Joshua 15:1-12 To whom much is given, much is also required
Now the lot for the tribe of the sons of Judah according to their families reached the border of Edom, southward to the wilderness of Zin at the extreme south. 2 Their south border was from the lower end of the Salt Sea, from the bay that turns to the south. 3 Then it proceeded southward to the ascent of Akrabbim and continued to Zin, then went up by the south of Kadesh- barnea and continued to Hezron, and went up to Addar and turned about to Karka. 4 It continued to Azmon and proceeded to the brook of Egypt, and the border ended at the sea. This shall be your south border. 5 The east border was the Salt Sea, as far as the mouth of the Jordan. And the border of the north side was from the bay of the sea at the mouth of the Jordan. 6 Then the border went up to Beth- hoglah, and continued on the north of Beth- arabah, and the border went up to the stone of Bohan the son of Reuben. 7 The border went up to Debir from the valley of Achor, and turned northward toward Gilgal which is opposite the ascent of Adummim, which is on the south of the valley; and the border continued to the waters of En- shemesh and it ended at En- rogel. 8 Then the border went up the valley of Ben- hinnom to the slope of the Jebusite on the south (that is, Jerusalem); and the border went up to the top of the mountain which is before the valley of Hinnom to the west, which is at the end of the valley of Rephaim toward the north. 9 From the top of the mountain the border curved to the spring of the waters of Nephtoah and proceeded to the cities of Mount Ephron, then the border curved to Baalah (that is, Kiriath- jearim). 10 The border turned about from Baalah westward to Mount Seir, and continued to the slope of Mount Jearim on the north (that is, Chesalon), and went down to Beth- shemesh and continued through Timnah. 11 The border proceeded to the side of Ekron northward. Then the border curved to Shikkeron and continued to Mount Baalah and proceeded to Jabneel, and the border ended at the sea. 12 The west border was at the Great Sea, even its coastline. This is the border around the sons of Judah according to their families.
Judah was given the lion’s share of land, and portions that were most fertile. However, to whom much is given, much is also required of them. As Judah was endowed with strong leaders and rich resources, they were geographically placed to shield the other tribes from the enemies. Today’s devotion teaches believers not to be enslaved by wealth and its pleasures knowing that all will be judged for our faithfulness in being stewards of God’s resources. Believers are also to see responsibilities (in the family, workplace or church) as a sign of God’s favor and not to despise them.
Having granted Caleb’s request for his choice inheritance, Joshua proceeded to divide Cisjordan (Canaan west of River Jordan) among the remaining nine and a-half tribes. Judah was the first to be apportioned land. Considered as the largest tribe, her land portion exceeded all other tribes. It was remarkable that through the superintending providence of God, we can see Jacob’s prophecy concerning Judah fulfilled in every detail.
“Judah, your brothers shall praise you;
Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies;
Your father’s sons shall bow down to you.
9 “Judah is a lion’s whelp;
From the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He couches, he lies down as a lion,
And as a lion, who dares rouse him up?
10 “ The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
Until Shiloh comes,
And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples. Genesis 49:8-10
In his prophecy, Jacob declared Judah’s dominance over his enemies and his brothers: Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; Your father’s sons shall bow down to you. Judah was ordained as the lion that commands supremacy over all peoples. The scepter, the ruler’s staff are symbols of authority that will remain with Judah. In other words, a descendant of Judah will always be a leader of all peoples. At the same time, the ordination of dominance and supremacy comes with the task of protecting his brothers. Judah was strategically placed to confront Israel’s enemies on all sides: Moabites from the east, Edomites from the south, Amalekites to the southwest, and Philistines to the west (see map).
11 “ He ties his foal to the vine,
And his donkey’s colt to the choice vine;
He washes his garments in wine,
And his robes in the blood of grapes.
12 “His eyes are dull from wine,
And his teeth white from milk. Genesis 49:8-12
Jacob prophesied that Judah’s portion was especially suited to the planting of vineyards. In fact, it was from the valley of Eshol (north of Hebron) that the spies retrieved the gigantic cluster of grapes.
To whom much is given, much is also required.
Most people think that the riches of the earth carry no other purposes except for the pleasure of the possessor. They consider themselves as privileged having the wealth at their full and just disposal. In no way do they see themselves as stewards of God’s resources purposed to bring sustenance to the hungry. Hence, they reject the call to serve and reach out to the community. They see the rich and the poor, each as recipients of their respective lot; a sequel of God’s divine arrangement. However, God has sovereignly planted the weak and the poor as catalysts to cultivate the spirit of empathy and compassion in the society. Jesus taught that the day will come when all will be judged: From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more. Luke 12:48. Therefore, each person must consider the lot he is given and understand his role before God.
In terms of human talent and natural resources, much was given to the tribe of Judah. As we know it, both king David and the Messiah were descendants of Judah. Their lands were also fertile ground for vineyards and wine production. However, much was also required of the tribe as Judah was strategically located to shield other tribes from the brunt of the enemies. To whom much is given, much is also required of them. Therefore, those of us who are endowed with greater abilities must avail ourselves for the benefit of the weak. And those who possess much must always remember the poor.
Each person must not be fixated with the gathering of wealth or the enjoyment of it. Instead, he must invest himself fully to the call of being a blessing to the world. Those who are more capable must not despise the call to care for the marginalised. On that day, all believers will be judged, not for sins committed, but for their faithfulness in being stewards of God’s resources. Believers must remember the vision of the kingdom and not be entangled by the pleasures and the cares of life.
Make a list of your strengths and resources at hand. Ask God how He wants you to use your time and resources for the benefit of the community. God is calling you today to fulfill your role as a steward of His resources, not only in tithes and offerings but in serving the community. And when the time of judgment comes, you will be richly rewarded for your faithfulness.
Are you shouldering relatively more responsibilities than others? Are you harboring a sense of injustice thinking that others should do more? God has perhaps given you greater talents and is using you as a blessing to your community. As you do all for God and not for men, He will entrust greater authority and resources to you. The apostle Paul said,
Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. Colossians 3:23-24
Dear Lord, I thank you for the talents and resources that you have given me. Help me to maximise what is entrusted to me for the benefit of others. I ask you for greater wisdom, revelations of your truth and authority to serve the people. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.