Blessings, what blessings?
As I read the many descriptions of the land and the boundaries described in this section of Joshua, I am sometimes drawn to rush across the descriptions of the dividing points as I don’t know these parts of the new Israel of the Old Testament. Yet to the nation Joshua leads, here is the promise of God coming to fruition in an ordered way. In our section today we see Caleb dividing up that part of the new land that has been handed to him. Firstly to clean out the previous sinning inhabitants and than secondly to divide it amongst his own peoples.
Yet these are not just descriptions of divisions of land. These descriptions are a tallying up of the blessings showered on God’s people by their one true Almighty God. The parcels of land God has held for these peoples that they might live here as the people of the Almighty God. Places for them to live and enjoy the fruits of their labours as they till the land and tend their flocks and herds,
If you and I were to sit down and write down our blessings and count them I’m not sure we’d express them in land descriptions of boundaries in which we live. Rather I think our blessings would be in different terms that are more familiar and relate to our living in time between the first and second coming of Christ. (There’s an old song of worship whose chorus begins “Count your blessings, name them one by one.”)
Can I encourage you to take some time this week to count your blessings by writing them down. Keep the list between yourself and our God and perhaps share this task with your partner as you develop a family list..Then bring your list before God in your regular prayer with Him.
Did you catch the love story?
From verse 16 through to 19 in very succinct language we have a love story of some dimensions. Caleb, the dad and fierce faithful leader, promises his daughter Aksah to the man who takes a specific city. Othniel, Caleb’s nephew, takes the city for Caleb’s people and Aksah is given in marriage to Othniel. Aksah suggests to Othniel that they should ask Caleb, her dad, for some land with water in it as they have much desert in their portion. Yet Aksah gets off her donkey, a sign of respect, before her father and after he gives her permission to make her request she asks him for land with water. They are given land in two places with springs of water.
Although short and clear as to what happened here there is much to note that is not described in words. Othniel takes on the challenge and wins the hand of Aksah. Not going straight to her dad, Aksah firstly suggests to Othniel that he should ask for this type of land. Yet it is Aksah who leaves this conversation with Othniel and approaches her dad, respectfully dismounts from her donkey and waits for dad to give her permission to ask what they want.
Here carefully and tightly recorded is a story of respect and love between a father and daughter and between that daughter and her husband. Strikingly it is in the midst of that part of the book of Joshua that specifies the cleansing of the promised land for God’s people to inhabit. Thus we see a picture of the People of God acting in love and respect towards each other and towards the Almighty God in the midst of a war.
We too are placed in the same situation, a people of God challenged to live in this world but not be part of this world.
May the love of our Almighty God be expressed in us today between our brothers and sisters in Christ and may we demonstrate that love in action as we go about our lives before our God.
Count your blessings can be found here on Youtube/com:
and the lyrics here at Hymnal.net:
Matthew Henry’s Commentary has much more to say about this love affair in his writing on Joshua 15: 13 – 19 and can be accessed through BibleGateway.com