So here we go, into the abyss of detail regarding the distribution of land to the twelve tribes. You wish you had a plat map of the Promised Land as you read this, don’t you? You know all these places, right: Hazor-hadattah; Gederothaim; Nibshan? All familiar to us. Ha! So how do we engage these lengthy lists of obscure and unpronounceable cities and villages? Without over-spiritualizing the passage, maybe the best thing we can do is to put ourselves into the shoes of the Israelites.
The Hebrew people had been absent from this land for over 400 years, ever since Jacob brought his family to Egypt in the time of Joseph. Perhaps, these people had only heard stories from the previous generations about this land flowing with milk and honey. And as each generation passed away, the memories faded as did the hope of ever returning. But now, the land is being returned to them. It would be as if we had been taken from our country for generations, only to have it returned to us. This is the inheritance of the people of Arizona: From the northwest corner at the border of Nevada and Utah, running eastward to the Colorado – New Mexico Border; then going due south, through the Apache National Forest to the border with Mexico; turning west along the border and turning slightly north at Nogales; continuing west-northwest to San Luis and the Colorado River; moving north with the river as the western border, through Lake Havasu City and Bullhead City; including the cities of Flagstaff, Prescott, Phoenix, Tucson, and their villages. For those who love this state, these places have meaning. And for Israel, this distribution was the fulfillment of a promise they had waited for for centuries. What a picture of the promised heavenly inheritance we have and eagerly anticipate!
The writer gives us another account of Caleb’s faithfulness in 15:15-19. Just as he said he would with the Lord’s help back in 14:12, Caleb acts in faith on the promises of God and takes the land God had promised him. Remember, faith acts. We need to move forward in God’s strength as we take his promises to heart. Believe God. He is faithful and never lies!