I think we can sum up the entire span of the human story with four words; Creation, Fall, Redemption, Restoration. We began our STORY with the creation. God provided an environment for humans to inhabit and enjoy. Adam and Eve were placed in this environment with only one simple command. They disobeyed this one command which introduced the FALL. An animal was slain and blood was shed effecting the redemption of our first parents and looking forward to the redemption of all who believe in the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus. The descent of the New Jerusalem will usher in the Restoration. A new and improved Eden!
We enjoy life in God’s initial creation. The FALL is repeated in every one of Adam’s offspring. Redemption is the possession of every one of Adam’s offspring who place their faith in Jesus. Restoration will come at some unknowable point in the future.
Somewhere in this span of multiple Millenia each person takes up some space. The history of God’s special dealing with the children of Abraham takes up some centuries of time, from the call of Abraham until the captivity. They will, in time to come, take up additional space. And each one of us will occupy a space in this time span. Some occupy more time than others, but in relation to eternity our time here is very brief and as Paul instructed the Ephesians, we need to be “making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” (Eph. 5:16)
Joshua had obviously been making the best use of his time. Several times God had encouraged him to be “strong and courageous” (Josh. 1:6,7,9). And at the start of his conquest of Canaan, God had explained their relationship. In one of his early battles was this statement made. “And the Lord gave it (Libnah, the enemy) into the hand of Israel. And he (Joshua) struck it with the edge of the sword,” (Josh. 10:30). This would be their working (fighting?) relationship.
This working relationship between God and man was understood by George Mueller. Mr. Mueller had started countless orphanages and had cared for probably thousands of orphans in 19th century England. He stated, probably in different words, “We pray as thought everything is dependent on God, and we work as though everything depends on us.” He made his needs known only to God.
This was the modus operandi of the apostles. They gave themselves to unceasing prayer and then worked tirelessly to carry the Gospel to the ends of the earth. We are possibly deficient in both sides of this equation and we would do well to follow their example more closely.
As God fought for Israel, and Joshua and the men of Israel were faithful in all their responsibilities they were successful in taking possession of the territory to the south of Gilgal.
When the kings to the north of Gilgal became aware of Israel’s victories in the south, they banded together and the battle for northern Canaan was engaged. God again fought with Joshua and the battle again produced countless more victories for Joshua and his army. God’s promise to Abraham was being fulfilled.
The tribe of Levi did not receive territory like the other tribes but were given cities and pasture land within the borders of the other tribes. Some of the cities were designated as cities of refuge. A person who had caused w death involuntarily could flee to one of these cities and after a hearing by the local elders which established his innocence he would be protected from vengeance by the family of the person slain.
Joshua was probably about 40 yoa when he and his fellow spies searched out Canaan in preparation for its conquest. Because of the disobedience of Israel they spent another 40 years wandering in the desert. So Joshua would have been just over80 yoa when he became Moses’ successor. When Israel possessed the land he was 110 yoa. For 30 years Israel had been at war.
The people, like those in the time of Nehemiah evidently “had a mind to work” (Neh. 4:6). Work is an honorable occupation and we have the ultimate example. “My Father is working until now, and I am working.” (Jn. 5:17)
It is possible to overwork but most of us have the opposite problem. Now that we seem to be approaching the reaching of the ends of the earth, would be no time to slow down. “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast. Immovable, always abounding in he work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (I Cor. 15:58)