Joshua is advanced in age.
His battles are over and he has entered a place of rest.
But God has given him a new task.
One that is not without it's challenges.
And the Lord said to him...
there remains very much land yet to be possessed.
And while there were yet inhabitants of the land that still need to be conquered, God promised... I will drive (them) out from before the children of Israel;
only divide it by lot to Israel as an inheritance, as I have commanded you.
Joshua 13:1, 6
So Joshua, along with Eleazar the priest, and the twelve heads of the tribes, distributed as an inheritance the land, by lot as the Lord had commanded through Moses.
The borders and boundaries of land had been issued to the tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim, the sons of Joseph. And they had begun to settle in their land. But the Canaanites who dwelt in the land were determined to stay.
And some of the leaders of two tribes came to Joshua...
Then the children of Joseph spoke to Joshua, saying,
“Why have you given us only one lot
and one share to inherit,
since we are a great people,
inasmuch as the Lord has blessed us until now?”
These men were upset because they were two tribes sharing one allotment.
So when they say... since we are a great people,
they mean, great in number.
And now that they have begun to settle, they are feeling crowded.
And it's not simply that they are many.
For they have neglected to mention to Joshua
what he already knows.
For for in order to take possession of land...
they first needed to dispossess the current inhabitants.
The inhabitants that God had previously commanded them to... utterly destroy.
Joshua knows that this land is quite possibly large enough
for both tribes... Manasseh and Ephraim;
If the Canaanites were no longer there.
So Joshua answered them,
“If you are a great people,
then go up to the forest country and clear a place for yourself
there in the land of the Perizzites and the giants,
since the mountains of Ephraim are too confined for you.”
What a great tactic Joshua uses...
restating their own words as an argument for his own purpose.
Even though they came with an appeal to Joshua for more land
in sort of a complaining way...
this warrior who rules them is not falling for it.
For he has wandered in the wilderness with the worst of complainers.
And he has also led them in and out of battle.
Joshua obviously knows that the reason they are asking for more land...
is simply because they are not willing to clear the land they have been given.
By destroying, or running off the current inhabitants.
So he gives them another option to clear land...
he tells them to head to the forested part of their land
and literally clear the land.
Joshua, who we have seen in the past,
as a man of action, is saying...
Quit whining, and GET TO WORK!
But the children of Joseph said,
“The mountain country is not enough for us;
and all the Canaanites who dwell in the land of the valley
have chariots of iron, both those who are of Beth Shean
and its towns and those who are of the Valley of Jezreel.”
Somehow, these children of Joseph have surveyed the land.
And even peering through the forest, they have determined it is not enough.
But Joshua knows that these men do not truly have a vision
for what they have already been given.
And while they may say they are great...
they are simply ordinary people like me... maybe like you, too,
fearful of the unknown.
Believing only what they can see with their human eyes.
and uncertain of what God sees in them...
their great potential.
But Joshua wants to give them one more pep talk!
For Joshua is actually from the tribe of Ephraim, as well.
These are his people.
And I don't believe he wants to give them a break
or cut them any slack.
He knows that they can rise to this occasion.
And Joshua spoke to the house of Joseph... to Ephraim and Manasseh, saying,
“You are a great people and have great power;
you shall not have only one lot,
but the mountain country shall be yours.
Although it is wooded, you shall cut it down,
and its farthest extent shall be yours;
for you shall drive out the Canaanites,
though they have iron chariots and are strong.”
Joshua wants them to know...
that they are not simply great in number,
but great in might and courage.
He wants to speak to the heart of them
and motivate them to achieve more.
He has been through the battle and
knows the thrill of victory.
Now it is their turn.
And through this, God is speaking to us as well...
Now it's my turn.
Now it is your turn.
We cannot simply get what we want in life
by standing still and asking for more.
This is not a life of ease and luxury.
God is telling us, like Joshua did these two tribes...
in order to make room for our purpose,
we must either...
Go to Battle, or
Go to Work!
Word of God... train me, today...
to not sit back and expect my inheritance to be given to me,
to get to work clearing a lot of what You have already given to me.
Lord, thank You
for opening my eyes
to what You have already given.
Let me not expect my inheritance
through luxury and ease.
But rather always know
that I need to put in the work
and be willing to fight the battles.
I trust You, Lord
to give me strength as I clear.
I have already been give a lot!
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