Joshua 13:8-14 By helping others find their calling, we fulfill our own
With the other half- tribe, the Reubenites and the Gadites received their inheritance which Moses gave them beyond the Jordan to the east, just as Moses the servant of the Lord gave to them; 9 from Aroer, which is on the edge of the valley of the Arnon, with the city which is in the middle of the valley, and all the plain of Medeba, as far as Dibon; 10 and all the cities of Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon, as far as the border of the sons of Ammon; 11 and Gilead, and the territory of the Geshurites and Maacathites, and all Mount Hermon, and all Bashan as far as Salecah; 12 all the kingdom of Og in Bashan, who reigned in Ashtaroth and in Edrei (he alone was left of the remnant of the Rephaim); for Moses struck them and dispossessed them. 13 But the sons of Israel did not dispossess the Geshurites or the Maacathites; for Geshur and Maacath live among Israel until this day. 14 Only to the tribe of Levi he did not give an inheritance; the offerings by fire to the Lord, the God of Israel, are their inheritance, as He spoke to him.
The two and a half tribes of Israel, having fulfilled their obligation to fight alongside their brothers now returned to their inheritances in the Transjordan land east of River Jordan. Today’s devotion teaches us the importance of helping one another fulfill the call thus establishing God’s kingdom. No single believer holds the key to his own calling and the kingdom of God; each is just one piece of the puzzle destined to find his place among the thousands and millions of other pieces. By helping others find their calling, we fulfill our own.
With the other half- tribe, the Reubenites and the Gadites received their inheritance…
After apportioning the land on the west side of the River Jordan, Joshua turned his attention to the east side of the Jordan. As the two and a half tribes (Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh) had already received their inheritances through Moses before they crossed River Jordan, Joshua was called on to confirm what Moses had already done. The two and a half tribes were anxious to settle in the rich fertile lands of Transjordan but they must first fight alongside with the other tribes to possess Cisjordan lands on the west side of River Jordan. Now, that the nine and a half-tribes were allotted their land proper, the two and a half tribes could now return to their land east of River Jordan.
A similar survey of the (Transjordan) area east of River Jordan revealed territories yet possessed by Israel: Geshur and Maacah (see the below map). Similarly, God assured them that He would drive out the inhabitants. Nevertheless, God’s assurances presuppose Israel’s readiness to carry out God’s instructions in expelling the inhabitants.
What happened seven years before?
The return of the two and a half tribes to Transjordan lands east side of River Jordan were reminiscent of a near disaster that happened seven years before. When Moses and the people of Reuben and Gad having seen the rich pastures of the east side of River Jordan selfishly said to Moses, “If we have found favor in your sight, let this land be given to your servants for a possession. Do not take us across the Jordan.” (Numbers 32:5). Moses replied, “Shall your brothers go to the war while you sit here? Why will you discourage the heart of the people of Israel from going over into the land that the Lord has given them.” (Numbers 32:6-7). Moses reminded them of how the Israelites first came to the edge of Canaan where they were discouraged by the reports of the spies and disobeyed God. Consequently, God’s anger was kindled and He prevented them from entering the land: And the Lord’s anger was kindled on that day, and he swore, saying, “Surely none of the men who came up out of Egypt, from twenty years old and upward, shall see the land that I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” (Numbers 32:10-11). As we know it, the Israelites wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation that had done evil in the sight of the Lord was gone. (Numbers 32:13).
Moses warned the younger generation never to repeat the mistake of their fathers who sowed discord and discouragement by their selfish ways. Moses condemned their attitude, “…you have sinned against the Lord, and be sure your sin will find you out.” (Numbers 32:23). The people of Reuben and Gad repented and agreed to cross the River Jordan and fight alongside their brothers. Seven years later, they returned to the Transjordan lands east side of River Jordan having fulfilled their promise to help each tribe gain their inheritances.
When believers help others find their calling, they fulfill their own. The two and a half-tribes fought alongside their brothers in order to help them possess their earthly inheritances. In the same way, believers today have an obligation to help one another fulfill their calling and ministry. Thus, by not helping another obtain their inheritances, we commit the sin of selfishness and forfeit our own inheritances. The inheritances of the old covenant is land, but inheritances promised in the new covenant is heavenly and eternal. Therefore, the principles that enabled the Israelites to obtain their inheritances during the days of Joshua is applicable in our world today.
Some believers suppose that by being a missionary and going off to some obscure places, they are building for themselves a stairway towards eternal glory in heaven. Many of such have silo mentalities when it comes to fulfilling their call. They think that working alongside others slows them down; whatever they do must result in a direct contribution to their own ministry. Hence, their vision is to largely to benefit their organization as opposed to God’s kingdom. Unfortunately, these people with silo mentalities function more as inhibitors than enablers in the kingdom of God.
It is God’s universal design that by helping our fellow brothers fulfill their ministry, we are in fact helping ourselves. No single person at any time holds the key to God’s salvation plan in the community or the nation. Each believer is given certain unique talents, and placed in an opportune time and place. He is just one piece of the puzzle destined to find his place among the thousands and millions of other pieces. Therefore, believers must do all to serve as enablers for one another. In the canvas of God’s salvation plan, every believer need to find his portion and help others find theirs.
Are you actively involved in helping others grow and find their role in the community? Perhaps, one way is to be involved in the cell group and fellowship ministry of your church. In doing so, you build meaningful relationships that are edifying and enabling. Be involved in enabling the young by helping them with their school work and Sunday School classes.
Dear Lord, I desire to build meaningful relationships that edify and enable one another towards fulfilling our potential. Lead me towards a community that teaches truth and walks in it. Use me to mentor younger Christians and help them to fulfill their calling and obtain their inheritances. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.