But the tribe of Dan had trouble taking possession of their land, so they attacked the town of Laish. They captured it, slaughtered its people, and settled there. They renamed the town Dan after their ancestor.
The homeland allocated to the clans of the tribe of Dan included these towns and their surrounding villages.
After all the land was divided among the tribes, the Israelites gave a piece of land to Joshua as his allocation. For the Lord had said he could have any town he wanted. He chose Timnath-serah in the hill country of Ephraim. He rebuilt the town and lived there.
These are the territories that Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun, and the tribal leaders allocated as grants of land to the tribes of Israel by casting sacred lots in the presence of the Lord at the entrance of the Tabernacle at Shiloh. So the division of the land was completed.
God had several good reasons for establishing these boundaries instead of turning the Promised Land into a single undivided nation. (1) The boundaries gave each tribe ownership of an area, promoting loyalty and unity that would strengthen each tribe. (2) The boundaries delineated areas of responsibility and privilege that would help each tribe develop and mature. (3) The boundaries reduced conflicts that might have broken out if everyone had wanted to live in the choicest areas. (4) The boundaries fulfilled the promises that began to be given as early as the days of Jacob (Genesis 48:21-22).
The tribe of Dan found that some of their land was difficult to conquer, so they chose to migrate to Laish where they knew victory would be easier. The text doesn’t give the reason, just that Dan “had trouble taking possession of their land.” Perhaps they were depending on their own strength and not on God. Or perhaps they just anticipated trouble and backed away.
Anyone can trust God when the going is easy. When everything looks impossible, our faith and courage are put to the test. Have faith that God is great enough to tackle your most difficult situations.
Experiencing the fulfillment of God’s promises often includes our own participation. Like the tribe of Dan, we can’t always passively wait for God’s blessings. But neither can we take whatever we want. Instead, we must listen for God’s leading and then respond in faith, trusting in God’s power and taking steps toward the future he’s promised.
Today you may need to spend time listening for God. Or perhaps you have been listening for a long time and not it’s time to act in faith. Whatever the case is for you today, God has big plans for you and for the people around you, and he wants you to be part of them. What is God doing, and how can you be part of it?