will depend on God’s grace and do His will one day at a time, you will at His appointed day walk out of the backwoods and into the abundance of His blessing. Let every cell and fibre in our body hang onto the true and unadulterated promises of God. The apostle Paul said concerning the surety of God’s promises,

For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us. 2 Corinthians 1:20

Therefore, let us leave the mindset of pessimism which is the seat of failure but rejoice continually in the promises of God. For it is impossible for God to lie.

Through the faith and perseverance of one man – Moses, the tribe of Levi was rewarded with the inheritance that is far more superior than land, which is God Himself. Through your faith and perseverance, both you and your family and your community will be lifted out of the realm of misfortune and into the abundance of God.

Application

Are you emptied of enthusiasm and feelings of faith? God is not bias. For He has intended for every men and women to be successful and to live in abundance. By anchoring your thoughts upon God’s unchanging promises, we lift our spirits out of pessimism. As God’s promises resonates in our heart, we will slowly feel peace, hope and enthusiasm returning. Affirm God’s promises to yourself by praising His faithfulness and power to fulfill all that He promised. By helping and serving others while we are still in need, we affirm the eventual fulfillment of God’s promises for ourselves.

Dear Lord, I thank you for ordaining my future for restoration and prosperity, not harm. Even though I feel down and out, my spirit is fastened on your promises. As I open my heart, fill me with your Spirit of peace and hope. I praise you for your promises concerning me is true and will be realised in your appointed time. Use me to be an inspiration and instrument to encourage those who are in their peculiar circumstances. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.


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