6: Land, labor and provision (Joshua 5:11–12)

Scripture ReadingJoshua 5:11-12

There is an inextricable link between land, labor, and provision. The land of Canaan was bountiful by the standards of the Ancient Near East. But the blessings of the land went beyond the favorable climate, abundant water, and other natural benefits. Israel also inherited a well-developed infrastructure from the Canaanites. Even the signature description of the land as “flowing with milk and honey” assumes livestock and beekeeping.

Our ability to produce does not arise solely from our ability or diligence, but also from the resources available to us. But the land does not work itself. As Joshua 5:11-12 says: “On the day after the Passover, on that very day, they ate the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain. The manna ceased on the day they ate the produce of the land, and the Israelites no longer had manna; they ate the crops of the land of Canaan that year.” Israel survived on the divine gift of manna throughout their wilderness wanderings, but God had no intention of making this a permanent solution to the problem of provision. The land was to be worked. Sufficient resources and fruitful labor were integral elements of the Promised Land.

While God may provide miraculously at times for our physical needs, the norm is for us to subsist on the fruit of our labors. Where are you called to produce? What “land” do you need to work?

Prayer: Lord, you are good. Thank you for miraculous provision. Thank you also for my daily bread and work. I ask you to meet my needs today. Amen.

For Further Exploration: Read The Land (Joshua 2-12) from the Theology of Work Bible Commentary.

Author: Theology of Work Project

Theology of Work Project Online Materials by Theology of Work Project, Inc. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Based on a work at www.theologyofwork.org

You are free to share (to copy, distribute and transmit the work), and remix (to adapt the work) for non-commercial use only, under the condition that you must attribute the work to the Theology of Work Project, Inc., but not in any way that suggests that it endorses you or your use of the work.

© 2014 by the Theology of Work Project, Inc.

Unless otherwise noted, the Scripture quotations contained herein are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, Copyright © 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission. All rights reserved.