JOSHUA 13-19: INHERITANCE CAN MAKE YOU ANGRY
And Moses swore on that day, saying, ‘Surely the land on which your foot has trodden shall be an inheritance for you and your children forever, because you have wholeheartedly followed the Lord my God.’ And now, as you see, the Lord has kept me alive, as he said, these forty-five years since the time that the Lord spoke this word to Moses, while Israel was journeying through the wilderness; and here I am today, eighty-five years old. I am still as strong today as I was on the day that Moses sent me; my strength now is as my strength was then, for war, and for going and coming. So now give me this hill country of which the Lord spoke on that day; for you heard on that day how the Anakim were there, with great fortified cities; it may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall drive them out, as the Lord said" (Joshua 14:9-12).
There's this great conversation between the two faithful spies (Numbers 13-14), Caleb and Joshua. They are both what we would consider elderly, both in their eighties. Caleb here says he's eighty-five, and we know Joshua had already spent forty years in Egypt, forty in the wilderness and was 110 when he died, so they are both older, but they both still have strength of young men to lead.
Now Caleb comes and makes double sure through Joshua that the promise of land is kept for his family. Each family, each tribe in Joshua 13-19 are allotted land, and these chapters go into great detail about the inheritances.
Caleb could have gotten overheated about what might have been an oversight, but he seems to be playful and respectful of his fellow former spy and commander Joshua. And that's good, because as some of you know, inheritance is one of the leading causes of hair follicle failure! When people inherit money, land, family heirlooms, there always seems to be controversy. Some families handle inheritance and executing wills very beautifully. Other families handle things in clunky, inefficient, selfish ways. What can families do to make inheritance more fair, equitable, loving, and joyous?
If you own property or money that might be handed to children or grandchildren, get a will done. Make it specific as possible and avoid probate court by doing a family trust with help of a lawyer. Thinking in advance about a will or trust, getting rid of junk and detailing what goes to your heirs can be the salvation of sibling relationships in the future. I've seen happier families with less inheritance than some families with much.
Dear LORD, inheritances and money can really make people angry, cut deep riffs between family members. I pray for those who have divided over money, that they would be convicted of the sin of greed. I pray that I will be convicted of the sin of greed and not allow any stronghold like this of the evil one to attack and set up shop in my heart. As You allowed land to be allotted for the tribes of Israel, make space in our hearts for one another, for Your goodness to constantly be in and around anything we do like inheritance that has potential to divide our hearts, our relationships, and make us bitter. Instead in the spirit of Caleb, help us to be joyous and playful and never mean or hateful in our every dealing. Amen.
Greg Taylor preaches for The Journey: A New Generation Church of Christ. Greg's wife, Jill, teaches math at Broken Arrow High School and Tulsa Community College. Greg and Jill have three adult children, Ashley, Anna, and Jacob. Greg is the author of many books, including his latest co-authored with Randy Harris, Daring Faith: Meeting Jesus in the Book of John.