Tenacity in the Take

Then the people of Joseph spoke to Joshua, saying, ‘Why have you given me but one lot and one portion as an inheritance, although I am a numerous people, since all along the Lord has blessed me?’ And Joshua said to them, ‘If you are a numerous people, go up by yourselves to the forest, and there clear ground for yourselves in the land of the Perizzites and the Rephaim, since the hill country of Ephraim is too narrow for you.’ The people of Joseph said, ‘The hill country is not enough for us. Yet all the Canaanites who dwell in the plain have chariots of iron, both those in Beth-shean and its villages and those in the Valley of Jezreel.’ Then Joshua said to the house of Joseph, to Ephraim and Manasseh, ‘You are a numerous people and have great power. You shall not have one allotment only, but the hill country shall be yours, for though it is a forest, you shall clear it and possess it to its farthest borders. For you shall drive out the Canaanites, though they have chariots of iron, and though they are strong.’” Joshua 17:14-17

In the allotment of the land, Joseph’s double tribes, Ephraim and Manasseh, felt they did not have enough, according to their size, and asked Joshua for more. Their sage leader said, ‘You take it. If you are large enough to need it, you are capable of doing what it takes to possess it.’ This was not a dismissive ‘Do it yourself and stop whining,’ nor was it a misguided ‘You can do anything you put your mind to, be anything you want to be.’ Joshua was a leader extraordinaire who knew God’s sure promises and depended on Him for the insight and skill both to seize them and to dole them out. He genuinely ‘encouraged’ his people, instilling divine courage based on his Lord’s word to them.

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What are chariots of iron and numerous men’s strength against the power of the Almighty? “You are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” Do we get so delusional in our perspective, so immersed in the horizontal world, that we trust in our man-made chariots and horses over the omnipotent Name of the LORD our God? (1 John 4:4; Psalm 20:7)

Where am I whining, ‘This is too hard, another’s fault, another’s responsibility’? “He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:24)

Or where, if I am zealous to take the land, am I so enamored with myself that I trust my smarts, my plan, my efforts, without weighing in on God’s wisdom, direction, and supply? Have I slipped into thinking everything is up to me– the success of my work, the salvation of my loved ones, the changing of hearts, maturing of minds, provision for others’ needs, progress of my intentions? Will I step back and take thought with my Lord, seek His guidance, rely on His strength, and go forth at His command alone?

Lord, keep me tenacious, and wise, in taking hold of Your promises. May I never shirk my responsibility in possessing, delighting in, and sharing the gifts You bestow.

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