When we were children my father had a special way of dividing up delicious treats. One child cut and the other got to take the first piece. Trickier with three salivating siblings but still very effective. I was reminded of this when I read in Joshua 18:5 You are to divide the land into seven parts. Judah is to remain in its territory on the south and the tribes of Joseph in their territory on the north. After you have written descriptions of the seven parts of the land, bring them here to me and I will cast lots for you in the presence of the Lord our God.
I imagine some intense measuring and assessment may have occurred so that each tribe would receive an appropriate amount and quality of land.
Joshua received the city he wanted. It was appropriate that the great leader receive an inheritance such as this and as a reward for his efforts over so many years. This allocation was not left to chance though as it was conferred “as the Lord had commanded”
49 When they had finished dividing the land into its allotted portions, the Israelites gave Joshua son of Nun an inheritance among them, as the Lord had commanded. They gave him the town he asked for – Timnath Serah in the hill country of Ephraim. And he built up the town and settled there.
The formal close to the book of Joshua restates the way the land was divided, the names of the leaders responsible and the place where it all took place. 51 These are the territories that Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun and the heads of the tribal clans of Israel assigned by lot at Shiloh in the presence of the Lord at the entrance to the tent of meeting. And so they finished dividing the land.
God had led his people on a long and winding road as he fulfilled his promises to them. He watched and waited patiently (mostly) for them to learn that his way was the best for them, to learn more about him, to be humbled, to learn to rely on him everyday.
We are all on our own long and winding road and need our Saviour to be guiding us each day. 1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
A prayer – Our Lord and Saviour, may we follow you closely each day, relying on your strength and comfort, confident that you are walking every step with us and guiding us to our promised land with you.