How Do You Receive Your Inheritance?
Stephen Caswell © 1999
How Do You Receive Your Inheritance?
You Are Destined To Receive A Special Inheritance
Perhaps you’ve had the disappointing and annoying experience of receiving in the mail an envelope that identifies you as the winner of a large sum of money or some other fantastic prize, only to open it and discover you hadn’t won anything at all. It was simply a ploy to get you to enter a contest or purchase a product. However the inheritance that God is keeping for His people is not like that. His word is certain. He will certainly keep His promises. But how do we receive it? The same way we receive anything in the Christian life through faith. It is as we serve the Lord by faith that we store up for ourselves treasure in heaven.
Joshua chapter 11 concluded with the land at peace. Last week I mentioned that this did not mean that all of the enemy had been defeated. But rather that they had subdued the entire country and defeated all the cities they fought against. Chapter 12 of Joshua lists out the kings defeated by Moses and Joshua. Israel had completed the conquest of Canaan. However there was still pockets of Canaanites that had to be conquered. Joshua 13:1 says: Now Joshua was old and stricken in years; and the LORD said unto him, Thou art old and stricken in years, and there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed. Then God listed the land to be taken in the next 5 verses. Joshua 13:7 says this: “Now therefore, divide this land as an inheritance to the nine tribes and half the tribe of Manasseh.”
Joshua was to divide the land amongst the 9 1/2 tribes. Then the individual tribes were to conquer their territory on their own. The inheritance of the 9 1/2 tribes west of the Jordan is described in Joshua chapters 13 to 19. Each tribe in turn came to Joshua at Gilgal to receive their inheritance from the Lord. How would Israel receive their inheritance? By faith! The first generation failed to receive it because of unbelief. Hebrews 3:19 tells us that they didn't claim God's promise because of unbelief. Their faith was to rest on 3 things.
1. God’s Providence
2. God’s Promises
3. God’s Provision
1 Through God’s Providence By Casting Lots
a. Divided By The Leaders
God’s leaders determined this. The high priest, Joshua and the heads of the fathers were appointed by God to divide the land. Joshua 14:1 These are the areas which the children of Israel inherited in the land of Canaan, which Eleazar the priest, Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel distributed as an inheritance to them. In chapter 13 verse 7 we saw how God told Joshua to divide up the land. Eleazar the priest, Joshua and the heads of the fathers determined which tribe inherited each portion of land. God had chosen these men to divide the inheritance among Israel. The word inheritance is used 8 times in chapter 14 and is the key word. God had brought Israel to Canaan for this very purpose.
b. Determined By Lot
Joshua 14:2 Their inheritance was by lot, as the LORD had commanded by the hand of Moses, for the nine tribes and the half-tribe. The method of determining this was by the lot. This was not left to mere chance since God caused the lot to fall as He desired. Proverbs 16:33 The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD. This was probably the method God used to reveal Achan’s sin. God revealed His will in this process.
c. Directed By The Lord
Joshua 14:5 As the LORD had commanded Moses, so the children of Israel did; and they divided the land. Joshua, Eleazar and all the leadership obeyed the Lord exactly in all of this. Although the leadership was involved in all of this, it was really the Lord who divided Israel’s inheritance. He knew the needs of each tribe. His inheritance for each tribe was tailor made. The first tribe to receive their inheritance was Judah, because they were the largest tribe. They came to see Joshua at Gilgal. God’s providence determined the allotments given to each tribe. The individual tribes would then take possession of it:
But what about the church, do we receive an inheritance? 1 Peter 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. God has reserved an inheritance for every one of His children. This should encourage us to continue by faith when times are tough.
2 Through God’s Promises - Caleb’s Example Of Faith
Joshua 14:6-8 Then the children of Judah came unto Joshua in Gilgal: and Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite said unto him, Thou knowest the thing that the LORD said unto Moses the man of God concerning me and thee in Kadeshbarnea. Forty years old was I when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadeshbarnea to espy out the land; and I brought him word again as it was in mine heart. Nevertheless my brethren that went up with me made the heart of the people melt: but I wholly followed the LORD my God.
a. Words Of Faith
1. He Believed God
In verse 14 Caleb is called a Kenizzite. In Genesis 15:19 the Kenizzites are described as inhabitants of Canaan. It seems that some of Caleb’s family joined themselves to Israel like Rahab had. In Caleb’s case this probably happened many years earlier. Since he came out from Egypt with Israel. This makes the account of his faith all the more richer. He turned from idolatry to serve the true God. Caleb came to trust the living God and became a part of God’s people. After spying out the land Caleb returned and brought Moses word again as it was in his heart. Caleb believed God’s promise and spoke accordingly.
After the 12 spies returned from Canaan they reported to the people. They all said that the land was good, a land that flowed with milk and honey. But 10 of the spies said that the giants that lived there were too large for Israel to conquer. They highlighted the walled cities. They focussed on the obstacles instead of the Lord. They caused the people to lose heart and become afraid. But although Caleb saw the same giants and walled cities, he focussed on God’s greatness and therefore believed that they could conquer the land. He and Joshua spoke against the word of the 10 spies. They spoke faithfully for the Lord.
2. He Wouldn’t Compromise
Because of the report of the 10 spies the Children of Israel wept that night and murmured against Moses and Aaron. But Caleb didn’t compromise the truth to be popular, he stood firm upon God’s word. The next day Joshua and Caleb again spoke to the people, encouraging them to go up and take the land. Numbers 14:6-9 And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes: And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not.
3. He Wholly Followed The Lord
Caleb and Joshua would not compromise their stand before Israel. The temptation would have been very great to go along with the crowd. To make the report unanimous. But they would not go along with the 10 spies. They even risked their lives when the nation became angry over this situation. Numbers 14:10 But all the congregation bade stone them with stones. And the glory of the LORD appeared in the tabernacle of the congregation before all the children of Israel. As a result God swore that this generation would not enter the land of Canaan. Their children would be the ones to possess the land. He promised that Joshua and Caleb would also enter the land because they had wholly followed the Lord.
Numbers 32:11-12 ‘Surely none of the men who came up from Egypt, from twenty years old and above, shall see the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, because they have not wholly followed Me, ‘except Caleb the son of Jephunneh, the Kenizzite, and Joshua the son of Nun, for they have wholly followed the LORD.’
The Danger Of Denial
We usually think that denying Christ is an outright act - like Peter’s disavowal of Jesus in John 18. But Reginald Heber, the English writer of the hymn “ Holy, Holy, Holy, ” pointed out that we can deny the saviour in more subtle ways. Heber wrote: “ We deny our Lord whenever, like Demas, we, through love of this present world, forsake the course of duty which Christ has plainly pointed out to us. We deny our Lord whenever we lend ... our praise, or even our silence, to things which we ourselves believe to be sinful.... We deny our Lord whenever we forsake a good man in affliction, and refuse to give countenance, encouragement, and support to those who, for God’s sake and for the faithful discharge of their duty, are exposed to persecutions and slander.
” Those who have been born again will consciously avoid any open, deliberate, and vocal denial of the Lord. But loving the world, failing to do as God directs, tolerating sin, and refusing to support our fellow believers are subtle ways we do, in effect, deny the One who has redeemed us. Caleb’s faith was evident to all. It cried out in every word that he spoke. Do you testify for Jesus Christ in your workplace or neighbourhood? Are you always ready to give an account of the hope within you? Do your acquaintances know you are a Christian? Do you remain faithful to God’s people even when they are suffering? Or are you swayed by popular opinion? Caleb was a man of integrity. He didn’t compromise his faith in God.
Caleb had spoken words of faith, but he also b. Walked by Faith
Joshua 14:10 “And now, behold, the LORD has kept me alive, as He said, these forty-five years, ever since the LORD spoke this word to Moses while Israel wandered in the wilderness; and now, here I am this day, eighty-five years old.
1. He Stayed With God’s People
Forty five years passed since God gave Caleb this promise. He didn’t doubt God’s word but patiently waited for its fulfilment. He stayed with God’s people, even though they had to wander in the desert for nearly 40 years. Caleb continued to trust the Lord during Israel’s wanderings in the wilderness of Sin. Caleb hadn’t sinned, but he had to wait until that wicked first generation had died. He endured their wickedness in the wilderness and the way they tested the Lord. What patience! He persevered until the present day.
2. He Remained Strong In Faith
Deuteronomy 2:14 ”And the time we took to come from Kadesh Barnea until we crossed over the Valley of the Zered was thirty-eight years, until all the generation of the men of war was consumed from the midst of the camp, just as the LORD had sworn to them. 38 years had passed since the rebellion at Kadesh Barnea. 7 Years had passed since Moses defeated the 2 kings on the east of the Jordan and Joshua had conquered the land. Caleb never doubted God’s promise to him. Every year that went past only strengthened his resolve. How could Caleb continue when God seemed to take so long to fulfil His promise? By faith!
Grateful For Stress
In 1812, the genteel New Englander Ann Judson embarked with her husband Adoniram on a long ministry of danger and hardship. The Judsons were sailing to far-off Burma as pioneer missionaries. Ann recorded in her diary how they survived in next-to-intolerable conditions. “ Have been distressed for some days on account of the gloomy prospect before us, ” she wrote.“ Everything respecting our little mission is involved in uncertainty. I find it hard to live by faith, and confide entirely in God when the way is dark before me. ” Yet Ann added, “ If the way were plain and easy, where would be the room for confidence in God. Instead, then, of murmuring and complaining, let me rejoice and be thankful that my heavenly Father compels me to trust in Him by removing those things on which we are naturally inclined to lean. The Judson’s suffered greatly in Burma. But the Lord saved many people through them!
Habakkuk 2:3-4 For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry. ”Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith. Caleb sensed he was about to receive God’s promise at 85 years of age. The Lord had kept him alive, the Lord had also brought him into the land of Canaan. Therefore God would also fulfil His promise to him. What faith! What patience! Is your faith like Caleb’s? Is your faith seen in good works? Have you remained faithful to God over the years? Or have you dropped off along the way? Have you persevered when it involves suffering and hardship?
Caleb testified of his faith, walked by faith, and he also made: c. Warfare By Faith
Joshua 14:11-12 “As yet I am as strong this day as on the day that Moses sent me; just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for war, both for going out and for coming in. ”Now therefore, give me this mountain of which the LORD spoke in that day; for you heard in that day how the Anakim were there, and that the cities were great and fortified. It may be that the LORD will be with me, and I shall be able to drive them out as the LORD said.“
1. I am just as strong now as I was then.
What a testimony! Caleb testified of God’s faithfulness to keep him alive and well. My strength for war is just like it was then. Caleb had not become weak or timid with the passing of years. God had preserved him and kept him strong in body and mind. Caleb said that he was just as ready for now as he was then. After 38 years wandering in a hot dry wilderness and 7 years of fighting, Caleb was still eager for battle. What a testimony of God’s ability to keep. What a testimony of Caleb’s faith. Caleb was just as keen to serve the Lord and fight His battles as he was when he first spied out the land. He was keen to take on the enemy then, and just as keen now. Caleb had not lost his commitment to the Lord in his old age.
2. Give me this mountain the Lord promised to me.
Caleb didn’t want an easy job in Canaan. He asked Joshua for the city where the giants were strongest. He asked for it because God had promised it to him. Today most people 85 years old, think of retirement and rest from labour. But not Caleb. He wanted the privilege of defeating the giants that caused Israel to rebel 45 years ago. He asked for probably the hardest territory in Canaan. He wanted to conquer the walled cities. He wanted to defeat the giants. God had promised it to him, so now he requested the strongholds in the land.
3. I shall be able to drive them out as the Lord said.
Caleb remembered God’s promise to him that he would give him the land of the giants. He knew that God always kept His word. Deuteronomy 1:36 Except Caleb the son of Jephunneh; he shall see it, and to him will I give the land that he hath trodden upon, and to his children, because he hath wholly followed the LORD. Because Caleb starts this sentence with the word if doesn’t mean he has doubts about the task. Rather it shows that he has his hope set on the Lord’s help, not his own ability. Caleb remembered the day at Kadeshbarnea when these words were spoken and knew that the time for their fulfilment had come.
The Alternative To Faith
Hebrews 3:8-19 Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, In the day of trial in the wilderness, Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, And saw My works forty years. Therefore I was angry with that generation, And said, ‘ They always go astray in their heart, And they have not known My ways.’ So I swore in My wrath, ‘ They shall not enter My rest.’ ” Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, while it is said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
Caleb’s faith was evident to all. He showed it in his words, in his walk and in his warfare. He persevered for 45 years waiting for God’s promise. Are you still as keen to fight the Lord’s battles now as at the start? Are you involved in the Lord's work in the Church? Or are you looking for retirement? Do you wholly follow the Lord like Caleb did? We can fight against Satan through prayer. We can stand against him by testifying for the Lord. We can give to the Lord's work here and overseas.
3 Through God’s Provision Joshua blessed him, and gave unto Caleb Hebron
a. Joshua’s Blessing
Joshua 14:13 And Joshua blessed him, No doubt Joshua blessed Caleb for his strong faith. He truly set a wonderful example for all Israel. Caleb’s request must have encouraged Joshua’s heart no end. The blessing that Joshua gave Caleb probably took the form of a prayer or prophecy. Most likely Joshua prayed for God’s enablement for this large task. Caleb had asked for the mountain of the giants. Even though he was 85 years old he wanted it just as much as when he was 40 years old. So Joshua probably prayed that the Lord would bless his servant with victory. He probably asked God to fulfil His good word spoken some 45 years earlier.
b. Joshua’s Bestowal
Joshua 14:13 And Joshua blessed him, and gave unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh Hebron for an inheritance. But Joshua also gave Caleb the city of Hebron as his inheritance. This meant that the transaction was legal and binding. After all God had originally promised it to Caleb, who could refuse Him. Caleb’s example is an inspiration to us all. Through faith in God any opposition can be conquered. Giants and walled cities are no problem to the believer who sees them through the eye of faith. Caleb saw a big God and little giants. The first generation looked at the same giants and saw a little God and big giants.
c. Caleb’s Conquest
Joshua 14:14-15 Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite to this day, because he wholly followed the LORD God of Israel. And the name of Hebron formerly was Kirjath Arba (Arba was the greatest man among the Anakim). Then the land had rest from war. Caleb went on to take the city of Hebron. He showed all Israel what could be accomplished if they took their inheritance by faith. The name of the city had previously been Kirjath Arba. It had been named after the greatest of the giants there. It was now changed to Hebron since an even greater giant had conquered it. Caleb was a giant of faith. He claimed God’s Providence, Promises and Provisions and received his inheritance.
Joshua prayed for the Lord’s enablement for Caleb. God equipped Caleb for the conquest of Hebron. The Lord gave him victory because of his faith. Caleb wholly followed the Lord and received a wonderful inheritance! Do you wholly follow the Lord? If you do then He will ensure you are victorious. The Lord grants a rich inheritance to those who wholly follow Him. 2 Peter 1:5-11 speaks about this: But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Illustration Of Surrender
In the early 1940s, the president of Dallas Seminary, Lewis Sperry Chafer, gave a very brief banquet speech. Introduced after a long program, he announced his subject: “ The Reasonableness Of Fully Surrendering Our Lives To God. : Then because of the lateness of the hour, he only gave the three points of his message.
Reason 1: God is all wise and knows better than anyone else what is best for my life.
Reason 2: He is almighty and has the power to accomplish what is best for me.
Reason 3: God loves me more than anyone else does.
Chafer concluded, ” Therefore the most logical thing I can do is surrender my life to God. What more can I say? What more need I say?
How would Israel receive their inheritance? By Faith! Israel’s faith rested in God’s Providence, Promises and Provision. We too should fully surrender ourselves to God! We should wholly follow the Lord!
1 Through God’s Providence By Casting Lots
God is all wise and determined the right inheritance for each tribe of Israel. He divided the land amongst Israel perfectly. In the same way God knows what is best for your life. The Lord has a perfect plan for your life. He wants to give you an inheritance in heaven. Have you accepted His plan for your life?
2 Through God’s Promises - Caleb’s Example Of Faith
Because of the inheritance God had promised, Caleb lived each day of his life for the Lord.
Caleb testified of his faith even when everyone else was against him. Do you share your faith in the Lord when you are on your own? Are you always ready to give an account of the hope within you? God has promised wonderful blessings for those who love and obey Him.
Caleb also walked with the Lord for all his life. He patiently waited for God’s timing to receive his inheritance. Are you walking with the Lord each day by faith? Are you laying up an inheritance in heaven by serving the Lord? Or have you started to doubt God’s Word?
Caleb was just as keen to serve the Lord at the end of his life as at the beginning. He was still keen to fight the enemy at 85. What a testimony! Are you just as keen for battle today as when you were a young Christian? Do you fight against the adversary through prayer? Do you give testimony of your faith? Caleb wholly followed the Lord all of his life. Are you?
3 Through God’s Provision Joshua blessed him, and gave unto Caleb Hebron
Caleb took on a great task for the Lord. He wasn't relying in his own abilities but God's enabling grace. Are you living by faith in God’s Providence, Promises and Provision? If you are, He will equip you to live a victorious Christian life. He will enable you to be faithful all of your life. He will give you a rich inheritance in glory. You will receive all that God desires to give you! I trust you won’t be like the first generation who didn’t receive their inheritance because of unbelief! Beloved, don't miss out on God's best for your life because of unbelief.
2 Thessalonians 3:16 Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all.