Working through Joshua today Chapters 12-19.
There is not much there in ways of deep spiritual pools. The Bible is that way, sometimes it is a list of names and spaces that have no real reference for me. But as I read this list, I get one thing. The story of the conquest of Canaan was not clean. It was messy. There is this great line between the tribes of Joseph (Remember the coat), Ephraim and Manasseh. They get upset with the land they are given.
14 The tribe of Joseph spoke to Joshua, saying, “Why have you given me but one lot and one portion as an inheritance, since we are a numerous people, whom all along the Lord has blessed?” 15 And Joshua said to them, “If you are a numerous people, go up to the forest, and clear ground there for yourselves in the land of the Perizzites and the Rephaim, since the hill country of Ephraim is too narrow for you.” 16 The tribe of Joseph said, “The hill country is not enough for us; yet all the Canaanites who live in the plain have chariots of iron, both those in Beth-shean and its villages and those in the Valley of Jezreel.” 17 Then Joshua said to the house of Joseph, to Ephraim and Manasseh, “You are indeed a numerous people, and have great power; you shall not have one lot only, 18 but the hill country shall be yours, for though it is a forest, you shall clear it and possess it to its farthest borders; for you shall drive out the Canaanites, though they have chariots of iron, and though they are strong.”
The Holy Bible : New Revised Standard Version. Nashville : Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989, S. Jos 17:14-18
When the tribes settled, there was still a great amount of mistrust. There was not this sense of fluidity or unity. They left Egypt together but arrived seperated. Tribalism had taken hold in the desert. This is not an idyllic time, but is a pretty disruptive time for the people.
In our lives, we may see great achievements in our lives-graduation, home ownership, a new job, retirement, children, personal goals attained, but in the end maybe we need to give ourselves the freedom that sometimes it is messy. Maybe next time we make it through a day at Disneyland and the family is actually speaking with each other the next morning…that is success. It is a least as successful as Joshua’s campaign.