We’re talking about inheritance today. Have you ever thought about inheritance? Pastor Sean mentioned this past week of a friend’s story of becoming the executor for his dad’s estate and he said, “It was the worst punishment his father ever gave him” because of the drama and conflict it caused him in the family. Back in 2006 James Brown, “the Godfather of Soul,” died leaving behind an inheritance of approximately $100 million. Brown specified in his will that he wanted his inheritance to be divided between two trusts: one for the education of his grandchildren and one for the education of needy children in Georgia and South Carolina. According to the New York Post, Brown’s will stated that if he failed to provide for any relatives, “such failure is intentional and not occasioned by accident or mistake.” Despite this, Brown’s wife and children challenged the will in 2009 and won half of his inheritance in court.
An inheritance is often a window into people’s souls. Both for the wealth creator and the heirs. James Brown left nothing for his wife and children. Look into that window of broken relationships and revenge. We can also look into the window of people’s souls and see what they worship – going to war against those they love for money, a house, or possessions. The satanic gods of greed, materialism, envy, and jealousy grow in power and rule over inheritances. In Luke 12:13, two brothers approached Jesus and one of them said, “My brother is being unfair with the inheritance.” Jesus’ response was hilarious, “Man, who appointed me as the arbitrator between you?” Even Jesus, The Son of God, didn’t want to get into the middle of that.
Today we see Israel finally get the inheritance of land promised many centuries earlier.
We are going to attempt to cover chapters 13-19. We’re going to split these chapters up into 2 messages and I’m going to skip over obvious sections and hit them next week.
To understand the inheritance you have to understand the genealogy. Now there are some sordid stories of multiple wives, concubines, and lots of children, but for the sake of time, we’re going to focus on where the 12 tribes started. So let’s start at the top. Abram/Abraham & Sarah are the founding patriarchs of the nation of Israel. So Abraham and Sarah have one son: Isaac who married a gal named Rebekah and they have the famous two boys Jacob and Esau. The family line goes through Jacob. Now God changed Jacob’s name to Israel, he had two wives and two concubines and from these four women he had 12 sons….The twelve tribes of Israel. This is where the tribes come from. Right here. 1. Reuben 2. Simeon 3. Levi 4. Judah 5. Dan 6. Naphtali 7. Gad 8. Asher 9. Issachar 10. Zebulun 11. Joseph 12. Benjamin. But the problem is when we read Joshua 13-19 and count the territories on the map there are twelve territories plus one tribe that doesn’t get land. So we have 12 territories but 13 tribes.
True confessions, I was completely lost. I spent an hour trying to figure this out. To understand Joshua 13-19 we have to go back to when the Jacob divided up the inheritance in Genesis 49. In Genesis 49, it’s Jacob’s/Israel’s last words to his sons. Everyone is gathered to hear Jacob dole out the inheritance and blessing. You should read it sometime. It’s awful. It really is. Half of his sons needed counseling after Jacob was finished. Jacob skips the three oldest boys because of some “rated X” things they did (sorry but it’s a “family service this morning”) and gives the firstborn’s birthright to Judah the 4th oldest son. From Judah’s line, the kings will come and eventually Jesus the eternal king. To amp things up there was a secret pre-meeting in chapter 48 between Jacob/Israel and Joseph (son #11) and Joseph’s two sons Manasseh and Ephraim. Read chapter 48:5-6. Here’s where they get the land. Right here. Joseph’s sons, Jacob’s grandsons, are each given an equal share of the territories. Effectively Joseph gets a double portion. More than any other of the 11 sons. That’s how we get 12 territories. Can anyone say, “Holy Inheritance Issues.”
It’s also important to read through Genesis 49 because what Israel said to each of his 11 sons seems to play out in the size of the territories. Jacob/Israel said Levi’s and Simeon’s inheritance was to be divided and scattered. Israel blessed Joseph far beyond any of the other sons. Just look at the map and you’ll see Joseph’s inheritance through his two boys. That is the crash course in Israelite inheritance.
Joshua Chapter 13:
As we start into chapter 13, the text starts with the 2 ½ tribes that are east of the Jordan river. Verse 8 of chapter 13 is about these 2 ½ tribes. Chapter 8, verse 13 is the full boundaries of these 2 ½ tribes and rather than read all of the boundaries, I think it’s more effective to just see the boundaries up on the screen. In verse 15, it specifies the boundaries of Reuben and cities, and it lists the people they fought. Of particular note is verse 22. Balaam – this is the guy who’s donkey spoke – practiced divination – talking to the dead – which in reality are demons. But despite God landing on him, he never did choose God. (Numbers 22) This was about 3 months before they crossed the Jordan. Verses 24-28 starts the territory for Gad. Verses 29-31 is the territory for the ½ tribe of Manasseh.
Joshua Chapter 14:1-5:
But where it gets interesting is in chapter 14:1-5. Uhhhh, anyone catch the mess? Why did 9 ½ of the tribes have to draw lots, but Moses gave the other 2 ½ tribes their inheritance? Sound fishy? Yeeepp. Flashback about seven years and right before they crossed the Jordan the nation fought 2 kings and destroyed them. That land is what you now see as the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and ½ tribe of Manessah led by a guy named Machir. Numbers 32 says, “Now the people of Reuben and the people of Gad had a very great number of livestock. And they saw the land of Jazer and the land of Gilead, and behold, the place was a place for livestock.” They had a lot of nerve. They didn’t want to wait but cut to the front of the line thinking only of themselves and asked Moses for these territories. Moses gave it to them on the promise that they must keep fighting for the rest of the nation until they were done. The Bible is silent on whether this was evil or not. But it is revealing that rather than wait and trust the drawing of lots by God to determine the territory they should inherit, they made their own grasp. They wanted what they wanted now and were not willing to wait or to trust God.
As Christians we are promised an inheritance. You ever think about it? Did you know that when Jesus lived He promised us an inheritance. He is, in financial terms, The Wealth Creator. He had a lot to say about this inheritance personally and then through the apostles in the rest of the New Testament. As we move through this passage, there are some things that we need to know about the inheritance that Christ has promised us. The first thing we all need to know is that our Heavenly Father is fair. He’s not like a human father or like Jacob/Israel. He’s fair. No favorites. No last minute changes. He always does what is right. He never wrongs a person. And people won’t be able to push to the front of the line or take what is rightfully ours. And more than that, Ephesians 5:5 says, “For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person — such a man is an idolater — has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” This inheritance Christ promises us is free of all the drama and anything unfair.
Joshua Chapter 14:6-12:
Caleb: The rest of chapter 14 is interesting because Caleb also requests land. Now there’s some great themes in this passage that we’ll hit next week. I want to stay focused on the inheritance. There is a difference between the 2 ½ tribes who claimed their share first and Caleb. Caleb was promised his land because he followed the Lord when everyone else was too scared to take the Promise Land. God promised him the very ground he walked on as a spy 45 years earlier. Joshua held on to that promise. He never forgot that promise. And he held God to His promise. There’s a conviction in Joshua. A gritty belief in the inheritance promised him.
Chapter 15 is entirely dedicated to Judah’s territories. There is another cool story about Caleb in there but, again we’ll wait till next week to hit it.
Chapter 16 is about Joseph’s two sons. Ephraim and Manasseh. Do you remember the blessing of Joseph’s father Israel? Here we see his two sons get an equal share of the territories. What’s interesting is that the 11 other tribes didn’t sue to change the inheritance. If you look back in Genesis 49, Jacob/Israel invoked the Lord’s name specifically over this inheritance of Joshua’s two sons. Meaning there was no statute of limitations. No one could sue and change the terms. Time does not matter when it comes to an inheritance from God. When you read this there is an assurance that comes knowing when the Lord is in the inheritance it will happen.
The next tribe was Manasseh. Half of the tribe had already received their inheritance on the east side of the Jordan. So this is the other half. Apparently though this one family of Machir, the first born of Manasseh, was one big family because they were in both halves. They were known for being warriors. Suffice it to say you want the Machir family next to you when things got rough. In verses 3-4, a twist in the story occurs. These five sisters had no father or brothers. Back in Numbers 27 these sisters had come up to Moses right before they started conquering the land and told him that their father died in the wilderness and he had no sons. They posed this question, “Why should we lose our father’s inheritance just because we’re women?” Moses said, “Great question. I have no answer.” Moses asked God and God said, “Those daughters are right. Give them their land.” God went on to make it a law that if there were no sons it went to the daughter. So these five daughters walked away with their full inheritance. The rest of the chapter is the settling of the land and another story we’ll skip.
The rule is by grace through faith in Christ:
The cool thing about the inheritance we have from Christ is that it defies culture. Did you realize that their blood and genealogy doesn’t matter. Jew or Gentile. Male or female doesn’t matter. What country you were born in. Whatever labels this world may put on you. Poor. Reject. Prison. Divorced. Dropout. The good son. Successful. Charming. I just doesn’t matter. The rule of our inheritance is by grace through faith in Christ. That’s the stipulation of the inheritance. You know Trump claims he is a Christian but he said something quite revealing a couple of weeks ago: “I have never asked God for forgiveness.” By definition according to Christ himself, Trump is not a Christian. The only way into this inheritance is to confess we are sinful and need the forgiveness of Christ. If you have confessed you are sinful and need Christ’s salvation, you are a Christian and are entitled to the entire inheritance promised. Whether it was done on the last day of your life or when you were a child. That’s the Rule. That’s the law of the New Covenant.
In chapter 18, the nation’s religious and political center became Shiloh. What the text doesn’t say is that the Tabernacle and Ark of the Covenant was moved here. At this point there were still seven tribes who hadn’t received their land. Look at verses 2-6. Pretty smart plan. Seven groups of three guys go and survey the land together and then come back with how they would divide up the land and then they draw straws. It’s brilliant really because nobody knows who is going to get what. And what follows in chapter 18-19 is how God divided up the lots. Benjamin got this territory.
This chapter continues with the distribution. A couple of points of interest in verse 1. Simeon’s inheritance was in the midst of Judah. It says it again in verse 9. Remember way back to the 12 boys and Israel the father what he said to Simeon? His tribe would be dispersed in Israel. Simeon didn’t get their own territory, but instead they just carved out a space in the middle of Judah fulfilling Jacob/Israel’s words. Then Zebulun starting in verse 10, Issachar starting in verse 17, Asher verse 24, Naphtali in verse 32, and Dan in verse 40. All pretty straightforward except for a battle story.
And then we come to verse 49-50 which is Joshua and we’re going to touch on that next week.
That’s it. 600 plus years of waiting for this day. They all get the land. The inheritance. To finally be home must have been incredible. To finally be in the land. But the problem like every inheritance on this planet is that the land was still not conquered. There were still problems. In that way it must have been a let down. It solved all kinds of problems but created a whole new set of problems.
The inheritance as Christians is not like this. It solves every problem. It ends every let down. In, Ephesians 1:13-14, God says to us, “Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession — to the praise of his glory.” The Holy Spirit in us says, “I guarantee it. You just got your deposit but wait till you get the full thing.” He keeps whispering to us. It’s coming. It’s coming. It’s worth it. The wait is worth it!
What Is Our Inheritance?
-It can never perish, spoil, or fade.
-Kept in heaven by Christ himself
-Christ is in Heaven preparing our inheritance
-New heavenly bodies – THIS INHERITANCE IS WORTH IT
No sorrow, no loss, no pain: No more struggle. Can you imagine an inheritance where we don’t wake up facing the demons, the sin struggles, the fallout of our sin, the fallout of other people’s sins. That is our inheritance! It’s worth it. Don’t sell it off! To have an inheritance of this eternal life where our bodies work right? Our emotions work right? There is no such thing as chemical imbalance. There are no wounds from our past or even conversations of how to get over our past? That’s our inheritance and The Holy Spirit says to us, “Don’t trade it away!” Can you imagine nothing holding you back from being everything Christ created you to be? That’s the Inheritance we have! There is no shadow of darkness. Not even a hint of it. That’s our inheritance! Don’t let it dim! And nobody will take yours away. Nobody can steal or jump in front. It’s yours. This inheritance is good. In fact, take your best experience. Take your best moment. And Christ promises this inheritance will blow that out of the sky. It’s better and higher than anything in this life. That’s the inheritance. Face to Face with Christ!
Ephesians 1:18 “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.”