Dividing the Land - Part Four
THEME: God’s Faithfulness and Ours
This week’s lessons teach us about God’s faithfulness in settling each of Israel’s tribes in their territories, and what our response needs to be toward his directing of our lives.
In the previous studies when we were looking at the battles in the south and the north, we took time to look at some of the great characteristics of Joshua. This is certainly a point where we can look at his character and say that if anything characterized this man in a complimentary way, it was certainly his faithfulness in duty to the very end. Even at his advanced age, Joshua was carrying out the duty God had assigned him. Here was a man who was given a task to do, and he did it. He kept at it year after year. He didn't take his hands off and retire to his city until the task that had been assigned to him was completed.
And yet, even though Joshua was faithful to the end, you find here that in a certain sense from this point on, the responsibilities of the people were just beginning because he was dispatching them to their various tribal territories to the north, east, and south. What they had to do now was subdue those territories as Joshua had originally subdued the land. There’s a great principle there for us. Sometimes when by the grace of God we have strong leadership in the Christian church, there’s a tendency for other people to sit back and say, "Well, look at the leader there. He’ll do it. He’ll take care of it.” And we think that we don’t have anything to do. And yet, that isn't the case. That is never the case.
You remember, I’m sure, the parables our Lord told about the talents. Before the owner of the land went away, he gave a different number of talents to each of those servants he left behind. He told each of them to put the talents to work while he is gone. When he returned there was an accounting to see what they did. What we see from this is that in God’s administration of His church there are some people who are given greater responsibility than others. And there are some who have gifts that make them more prominent than others. But the point of these parables is not that those who have the most number of talents are responsible for doing the work, while the others have no responsibilities at all. On the contrary, each one is responsible to use the talent that he or she has been given.
So it is in the book of Joshua. Joshua was certainly the great general. He’s the one who led the campaign. But, you see, now the people had the responsibility to enter in and take those possessions that had been given to them. Christians are also responsible to take possession of those God has given. Commentators point out that because we belong to Christ, we have all the riches of our inheritance in Christ Jesus already. The New Testament says so. And yet to look at many of us, we would seem to be quite poor in the possession of our possessions. We have them, but we don't actually possess them in the sense of being able to use them and actually rejoice in what we’re given. We have been given the knowledge of God in the pages of Scripture; yet many of us don't know it very well. We ought to strive to possess that knowledge.
- Even after the completion of the division of the land, what still remained for the people to do?
- What important principle of the Christian life does Dr. Boice draw out for us from Jesus’ parable of the talents?
From the lesson, it was observed that God is revealed to us in Scripture; yet many Christians do not know their Bibles very well. Why is that? What can individuals do to change that? What can churches do to help its people become better students of God’s Word?