Put On Your Big Boy Pants

(Joshua 17:14-18 ESV) 14 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?” 15 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.” 16 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.” 17 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, 18 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.”

Whiney people wear me out! How about you? In a recent devotion, I wrote about the MASSIVE list of blessings that were reserved for the house of Joseph. BIG blessings. ABUNDANT blessings. They only needed to take the necessary steps to possess them.

In Joshua 17, Joshua continues to distribute inheritances to the various tribes of Israel. The distributions varied based upon the size of the tribes and the role they played in the progress of the nation. When the people of Joseph heard the description of their inheritance, their tone seemed to imply a dissatisfaction with the details.

  • “Why have you given me one lot and one portion?”
  • “The hill country is not enough for us.”
  • “The Canaanites have chariots of iron.”

Joshua had to help them see things from a God-sized perspective. He reminded them of their potential.

  • “You are numerous.”
  • “You have great power.”
  • “Go to the forest and clear land for yourselves.”
  • “You shall possess it to its farthest borders.”
  • “You shall drive out the Canaanites.”

It appears that the people of Joseph had taken on an attitude of entitlement. Is it possible they felt they should not have to fight anymore? Could it be they felt they deserved to have their blessing super-sized and ready to enjoy without further effort? We may never know, but their words sound an awful lot like disappointment. The reward just didn’t fit their expectations.

I’m reminded of the man who looked to Peter and John for a monetary handout. Peter responded by letting him know that he did not have money to give, but he could hook him up with supernatural healing. If the beggar was disappointed, it certainly didn’t show. He got up and started enjoying his new found freedom!

That’s the point Joshua was trying to make to the household of Joseph. They were blessed! The victory was still theirs for the taking. They just needed to sow the proper effort to reap the promised result.

Today, let’s realize how blessed we are. Let’s focus on the potential we possess. Instead  of getting our bloomers in an upset, let’s put on our big boy pants and show God how grateful we are by living in the abundance He has provided.

PRAYER: Lord, I realize the blessings I’m experiencing have come directly from Your hand. Keep my mind focused on You and empower me to grasp all that You have laid up for me. Amen.

Collecting What’s Laid Up For Me

(Joshua 14:6-12 ESV) 6 Then the people of Judah came to Joshua at Gilgal. And Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, “You know what the LORD said to Moses the man of God in Kadesh-barnea concerning you and me. 7 I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh-barnea to spy out the land, and I brought him word again as it was in my heart. 8 But my brothers who went up with me made the heart of the people melt; yet I wholly followed the LORD my God. 9 And Moses swore on that day, saying, ‘Surely the land on which your foot has trodden shall be an inheritance for you and your children forever, because you have wholly followed the LORD my God.’ 10 And now, behold, the LORD has kept me alive, just as he said, these forty-five years since the time that the LORD spoke this word to Moses, while Israel walked in the wilderness. And now, behold, I am this day eighty-five years old. 11 I am still as strong today as I was in the day that Moses sent me; my strength now is as my strength was then, for war and for going and coming. 12 So now give me this hill country of which the LORD spoke on that day, for you heard on that day how the Anakim were there, with great fortified cities. It may be that the LORD will be with me, and I shall drive them out just as the LORD said.”

This is one of my favorite Old Testament accounts. I like it because it speaks to the importance of being faithful to God, while simultaneously waiting on God to deliver on His promises. The details of the story are very clear and need no further explanation. However, there are a couple of observations that came to mind as I read and studied these verses again.

(1) Did you notice there is no competition between Caleb and Joshua? Caleb only wanted what had been promised him. If you remember, Joshua and Caleb were the two spies who returned to Moses with a positive report. 12 spies were sent; two returned with a positive, faith-filled assessment of what could be accomplished through obedience to God. Caleb had followed and supported Joshua from day one, and it would have been so easy to want the same inheritance; so easy to feel he deserved much more than what had been promised. Hadn’t they both been equally commissioned? Weren’t they both equally faithful in their reporting? Didn’t they both take the same risks? Yes. Yes. and Yes. And yet, Caleb was content to receive his apportioned inheritance without any indication of jealousy toward Joshua.

(2) Receiving God’s blessings often means taking them by force. Caleb declared, “give me this hill country of which the LORD spoke on that day, for you heard on that day how the Anakim were there, with great fortified cities. It may be that the LORD will be with me, and I shall drive them out just as the LORD said.” Caleb was not the least bit intimidated by his age, his enemy (the Anakim), or the mountain range he would have to fight for. He simply believed what God promised and was ready to act on that belief. He was motivated by faith to collect what God had laid up for him.

God has also laid up blessings for you. Go after them; collect what is yours in the name of the Lord!

PRAYER: Thank you Lord for the blessings reserved for me. Give me the strength and courage to pursue and collect them so I can be fully blessed, and You may be rightfully glorified! Amen.

Look To The Book!

(Joshua 1:6-9 ESV) 6 Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.

From the very outset of the leadership transition from Moses to Joshua, God established His promises to Joshua, and the requirement to obey the Book of the Law that had been passed down by Moses. Notice the commandments of the Lord to Joshua…

  • Be careful to do according to all the law.
  • Do not turn from it.
  • Don’t let it depart from your mouth.
  • Meditate on it day and night.

Every promise was contingent upon Joshua’s willingness to prioritize the Word of the Lord as it was given by Moses. Twice, God instructs Joshua to “be careful to do according to all…” Not some. Not a modified, or personalized version. But, the exact interpretation of the law as it was passed down.

As a pastor, I can relate to the responsibility that was placed upon Joshua. God told him, “YOU shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them.”  The level of Israel’s inheritance would be directly proportional to Joshua’s ability to effectively lead the people. He would have to find ways to clearly communicate all the Book of the Law.

Let’s be clear, Joshua could only teach and declare the content of the Book of the Law–he had no power to make them do it. Even when warned, Achan still disobeyed and brought judgment upon his family and the nation of Israel.

One of my great frustrations in ministry is when people live in open rebellion to Scripture. Or, they make up their own version of what they think Scripture means. By doing this, they forfeit divine blessings and open themselves to judgment.

While it is true that we are no longer obligated to keep the law, we are obligated to know and do the things that are required in Scripture. Here’s the kicker… When we realize that being obedient is beneficial, we will feel honored to obey rather than forced to obey.

PRAYER: I feel honored and blessed to be Your obedient servant. Help me to know and do what Your word commands so others may be blessed through my obedience and leadership. amen.

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