"Why Have You Given Me Only One Lot?" (3/27)

Thought from today’s Bible reading from Joshua 16-18.

As the territory in Canaan was being divided among the tribes, those who descended from Joseph complained that their allotment was insufficient for their people.

Then the sons of Joseph spoke to Joshua, saying, ‘Why have you given me only one lot and one portion for an inheritance, since I am a numerous people whom the Lord has thus far blessed?’ Joshua said to them, ‘If you are a numerous people, go up to the forest and clear a place for yourself there in the land of the Perizzites and of the Rephaim, since the hill country of Ephraim is too narrow for you.’

The sons of Joseph said, ‘The hill country is not enough for us, and all the Canaanites who live in the valley land have chariots of iron, both those who are in Beth-shean and its towns and those who are in the valley of Jezreel.’ Joshua spoke to the house of Joseph, to Ephraim and Manasseh, saying, ‘You are a numerous people and have great power; you shall not have one lot only, but the hill country shall be yours. For though it is a forest, you shall clear it, and to its farthest borders it shall be yours; for you shall drive out the Canaanites, even though they have chariots of iron and though they are strong’” (Joshua 17:14-18).


When the sons of Joseph complained about their territory being too small for them, Joshua did not rebuke them for their lack of contentment. Though contentment may be a virtuous characteristic of a follower of God (Philippians 4:11), their problem was not that they were lacking in this regard.

The problem with the sons of Joseph was their expectation that they be given something which they could obtain on their own if they were willing to work for it. They could expand their territory if they were willing to clear the land of its inhabitants.

This mentality is common today. People want to be given things so that they do not need to exert the effort, invest the time, or spend the money necessary to obtain whatever it is they want. Paul speaks about this in principle in his second letter to the Thessalonians:

For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either” (2 Thessalonians 3:10).

We should not expect others to give us what we can provide for ourselves.

Tomorrow’s reading: Joshua 19-21

[I’m using the Chronological reading plan on the Bible Gateway website if you’d like to follow along, too.]


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