Tag Archives: inheritance
“This night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God,” Luke 12:20, 21.
When children divide an inheritance, they are actually dividing up the life of the benefactor who left the inheritance. When a parent buys a house or car, he trades an amount of his life for his purchase. When a father gives his son a twenty dollar bill for a date with his girlfriend, the father is saying, “Here is an hour of my life, son. Please don’t waste it.” I remember reading this passage and feeling that Christ was being unfair not to require the brother to divide the inheritance with him. However, Christ was speaking to the man’s motives, not to the law of inheritance (Luke 12:15). Our possessions give us a sense of security, a claim to the world in which we live. Like the mockingbird, God has made man with a nesting instinct for the provision of his family. Paul, who was raised in opulent wealth, implied that, if it had not been for God’s law against covetousness, he could be perfect. Covetousness drives men and women to overextend their credit to obtain things they desire, even though they cannot pay for them, thus, living a lie or pretending. Covetousness and debt have ended many a marriage in tragedy, which began in love. Jesus often taught His disciples to be satisfied with God’s provisions. God provides for the birds and the lilies. Are you not much more valuable to God than these?
Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matt.6:32, 33).
The verb nāchal (H5157) means “to receive, to take property as a permanent possession, usually as the result of succession.” Appearing some sixty times in the OT, its first occurrence is in Exo_23:30, where God promises to drive the Canaanites from the land of promise, enabling His people to “be increased, and inherit the land.” Interestingly, two verses before, God promised to send “hornets” to aid in this task. This divine judgment could refer to literal hornets, but could possibly be figurative language for the Egyptians, as they raided Canaan regularly and the word for hornet (sir‘āh, or zirāh, H6880) is similar to the one for Egyptians (misrayim, H4714). We also find nāchal several times in Joshua (Jos_1:6; Jos_11:23; Jos_13:6-7; Jos_13:33; Jos_19:9;).
A wonderful occurrence of nāchal is in Psa_119:111 : “Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever,” or more literally, “I have inherited Thy testimonies.” While we might get really happy when someone does leave us something valuable in their will, that is merely temporal. God’s Word is the greatest inheritance we possess. Do we truly grasp that truth? Nothing, absolutely nothing, equals the value of the Word of God.
It is extremely significant that the Septuagint often translates nāchal as the Greek klēronomia (G2817), or a similar form. The NT repeatedly speaks of the inheritance we have as believers. There is no better place to see this emphasis, in fact, than in Ephesians 1. As the Urim and Thummim were used in the OT to discover God’s will (e.g., Num_27:21; 1Ch_24:5-6) and to divide land (1Ch_6:54-81), the same idea is found in Classical Greek, as lots were drawn to discover the will of the gods. The root klēros (G2819), in fact, referred to “the fragment of stone or piece of wood which was used as a lot (December 22). Paul, therefore, tells us in Eph_1:11, “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.” In other words, the lot of inheritance has fallen to us, not by chance, but by the sovereign will of God. He goes on to say that the “earnest” (literally, “first installment,” arrabōn, G728) of our inheritance is the Holy Spirit, who has sealed (sphragizō,G4972) us in Christ (Eph_1:14). He then reveals the “riches of the glory of [Christ’s] inheritance in the saints” (Eph_1:18). Oh, what a heritage we have!
Scriptures for Study: Read Ephesians 1 today and rejoice in your riches!
Today we meditate on a word of deep significance. The English cleave appears twenty-six times in the OT, all but six of which are translated from dāḇaq (H1692), meaning “to cling to, join with, stay with.” It’s used, for example, in Job_19:20 for bone cleaving to skin, in Job_41:1; Job_41:15-17 of the great sea creature Leviathan, whose scales are tightly fastened together, in Job_38:38 for clods of earth being stuck together, and in Num_36:7 for someone holding on to an inheritance. So hard did Eleazar’s hand cleave to his sword as he fought the Philistines (2Sa_23:10), we could say poetically that the sword became a part of his arm.
More significant, however, is the figurative use of dāḇaq in picturing relationships, especially of their closeness and loyalty. The first appearance of dāḇaq, in fact, pictures the devotion and intimacy of marriage, where “a man [leaves] his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Gen_2:24). David’s men cleaved unto him in loyalty when Sheba rebelled against the king (2Sa_20:2).
Most important, however, are the pictures we see of the loyalty and devotion of God’s people to Him. We read several times of God commanding His people to cleave unto Him (Deu_10:20; Deu_11:22; Deu_13:4; Jos_22:5; Jos_23:8), for such cleaving demonstrates true love for Him (Deu_30:20).
A particularly striking example of such faithfulness appears in Psa_119:31, where the psalmist says to God, “I have stuck unto thy testimonies.” “Stuck” is dāḇaq. In Psa_119:25, David says, “My soul cleaveth unto the dust,” that is, despair was sticking to him as though it were glued. Now, however, it is he who is glued, glued to God’s Word (testimonies, February 17). “While the dust of despair is glued to me,” David says in effect, “I am ever glued to God’s standards.” A woodworker uses glue to join boards together, and so strong is that bond that the board will break in another spot before it will break on that joint. That is how we are to be glued to the Word of God.
Scriptures for Study: What were God’s people told not to cleave to in Jos_23:12? Read the verses in Deuteronomy and Joshua noted above and meditate on your closeness to God.