Reflections on Scripture

by Wayne Bandy

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Scripture Passage

      Numbers - Chapter 34 (Contemporary English Version)
    1. The LORD told Moses
    2. to tell the people of Israel that their land in Canaan would have the following borders:
    3. The southern border will be the Zin Desert and the northwest part of Edom. This border will begin at the south end of the Dead Sea.
    4. It will go west from there, but will turn southward to include Scorpion Pass, the village of Zin, and the town of Kadesh-Barnea. From there, the border will continue to Hazar-Addar and on to Azmon.
    5. It will run along the Egyptian Gorge and end at the Mediterranean Sea.
    6. The western border will be the Mediterranean Sea.
    7. The northern border will begin at the Mediterranean, then continue eastward to Mount Hor.
    8. After that, it will run to Lebo-Hamath and across to Zedad, which is the northern edge of your land.
    9. From Zedad, the border will continue east to Ziphron and end at Hazar-Enan.
    10. The eastern border will begin at Hazar-Enan in the north, then run south to Shepham,
    11. and on down to Riblah on the east side of Ain. From there, it will go south to the eastern hills of Lake Galilee,
    12. then follow the Jordan River down to the north end of the Dead Sea. The land within those four borders will belong to you.
    13. Then Moses told the people, "You will receive the land inside these borders. It will be yours, but the LORD has commanded you to divide it among the nine and a half tribes.
    14. The tribes of Reuben, Gad, and East Manasseh have already been given their land
    15. across from Jericho, east of the Jordan River."
    16. The LORD said to Moses,
    17. "Eleazar the priest and Joshua son of Nun will divide the land for the Israelites.
    18. One leader from each tribe will help them,
    19. and here is the list of their names: Caleb son of Jephunneh from Judah, Shemuel son of Ammihud from Simeon, Elidad son of Chislon from Benjamin, Bukki son of Jogli from Dan, Hanniel son of Ephod from Manasseh, Kemuel son of Shiphtan from Ephraim, Elizaphan son of Parnach from Zebulun, Paltiel son of Azzan from Issachar, Ahihud son of Shelomi from Asher, and Pedahel son of Ammihud from Naphtali."
    20. (SEE 34:19)
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    26. (SEE 34:19)
    27. (SEE 34:19)
    28. (SEE 34:19)
    29. These are the men the LORD commanded to help Eleazar and Joshua divide the land for the Israelites.

Numbers - Chapter 34

Entered: January 23, 2007
As the Israelites camped east of the Jordan, God laid out the boundaries of Canaan for distribution among the tribes of Israel. Though the land had not yet been taken, it was assumed that Israel would successfully do so. The boundaries of the territory described in this passage is not a huge area - about 160 miles in length, and 50 in breadth. This is about half the size of England. After giving a description of the boundaries of the land, God then appointed men who were to serve as commissioners for the distribution of land. Eleazar the priest and Joshua were in charge of this distribution, with one leader from each tribe to serve with them.

Entered: July 30, 2012

The Lord had just told the Israelites that this new land was theirs. He had given it to them (33:53) It is like eternal life He offers all of us through Jesus Christ. It is a present reality and it is ours - if we believe it is real and accept it. The Israelites had to accept that this gift of Canaan was a reality and go into the land to accept it. They had strict instructions, though, that they were to "drive out all the inhabitants of the land." (33:52) As the Israelites camped outside this new territory, they had to accept by faith that it was theirs. God had given it to them. The indication of their faith would be to march into the land, as God instructed them, and take possession and live in the land. We, too, must by faith accept this eternal life offered through Jesus Christ, take possession of it, and live the abundant life that is made possible through Christ. 

Chapter 34 begins with a description God gave for the boundaries of this new territory. Was this so they would know what areas from which to drive out the people? Possibly. But it may also have been to convey the reality of their new possession.  The Israelites were seeing a land that was already possessed by other people. They had to trust that when God told them He had given it to them that it was as much a reality as if they already lived in the land and the present occupants already driven out. As we consider the life eternal God offers us through Jesus Christ we see our lives already possessed by many other things that are not compatible to a life lived with God. A life that He can make abundant. It requires faith on our part to believe that it is a reality that we must accept. And once we accept it that He will help us to drive out all those things that possess us and have kept us from the life He offers. We don't have to drive out all those things before we can accept this life. We accept it and then let Him drive out all that is not compatible to the life abundant that He give us.