JOSHUA 17:17-18: “So Joshua told the tribes of Joseph, which were Ephraim and Manasseh, “You’re truly a numerous group, and you have great power. You are not to have only one allotment, but the hill country will also belong to you. Even though it’s a forest, you will clear it and possess it to its farthest borders. You’ll drive out the Canaanites, even though they have iron chariots and even though they’re strong.” (ISV)

OBSERVATION: Am I an encourager? Do I see God’s potential in each and every person? Or, am I prone to see the lack in people’s lives? How does God see me? Does He see the limits of my human nature, or does He see the potential He has placed in me through Jesus Christ? The Lord always sees our potential, and so should we. In the midst of an otherwise uneventful recording of the allocation of the promised land to the tribes of Israel, in this chapter of Joshua, we find a wonderful example of how an encourager can help others reach their full potential.

The tribes of Joseph were complaining that their allotment was too small. They were the two large tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, and they needed more space. So Joshua offered them the forest area and the hill country in addition to the land already allotted. The tribes of Joseph were much less than thankful. They began to murmur and complain!

  • “The descendants of Joseph replied, “The hill country isn’t sufficient for us, but all the Canaanites who live on the plain have iron chariots, both those in Beth-shean and its villages as well as the inhabitants of the Jezreel Valley.” (Joshua 17:16, ISV)

Bottom line – thanks, but no thanks! Why did the tribes of Joseph respond in this way? It was because they looked at the difficulty of the situation, and their own lack – rather than the potential they had in the Lord. Joshua, like the Holy Spirit, calls them to their great potential through faith. Joshua does not even acknowledge their complaining. He simply reminds them of what the Lord has deposited in them – 

  • “You’re truly a numerous group, and you have great power.”

And then Joshua tells them, what God’s word tells us – we will overcome!

  • “Even though it’s a forest, you will clear it and possess it to its farthest borders. You’ll drive out the Canaanites, even though they have iron chariots and even though they’re strong.”
  • “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” ‭‭I John‬ ‭5:4-5‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

When I was younger, I went through a very difficult time in my ministry. The challenges that I faced took a toll on both me and my wife. Our marriage was strained and in need of healing. It was either my ministry or my marriage. I chose my marriage. In the midst of our healing process there were many people who wrote me off. They saw my brokenness and lack. Yet, there was one godly man, who had also been my Bishop in the denomination I served in – that saw something different! His name was Ralph Wenger, and he was married to a very loving and godly woman named Joan.

Ralph and Joan never ceased to encourage Karen and I through our pathway of healing. They always believed in us, they always called out God’s calling in our lives. And it is because of their love that I am pastoring a church today! Ralph is now home with our Lord, but the lesson of the power of encouragement that he taught me – lives forever in my heart!

Lord, thank you for reminding me of the great power in encouragement. Help me to be like Joshua and like Ralph. Help me to always see Your potential in the lives of those you place in my life. May I call them to their full potential in Jesus Christ, and may I offer the love and support they need to truly be the overcomers you have declared them to be!  Like Joshua, let me proclaim –

  • “Even though it’s a forest, you will clear it and possess it to its farthest borders. You’ll drive out the Canaanites, even though they have iron chariots and even though they’re strong.”

In Jesus Name!

About Kirk's Devotional Journal

Kirk L. Zehnder is the Founder of Resurrection Christian Outreach. RCO is a ministry that promotes the growth and vitality of the local church through speaking engagements, seminars, various media tools, and written curriculum and books. This ministry was started over 35 years ago by Kirk as a means to strengthen the church that he was pastoring. It grew as Kirk began to share these tools with other churches. Today many of the materials are being used by local churches both nationally and internationally. Kirk's Devotional Journal is a result of struggling with Bible reading programs that never seemed to work. Kirk feels the Lord helped him discover an easy-to-follow program to Read, Reflect, Pray, and Journal through the Bible in one year. This program is called L.I.F.E. Unlike other programs there are no dates to follow. You can miss a day and still complete your reading. You never feel like the dates and verses you missed are chasing you. You are free to enjoy your daily Biblical journey and listen to the voice of The Lord. For more information on the L.I.F.E. plan, send an email to Kirk is also available for speaking engagements, seminars, and retreats. With over 40 years of professional business and pastoral ministry experience, Kirk brings a unique combination of practical wisdom, humor, and Biblical insight. If you would like Kirk to speak at your church, school, or ministry, please send an email to and we will get back to you as soon as possible to discuss your opportunity.
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