“For nothing will be impossible with God.” – Luke 1:37 ESV
The Israelites now inhabited the land of Canaan. They had defeated the nations like Jericho and Ai which guarded the borders of the Promised Land. But they had not defeated all the people who dwelt in the Canaan.
God had given the Israelites victory over the Canaanites people with the intent that they should destroy or drive them out of the land.
Joshua had continued the process begun by Moses and divided the land of Canaan among the tribes of Israel. But the tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim weren’t satisfied. They went grumbling to Joshua,
“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?”Joshua 17:14 NKJV
Despite all their best efforts, they hadn’t been able to drive out the inhabitants who lived in the territory allotted to them (Joshua 17:12). Instead of driving out the people who were determined to remain in their portion of the inheritance, the children of Joseph wanted Joshua to give them more land.
But Joshua had no sympathy for them. He knew God had given the Israelites all the resources they needed to defeat their enemies.
Joshua told the children of Joseph how they could extend their borders territory, but they’d have to fight for it (Joshua 17:15). I think Joshua intended for his words to be an encouragement to the children of Joseph, a reminder that they were more powerful than all the nations fighting against them because they had God fighting for them.
But that’s not how the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh interpreted it. They saw it as a confirmation that they’d never have enough land because look at what they said next,
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 Jezreel.” (Joshua 17:16 NKJV, bold emphasis added)
They were so focused on the chariots the Canaanites had, they forgot about the power of Almighty God. Their statement reminds me of what the ten spies said more than forty years earlier (Numbers 13:31-33). Those ten spies in Moses’ day were so intimidated by the size of the enemy, they lost sight of God.
Their fear robbed them of the victory God had prepared for them. My friend, fear limits our power because it has us looking at the enemy or at what we can do instead of at God.
The battles the Israelites had successfully won up to that point should have been a reminder that God was more powerful than the idols served by the Canaanites. The descendants of Joseph should have been empowered, like Caleb, to charge into battle against their enemies knowing that God had already given them the victory.
God doesn’t change. He still fights battles for us, if we let Him. Will you allow Him to fight the battles of your life?
Lord, I admit it, I’m afraid. I’ve allowed fear to rob me of the victory in areas You’ve already given me dominance. I ask You to replace my doubt with faith. Help me to remember that You are Jehovah-Ezrah, the Lord my helper. Remind me that because You are my help I can conquer things that would normally defeat me. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer for I ask it in Jesus’s name, Amen.
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