JOSHUA 17:17-18: “Then Joshua said to the descendants of Joseph, ⌊the tribes of⌋ Ephraim and Manasseh, “You are an important and very powerful people. One region is really not enough for you. The mountain region will be yours as well. It is a forest, so you will have to clear it. All of it will be yours. But you must force out the Canaanites, even though they are strong and have chariots made of iron.” (GW)
OBSERVATION: Am I reaching my full potential in life? Are there dreams and opportunities that I have simply left unfulfilled? Is there a pulling in my heart telling me there is something more? The tribe of Manasseh felt this way as Joshua was dividing the land for the tribes of Israel. When Joshua had allotted the land by drawing lots in the presence of the Lord, the tribe of Manasseh came to Joshua and said –
- “…Why did you give us only one region for an inheritance? We have a lot of people because the LORD has blessed us.” (Joshua 17:14 GW)
They sensed there was something more for their tribe and their destiny. When they looked over the land that was allotted to them it seemed too small for the number of people that were a part of the tribe. So in response, Joshua said –
- “…If there are so many of you, go into the forest! Clear ground for yourselves there in the land of the Perizzites and Rephaim if the mountains of Ephraim are too confining for you.” (Joshua 17:15 GW)
Joshua in essence was agreeing with them. There was more to their future and to their destiny. When we feel this tugging in our hearts, if we are being honest before the Lord, if we are guarding our hearts from envying that which the Lord has provided for others, then we can receive this tugging, this yearning, as the Holy Spirit’s prompting to press into our full calling, our full potential, and our full destiny. Yet, when we consider the open doors of possibilities, and the pathway that we might have to take to get there, we often respond like the tribe of Manasseh responded.
- “…The mountains are not enough for us either. Besides, all the Canaanites living in the valley, in Beth Shean and its villages, and in the valley of Jezreel have chariots made of iron.” (Joshua 17:16 GW)
In reality, the mountain region was enough for them. There was only two problems with it – it had Canaanites that needed to be defeated, and it had trees that needed to be cleared. The tribe of Manasseh wanted more, but they did not want to put in the work that was needed to possess it. This is the pitfall we all can fall into in our lives. We look at the open doors that the Lord is leading us toward, and then we find all the reasons we cannot do it, rather than all the reasons we should roll up our sleeves and begin the journey.
There is nothing of value in our lives that comes automatically. Everything that is worth something requires “HARD WORK”!
So how did Joshua respond to this objection? How does the Lord respond to our rejections? We are not diminished, we are reminded of all we are and all we have in Christ Jesus! Joshua said – “You are an important and very powerful people.” He reminded them of who they were and then called them to enter into the promises and the calling of God for their lives. Overcome your enemies! Clear the trees of the forest! Enter into your possession and destiny!
What is the Lord calling you and I to do? Have we convinced ourselves that we are too old, too young, too poor, too weak? Have we become so focused on the mountains that must be climbed that we have forgotten the valley of blessing and fulfillment that awaits us at the end of our journey? I believe the Holy Spirit is calling us to open our hearts, reignite our faith, and roll up our sleeves! We must become like Paul who proclaimed –
- “But God’s kindness made me what I am, and that kindness was not wasted on me. Instead, I worked harder than all the others. It was not I who did it, but God’s kindness was with me.” (1 Corinthians 15:10 GW)
Lord, help me to take hold of Your Great Grace, Your Great Kindness, roll up my sleeves, and commit myself to working hard to fulfill the calling, the potential, and the destiny for my life. By the power of Your Holy Spirit, may I overcome the fears and doubts that have tried to keep me idle, and press into Your promises for my life with full assurance that what You have promised You are also able to fulfill!
It is time to roll up my sleeves!”
In Jesus Name!