The greeting. Grace, peace, and mercy to you Beloved in the name above all names, the name at which every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is the Christ and the Lord. (Phil.2:1-11, Acts 4:10-18, Heb.4:14-16)
The Scripture. Today we are concluding our worship of God on the Lord’s Day by feeding on His word. Tonight, we will look at Joshua chapter fourteen. Let me begin to read at verse one, hear the holy word of God – read.
Receiving our inheritance – The divine allotment of inheritance. Joshua 14:1. Now these are the territories which the sons of Israel inherited in the land of Canaan, which Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the households of the tribes of the sons of Israel apportioned to them for an inheritance, 2 by the lot of their inheritance, as the LORD commanded through Moses, for the nine tribes and the half-tribe. 3 For Moses had given the inheritance of the two tribes and the half-tribe beyond the Jordan; but he did not give an inheritance to the Levites among them. 4 For the sons of Joseph were two tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim, and they did not give a portion to the Levites in the land, except cities to live in, with their pasture lands for their livestock and for their property. 5 Thus the sons of Israel did just as the LORD had commanded Moses, and they divided the land.
An individual example – The personal request of inheritance. Joshua 14:6. Then the sons of Judah drew near to Joshua in Gilgal, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, “You know the word which the LORD spoke to Moses the man of God concerning you and me in Kadesh-barnea. 7 “I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh-barnea to spy out the land, and I brought word back to him as it was in my heart. 8 “Nevertheless my brethren who went up with me made the heart of the people melt with fear; but I followed the LORD my God fully. 9 “So Moses swore on that day, saying, ‘Surely the land on which your foot has trodden will be an inheritance to you and to your children forever, because you have followed the LORD my God fully.’ 10 “Now behold, the LORD has let me live, just as He spoke, these forty-five years, from the time that the LORD spoke this word to Moses, when Israel walked in the wilderness; and now behold, I am eighty-five years old today. 11 “I am still as strong today as I was in the day Moses sent me; as my strength was then, so my strength is now, for war and for going out and coming in. 12 “Now then, give me this hill country about which the LORD spoke on that day, for you heard on that day that Anakim were there, with great fortified cities; perhaps the LORD will be with me, and I will drive them out as the LORD has spoken.” 13 So Joshua blessed him and gave Hebron to Caleb the son of Jephunneh for an inheritance. 14 Therefore, Hebron became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite until this day, because he followed the LORD God of Israel fully. 15 Now the name of Hebron was formerly Kiriath-arba; for Arba was the greatest man among the Anakim. Then the land had rest from war.
The prayer. As always let’s go to God in prayer as we seek to worship Him in His word. After all He inspired this word by His Spirit. And He renewed or regenerated us by the same Holy Spirit who resides within us as our indwelling Counselor. So, let’s ask Him to help us – pray.
The doctrine of inheritance. Once again God has recorded more information about His people receiving their portion of the Promised Land by lots or by His divine allotment. And God calls this their inheritance.
Please notice that God does tell us that this is the main teaching of the chapter, see how He says “inheritance” seven times in these fifteen verses. (Joshua 14:1, 2, 3 (twice), 9, 13,14)
The division of the passage. There are two sections to our text. First, in verses 1-5, we have the actual receiving of our inheritance by divine allotment. Then in verses 6-15 we have an individual example of one man receiving his inheritance. In this case Caleb.
God wants His people to live their life upon the earth – thinking about our future inheritance. (Eph.1:11-18, Col.3:23-24, Rom.8:17)
I want to unpack the truth of our inheritance today.
The word of the Lord – cloudy to clear. Remember, the apostle Paul in the New Testament tells us that these things in the Old Testament are also recorded for the instruction of the New Testament saints. (Rom.15:4-5, I Cor.10:11)
So, we should not disregard the two thirds of the Bible known as the Old Testament.
But when we examine the Old Testament let’s acknowledge a few truths about the nature of the Scripture. All of the Bible is inspired revelation. But the Bible is also progressive revelation. And what that means is that God often presents a truth earlier in the Bible in a shadowy way. And as you move through the Bible, which is redemptive revelation, that truth becomes clearer.
So, the Old Testament was the time of infancy for the people of God. And as such He often spoke to them in a shadowy and symbolical way. We live in the epoch of the newer and better administration of the covenant of grace. We exist in the time of the church’s maturity.
What this means for us is that we can now read the shadowy truths through the lenses of the substance of Christ. That is to say, we can now see the clear Christological import of these passages on inheritance in the Promised Land.
What this means for this passage is that this earthly Promised Land is typological of the real heavenly Promised Land that we have in Christ Jesus. Read Hebrews chapter eleven.
So today I want to look at this passage in a thematic way, our inheritance that we have in Christ. And what are some things we learn about inheritance.
The precedent of inheriting – serving. The word precedent means something that precedes or comes before something else. Well, God has told us what precedes our inheritance.
Last week our sermon from chapter thirteen contained two main themes, servanthood, and inheritance.
And you remember the scheme of these two things. We first serve, here in this life, in this world, as fallen as it is. Which means our serving will be hard in one way or another.
We will serve the Lord Jesus while and by working against the world, the flesh and the devil.
After our divinely allotted term of service is over, on the day of our death or on the day of Christ’s return, we then receive our inheritance.
The scheme that God sets before us is serve the Lord first and then inherit from the Lord. Work first, then rest from our labors. Bear our cross now and then wear our crown in glory. There is no other divinely appointed way.
All other attempts to bypass serving and fighting and go straight to the crown wearing and resting are not from God, they are from Satan.
This is what Satan tempted Christ with in the wilderness. See all of these kingdoms of the world. Bow down to me. Now. Before Your Cross. Then I will give them to You! (Mt.4:1-11)
What a blasphemous lie from the father of lies! (Jn.8:44, Gen.3:1-8, 2 Cor.11:14-15) They are not his to give. They belong to God.
And Christ the ever-obedient Son and Servant embraces His suffering service and resists the devil. And He clings to God. (Jn.8:29, Jn.17:1-17) And we see as God says through James says drawing near to God causes the devil to flee from Him. (James 4:7-10)
But my point with all of this as we continue to look at the subject of inheritance from Joshua chapter 13 to Joshua chapter 22, we cannot escape or thwart that pattern. Serve. Inherit. Work. Rest. Humiliation. Exaltation.
I know we know this in our heads. But until we get it into our hearts, we do not yet know it as we ought.
The grace of inheriting – gift. Notice how God is keen to say after we serve, we then inherit.
And He does not say after we serve, we then receive our “paycheck”. The paycheck idea is contrary to grace. Salvation by the grace or the gift of God excludes the notion of pay or recompense to man or to the sinner.
Our inheritance is not by our merit. It is by Christ’s merit. (WCF 16.5, 17.2, WLC 55, 193)
Listen to how Paul writes about the grace or the gift of our salvation, which includes our eternal inheritance. And notice how he rejects the idea of our work being added to God’s grace.
Romans 11:1. God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? 3 “Lord, THEY HAVE KILLED YOUR PROPHETS, THEY HAVE TORN DOWN YOUR ALTARS, AND I ALONE AM LEFT, AND THEY ARE SEEKING MY LIFE.” 4 But what is the divine response to him? “I HAVE KEPT for Myself SEVEN THOUSAND MEN WHO HAVE NOT BOWED THE KNEE TO BAAL.” 5 In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice. 6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.
We are saved by gift. We do not earn. Christ earns. Our lifetime of service is not some job we do, just to get paid. No. Our lifetime of service is our delight. We serve God because we love God. We love God because He first loved us. (I Jn.4:19, Rom.5:7-10)
Christ has died. Our debt is paid. He is in heaven preparing a place for us. Soon, He will bring us to the place He is preparing. He prepares. We receive. Salvation is a gift of God beloved and not a right of our merit. Heaven is a gift, pure gift. If we add anything to Christ, then we lose Christ, who is both the Gift and the Giver.
The inheritance is not based on law but on the divine promise of the Gospel. (Gal.3:18)
Oh, Beloved we can never make too much of grace, free grace, sovereign grace, all sufficient grace. What a Gift-giving God we serve! We serve Christ by gift. We inherit with Christ by gift.
The relationship of inheritance – family. The Hebrew word for inheritance is nachalah, it means to take possession of something, in this case land.
And it is to take possession of something that belongs to another that they have given to us as a gift. This has the idea of gift plus heritage. So, a family gift passed down from the Father to His children. That is the idea.
Our inheritance comes to us from our heavenly Father. God is our heavenly Father because Christ is our older brother Savior. (WCF 7.4, 8.5, 18.2) And as many as believe in Christ, God gives us the right to become children of God. (Jn.1:10-13, Rom.8:14-16, Eph.2:1-9)
Listen to what God’s word says on this.
Galatians 3:24. Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise. (Acts 20:32, 26:18, Eph.1:11-18)
Christ, our Brother/Savior has purchased our redemption including our inheritance which is the zenith of our redemption.
The occasion of inheriting – promise to receiving. Now as I just said the Hebrew word for inheritance here in context has the idea of actually taking possession of our inheritance.
And this is obviously what this chapter is speaking to. The two- and one-half tribes take possession of their portion of the Promised Land east of the Jordan. And then the other nine- and one-half tribes take possession of their promised land west of the Jordan.
This is what Joshua 14:1-15 is all about.
Now if you remember in chapter thirteen God tells Joshua, you are old, get busy there is much more land to conquer in the Land. Meaning that many of God’s people are yet to be in actual possession of the land that God promised to them.
So, the promise of receiving the land, the promise of inheritance is one thing.
And then the actual receiving the inheritance promised is another thing, the fruition of the promise.
Stephen preaching Christ to his fellow Jews just before they murdered him for his witness to them said,
Acts 7:2. And he said, “Hear me, brethren and fathers! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, 3 and said to him, ‘LEAVE YOUR COUNTRY AND YOUR RELATIVES, AND COME INTO THE LAND THAT I WILL SHOW YOU.’ 4 “Then he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. From there, after his father died, God had him move to this country in which you are now living. 5 “But He gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot of ground, and yet, even when he had no child, He promised that HE WOULD GIVE IT TO HIM AS A POSSESSION, AND TO HIS DESCENDANTS AFTER HIM.
The book of Acts tells us that actually it took quite a long time for the Promised Land to be subdued and the people to receive the land promised.
Acts 13:16. Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said, “Men of Israel, and you who fear God, listen: 17 “The God of this people Israel chose our fathers and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with an uplifted arm He led them out from it. 18 “For a period of about forty years He put up with them in the wilderness. 19 “When He had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, He distributed their land as an inheritance– all of which took about four hundred and fifty years.
The lesson for us that believe in Christ Jesus and the promise of eternal life with Him in the eternal estate is that this promise assures us that we will be in possession of the Holy Place one day, on the day of God’s own choosing. Thinking and meditating on this wonderful future cheers us along our way in the land of our pilgrimage, which is often filled with much sorrow and suffering.
The anticipation of inheriting – Caleb, by faith. Now let’s consider the example of Caleb. He receives his inheritance by faith.
Verses 6-15. There were only two faithful spies that gave a favorable report to Moses about obeying God and taking the Promised Land, Caleb and Joshua.
Caleb gets his inheritance here in chapter fourteen. Joshua gets his inheritance in chapter nineteen.
As a side note. Caleb is the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite. The Kenezites came from Kenaz. Kenaz was a son of Esua! (Gen.36:11-15, I Chron.1:34-36)
Caleb was grafted into Israel! This is grace. This is God’s grace grafting Gentiles (as it were) into the Israel of God. This is like God grafting in Ruth the Moabitess into the Israel of God – by grace through faith. (Ruth 1)
What we are looking at with Caleb is an expression of living faith, or one man’s faithfulness to the Lord. Numbers 13 and 14 records Caleb’s service to the Lord.
He and Joshua stood against the other ten spies and against all of Israel and stood for the Lord and His word concerning the Promised Land. Saving faith can make you stand in the minority against the majority. Faith in God can overcome our fear of Man.
Faith in Christ can make us look forward to our inheritance even while we are serving and suffering. (I Jn.5:4)
Ultimately Caleb is receiving his inheritance in the Promised Land not because of his faithfulness. But because of God’s faithfulness to His own word of promise. See: The Lord has said, the word of the Lord as spoken by Moses.
In verses 9, 10, and 11 Caleb recounts God’s faithfulness to him over the past 45 years.
Faith, true faith, focuses on God, on the goodness of God in Christ. Saving faith takes its stand upon the word of the Lord. (Mt.4:4, WCF 14.1-3)
The anticipation of inheriting – by overcoming faith. I have mentioned before that the Bible presents true Biblical Christianity as what I would call a “triumphalistic” faith or religion. Meaning that Christ has triumphed over the broken law and over the dominion of the devil for us.
So, in Christ we then have triumphed. In Christ, we have overcome the broken law and the dominion of the devil. His victory becomes our victory.
The defeat of the Canaanites in the Promised land. And their eventual removal from God’s holy land where He dwells with His holy people teach us that fact. So, we should not be a downcast people. We should be confident.
Listen to Jesus Christ on this.
John 16:31. Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? 32 “Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. 33 “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (Col.2:15)
This is then our confidence.
Romans 8:37. But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.
I John 5:4. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world– our faith.
The anticipation of inheriting – by otherworldly faith. Not only does our passage teach us that our faith is an overcoming faith, but it also teaches us that true Christianity is an other-worldly faith.
You see the people of God were told to wait for their inheritance.
Inheritance is something we get in the future. Yes, we are going to actually take possession of it as I have said. But we still have to wait to receive it.
Regarding the inheriting of the earthly promised land, the people of God have waited a long time. From the time of the promise to Abraham in Genesis 13 to the time of Joshua – 700 years.
And then Paul tells us in the book of Acts that it took another 450 years to fully receive it. (Acts 13:20-22, Num.32:13, Joshua 19:51)
But we know that ultimately this Promised Land, the land of inheritance points us forward and upward to the eternal promised land
That promise was made in seed form in Genesis 3:15. It will be realized at the Second Coming of Christ.
Listen to who the apostle Paul speaks of looking forward to things to come. First applied to all the church directly. And then apply to himself directly and then all the church indirectly.
Colossians 3:1. Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
Philippians 3:12. Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
You see Beloved, the Bible teaches us to walk by faith and to wait by faith until the day that the Father is pleased to give us the kingdom that He has prepared for us before the foundations of the earth. (Mt.25:34, Eph.1:4, Rom.8:29) By faith we set our minds on things above and not on things below. (Col.3:1-3)
The lessons of our inheriting. Now let’s make some practical application from these tribes waiting for their inheritance land and then finally receiving it. And this is regards to our faith being other-worldly or heavenly.
Consider seen things as temporal. Receiving our future inheritance in heaven teaches us as the people of God to think of and to treat this world and the things of the world as temporary things. And as things only useful for our pilgrimage. And as things which are not our inheritance.
In other words, inheriting our land of rest later in heaven teaches us not to make anything else our heaven. And this is so easy to do. Remember, when Cyrus the pagan king told Israel they could all leave Babylonian captivity and go back to Judea and restore temple worship – all of the Jews did not immediately stand up and run out of Babylon. (2 Chron.36:22-23, Ezra 1:1-8)
No. Actually many of them had become quite comfortable in Babylon. They actually ceased looking to live in the Promised Land.
Beloved, the truth of heavenly inheritance teaches us to hold the world very loosely. And to be on our guard against the idolatry of the world. (I Jn.2:15-17, see Demas, 2 Tim.4:10)
This is how the apostle Paul puts it, or God through the apostle Paul,
I Corinthians 7:29. But this I say, brethren, the time has been shortened, so that from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none; 30 and those who weep, as though they did not weep; and those who rejoice, as though they did not rejoice; and those who buy, as though they did not possess; 31 and those who use the world, as though they did not make full use of it; for the form of this world is passing away.
Consider unseen things as eternal. And the counterpart of this lesson is that we should consider unseen as the eternal things. We should value our unseen but soon to be seen as our real treasure. And we should hold these unseen spiritual things as our ‘real’ things, the things that absorb our hearts and minds.
Listen again to the apostle Paul.
2 Corinthians 4:16. Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. 17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Beloved, our inheritance is not in the land of our pilgrimage. Our inheritance is with Christ in the heavenly promised land, where even now He is preparing a place for us. Lord, I believe, help Thou my unbelief. (Mk.9:24) Even so Lord Jesus come quickly. (Rev.22:20)