Before writing this, I just mowed and trimmed the yard. Instead of a “rider” we have a push mower, (well, alright, gas powered, not the kind your great-grandfather used, which was the REAL push mower). And I was having issues with my trimmer, (okay, it’s also gas powered, not the hand clippers I used as a kid…) And it was Missouri-summer HOT and HUMID!
Whine, whine, whine.
That’s kind of what a couple of the Hebrew tribes sounded like when they came to Joshua as the nation of Israel was settling into the long-awaited Promised Land—
“The descendants of Joseph came to Joshua and asked, ‘Why have you given us only one portion of land as our homeland when the LORD has blessed us with so many people?’ Joshua replied, ‘If there are so many of you, and if the hill country of Ephraim is not large enough for you, clear out land for yourselves in the forest…’ The descendants of Joseph responded, ‘It’s true that the hill country is not large enough for us. But all the Canaanites in the lowlands have iron chariots,…They are too strong for us.’”
At first, it does sound a little like whining, but to their credit, these leaders had made a proper assessment of their current situation and resources; they were being honest.
“Then Joshua said to…the descendants of Joseph, ‘Since you are so large and strong, you will be given more than one portion. The forests of the hill country will be yours as well. Clear as much of the land as you wish, and take possession of its farthest corners.’”
Bringing that honesty to the Lord (via Joshua, since we’re talking Old Testament), the people were initially given the direction they needed…
…but they were going to have to work hard for it. Then check out what Joshua says next (this is so cool)—
“And you will drive out the Canaanites from the valleys, too, even though they are strong and have iron chariots.”
Bringing that honesty to the Lord, they were then given the needed encouragement to make it happen.
God has allotted certain things to us, which includes our deliverance from the clutches of sin. He wants that abundant life to flow from us to others (as I have to remind myself, it’s not just about “me”). Because of Christ, I have too much in me to be penned in by my puny circumstances, not when God has forested hills and open valleys for me to expand into.
…but I’m going to have to work hard for it.
I’m expected and designed to work hard. Spiritual battle is not fun. Clearing out the wood from the hills (past experiences, regrets, and my own “personal demons”) and the iron chariots from the valleys (Satan’s demons, since they like to hang around my garbage), can be a daunting business. Messy, too. Definitely not a one-man job, but neither was it for the tribe of Israelites who needed to expand.
So I should sharpen my axe and stop whining.
Joshua 17: 14 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.