Read Joshua 15
Allotment for Judah
1 The allotment for the tribe of Judah, according to its clans, extended down to the territory of Edom, to the Desert of Zin in the extreme south.
At first glance, this chapter looks like a daunting one. Another list of names you most likely will butcher and cities that have very little geographical significance for you as you read this passage on your couch (or wherever you are). On the contrary, there is so much for us to glean from this text.
This chapter deals with the actual division of the land of Canaan. Judah, as we have seen, was first by right of Jacob’s blessing. Here we have an outline of the borders of Judah’s territory, an account of Caleb’s occupation of Hebron and Debir, and an exhaustive list of the cities awarded to Judah. It’s also important to recall what happened just before this reading. Caleb (85 years young) continued to press forward and charge the mountain of his enemies (Joshua 14:6-12). Neither Joshua nor Caleb sat back and relaxed. No, these men traded retirement for restructuring. May we strive to have this tenacity as well! Caleb is a man worth emulating, from chasing out giants (v. 14) to giving blessings and streams amidst the desert (v. 19).
However, not all of the people shared this tenacity. According to the author, the Jebusites “could not” be driven out of the land of Jerusalem. This begs the questions, “Why were they unable to drive out the Jebusites? Did not God say the land was theirs and that He would be with them?” It would seem that it was not so much a could not scenario but a would not. It would take the people of God many, many years to conquer Jerusalem. Not until 2 Samuel 5 when King David comes to power!
So, after reading Joshua 15, we have a decision to make: We can choose to retire or restructure our culture. We can sit back and be could not people or have the heart of Caleb with a can do spirit. We can look at the opportunities all around us and push back darkness for the sake of the Kingdom. May we be a people who charge mountains and chase giants according to the will of God!
- Read Gen. 49:9-10. How does this passage illuminate this allotment of land to Judah? How might this prophecy have been fulfilled by Jesus?
- What promises has God given you that you result in confidence such as Caleb?
- The chapter ends with the people saying they “could not” take Jerusalem. Now, recall Numbers 13 where 10 of the spies return with negative news. With these stories in mind, what lies/negativity are you allowing to overshadow God’s future for you?
Did You Know?
The “Valley of Achor” in verse 7 literally means the “Valley of Trouble” and is named after Achan who is buried there in Joshua 7. Even more beautiful is that the book of Hosea says that God will transform this “Valley of Trouble” into a “door of hope” for the people of Israel (Hosea 2:14-15). God promises to transform the trouble of the past into a triumphant future!