In Joshua 18, the Israelites divided the land for the third time. The Israelites first divided the land at the east side of the Jordan River; they allotted the land before they even crossed the Jordan River. Moses was the one who is responsible for distributing the land. Two and a half of the tribes inherited the land－the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh. Later, Joshua led them across the river and fought the Canaanites living in that place for 6-7 years. After defeating all 31 kings, Joshua allotted the land to the clans of Judah, the clans of the Ephraimites, and the half tribe of Manasseh at Gilgal. So, seven and a half of the tribes had not received their inheritances.
Why did Joshua allotted inheritances at Shiloh? Because Shiloh located at the center of Israel. Also, Shiloh belonged to the Ephraimites, and Joshua was from tribe of Ephraim. The Israelites knew that there were inheritances for them, but the Israelites did not claim them. The land had already been distributed twice, but the people did not do anything with their inheritances. In a sense, God has already given us our inheritance, but are we taking good care and making good use of it? Joshua said to the Israelites, “How long will you wait before you begin to take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has given you?” This shows the importance of a leader. Common people are lazy, and leaders need to motivate and encourage people. Do you remember what kinds of people David’s followers had been? David’s followers were those who were in distress or in debt or discontented. However, when they followed David, who was a great leader, David turned them into warriors! Jesus is another example of a great leader; He had twelve disciples. All his disciples had once been nothing more than common, yet, their lives were totally changed after Jesus trained them and cultivated their lives. Hence, we should also do and say things that benefit and strengthen others.
Under the leadership of Joshua, people went out to survey the land and wrote a description of it. They also divided the land into 7 parts. They distributed the land by drawing lots, and the first lot came up for the tribe of Benjamin. Benjamin was the youngest son, who everyone loved. If one experienced only a little frustration in his/her life and was loved and protected by everyone, he/she would face crisis if he/she is not willing to learn. In Judges 21, we see that the tribe of Benjamin was almost exterminated; the tribe of Benjamin survived only because of God’s mercy and grace. Sometimes, difficulties are the best blessings in life. If your life is filled with complaints, then you will have a life of complaints. If your life is filled with gratitude, you will be blessed even more.
Genesis 35:18, “As she breathed her last－for she was dying－she named her son Ben-Oni. But his father named him Benjamin.” Because Rachel had a difficult time delivering Benjamin, so she gave him the name Ben-Oni, which means suffering, misery, and hardship. However, Jacob took it very differently. Since Jacob’s life was changed, he did not blame God or say negative words even though he and his wife had this difficulty. Jacob named his youngest son Benjamin, which means lucky. We see how people can take the same event very differently. Things that happen to us become our tortures if we keep on complaining; yet they become blessings to us if we keep on being positive and grateful. Everything that happens to us is permitted by God; if God allow things to happen to us, they can only be blessings to us! Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:17, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”
Difficulties and adversities will come one after another, and they are a mystery of God. In John 16:33, Jesus said to his disciples, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Therefore, we can only find peace in Jesus Christ. God let us go through some difficulties so that we can learn and know more about ourselves and that we can learn to rely on Him.