Joshua 18 Commentary
Shiloh could be considered as Israel’s capital during its formative years in the Promised Land. The Sanctuary was located here. Shiloh remained important until the times of the prophet Samuel. It is from this base that an aged Joshua urged Israel to ‘begin to take possession of the land that the LORD’ had given them. Seven tribes had not yet received their portions. The following story lifted from HTB’s ‘Bible in One Year’ highlights the importance of possession.
My maternal grandparents lived in the small fishing village of Pittenweem near Edinburgh in Scotland. They owned a house there. In 1939, at the start of World War II, they let their home to tenants. When the war ended, they wanted to return to their home but they were unable to. The law at the time allowed the tenants to remain in the house for as long as they lived, at approximately the same rent (with no adjustment for inflation!).
For fifty years my grandparents were unable to get possession of the house they owned. My uncle inherited the house from my grandparents. By the time he got possession, the condition of the house had deteriorated greatly. He sold it for a very small sum.
Although my family owned this house in Pittenweem, they never took possession of it. There is a big difference between ownership and possession.
The people of Israel had been given ownership of Canaan, the promised land. Now Joshua says to the Israelites, ‘How long will you wait before you begin to take possession of the land…?’ (Joshua 18:3). The New Testament presents the ‘land’ as a picture of the Christian life (Hebrews 4). Realise what is already yours in Christ Jesus and then take possession of it.
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