Joshua chapter 12 is a listing of the kings defeated under Moses’ and Joshua’s leadership. But why take the time to review? It is always good to pause and look back on the victories and blessing in our lives. This helps encourage us during hard times and leads us to be grateful for what we have. The next chapters are also filled with victory because they describe the dividing up of the Promised Land among the tribes. Joshua and the chief priest, Eleazar, divided the land among the tribes. Each tribe, except Levi, was given land to own and maintain and then that land was to be shared among the members of the tribe. Land that belonged in one tribe could be sold or traded to another member of the tribe but could not be sold or traded to another tribe. This way each family was cared for and no one tribe could take control of all the land. The Levites were given cities among all the tribes so that they could be priests and serve as well as be cared for by all the tribes.
This all sounds wonderful! The finally have their land and get to live at rest! Right? Unfortunately there are a few verses here that make us concerned for the future of the Israelites. Joshua 13:13, 15:63, 16:10 and 17:12-13 mention several places in the land that the Israelites did not completely remove the native peoples. They conquered them, but let them stay as slaves. But if they defeated them why is that a problem? Number 1, because God said to remove them, so not doing so is disobedient! Number 2, God told them to remove them for a reason. Even a conquered people among you will influence you with their culture. This is why the Bible cautions about your friends. People around you influence you whether you agree with them or not. We have to be careful who we have around us to influence our ideas and beliefs. The Israelites ran the risk of being pulled away from God by allowing these people to remain among them.
So while these chapters of Joshua bring great joy, they also show that the Israelites aren’t being careful to be completely obedient to God. And when we allow ourselves to start doing things almost right, we are just one step away from doing things that aren’t right at all! Be careful to be completely obedient, so that you don’t fall into the same trap!!
If you have the game Chutes and Ladders play it and point out to your child that one space leads to winning and the next to disaster. We must be careful where we step in life!!
Talk about how half doing a job is as bad as not doing it at all. Take a sink of dishes and only partially wash them. Ask you kids if they want to eat from a “sort of” clean plate. Remind them that partial obedience doesn’t exist. You are either obedient or not!