【Bible Study】Joshua 17: Properties are Obtained Through Striving and Seizing it

Bible Study: Joshua


Today we will look at chapter 17 of the Book of Joshua. The main theme of Joshua is about inheriting the land as property. There is a rule in this world: if you occupy a piece of land, others cannot occupy it. If you obtain it, others will lose it. That's how this world works.

Where did the Israelites get the Promised Land they were supposed to inherit? They seized it from the hands of the Canaanites. The world is very unfair. If you want to establish a fair world, I think that thing is called Utopia. Utopia is an idealistic concept to create an idealistic society.

In fact, we humans have been wanting to build an ideal society for a long time, but no matter how hard we try, it still seems imperfect. That's how this world is. When you gain something, others lose it. For example, the Fortune 500 companies occupy market share, and others cannot. If you occupy it, you become one of the Fortune 500. Property is a peculiar thing.

Properties Are Very Important

We are talking about Chapter 17 of the book of Joshua. I have titled this theme as "Property is obtained through competition and seizing." Remember, property is obtained through competition and seizing. You may wonder why I chose this theme. You will find that in leading you to study the Bible, we almost always focus on themes in each chapter. If we do not understand the theme, we may take things out of context, and even after studying, we will still not fully understand.

During our lifetime, we need to understand the most important things first, then the second most important, and so on. Only after we have understood all the important things can we attend to other less important things.

Property is a very important matter. When we read the Bible, we need to understand why this theme is set, and what this story is about. It is about the daughters of Zelophehad who came to Joshua to ask for land. Obtaining land is a matter of competition. If you understand this, you will find that this story is similar to that in Numbers 27 where the daughters of Zelophehad went to Moses and eventually received a piece of land.

What is the second story about? The second story is about the people of Ephraim who also went to Joshua, saying that their land was not enough to accommodate their large population, but Joshua did not give them any land. This story is very interesting. Joshua gave them an idea: there is another piece of land over there, go and seize it, and it will be yours.

Therefore, I call this theme "Property is obtained through competition and seizing." Many people find this statement unpleasant to hear. The spiritual law is actually very harsh. We often think, why can't we just be more accommodating to each other? If we just accommodate each other, wouldn't everything be alright? However, we cannot follow our own will but must follow God's will.

The principle I adopt is that we should become the kind of people that God likes, and we should not become the kind of people that God dislikes. If we become the kind of people that God likes, how can we not live well in this life?

Even if you are a good person, if you are not the kind of person that God likes, then what's the point of being good? This world will always have poor people because this is the law that God created. Why doesn't God allow us to be accommodating to each other? If you accommodate others, you will not obtain any property. If you do not compete, you will live in poverty. Then you will complain to God, why is life unfair to me?

Actually, this world is very fair. Whoever masters the spiritual law will live a good life. Although it seems harsh, if you master this law, you will prosper.

One Should Speak and Act with Validity

The story in this chapter is a continuation of the previous story, which is also in Numbers 27. In that story, the daughters of Zelophehad came to Moses and said, "Our father has no sons, only daughters. We do not want our father's name to be forgotten, and we want to inherit land on his behalf. Even though he doesn’t have any sons, we, daughters, still want to represent our father to obtain a property"

Moses didn't know what to do, so he asked God, and God said something very interesting:

“What Zelophehad’s daughters are saying is right. You must certainly give them property as an inheritance among their father’s relatives and give their father’s inheritance to them.
“Say to the Israelites, ‘If a man dies and leaves no son, give his inheritance to his daughter. If he has no daughter, give his inheritance to his brothers. If he has no brothers, give his inheritance to his father’s brothers. If his father had no brothers, give his inheritance to the nearest relative in his clan, that he may possess it. This is to have the force of law for the Israelites, as the LORD commanded Moses.’ ” (Numbers 27:7-11)

This passage has an interesting phrase: "What Zelophehad’s daughters are saying is right.” Therefore, in being a person and conducting oneself, it is essential to have validity! Striving for property is one thing, but whether or not you can obtain it entirely depends on whether or not you have validity. How did the daughters of Zelophehad express themselves? They said:

“Our father died in the wilderness. He was not among Korah’s followers, who banded together against the LORD , but he died for his own sin and left no sons. Why should our father’s name disappear from his clan because he had no son? Give us property among our father’s relatives.” (Numbers 27:3-4)

Our father died in the wilderness because the Israelites offended God. God made them wander for 40 years, and they all died in the wilderness. Our father died because of his own sin, not as an enemy of God. This statement is very apt. If you are an enemy of God, you cannot inherit the Promised Land.

The daughters of Zelophehad were very intelligent. They had a clear understanding in their minds. Their names were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. It was a profitable investment for anyone to have these daughters. After their father's death, without any sons, they explained the situation very clearly.

Why should our father's name be removed from his clan just because he had no sons? As a result, the Lord said that the daughters of Zelophehad spoke rightly. In fact, God did not want our names to be removed from our clan. God did not want our names to disappear. God wanted our names to be recorded. Although we cannot promote our own names, God does not want us to have no name at all. God considers the matter of a person's name to be significant.

This story continued into the time of Joshua, and the situation was still harsh. After the daughters of Zelophehad spoke to Moses, they did not immediately receive the land. Moses died, and the authority was handed over to Joshua. However, Joshua was busy managing the large population of Israel, and he forgot about this matter. So the daughters of Zelophehad went to find Joshua, and their words were also quite interesting:

They went to Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun, and the leaders and said, “The LORD commanded Moses to give us an inheritance among our relatives.” So Joshua gave them an inheritance along with the brothers of their father, according to the LORD ’s command. (Joshua 17:4)
The daughters of Zelophehad spoke with validity, so they obtained an inheritance. Therefore, if you want to claim an inheritance, you must have validity. I must tell everyone that you need to have validity for anything you do. You can't expect to say, "Give it to me!" and expect others to comply. Such good fortune rarely exists in the world.

Whether this story is made up or not, nobody can prove. However, they clearly understood the importance of being methodical and have validity. When they approached Moses, they said, "We don't want our father's name to be lost among our clan. Our father did not die because he followed Korah, but he died because of his own sin. So we want to claim our father's inheritance."

Moses then consulted God, who confirmed that their request was reasonable. How many daughters are there in this world? How many in the Israelite community have only daughters and no sons? Why were only Zelophehad's five daughters willing to fight for their inheritance? Their story is recorded in the Bible because they had validity and were willing to fight for it. Not daring to fight is a tragedy! If you keep waiting silently, nobody will know. With so many daughters waiting, if you don't go to Moses, will Moses come to you?

What lesson can we learn from God in this passage? God favored these girls, and they indeed received their inheritance. However, other girls in similar situations did not receive anything. In our present generation, it doesn't matter if you are male or female; it's not a significant factor. Women can be strong and capable too.

Women can be women who please God, and men can be men who please God. If you're a man without validity and not methodical, it can be troublesome. Similarly, if you're a woman without validity and not methodical, it can be challenging. Therefore, we should strive to be methodical people with validity. We need to explain things clearly, without being evasive or unclear when questioned. Just because someone has a reason doesn't necessarily mean they have validity, but it's certain that without a reason, there is no validity. If you want to claim an inheritance, you must be able to provide a rationale for it.

No matter what we do, if we don't have a proper approach, it won't work. Today, as we come before God, before the authority appointed by God, our words must be spoken with validity. The daughters of Zelophehad from the tribe of Manasseh spoke with validity, and they all received their inheritance.

Moving forward, let's look at Joseph, a man who aligned closely with God's heart. As a result, his tribe was divided into two: Manasseh and Ephraim. His first son was named Manasseh, which means "God has made me forget all my troubles." This name was given because Joseph had experienced great pain when he was sold into slavery in Egypt.

When Joseph had his second son, Ephraim, he realized a lesson and named him Ephraim, which means "God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering." Later, when Jacob blessed Manasseh and Ephraim, he placed Ephraim above Manasseh. And in the days that followed, Ephraim indeed became a great tribe.

However, with this large tribe, a problem arose due to the scarcity of land. When Zelophehad's daughters received a portion of land, it meant that others received less. It is presumed that Ephraim received less, as the Bible states, "To the south, Ephraim's territory bordered Judah's territory. To the north, it bordered Manasseh's territory." Originally, Ephraim should have received more land, but due to the competition, some received less. Therefore, if you want to claim your inheritance, you must have a validity.

On the other hand, the people of Ephraim went to Joshua and said:

The people of Joseph said to Joshua, “Why have you given us only one allotment and one portion for an inheritance? We are a numerous people, and the LORD has blessed us abundantly.” (Joshua 17:14)

This is not speaking with validity! So, they were held back by Joshua. People can't do things without validity, Joshua said:

“If you are so numerous,” Joshua answered, “and if the hill country of Ephraim is too small for you, go up into the forest and clear land for yourselves there in the land of the Perizzites and Rephaites.” (Joshua 17:15)

As a result, the people of Ephraim said:

The people of Joseph replied, “The hill country is not enough for us, and all the Canaanites who live in the plain have chariots fitted with iron, both those in Beth Shan and its settlements and those in the Valley of Jezreel.” (Joshua 17:16)
What they were emphasising were that the hill country is not enough for us, and all the Canaanites who live in the plain have chariots fitted with iron, and we cannot defeat them! What is this? This is not wise! Joshua said to the people of Ephraim and Manasseh:

But Joshua said to the tribes of Joseph—to Ephraim and Manasseh—“You are numerous and very powerful. You will have not only one allotment but the forested hill country as well. Clear it, and its farthest limits will be yours; though the Canaanites have chariots fitted with iron and though they are strong, you can drive them out.” (Joshua 17:17-18)

"Did they eventually drive them out? I don't know. We'll discuss the rest of the story later. The people of Ephraim did not obtain what they wanted. The area around Bethel and its towns had iron chariots. However, Manasseh defeated those people and took possession of their land in Issachar and Asher's territory. So Manasseh acquired Bethel and its towns, as well as Taanach and its towns. Through this incident, I want to illustrate a point: when people engage in tasks, they must proceed with validity!

When fighting for territory, you cannot say, 'They are too powerful, so give me another piece of land.' You have to fight for it to truly claim it! When it is given to you, you still need to contend for it because you won't obtain it without a struggle! What if there are people already living on the land given to you? You have to fight to possess it! Did the daughters of Zelophehad fight for that piece of land? In reality, they should have fought for it; otherwise, they wouldn't have obtained it. However, the people of Ephraim were too afraid to engage in battle, so they didn't obtain that piece of land."

Please note that the translation provided is a general interpretation and may not capture the full context or nuances of the original text.

The Promised Land can only be obtained through victorious warfare

We often find that what God has promised us is sometimes obtained, and other times it is not. What is the key to this? When you cannot obtain what God has promised you, it is because you cannot achieve victory. If you cannot fight and be victorious, you will not obtain it. Only when you fight and win can you possess the Promised Land. This is a very important theme in the Book of Joshua and a crucial concept in our Doctrine of Destiny.

For example, we often ask: Did God give the land promised to Abraham to the Israelites, or did they conquer it themselves? Those who ask such questions are ignorant.

It is given by God, but what did God say? He said, 'I will go before you and fight for you and drive them out.' So, what does it mean for humans to fight? God has already fought for us ahead of time. But if you are too afraid to fight and the enemy has horses, iron chariots, tanks, cannons, airplanes... all these things, and you are too afraid to fight, then God cannot help you!

We must be clear about one thing: what is given to you is truly given by God. If you dare to fight, God will surely help you and go before you. You have nothing to fear! When you rise up to fight, it is simply an attitude towards possessing the land as your inheritance. True victory depends on God! God determines whether you are victorious, so what are you worried about? Why are people afraid to fight?

People are afraid to fight because they do not trust in God! What is given to you, fight for it with faith. No matter how many promises there are in the Bible, they are all 'Yes' in Jesus Christ. Today, in Jesus Christ, if we want to fulfill God's promises, we must engage in spiritual warfare, trample upon the devil, and plunder the enemy.

Our brothers and sisters know that I prosper in everything I do. Why is that? Because I have subdued the devil. We need to know that when we are victorious in spiritual warfare, it not only sustains us but also brings abundant financial blessings. I may sound like I love money, but I want to give you a concept: what is given to you, you can only obtain it by engaging in spiritual warfare. In other words, we as brothers and sisters need to become people who cast out demons, trample upon the devil, and release the captives. The rewards for doing so are extremely abundant.

Among us, there are not many who cast out demons. Those who do need to make adjustments. What is given to you, how can you obtain it if you do not fight for it? Today, let us rise up and continue to strike the enemy. For example, others may not make a profit from buying a house, but you can make a profit. Others may not be able to rent out their houses, but you can easily find tenants. This is a marvelous thing because what happens in the spiritual realm determines what happens in our physical world.

We have talked about the daughters of Zelophehad and the two important tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh. Ephraim also wanted land, but they lacked validity, so Joshua did not give it to them. Instead, he advised them to attack. Even though the Canaanites were strong, they could still conquer them and take back what rightfully belonged to them."

God Likes People Who Actively Expand

Let's talk about the daughters of Zelophehad again. If they were to think: "We should respect Joshua's authority. He's busy leading the Israelites, so let's not trouble him." This logic is absurd. If you don't trouble him, you'll trouble yourself. If you don't fight for it, who will you blame?

So the daughters of Zelophehad came to Joshua again, saying, "Regardless of whether you're busy or not, I must settle this matter. You may have forgotten, but we haven't. We need to remind you, Joshua, that this is what the Lord God promised us through Moses. What we're saying makes sense, and God has already agreed to give it to us. Today, you must fulfill this matter." The daughters of Zelophehad were very proactive. This is what God has promised us, and we should act according to God's will. As a result, Joshua said, "If that's the case, let's proceed accordingly." And the daughters of Zelophehad obtained what they desired. The difference between being proactive and passive is significant.

Therefore, we need to have a character trait called "striving." Not only should we strive, but we must also have validity. Internally, we need to be proactive. Even if others forget, we should remember. We must possess this kind of character.

In the New Testament of the Bible, Jesus also talked about this character. Today, God wants to share something: God likes the kind of character we should have, so let's become people with that kind of character. In the Christian faith today, there are many passive situations. "I'll wait for God, keep waiting for God." Have you tried waiting? Did you receive it? After waiting, did you actually receive it? No, because it's passive. God doesn't favor passive people; He likes proactive people, people who actively expand.

We need to have an expansion mindset. Expansion itself is God's will. In the process of expansion, we continually obtain God's promises and the land He has promised us.

If we want to fulfill God's promises, no matter how many they are, we must strive for all of them. If someone doesn't want it, but we do, we should pursue it. We need to be proactive in becoming people with a sense of destiny. We must strive to live out the glory of God, obtain the promises of Jesus Christ, and manifest the glory of God through us!

I believe that the theme today, striving and seizing, is all about character. Having the courage to fight, having the courage to be victorious—these are characters that please God. If you truly have this faith, I tell you, you will surely obtain the promised land. In fact, what God has promised us far exceeds what we have currently obtained. If you think that the land has already been given to someone else and it's not for you, then you are mistaken. In reality, whoever can conquer it will possess it.

Why do some people obtain it while others don't? It's because they lack belief and the courage to fight. In our journey of life, believing in God's words and fulfilling His promises is the most beautiful thing for us as Christians. This journey cannot be separated from striving and seizing; striving is a character trait.

In the New Testament, didn't Jesus talk about gentleness, humility, and meekness? But when it comes to seizing God's promises, don't be meek. If we are meek when it comes to God's promises, we lose the character of Jacob and the daughters of Zelophehad. If we lose these characters.

God's promises are abundant, but passive individuals cannot obtain the promised land. It is those who actively strive for it that receive it, as Jesus said: "To those who have, more will be given, and from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away." We must possess the character of the daughters of Zelophehad, actively striving and seizing God's promised blessings. We must become people with a sense of destiny and be a blessing to many.

Some people may wonder how seizing something can become a blessing to others. But not seizing it also belongs to the devil. What you seize is what you obtain. A person without faith, one who is afraid to fight, will receive few of God's promises. If we are victorious and obtain what is promised to us, we can also share the benefits with others. Isn't that even better? Brothers and sisters, through today's study of scripture, let us reflect on what kind of person we want to be.

May God bless you!

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