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Dividing the Land

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
June 10, 2021 8:00 am

Dividing the Land

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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June 10, 2021 8:00 am

The Promised Land was given to God's people, but they still needed to go in and possess it. In the same way, the whole world has been given to Christ, yet we need to go and possess it for Him! Coming up on The Bible Study Hour, Dr. James Boice calls on us to 'possess our possessions' in Jesus.

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The promised land was given to God's people, but they still needed to go in and possess it in the same way the whole world is been given to Christ yet we need to go in and possess it for him coming up on the Bible study our Dr. James voice calls on us to possess our possessions in Jesus and welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically. Joshua used his talents to work for the Lord far into his old and Jesus calls on us to use our gifts right now to possess the land for him today.

Dr. Boyce connects the parable of the talents to the distribution of the promised land in Joshua 13 through 19. Joshua is divided into two main parts.

The first part tells about the conquest of the land of Canaan and that's what we have been chapters 1 through 12 and then there's a second section that deals with the settlement of the land. That's what we have in chapter 13 through chapter 19 and then also involved in the final chapters of the book that wrap up with a number of things that means, of course, that since we come now to the beginning of the 13th chapter of this book that way are halfway through exactly halfway through and we are beginning the chapters that begin to tell about the settlement. I we would think as we have studied these preceding chapters immediately preceding chapters that have told about the conquest that this war of conquest must've taken a relatively short time.

Everything we read about seems to indicate speed and certainly that was Joshua's technique when he heard that the kings of the South were massing against Gibeon. He marched overnight and follow up on the Army had daybreak the next day and scattered in that day was one long day of fighting came back gathered his troops the next day executed the kings of the been captured and where all that the same day took a little town that was nearby remaining portion of that 10th chapter tells how he subdued all those great cities in the south ended reads like an express train this day.

He taught that the next day, he thought that he came to one that one slowed him down. It took two days for them to subdue that city, and then another one and another one in well the whole campaign seems to of taken only about a week and then he regroups down by the Jordan again. Gil gallops where he had his headquarters during the fighting, and when he heard that the kings of the north were massing by the waters of Maryland marched quickly up there doesn't indicate exactly how long that was what it would've been about a four or five day march.

Perhaps this further in the north. At any rate, he arrived there, he fell upon those King see had a great battle. He scattered them in rapid sequence, it would seem he marched along and took one city after the other.

Yet when we come to this 13th chapter, we are aware immediately that there has been a considerable passage of time passage says it was when Joshua was old now and well advanced in years that the Lord gave him instructions for the dividing of the land held under this campaign. Take from others a way of figuring it out on the 14th chapter 1 chapter beyond that in the middle of the section that tells about the division of the land. Caleb is talking Caleb was Joshua's friend the other of the two spies who, when they had gone with the 12 into the land initially came back with a good report that they could take it. Caleb was a man of faith is Joshua Watson here we have a portion of the story in which he begins to review all these years of service he has and he says in verse seven that he was 40 years old when God sent them to spy out the land and in verse 10 he says that at this time. He is 85 years old so 45 years had passed since that initial spine operation.

I we know that 38 years were spent wandering in the desert for 40 years altogether, but they spent two years in the desert before the game of the Jordan in the first attempt to cross.

So there were 38 years judgment while they were wandering in the desert from the time at which Caleb was percent in the land. So if you take 45 years of had passed and subtract 38 from them.

You have seven or seven years of fighting and that is what's reflected here. The same thing is what you get from verse 10 because he says that he had been kept alive for 45 years. From that time when Moses sent them to spy out the land and that minus the 38 give you seven, so there had been seven years of campaigns. We all know how old Joshua was. He probably was Caleb's senior at any rate, at the end of the book when it tells us of his death, he saw hundred and 10, so by that time is a good bit older.

Most commentators think that here is chapter 13 begins. Joshua was probably about 90 years old and the great work he had been a brilliant, general, and he had carried forward the campaign forcefully and he had certainly during initially the two great campaigns in the South in the north and then I continuous battle for seven years. Certainly in that time destroyed all the real resistance of the Canaanites and the land. There was not any city worthy of note that he had not subdued again. The clue to this section is found in varying first verse where God says to him, there are nevertheless large areas of the land to be taken over Joshua and his armies had broken the power of the Canaanites, but you just can't drive a whole people out of the land, especially land that is as extensive as this territory was so all of the major cities had been overthrown were last here and there, north and south, east and west of the hill country and in the valleys. These strongholds of the Canaanites and the promisee is the now Joshua was old and there was still much of the land to be possessed so it was the plan that God gave God said now that the power of the resistance is broken. You don't need these mass armies anymore. Now it's time to divide up the land so the plan is this you divide up the land by lots each of the tribes receiving portion that I am going to determine, and then each of those tribes is to move into that particular territory. The territory given to that tribe and they are to occupy that land and by their occupation complete subjugation of the Canaanites, which has been begun by these military operations and so that's the plan was carried out. God says you have it in those opening versus divide the land as an inheritance among the Jewish tribes. Joshua was a well-organized man and even here, and what we would call his old age and on the verge of retirement. We have a man who obviously still knew what he was doing and was still in charge. This division of the land was not a random thing Joshua didn't say, well, alright, now it's time to do it for all lots and so on. Just wasn't done that way. These chapters. The tell of the division of the land themselves fall into two parts, because there were two stages to the division was an early stage.

That's what we have here in chapters 13 1415 1617 this was a division made while people were still at Gill gal and it concerned as you can tell by looking over those chapters. The tribes of Reuben Gannon Manasseh that were settled to the east of the Jordan Judah was settled in the South and the tribes of Ephraim and the half tribe of Nasser that were settled in the north. I have to think about that geographically.

Israel has three frontiers are protected. Of course, on the west by the Mediterranean. So the frontiers they have to defend our Lord, where most of the invasions of the land came later in Israel's history. That's the way the Assyrians and the Babylonians came so I had a front to the north.

They also had a front tier to the South because anyone moving up from Egypt in that direction would attack the South and they had a front tier to the east because often tribal people wandering Bedouin and marauders would come in from the east, which was the case as we know with Israel itself. That's the way they had attacked Canaan when it was still protected by the Canaanites. What you have in this first division of the land with all of Joshua's military wisdom is an effort to settle the strongest peoples the most numerous tribes on the frontiers of Canaan.

So we read in the 13th chapter of the division of the land east of the Jordan to Reuben Gannon, Manasseh may settle their Judah. Most populous of all the tribes to the south, and as I said, Ephraim, and the half tribe. The other half tribe of Manasseh to the north was only after Joshua had first fix these people in the frontiers of the country that he proceeded to a survey of the land in the casting of the remainder of the lots which determined how the land would go to the other people. Each of these tribal areas is interesting for one reason or another the land that was east of the Jordan and was given the tribes of Reuben Gavin, the first half tribe of Manasseh was interesting because this is something that had been settled long before the conquest of the land way back in the book of Deuteronomy and even before that, in numbers in the 23rd chapter of Numbers we read that as the people in the years of the desert wandering came up to that area and were standing near the Jordan that the people of these tribes who had large flocks and herds approach Moses said what we have many herds in this area of land here to the east of the Jordan would be quite suitable for us what we would like to do is receive our inheritance here. Moses consulted of the Lord, the Lord granted that these tribes on the condition that when it came to fight the battles they wouldn't stay behind as second rate tribes avoiding the fighting, but would first of all, go with the other tribes in the land until the entire land that had been given to the was subdued and only after that they allowed to go back and settle the land that had been given. Now the decision as to the land, they were to have was already determined you have that in the book of numbers.

Also in the third chapter of Deuteronomy and a little section and it's referred to in the very first chapter of Joshua so on three earlier occasions you learn the Dilantin already been given to the actual settlement of the land that is after the fighting is over is recorded later. Later in Joshua when tribes begin to break up and go often settle the different regions. The reason why this is included here is that this is the portion of the book where the entire division of the land as described so the very first year in chapter 13 we learn the land that had been given to these tribes in obedience to what Moses had already decided earlier. The 15th chapters given over to the settlement to the south by Judah and that is most significant because as I said Judah is the most populous tribe most important and historically Judah turned out to be the most important. This was a great territory it ordered on Jerusalem to the north, Jerusalem was sort of on the division line between the territory of Judah and Benjamin. But it was really in Judah and that was their northern boundary and then Judah extended east and west of the hallway to the South almost as far south as anybody wanted to settle because the further south you went the worst land God. This was a great territory that Judah had been given. It is interesting that this sizable portion of land.

This prominence is given to Judah because if you think in terms of the sons of Jacob their father Judah is not the one that should have normally been preferred. In this way the work 12 sons. As you know, six of them born to Leah and for that were born early and Judah was only the fourth of those first son Reuben was first then Simeon and Levi at last of all Judah, Reuben is the one who should've received the inheritance the inheritance of the firstborn involved two things I didn't involved a double portion of land or cattle or whatever the wealth of the father may have been, and secondly it did involve the right of rule one who was the firstborn was the head of the household and that rule passed on to his firstborn soul. And that's the way it operated. Reuben is one of should've received that but Reuben didn't Reuben had dishonored his father.

He slept with his father's concubine Bill was judged for that. So he removed from that place of prominence and likewise also with Simeon and Levi, Simeon and Levi were the two brothers who had teamed up to murder the Jacobites because their honor was offended on the occasion of the treatment that their sister Dinah had received and so they used a ruse in the name of religion. They went my slot at all these people her own father said it was such an evil deed that it made his name a stench among the Canaanites and when it came to the end of his life when he was blessing. These brothers blessings we have recorded in the 49th chapter of Genesis, he pronounces a judgment on each one on Reuben and on Simeon and on Levi and he says that they are not to receive the inheritance and Simeon and Levi especially says are to be scattered in the land. The blessing then fell, at least in some measure upon Judah as 1/4 of the sons that would involve entirely on its interesting that in first Chronicles the fifth chapter versus one until there's a special reference to Joseph, who was one of the sons and would've been one of the tribes and it says that the blessing of the firstborn was given to him and us. You read that because it refers to his two sons Ephraim and Manasseh, a portion of the blessing of the firstborn that he received is obviously the double portion of the land other words, Joseph received the double portion because each of his two sons received a portion say here in the division of the land. Some of the land is given to Ephraim and some of the land is given to Manasseh, and in that way. Joseph received the special blessing of his father in regard to the possessions. Judah received the rights of the firstborn to rule. That's why in the tribe of Judah, you have this great succession of kings and great kings. They were David was of the tribe of Judah. He was a great king, the greatest of all Israel's kings. He was not only a great man, a man of God in integrity and a great warrior a great leader, a man of outstanding wisdom. He was a poet as well and he wrote for a post-beloved of all Israel's songs.

Solomon Solomon, who is outstanding for his wisdom and who also gave us large portions of the medical literature and so on down through this long line of distinguished kings, even years later when the moral fiber and religious tone of the nation was in the climate was still a man like Joe Sligo of the tribe of Judah who, under God, was used to bring about a reform as the law was rediscovered in the temple, purified and the high places the alders to strange gods were destroyed systematically throughout the land. And then of course eventually it was through the tribe of Judah that Jesus Christ inside our Savior eventually came. This was an important tribe.

And it's no mistake that the entire 15th chapter of Joshua was given over to a description of the territory that this tribe actually occupied and then there's this area to the north where Ephraim and the half tribe of Manasseh were settled to an interesting feature of this settlement of the northern tribes that the special portion of at a major portion is the five women was not the thing that was usually done land was given, the sons was a patriarchal society.

The men were the men of war, and to defend the land and that's the way it operated but here is an interesting case of the preservation of the rights of women in Israel was a man he read about it in chapter 17 verse three is name was cellophane and he died without any son so way back in the story. Back earlier in the early books of the Old Testament were told how his daughter's five of them.

Their names are listed here. Myla no hug block con Dick suck came to Moses and the other leaders and said it isn't right that are father's name should perish from the land.

We should have an inheritance to and so Moses inquired of the Lord, the Lord said, you know, their argument is right they should have an inheritance so a decision was made way back there. Moses day that when they came in the land portion of the land is going to be given to these five sisters, just as it would've been given to son of this Manzella Fay had if you had a son I think is interesting and Francis Schaeffer call special attention to it in his study of the book that in each one of these cases, the land that is given to the tribes east of the Jordan and the settlement of Judah in the south in these matters that pertain to the settlement, Ephraim, and the half tribe of Manasseh in the north. In every case, the decision is made on the basis of symbols or commitments already made previously and recorded in the Pentateuch. The first five books of the Bible sometimes said by critical scholars that this was a period where everything was in flux. All of the books were written later. The document Terry theory of the formation of the Old Testament puts all of this material much much later than the time and yet Schaeffer points out that is not the case, at least according to the testimony of the books themselves.

What we have here as we begin to study the settlement of the land is the awareness of the fact that these people already had a written revelation to come to them from God through Moses was God's prophet and they were now operating already see in these early days of the basis of what God already said so when it came time to divide up the land.

These women came and said it is written in the book of Joshua and the other leaders that indeed it is so they received their inheritance already you say they were operating faithfully as Bible oriented people let's the first section of the division. Apparently this time Joshua moved the camp of the Israelites from guilt out of the banks of the Jordan up to Shiloh which was a bit north of Bethel and the high country on the road up toward Mount Gary Zimmerman Mount evil. I suppose that was done for military reasons. Now that he had made settlement of the frontier areas. He moved into the center of the land began the distribution which we now have in chapters 18 and 19 verse seven tribes remaining. Benjamin was a very small tribe and he gave Benjamin a relatively small territory.

Ephraim was to the north, Judah was to the south of Benjamin is the tribe filled in that little narrow area in between but a small area contained important cities.

This was where Jericho had been located in AIM Bethel and Gibeon itself ordered Jerusalem on the south so the people Benjamin had easy access to this city which became great capital of the country.

Later it wasn't conquered at this time that's acknowledged at the end of one of these chapters. They were unable to dislodge the Benjamin Knight Sue were located there, but eventually they did under David and so this became the center. It's was good thing for Benjamin. Benjamin was close to Judah because at the time of the Civil War when the northern tribes separated from the southern tribes. Benjamin stayed with Judah in the south and the northern tribes apostatized quicker because they were cut off from Jerusalem and is worship so they drifted said in the various forms of idolatry in the nation. Earlier in the fall of the Assyrians in 721 BC.

The kingdom of the South. Judah itself would Benjamin resisted maintain certain godly standards for much longer.

Benjamin had the advantage of all of out of their territory, as described in the 19th chapter were told about Simeon. Now it's an interesting feature of Simeon's allotment and when we link it up with the prophecy of his father that we have recorded in Genesis 49 we see this when Simeon was judged for his wickedness along with his brother Levi attacking and murdering the Jacobites what his father said to him was that neither of these two brothers either Simeon or Levi would have territory in the land, but instead they would be scattered throughout the land that was fulfilled.

We notice when we come to these chapters of the actual allotment of the land that it was fulfilled in a most gracious way. It's true that Simeon didn't actually have territory of its own.

It begins by saying that it's a lot came out of the territory of Judah. In other words, Judah was to the south and had his big territory and they they sort of said to the people of Simeon. You can live there within Judah's territory so they didn't receive their own inheritance and as we follow the various references to this tribe throughout the Old Testament we have that feeling that they moved around from place to place. They have well settled communities of their own.

Always but nevertheless they they were given a place to live. So the judgment though it was a serious judgment on Simeon was fulfilled graciously by God. Same thing was true of Levi were not going to say that Levi is given territory because Levi is going to come to what is said about Levi later in the 21st chapter the tribe of Levi literally did not receive a tribal territory. All but the tribe of Levi were made priests and the people of Levi were settled throughout the land, and priestly cities. 38 of them. So although they didn't have tribal territory.

They were apportioned throughout the land to represent God and to teach about God the tribe so that which was a judgment upon Levi actually in the handling of God in the outflowing of this history became a great blessing.

They were blessed themselves by being called to the priesthood. They became blessing other people to select concern. Simeon Zebulun was a bit to the north are four tribes here that are actually settled out of the north of Ephraim. Ephraim had the Northern Territory along with the tribe of Manasseh, half on one side of the Jordan half on the other.

These four tribes are settled further north but it's as if you sleep that now that the northern frontier is established, they can stretch out further in the direction of the Northern Territory so that is what happens with Zebulun, Zebulun, is given territory to the north massacre is given territory up there next to Zebulun as well. These two sons, Zebulun.

This occur with the ninth and 10th sons of Jacob. They were the fifth and six sons of Leah as they were born considerably later than their older brothers. The first floor that we been talking about probably like younger siblings. They had been particularly close.

Perhaps a reflection about that in the distribution of the land. These two tribes are placed side by side in the north. The next one mentioned is Asher Asher received the territory along the coast running up toward Tyre and Sidon is very fertile land that was a marvelous place to be settled but had its dangers because it brought them into contact with the Gentile cities in the Gentile influences of that portion of Canaan. Natalie had the territory around the Sea of Galilee. This is a territory where at a later date. You had Cana Cana of Galilee and Beth stayed in Capernaum all those places we know from the story of our Lord is.

It's recorded in the Gospels. Isaiah refers to this territory. Zebulun inaptly says in the ninth chapter of that prophecy is beginning to talk about the Messiah. He called in Galilee of the Gentiles, and he said a great blessing is going to be given to them because upon them at the light shine, we know is that ninth chapter of Isaiah goes on, that he begins to talk about the Messiah, on the one who is the son given to us in the son of God was born. The government will be upon his shoulders and so forth, is pointing out that that came about in this Northern Territory so these people were greatly blessed and then as a reference to Diane, the last of these tribes to receive its territory. It was given territory down where Felicity is where the Philistines said settled in some of the cities of Philistines are mentioned here for example, in equine and agile on powerful cities told as we read this that the downlights had trouble driving the people out. We know that to be true because later in the time of the judges, the Philistines are still rarely cause a great deal of trouble for the people modified even in the time of the Kings kings fought against the Philistines that I apparently did the second-best thing they were unable to drive the Philistines out so they went in attacking a city called Russia and occupied it settled nobody's exactly sure where lesser minutes but there's a territory, much to the north, which is identified as the territory of Diane when they describe the territory of Israel and later books of the Old Testament. They describe it as extending from Dan to Beersheba so than that.

Or at least a portion of the tribe of Dan was in the north and may be where density was right after they had finished all of this distribution and appropriately at the end of the distribution. A portion of the land was given to Joshua himself carried this through the Ambien asked for a town Temne Sarah in the hill country of Ephraim the very end of this they gave that to him. He was from the tribe of Ephraim, so it was appropriately settled there.

The section ends by saying these are the territories and Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of nun, and the heads of the tribal plans of Israel assigned by lot at Shiloh in the presence of the Lord at the entrance of the tent of meeting all done, you see very precisely informally and so they finished biting the land last few studies when we were looking at the battles in the South and the North.

We took time out to look at some of the great characteristics of this man Joshua. This is certainly a point whereby summary we can look at his character and say that if anything characterized this man in a complementary way. It was certainly his faithfulness and duty to the very end. It's truly lived to be hundred and 10, but if he was almost minding this time 90 is set pretty right old age. And here was Joshua carrying out the duty got it assigned them right to the end.

He was 90.

He was not going to shirk anywhere along the way.

I know people that are a lot younger than that of quit and I know others that if you if you looked at them. They seem to be working but they're not working very hard to very faithfully and Joshua was not at all like that here was a man who was given a task to do it like a general he didn't and he kept at it year after year he came to the end one had to do with the division of the land he was faithful that Tony didn't take his hands off and retire to a city until the class that had been assigned to him was completed every single bit. And yet, you know, even though Joshua was faithful to the end you find here that in a certain sense.

From this point on the responsibilities of the people were just beginning because he was dispatching them the north east of the South.

All these various tribal territories of what they had to do now was subdue those territories as Joshua had originally subdued the land is a great principal there for us sometimes when by the grace of God we have strong leadership of the Christian church is a tendency for other people to sit back and say well leader there he'll do it.

He'll take care of it or she'll do it you will take care of what we think what we don't have anything to do. That isn't the case. That is never the case. You remember I'm short of a parable of our Lord actually repeated in several different forms in the Gospels of householder owner of the land that went away as he went away gave talents to each of those servants so we left behind was 10 to 152.

Another one with murder, as he tells it.

On another occasion 52122 another one to the third and he said now use these work while I'm gone. He went away when he returned it was an accounting to see what they did this, no question, you say that in God's administration of his church. There are some people who are given greater responsibility than others, and there are some web gifts that make them more prominent than others, but the point of those parables is that those who have the 10 talents of the five talents are responsible for doing the work and the other people are responsible doing nothing but on the contrary, each one is responsible to use the talent that he or she has been given. And so it is in this book of Joshua. Joshua was certainly the great general is the one who led the campaign, but you see, now the people had to enter in and possess those possessions that had been given to them.

They had a responsibility as well. Some of the commentators who like to look at Joshua as an allegory of the Christian life.

Make a great deal of this point possessing your possessions. They point out and they point out, rightly, that because we are Christ prices God all things are given the price holdings given us and so we have all the riches of our inheritance in Christ Jesus. Already, the New Testament says so I get to look at many of us, we would seem to be quite poor in the possession of our possessions. We have him but we don't actually possess the sense of being able to use them actually rejoice in what were given so these commentators begin to reflect on this place either number of areas which we should possess our possessions. Certainly we have been given the knowledge of God in the pages of Scripture.

But many of us don't know it very well. We got a possess that we have to do it by actually appropriating it city by city or in terms of Scripture verse by verse justice, people had to possess the land is also personal holiness. That's not something that just falls upon us like a mantle at something that is achieved by small decisions day by day after entering a holiness snap act by act of obedience by obedience. They speak of the gifts of the Holy Spirit which are ours. Everyone's been given a gift. That's what it says in the New Testament.

I know many people aren't even aware of what their gift is or if they are, they don't always use it very well. We have to possess that gift personal practical way.

All that's very valuable and yet when I look at this and I think in terms of application, my mind goes to that great verse in the 11th chapter of Revelation in which in heaven now an angel blows the trumpet and all the hosts of heaven cried out together the kingdom of this earth has become the kingdom of our God and of his Christ say that is a reflection of the end times. What is true in principle.

Now Jesus said all authority has been given on the be in heaven and earth, and it is the world's are Christ's, yet just as the land of Canaan was given to Israel and they still had to possess it. So the world as we given our Christ we are part of his kingdom. We have a responsibility now possessing it for him is where evangelism comes in where we actually go into the territory, and present the claims of Christ when men and women to him and where, by exerting Christ's standards of rule and the ethics of his kingdom. We established bit by bit, as God gives us grace.

What theologians call the outworking of the cultural mandate so that if her lawyers in the practice of our law. We say look how would Jesus practice law, we begin to do it that way and so claim a small portion of our culture for him and for doctors we say how would Jesus conduct himself if he were a doctor here and so we conduct our medical practice.

That way, and so claim a portion of our culture for him and so on with teaching and keeping the house in running the business and all the other things that we do but let me say this one thing, if you're going to possess these possessions you first of all have to be possessed by Jesus Christ To be his because you can't do it of yourself. You can't drive out the giants of the land are stronger than you are. You have to be possessed by Christ in the ass to be working through you and I asked the question argue Christ's to his you following him as he really your Lord and see directing what you think and how you act, what you say that is not the case. You really can find a better example of what it means to follow Jesus and that way then is great example of the Old Testament general Joshua spray father we ask you to bless this word to our hearts. We thank you for things as practical as this dividing up of land because we see how it applies to office of the responsibilities that we've been given we've not been given all this earth that belongs to Christ. We are Christ, and so would given a portion of it to subdue for him. It was grace to do that faithfulness as Joshua was faithful above all a fair many who are hearing these things would've never first of all, given their lives to Christ. We pray that you might have your way with them and they might find him to be their Savior now and the director of their lives. From this time forth. Thank you for all of this in the name of Jesus, our Savior. You are listening to Bible study hour with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview. Drawing upon the insight and wisdom of reformed theologians from decades and even centuries gone by. We seek to provide Christian teaching that will equip believers to understand and meet the challenges and opportunities of our time and place. Alliance broadcasting includes the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce every last word with Bible teacher, Dr. Philip Reich and Dr. Barnhouse in the Bible featuring Donald Barnhouse. For more information on the alliance including a free introductory package for first-time callers or to make a contribution. Please call toll-free 1-800-488-1888.

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