Joshua 17

Spend time in prayer and silence with God asking him to meet you and speak to you.

Bible Reading

The people of Joseph said to Joshua, “Why have you given us only one allotment and one portion for an inheritance? We are a numerous people and the LORD has blessed us abundantly.”

“If you are so numerous,” Joshua answered, “and if the hill country of Ephraim is too small for you, go up into the forest and clear land for yourselves there in the land of the Perizzites and Rephaites.”

The people of Joseph replied, “The hill country is not enough for us, and all the Canaanites who live in the plain have iron chariots, both those in Beth Shan and its settlements and those in the Valley of Jezreel.”

But Joshua said to the house of Joseph–to Ephraim and Manasseh–“You are numerous and very powerful. You will have not only one allotment but the forested hill country as well. Clear it, and its farthest limits will be yours; though the Canaanites have iron chariots and though they are strong, you can drive them out.”

– Joshua 17:14-18

Devotion

Sometimes in life we tend to wish there truly was an “easy button” that we could push that would lead to an immediate completion of difficult tasks. When things get too stressful, or menial tasks are taking far too much of our time, we wish we could do away with it all simply with the push of a button. Unfortunately, that is not how life works!

Manasseh and Ephraim (named for the sons of Joseph) were large tribes with a combined number that was greater than any single tribe in Israel. The leaders came to Joshua complaining that the Lord had not allotted them a sufficiently large plot of land for them to live in. As a result, they were requesting more land from Joshua.

The truth is that they were already given a very large and desirable plot of land right in the middle of Israel. The issue was that they had not completed the task of taking possession of the land that they were given by God. They feared the Canaanites and their iron chariots.

Joshua was not taken in by their plea. He sent them away telling them to take full possession of the land already granted to them. If they were as great as they were claiming, they could complete the difficult task of taking the land that was granted to them. Joshua would not provide an “easy button” for them.

Much like the people of these two tribes, we need to remember that if we desire more of something from God, the process starts with faithfulness to God right where we are. There is no “easy button” when it comes to faithfulness and obedience. We can not expect to take a shortcut in receiving blessing from God. Instead, the discipline of faithfulness and obedience comes first.

The Big Question

Where in life are you trying to take spiritual shortcuts?

Are you daily doing the hard work of surrendering your life to God or are you hoping to see His blessings without wholehearted devotion?

How can you be faithful today in what God has already called you to do?

Conclude in prayer and silence, reflecting on what you’ve learned.