Observation: These chapters outline the land given to the tribe of Judah.
Application: I loved Christmas as a kid. We had a strict 6 a.m. rule in my house, so my sister and I would wait (im)patiently until the clock hit that glorious mark and we had full permission to wake up my parents. We crept out of our bedroom, shielded our eyes as we walked past the living room so we wouldn’t yet see what gifts were under the tree, woke up our parents, and then Christmas morning officially began. With my parents rubbing sleep out of their eyes and my sister and me giddy with anticipation, we’d head to the living room where there were stacks of gifts for each of us, including a few from “Santa” in handwriting that looked suspiciously like my mom’s.
Reflecting back, it’s pretty clear that I rarely deserved all the gifts under the tree. Even though I was generally a “good” kid, I was far from perfect – I lied, I fought with my sister (we went through a period where we were big into biting each other #weirdos), I gave my parents attitude, I was impatient, I was rude. I didn’t deserve the stacks of gifts that I had asked for – but my parents were gracious and loving and showered me with gifts anyways. Thankfully, my presents weren’t based on my performance.
Like me, the tribe of Judah didn’t deserve the gifts they received. The people were sinful and deceitful, yet here they are in Joshua 15, listening to the names of the land and the towns that were now in their possession.
If we’re honest, we’re tempted to skip over these chapters – they’re filled with the names of ancient towns we can’t pronounce and cities we’ve never heard of. We do a quick skim and move on.
But today, let’s slow down. Let’s realize that the tribe of Judah received what they didn’t deserve – and thousands of years later, we do, too. We receive a blessing – not because of who we are, but because of who our God is.
“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.” – Ephesians 2:8
Our past does not have to define us. Our shortcomings, our dysfunctions, our sins – they aren’t etched on our nametags. Our presents aren’t based on our performance; they’re based on the overflowing grace, mercy, and love of our Father in Heaven.
Prayer: God, you desire good for me, and I praise you for that! Thank you for filling my life with gifts, even though I am undeserving. I pray you’ll help me define myself as you define me, shaking off all the labels the world places on me. Amen.