Monday, June 13, 2011

Joshua 16 & 17 - Distribution for Ephraim and Manasseh

LINK: Joshua 16 & 17

BACKGROUND


Do not forget the link to that excellent map: http://classic.net.bible.org/map.php?map=ot4

Since Joseph kept the whole family of Israel alive during the famine in Egypt, Jacob said that Joseph's sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, would be heads of tribes (Genesis 48:5). Note that Ephraim's men did not completely drive out the Canaanites in Gezer. In the time of the Judges, these Canaanites rose up and enslaved the Israelites. They did not fully obey the Lord, and it came back to bite them!


Note that the five daughters of Zelophehad received their allotment because their father had died (also see Numbers 27:1-11). Women had and continue to have rights in God's economy!


These tribes did complain about their allotment, even though it was the best in Canaan. This is what the Life Application Bible says about this:
Notice the two contrasting attitudes toward settling the promised land: Caleb took what God gave him and moved ahead to fulfill God's plan for him (14:12). He was confident that God would help him drive out the wicked inhabitants and that he would soon fully occupy his land (15:14, 15). In contrast, the two tribes of Joseph were given rich land and lots of it, but they were afraid to drive out the inhabitants and take full possession of it. Instead they begged for more land. But Joshua asked them to prove their sincerity first by clearing the unclaimed forest areas. They agreed, but they failed to carry through (Judges 1:27). 
REFLECTION


Joseph's descendants were not content with what God had given them, and they longed for something bigger, better, and easier to manage. God does not always give us what we consider to be the ideal, but it is what God planned. Instead of idealizing what could be, we need to ask Him what purposes He has in what has already been allotted to us. 


Recently, I talked with someone who was questioning what God had given. That person was wondering how their life would be different if another situation had been provided. I encouraged that person to not idealize about what could have been but rather ask God what His purpose is in the reality of what He had given.  Letting go of our ideal is so hard for some! There are great difficulties in that person's situation and great faith will be required to clear out the "opposing inhabitants" of that person's land, but I know there is a destiny, and I am praying that God gives that person the faith and attitude of Caleb rather than the descendants of Joseph.


APPLICATION


Are you content with the life that God has allotted to you? Ask God to reveal His purposes for You in the midst of it. Pray for faith and courage to drive out opposing forces. GET HELP if you get stuck!


PRAYER


Lord, I lift up the reader of this post to Your great care. I pray the You would reveal Your good, perfect, and acceptable will, and You would reveal Your battle plan for him or her. Strengthen their faith and give them the heart of a Caleb. I pray this in Jesus' name, Amen. 
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