Confidence: His Land

July 7, 2024

Series: Confidence

Book: Joshua

This is a part of a sermon series on the book of Joshua. You can watch more here.


Sermon Manuscript

If you are new here, we love God’s Word. We love teaching through God’s Word. We typically land on a passage and go verse by verse but this morning we are going to hit some pieces of verses to get a high-level overview of these 9 chapters.

In general, you should be careful when someone bounces around to different verses of the Bible. You should be careful if someone just reads a passage of the Bible and then starts talking about something that might be related.

We’re here to study God’s Word, so you are learning how to study God’s Word, so that you aren’t here to get my opinions but we’re all here to wrestle with God’s Word. Amen?

Joshua 1-5 is known as preparation. The focus of the first 5 chapters is about preparing Israel to enter into the land. Chapters 6-12 is known as promise as the Lord fulfills a promise to Abraham that He made 700 years earlier in Genesis 12. Chapters 13-21 are known as portion as the land is divided up amongst the tribes of Israel.

Next Sunday we will look at chapter 14, then 23 and finish off with 24, so we just have a few more Sundays in Joshua. Let’s start where we finished last Sunday, Joshua 11:23:

Joshua 11:23, “23 So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the Lord had spoken to Moses, and Joshua gave it for an inheritance to Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. Thus the land had rest from war.”

Up to this point we have seen Israel cross the Jordan River, take on Jericho, take on the kings to the south, kings to the north, so that you could read verse 23 and think that’s the end of Joshua.

But there are still 13 more chapters so that almost half of Joshua is about portioning out the land to the tribes of Israel, so that right out of the gate you need to know chapters 13-21 isn’t about a land grab of one people group over another.

I know this is hard because Israel is in the news today and Israel is still fighting over this land today but Israel today and Israel in Joshua isn’t the same Israel.

At minimum Israel today is a secular democracy with no official claims to a divine covenant with the Lord compared to Israel in Joshua’s day is absolutely trying to center themselves on the Lord.

In addition, what we are reading this morning is the fulfillment of a promise God makes to Abraham 700 years earlier in Genesis 12.

You can turn Genesis 12 if you want but in Genesis 12 the Lord calls Abraham to Himself, gives Abraham His righteousness by faith, and says, “You’re going to be the beginning of how the whole earth is blessed.”

At first glance it could sound like the blessing is Israel but when you read the Old Testament it is clear that Israel is not the hope for the whole earth. Israel struggles and fails a lot, so that the promise to Abraham bringing a blessing to the whole earth is pointing us to Jesus; in Genesis 12! What!

All throughout the Old Testament we see structures around Israel like priests, prophets, kings, temple, sacrifices and when we read those things we think; why does this matter? But all throughout the Scriptures we see every part of Israel is pointing us to Jesus.

You want a king. Here’s the ultimate king. You need a priest to act as a mediator between you and God. Here’s the ultimate High Priest. You see the need for a sacrificial system. Here’s the ultimate sacrifice. The lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

Sure, Jesus could appear in the sky one day to reconcile humanity to Himself but in God’s wisdom He designed it so that Jesus would enter into a culture, language and history of a nation BUT for there to be a nation there needs to be land and in Joshua 13-21 we are seeing the beginning of that promise in Genesis 12 being fulfilled.

Does that mean people today could use the Bible to justify taking land from other people today? Yes, but it isn’t right.

Does that mean people today could use Joshua to justify murdering people? Yes, they could but it isn’t right. God’s Word makes it clear these events we are reading are for a specific time, specific place, specific people to establish a specific nation that will bring a blessing to the whole earth. Let’s look at chapter 13, verse 1:

Joshua 13:1, “Now Joshua was old and advanced in years when the Lord said to him, “You are old and advanced in years, and very much of the land remains to be possessed.”

I am guessing as we have studied through Joshua and seen these miraculous moments with the Lord there have been some of us who have been thinking, “I wish I could have those types of moments with the Lord.” Look at verse 1!

Can you imagine you have been waiting, praying, fasting for the day that you would hear a voice sound out from heaven and the Lord says to you, “You are old and advanced in years, and you still have a lot of work to do!” I don’t see how it’s going to happen.

At this point Joshua is between 90-100 years old. Joshua has experienced a lot of life. There have been losses. There have been victories but in verse 1 we see there is still a lot of work to do for the tribes of Israel.

The capital cities have been defeated but there are still villages and houses along the way that need to be established, so that every tribe needs to step out in faith and follow the Lord as a tribe just as they have been following the Lord as a nation. Look at verse 7:

Joshua 13:7, “7 Now therefore, apportion this land for an inheritance to the nine tribes and the half-tribe of Manasseh.”

In verses 2-6 we see a description of the land as a reminder of the promise to Abraham in Genesis 12, so that the promise starts with Abraham who gives birth to Isaac and Isaac is the father of Jacob and Jacob is the father to a number of children that make up the tribes of Israel.

The larger tribes will get more land, the smaller tribes will get less land, so that this isn’t like Boomer Sooners showing up to get some land. Numbers 33 already describes how the land will be divided among the tribes, so that this brings us to the first principle in our passage this morning.

Remember, we’ve talked about how we can’t take 1-1 application from Old Testament narrative. We aren’t Israel. We aren’t at war with the Canaanites. Instead we want to look for principles that are true at all times for all people and all places, so that our first principle in our passage is that GOD IS IN CONTROL

You can’t read these great details throughout the Old Testament about how Israel needs a priestly people, someone to step in as a mediator between them and God and then see Jesus described as the Great High Priest in Hebrews 4.

You can’t read these details throughout the Old Testament about how Israel needs a godly king to rule over them with love and power and then see Jesus stand up invite people into His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven in Matthew 5.

Listen to me, I know it’s difficult to separate Israel today and Israel then but God’s Word never presents Joshua as a conquest over a people for national pride.

The Old Testament always presents the land as a promise that goes to Abraham, so that the Lord can bring a blessing to the whole earth, which is Jesus, so that if GOD IS IN CONTROL of the details then GOD IS IN CONTROL today. Amen?

I mean some of us, like Joshua, are advanced in years, we see all the hard parts of life, and we need to be reminded that GOD IS IN CONTROL of the details.

We see the hiccups and hurdles that are around every corner, we have walked through those hiccups and hurdles, therefore, the older we get the easier it is to get hit with these waves of fear but we can read Joshua, all the Old Testament, and clearly see GOD IS IN CONTROL of the details and if GOD IS IN CONTROL then, God is in control today. Amen?

It doesn’t mean it’s all going to work out in the end. It doesn’t mean it will end with a red bow. It means God is in control and working to accomplish His purposes for our good and His glory. Let’s jump to chapter 15, verse 63:

Joshua 15:63, “63 Now as for the Jebusites, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the sons of Judah could not drive them out; so the Jebusites live with the sons of Judah at Jerusalem until this day.”

In most of chapter 14 and 15 we see a focus is on the tribe of Judah and Caleb that we will talk about next Sunday. But at the end of chapter 15 we see the tribe of Judah is given the same command as Israel as a nation to drive out the Canaanite but they couldn’t. You see that in verse 63?

The Lord had provided for Israel as a nation over and over in chapters 1-12 but in verse 63 the tribe of Judah comes against the Jebusites and the whole arc of the story slows down, so that we need to ask ourselves, “What happened? How did Israel defeat Jericho, kings of the south, kings of the north but the tribe of Judah can’t defeat the Jebusites?” Look at chapter 17:13:

Joshua 17:13, “13 It came about when the sons of Israel became strong, they put the Canaanites to forced labor, but they did not drive them out completely.”

I know I am jumping around a lot but I am trying to help us stay on the same page, see the big picture. In chapter 17 we start to see a little about why the tribe of Judah couldn’t drive out the Jebusites and it’s because the tribes of Israel wanted to force the Jebusites into forced labor. Uh, spoiler alert, Israel’s not the hero of the story!

Just to be clear, this isn’t what God told them to do. In fact, in the book of Numbers (Numbers 33) the Lord tells them, if you don’t drive out the Canaanites they will be a thorn in your side but in Joshua 17 we see the sons of Israel have become confident in their own strength.

This brings us to the second principle in our passage this morning. The first principle is that GOD IS IN CONTROL. The second principle is that WE DON’T GET TO CHANGE GOD’S WORD TO MAKE US MORE COMFORTABLE. Write that down!

God’s promise to Israel was to take the land and drive out the Canaanite to bring blessing to the whole earth but instead the sons of Israel said, “How about we just make them slaves?” Why work when you can rest and force someone else to work? But WE DON’T GET TO CHANGE GOD’S WORD TO MAKE US MORE COMFORTABLE.

Our memory verse this month is Joshua 1:7, “Be strong and courageous.” It’s a great verse, but it isn’t just “be strong and courageous” like an inspirational NIKE poster. The verse is strong and courageous as we are careful to obey the Lord’s command.

For the tribes of Israel, it is clear the Lord’s command is to drive out the Canaanites. Yes, it’s a brutal command but Israel’s response is to ignore the Lord and do what is right in their own eyes. Let’s see what “Old Man Joshua” thinks? Look at chapter 18, verses 1-3:

Joshua 18:1-3, “1 Then the whole congregation of the sons of Israel assembled themselves at Shiloh, and set up the tent of meeting there; and the land was subdued before them. 2 There remained among the sons of Israel seven tribes who had not divided their inheritance. 3 So Joshua said to the sons of Israel, “How long will you put off entering to take possession of the land which the Lord, the God of your fathers, has given you?”

Joshua gets wind of this and says, “What?” WE DON’T GET TO CHANGE GOD’S WORD TO MAKE US MORE COMFORTABLE. We don’t get to make excuses.

Is it uncomfortable to follow Jesus in our city? Yeah it is! The Lord isn’t calling us to wage war with the Canaanites. The follower of Jesus is not here to fight our city. That would be easy!

God’s Word calls the follower of Jesus to be salt and light. God’s Word calls the follower of Jesus turn from sexual immorality of our day and follow Him. God’s Word calls us to willingly give up the comforts of our day for His glory. That’s hard!

We need spiritual leaders like Joshua. We need spiritual leaders like the men and women who come alongside Joshua, because WE DON’T GET TO CHANGE GOD’S WORD TO MAKE US MORE COMFORTABLE.

We need men and women like Buddy and Jennifer opening their home and holding it with an open hand, continually investing in His Kingdom. That’s hard!

We need people like Niko and Nathan coming alongside those who are far from Christ. We need people like Meg inviting their friends on Sunday morning, because it’s hard to be a follower of Jesus in Austin.

We need men and women who aren’t bending to the winds and waves of our culture today but holding fast to God’s Word, because it’s hard!

There was a day in our culture when tipping your life to Jesus would have helped your friendships, career, goals but not today, not in Austin. It’s hard!

Listen, I don’t want to lose sight of the gospel. We don’t obey the Lord to receive His grace. Amen? We receive His grace by faith in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, promised to Abraham, so that we are empowered through the Holy Spirit to obey. This is critical. Don’t lose sight of the gospel! It isn’t obey so that we receive grace. It is His grace that empowers us to obey. Look at chapter 21, verses 3-4:

Joshua 21:3-4, “3 So the sons of Israel gave the Levites from their inheritance these cities with their pasture lands, according to the command of the Lord. 4 Then the lot came out for the families of the Kohathites. And the sons of Aaron the priest, who were of the Levites, received thirteen cities by lot from the tribe of Judah and from the tribe of the Simeonites and from the tribe of Benjamin.”

When you read Joshua on your own you will see there is still a tribe of Israel that doesn’t receive any land, which is the tribe of Levi.

The tribe of Levi is the priestly tribe, the sons of Aaron, so that at first glance it might look like the Lord forgot the tribe of Levi but throughout chapters 13-21 the Lord says, “No, I didn’t forget your inheritance for I am your inheritance.”

Let that sink in for a little because as Israel is entering into the land that is flowing with milk and honey, the promise land, the promise that has been made since Abraham 700 years earlier it could look like the focus is on the land.

Yet the Lord turns to the tribe of Levi and says, “No the prize isn’t the land. The prize is the Lord.” The land is great, the land serves a purpose to bring forth the Savior to be a blessing to the whole earth, but the focus isn’t on the land, the focus is and always has been on the Lord. This is our third and final principle of our passage.

God is in control, we don’t get to change God’s Word to make us comfortable and third and final principle from our passage is JESUS IS THE ULTIMATE INHERITNACE.

In our day today, we think a little about inheritance. We hope there is some random uncle out there that might leave us millions of dollars but in the ancient world a person’s inheritance changed everything.

Inheritance was about security. Inheritance was about stability. Inheritance was tied to land but the Apostle Peter picks up on this idea of inheritance and writes, “In Christ we obtain an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, never fading, reserved in heaven, protected by the power of God” and then the Apostle Peter writes, “In this you greatly rejoice.”

We’re not waiting for the Lord to lead us into a land because in Christ, we have already been given the Lord. The Lord is our inheritance!

We’re not waiting for the Lord to fix our problems. We pray He does but a “care-free” life isn’t our hope, because the Lord is our inheritance.

We’re not waiting for the Lord to bring that miracle. We’re praying for that miracle but we’ve already been given the miracle of reconciliation in Christ. Amen? ESUS IS THE ULTIMATE INHERITNACE.

You know Jesus didn’t come so we could go to heaven. Jesus came to give us Himself. We’re not twiddling our thumbs till we get to heaven. We’re in Christ today! Yeah, there are ups and downs of life but we’re going through those ups and downs in Christ! In this you greatly rejoice!

When our children were younger and we would go on trips we would always say, “Fun starts now.” We’re not waiting till we get there to start having fun. It’s a 12-hour drive; fun starts now! We’re not waiting till we check into our hotel room; fun starts now!

When you’re in Christ, the fun starts now! We’re co-heirs with Christ! We’re sons and daughters of God! We’re seated at His table. Fun starts now!


North Village Church

This sermon is brought to you by North Village Church, a non-denominational church in Austin. established in 2009 and built around Jesus and Bible teaching.

Are you looking for a church in Austin? At North Village Church we put Jesus at the center of our church family. We worship together every Sunday at 10:30am, encourage Christ centered fellowship through groups, and host special events such as Bible studies and Theological Training, to ensure that we are rooted in in God’s Word. We also serve our local community in association with several Austin based organizations.

North Village Church is made up of professionals, married couples, singles, and families who are wanting to experience the life-transforming power of Jesus. If you are a family with children or teens, we can support you with either or both our Kids Ministry and Youth Ministry.


You are welcome to contact us if you would like more information.


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