This chapter is about the great-great-grandson of Manasseh, Zelophehad; he had no son, only five daughters. His daughters came before Joshua to fight for their inheritance that God had commanded Moses to give them, so Joshua, following God’s command, let them have their share of inheritance among their uncles. The descendants of Joseph, the Ephraim and the Manasseh, also came before Joseph to ask for more land to live, because they were too large in number. Joshua then gave them the land of Perizzites and Rephaites. However, the Ephraim and the Manasseh hesitated in taking the land because they had to clear the land for themselves, and the Canaanites living there were strong and were equipped with chariots fitted with iron. This is often the situation we face; we want to acquire the land, but are not willing to work hard for it. Hence, Joshua encouraged them and proclaimed in faith, “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.”
Our God, El Shaddai, owns all. All things belongs to Him, including all the glory, honor, sovereignty and riches. God is our father in heaven, and we are His children. Therefore, we can all ask inheritance from God. God’s children are all the rich second-generation, so we need to get rid of the heart of poor. Don’t beg with a golden bowl.
In Luke 15, there’s a story about the return of a prodigal son. In that story, the older son (who stays at home), doesn’t realize his position and the blessing and inheritance that are his, hence, he has the heart of poor and slave. When you see other being blessed, will you feel bitter? Will you complain? Will you feel ill-treated? Will you think that God is not fair? Pray that God has mercy on us, and may the Holy Spirit open our eyes so we can see that we have already been living in God’s grace and blessings.
In the story, the younger son asks for, and gets, his share of the inheritance. Nonetheless, he doesn’t treasure and make good use of it. He is dissolute and he wastes all the money. Later, he becomes so poor that he has to eat pig’s food to save himself from starvation. So when God bestows riches upon us, we need to take good care and make good use of them. Do not wastes them!
Our heavenly father is more than glad to give us all His riches; He even tells us the tip to be bless with abundance in Matthew 6, ” But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Don’t ask for riches, but seek God himself! If we work hard to follow God’s commandments and finish the ministry God has entrusted us, everything we need will be given to us!
Some Christians think that Jesus is poor, so God’s children should be poor to in order to be spiritual. This is a big misunderstanding! Poverty is not glorify God. It is said in 2 Corinthians 8:9, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.” As Christians, we do not have to be poor; instead, we should be capable and willing to help others. A man who only wants to receive and yet unwilling to give is the poorest man. A man who focuses on God, understands that everything he has is from God and thus willing to give and help others is considered a rich man.
There are many rich men in the Bible. For examples, in the Old Testament there are Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Boaz and David; they were all rich men who loved God.
In the New Testament, in the town of Arimathea, there was Joseph, a member of the Council, a rich man, a disciple of Jesus, and a man who waits for the kingdom of God. After Jesus’ crucifixion, Joseph went to Pilate and asked for Jesus body, and he placed Jesus body in a tomb cut in the rock which no one had yet been laid. Joseph valued Lord Jesus more than his treasure and He was willing to give everything up for the Lord.
Chief tax collector, Zacchaeus, was also a rich man. Before he met Jesus, Zacchaeus did everything he could to collect money; however, after he met God, he gave half of his possessions to the poor, and paid back four times the amount to those who he had cheated. Not only the life of this rich man, but also his values, was changed. Moreover, his repentance was accompanied by his actions. Matthew, the writer of Matthew, was originally a tax collector. One day, while Matthew was sitting at the tax collector’s booth, Jesus walked up to him and said, “Follow me,” then Matthew got up and followed Him. Later, Matthew became one of the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ, and wrote the first of the 4 gospels. He was used by God because of his willingness to lay down his profitable job, answered instantly to God’s calling, and followed Jesus.
There is also a foolish rich man in the New Testament. He gets worry about the storage of his crops, so he tears down his barns and builds bigger ones to store his surplus grain. Then he will say to himself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” But God says to him, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then you will get what you have prepared for yourself?” After telling this story, Jesus said, “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” Hence, if riches are not connected to God, everything is meaningless and worthless. There is also another rich man who lives in luxury everyday and has no mercy towards Lazarus, the beggar. The rich man does provide any help to Lazarus, and so he suffered in hell after his death. The problem of this rich man is not that he has too much, but that he is unwilling to help others.
There was another rich man, a young officer, who was upset because he couldn’t lay down his wealth. This young man came to ask Jesus what he must do to get eternal life. Jesus answered, “If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.” The young man said, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven … it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?” To this, Jesus answered, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” This young officer obeyed God’s command, yet he couldn’t follow Jesus who can grant eternal life. When we hold onto the wealth of this earth, it would be hard for us to leave everything behind to follow God.
Why is it so hard for rich men to enter the kingdom of God? God reminds us that, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). Also, God tells us that, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Money is so powerful that Jesus reminds us of the competence between money and God. Material temptation can lead us away from God. We should not value money more than God! Jesus cautions us, “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?” Also, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions” (Luke 12:34). Paul said, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who give me strength” (Philippians 4:12-13); this is exactly the depiction of a rich man in God.