In our last study, we saw the Canaanite nations gather to fight against Israel in a battle that typified the final battle of history, the battle of Gog and Magog. So there are no more descriptions of battles in Joshua. The Jews must now spread out and “possess their possessions” in Canaan (Obadiah 1:17).
Those possessions included the Canaanites themselves (Isa.14:1,2). Of course, only unsaved men owned slaves in the Bible (Rev.18:13). The servitude that the nations gave Israel was just an example of God’s perfect eye-for-an-eye system of justice, for Gentiles formerly enslaved Jews (Isa. 14:1,2). Plus, Isaiah says that Gentiles will “cleave” to their Jewish masters willingly, and exchange their servitude for the spiritual teaching they will receive from the Jews. Be-sides, it must be okay to possess people, for the Lord possesses you (ICor.6:19,20). He became a servant for you (Phil. 2:5-7), so it’s only right that you become a servant of His.
God planned to “drive” the Canaanites out of the land (Josh.13:6) with hornets (Ex.23:28) little by little (Ex.23:29, 30). Sin messed things up though (Judges 2:20-23)—and it will mess up your life as well if you let it!
God divided the land “by lot” (Josh.13:6) so no one could complain (Pr.18:18), but it wasn’t left to chance (Pr.16:33). God also picked Matthias by lot (Acts 1:26) to someday rule over a tribe in Israel (Mt.19:28). The land will be divided by lot again in the kingdom (Ezek.47:21,22).
The Jews failed to evict two nations (Joshua 13:13), and the Geshurites became a prick and thorn (Num.33:55) to David when he married one, and she gave birth to Abslom (II Sam. 3:2,3), a man who turned out to be a type of the Antichrist.
God gave no land to the Levites (Josh. 13:14) because He
wanted His priests in the tabernacle offering sacrifices, not out farming. They lived on tithes from the other tribes (Num.18:23), and will again in the kingdom (Ezek.44:28).
In Joshua 14:5, God is fixing a problem that came up when He gave no land to Levi. You see, He wanted the land divided into 12 sections, one for each of Israel’s 12 tribes, and if Levi didn’t get a section, that meant the land was divided in-to only 11 sections. The reason God insisted the land be divided into 12 sections was to match how heaven is divided. Revelation 4:1-4 tells of 12 rulers that rule heaven and 12 that rule earth (Deut.32:8)—under God, of course.
To address this problem, God had Jacob tell Joseph that he was adopting his two sons (Gen.48:3), making them equal with his other 11 sons. And that gave God 13 tribes of Israel—at least as far as dividing up the land was concerned, with Levi not getting a tract of land.
Caleb asked for a specific tract of land (Josh.14:6-9). He and Joshua were the only two spies that brought Moses a good report of the land, and Joshua was rewarded by being named leader of Israel, so Caleb wanted a reward for his faithfulness as well. So Caleb is a type of the rewards that faithful Jews will receive at the beginning of the kingdom (Luke 19:17).
But before Joshua agrees to give it to him, for some odd reason, Caleb talks about how old but strong he is (Josh.14: 10,11). That’s because he’s asking for a tract of land where giants lived (12-15). God would ensure he won the fight, but he still had to have the strength to swing the sword!
But his reward is a type of the rewards that Jews will have in the kingdom of heaven on earth. Ruling over “cities” (Rev. 19:17) as a judge (cf.Mt.19:28) is hard work! So is judging angels, which is what we’ll be doing in heaven (ICor.6:3)! So the reward God plans to give us for faithfully serving Him is the opportunity to serve Him faithfully for all eternity.
A video of this sermon is available on YouTube: “Joshua’s Old Age Project” Joshua 13