August 22, 2012

The Landowner

Joshua 19:49-51

In the presence of the LORD … they finished dividing the land.
—Joshua 19:51


In Joshua’s time, the Lord’s dwelling among his people was in a tent, because the people moved from place to place (see Exodus 25-31). From this earthly throne God proclaimed decisions. For example, God decided how the inheritance of land would be divided.

Since the time Israel had left Sinai, God had accompanied his people in a tent. For more than forty years this “tent of meeting” was the place where God revealed his will, usually by speaking to Moses. Without this arrangement, Israel would have been just another nomadic people moving about, fighting for land and water rights, soaking the earth with the blood of those who got in harm’s way. The Lord’s tent, now in Canaan, let everyone know that the Landowner had returned. (Then later, after many years, God had Solomon build his temple (1 Kings 6).

Today the Holy Spirit of God accompanies God’s people wherever they are, because he lives in their hearts. For nearly 2,000 years now the temple of the Holy Spirit has been the church, the body of believers in Christ (1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 6:19). Without this Spirit, the church would be just one of many groups that have a vision for the future of the world. But with the Spirit, the church is God’s temple in the world, and it’s a sign to all peoples that the Landowner has returned to reclaim wasted lives and empty souls.

Dwell in us, blessed Spirit, so that, through us, people may know Christ as the Redeemer of their bodies and souls. Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

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