Salmon was a child of the wilderness. As a young boy, he would have heard the instructions of Moses, “Honor your father and your mother” firsthand, straight from the horse’s mouth. Yet you have to wonder if Salmon and his peers were all secretly keeping a tally of whose dads were dying: “One more down, five to go!” The generation of children growing up in the wilderness would have known the words of the Lord. When the ten bad spies brought back a bad report and a cry of complaining arose from Israel, God gave them quite an indictment on unbelief and told them two key things would have to happen before they could go into the Promised Land: 1) Forty years would pass (Numbers 14:33) and 2) The generation that was twenty years old and older would all have to die — all, that is, except for the two good spies — Joshua and Caleb (Numbers 14:29). If Salmon and his friends were even half as human as we are — let’s be honest — could you imagine the chatter among them? Setting: On the edge of the wilderness, nearing the end of forty years in the desert. Salmon’s Friend #1: “Have you heard? Nahshon’s not doing well.” Salmon’s Friend #2: “Hasn’t he been on his last leg for a while?” Salmon’s Friend #1: “Yep, I don’t know how he can keep hanging on for too much longer.” Salmon’s Friend #2: “I can’t wait to get into the Promised Land! We are down to five old dudes left. I mean, come on, let’s get on with this!” Salmon’s Friend #1: “Bro, that’s not cool, man. Honor your father and mother.” Salmon’s Friend #3: “Zip it, guys. That’s enough. Here comes Salmon. Nahshon’s his abba you know.” Nahshon was chosen by God to lead the tribe of Judah through the forty years in the desert (Numbers 1). He was part of the generation of unbelief that had to die before Israel could enter the land of milk and honey, and his first assignment as leader was the census during year two of the forty wilderness years. He was to count the men of his tribe who were twenty years old and older and able to serve in the army. One of two things happened: Either Nahshon cooked the books, or his tribe was, in fact, the largest, packing a whopping 74,600 men. According to Jewish tradition, 3 Nahshon jumped on his horse, convinced of what Moses was about to do at the Red Sea. He rode straight ahead into the water moments before Moses lifted up his staff and parted it. Therefore he would have been the first one to cross over. This tradition has earned Nahshon the credit of his name, which means “initiator.” During the forty wilderness years, Nahshon, along with his son Salmon, lived straight east of God. Seriously! God’s manifest presence lived there. The Ark of the Covenant, also called the Ark of the Presence, was in the innermost chamber of the Tabernacle called the Holy of Holies. The twelve tribes of Israel would camp in a big circle with the Tabernacle in the middle. The tribe of Judah, led by Nahshon, camped on the east side of that circle, and the Tabernacle was where God lived. Since one could only enter the Tabernacle by the Eastern Gate, in a very real sense Nahshon lived at God’s front door. Most importantly, Nahshon was the great-great-greatgrandfather of David, ancestor to Jesus. Nahshon and Salmon, father and son, would have been there to hear Moses deliver live the instructions recorded in Deuteronomy 12. Moses addressed all Israel, but gave specific instructions to Salmon and his generation to seek the place that God wanted to live when they eventually entered into the land of their inheritance. We know now that God had chosen Jerusalem, in the land allotted to the tribe of Judah (Nashon and Salmon’s tribe) to be the place of His desire. I wonder if Salmon and Nahshon had any idea that God had chosen their tribe as the place of His dwelling. “What? You want to live with my family?” “You bet, Nahshon. No more living as my frontdoor neighbor. I’m moving in!” Moses instructed: You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way. But you shall SEEK THE PLACE that the Lord your God will choose out of all your tribes to put his name and make his habitation there. T H E R E Y O U S H A L L G O , and T H E R E YOU SHALL BRING your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and the contribution that you present, your vow offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herd and of your flock. And THERE YOU SHALL EAT before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your households, in all that you undertake, in which the Lord your God has blessed you. You shall not do according to all that we are doing here today, everyone doing whatever is right in his own eyes, for you have not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance that the Lord your God is giving you. But when you go over the Jordan and live in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to inherit, and when he gives you rest from all your enemies around, so that you live in safety, then to THE PLACE THAT THE LORD YOUR GOD WILL CHOOSE, to make his name dwell there, there you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and the contribution that you present, and all your finest vow offerings that you vow to the Lord. And you shall rejoice before the Lord your God, you and your sons and your daughters, your male servants and your female servants, and the Levite that is within your towns, since he has no portion or inheritance with you. Take care that you do not offer your burnt offerings at any place that you see, but AT THE PLACE THAT THE LORD WILL CHOOSE in one of your tribes, there you shall offer your burnt offerings, and there you shall do all that I am commanding you. Deuteronomy 12:4-14, Emphasis Mine Salmon would have hung on every word coming from Moses’ mouth. Moses was prophesying about the reality of them actually going into the Promised Land, and he was giving them instructions about where and how to worship, even before they got there. Nahshon’s unbelieving generation may have rolled their eyes once again and said, “There you go again, Moses, getting everyone’s hopes up,” but Salmon was of a new wave of young dudes who were daring to believe in the promises of God. Salmon and his generation were no doubt dreaming of conquering the land, moving into their new homes and settling into the rest of their inheritance. And they weren’t the only ones dreaming. As God spoke through Moses in Deuteronomy 12, it seems that He, too, was dreaming — dreaming of the place where He desired to dwell, the place of His habitation. God clearly had a place that He desired, and Salmon and his generation were to look for that place and only worship there. God owns the whole world, and if He wants a certain place for Himself, He certainly holds eminent domain. Location! Location! Location! Is God a real estate agent? Evidently, location matters to Him.