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Joshua just oozes with wisdom, doesn’t it?! It far surpasses any epic saga touted on the silver screen and I find myself lingering longer in Joshua than I typically do when I’m reading through various books of the Bible.
Joshua is the stuff where heroes are found, enemies are defeated, blessings flow, and the longing of the human heart to see promises fulfilled becomes a reality.
Joshua is the book that utters the word, “Finally!” to every wilderness experience we face.
Perhaps that’s why I’ve parked myself in the very pages that inspire my longing for light at the end of the tunnel and the promises of God fulfilled.
- I need to know that no matter what happens, the Promise Land is real.
- I need to know that no matter how many people or how many situations try to derail my God-given dreams, that His promise will be fulfilled.
- I need to know that no matter how hard the trial, God’s presence, peace and provision will be with me through it all.
- I need to know that no matter what opposition may come my way or how weary I become in the fight, the Lord is my Banner, my Defender, and the One who fights for this weak and wounded warrior.
- I need to know that no matter how tough the workload gets, that there is no greater or more rewarding calling than to serve the King of kings and take ground for His name’s sake.
- I need to know that one day, some how, some way, that for every promise of God, I will be able to say… FINALLY!
Etched on the heart of every child of God is the aching to see that we get to the other side of each trying situation with shouts of triumph and waving victory flags over every enemy that has tried to defeat us along the way. Joshua puts the period “.” on every promise God has made and whispers shouts of victory in our hearts.
We can’t walk away from these 24 power-packed chapters without a heart of hope rising up from that deep place where we just know that there is purpose for the pain, wisdom in His plan, truth worth living and dying for, and a God who is faithful to fulfil His Word, and that one day, God will make sense of what doesn’t make sense at all, and we will see His face and it will be worth it all.
Today, I want to focus on the lessons we can learn from a family wanting what is theirs but unwilling to do what is necessary to get it.
Sometimes, you and I long for God to swing wide the doors that are as big as our dreams. But when He does, we poke our heads inside just enough to gander at the greatness of it all, and mentally fast-forward all the work that it will take to see that dream come true, and we step back, shut the door, and say, “It’s just too big, too much, too hard.”
In Joshua 17, the people had entered the Promised Land and Joshua was divvying out the allotted lots.
Lined up to get their promised portion and their fair share, each tribe was doled out what was theirs. Joseph’s sons, Manasseh and Ephraim received the epic share. Given to Manasseh as Joseph’s first born and shared with Ephraim, Manasseh’s parcel was the biggest of all. (Just look at that map and the land Manasseh inherited!)
But as you read the text, you find that Manasseh wanted what was his, but when he realized it wasn’t going to be handed to him on a silver platter, he had second thoughts.
Unlike 85 year old Caleb, who was ready to fight for his mountain, a much younger Manasseh wanted to ease into an already conquered and cleared piece of the Promised Land.
Sometimes, our desire for big dreams is much grander and much more romantic than the work it takes to see those dreams become a reality.
We want to say yes… we’re encouraged to say yes… but we often shrink back from the God-given open door when the calling comes at great cost. When the fruition of the dream threatens to drain our time, energy, and resources, we shut the door, shrug our shoulders, and walk away muttering the words, “That couldn’t be God’s will.”
Somewhere along the way, we believed the lie that if it is God’s will, then it will be easy, the door will open wide, and the resources will fall in place.
Paul never sashayed through a God-given door. The other side of yes was never easy for Paul. The same is true for Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David, Ezra, Nehemiah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Deborah, Mary, Peter, James, John, Stephen, and every patriarch and matriarch of the faith.
Joshua 17 speaks to the Christian misconception that God’s call comes with ease.
Today, sweet friend, if you know what God has called you to but the work you know it will take has you shaking in your shoes and ready to shrink back from the door He has opened wide, please don’t step back… step forward and step in with boldness and humility.
You need to know that…
It’s going to be hard.
It’s going to be scary.
It’s going to be bigger than you.
God seldom calls us to something that is anything less.
OH… and it’s going to be worth it! Oh yes! It’s going to be worth every scary, hard step of the way!
But please remember as you walk through those big doors to fulfill the grand calling God has placed on your life… The God who has called you to it will see you through it…every single step of the way.
Perhaps you are struggling where you are. You’ve walked through a door and you’re wondering what in the world you’re doing there.
This issue is, not will it be hard, the issue is… Is that my door to walk through? Because, you see sweet friend, not every door is ours to walk through. Not every need is ours to fulfill. Many of us struggle in a ministry because we’ve walked through a door that belonged to someone else.
Once you know it’s your door, then run through it full steam ahead!
In Joshua 17:17, Joshua told the tribe of Manasseh, ““You are a great people and have great power.”
Oh, dear one! The same is true for you!
Don’t shrink back from the calling God has placed on your life because the road is hard. The size of your calling wasn’t a random decision by God. It was a pre-ordain plan that, unless you say yes, you will never fulfill all God has for you… you will never become all God created you to be.
It may be big or it may seem small. But whatever it is, it’s as big as God wants and as small as He knows you need it.
Your calling comes with work! So, say yes, roll up your sleeves and get busy! You’ve got a world to change!
Now let’s dive into God’s Word for a bit of a Bible study together. Time to seek out some treasure from Scripture. Make no mistake, the Lord has tucked in there for each of us. We just need to do some digging to find it. So let’s go!
12 Yet the children of Manasseh could not drive out the inhabitants of those cities, but the Canaanites were determined to dwell in that land. 13 And it happened, when the children of Israel grew strong, that they put the Canaanites to forced labor, but did not utterly drive them out. 14 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?” 15 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.” 16 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 Jezebel.” 17 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, 18 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 17:12-18
- Read through verses 12-13 and then read Numbers 33:50-56 and explain what Israel failed to do and the consequences for not doing it.
- Read through verses 14-18 of Joshua 17 and write out your summation of the conversation between Joshua and the tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim.
- Joshua expanded their territory to include the forest, but Manasseh and Ephraim would have to work hard to cut it down. Have you ever prayed for God to open a door that He opened and when you realized how big the job was and how much work it would take, it made you want to tuck your tail and run?
- In verse 17, Joshua said, “You are a great people and have great power.” What is the connection between understanding who you are and stepping into your calling?
- What do you need to say yes to today that has you shaking in your shoes?
Oh…by the way…
I realize that it has actually been almost 2 years since I’ve posted here on my site, but life has been a beautiful, wonder-full, crazy, scary adventure as I’ve been serving Jesus through The MOM Initiative.
The thing is… I miss you and I miss walking through the Word with you. So, I’m back for what my schedule will allow me. Ready to dive in together! How about you?