With the note that Joshua is very old and advanced in years beginning in chapter thirteen, we enter a new stage in this book. Remember that Joshua was over twenty years old when the Exodus took place. He spent forty years with Moses in the wilderness making him not less than sixty when he assumed the leadership of Israel. You can say: That was then and this is now, but the fact is, God has something for His people to do all the time. Those who spend their lives serving the Lord and seeking His service will always find something to do – and age will never be a deterrent.
If you have a map of the conquest area, you will notice that the cities not yet taken are all on the coast of the promised land. These would be the largest and most fortified cities, not to mention the strongest because they lay in Philistine and Syrian territory. Israel has moved to conquer the Jordan river valley and the highland area, but the coastal plain further west is yet unconquered.
Everyone should understand that the land to the east of the Jordan, occupied by the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh was not part of the “promised land.” These two and a half tribes stand as a lasting monument to those who, by their own choice, determine that what they already have is enough. They are satisfied not to have an inheritance in God’s promises.
Repeatedly, the comment is made that the Levites have no inheritance in the land. As priests, they will need a place to live, but land, even the “promised land,” is not their inheritance. They are to content themselves with the gifts of God and His favor. Acquiring “stuff” is not to be a part of their heritage. As priests today, we Christians should remember that God has called us to be priests. When we immerse ourselves in the ways of an acquiring world, we violate our calling and short-circuit our ability to serve the Lord with wholehearted fidelity.