How was 2018? Was it a great year? Or one full of regrets? You achieved less than you hoped for. And you’re silently wishing that 2019 would be better. I don’t want you to regret 2019. I want it to be a great year for you. To start it right with God. To achieve more than you dreamed possible. A story in Joshua 17 spoke to me and I pray it encourages you too.
This was the time of the conquest where Israel were conquering the Promised Land for their own. There arose an interesting discussion on the amount of land to be allotted. The tribe of Joseph felt short-changed. They began to whine and throw a pity party.
“The people of Joseph said to Joshua, ‘Why have you allotted us only one portion of land and one share for an inheritance? We are a numerous people, and the LORD has blessed us abundantly.’”
Joshua 17:14 NIVUK
The tribe of Joseph wanted to be allotted more land to accommodate their huge population size. In life, we sometimes feel like them. We wonder why life isn’t treating us better. Based on my qualifications, I should be working in a better place. I should have a life partner by now. I should be able to tackle the problems I face everyday. It seems God has short-changed you. You should be allotted more! But Joshua, the leader of Israel, would have none of that. Look at his answer.
“‘If you are so numerous,’ Joshua answered, ‘and if the hill country of Ephraim is too small for you, go up into the forest and clear land for yourselves there in the land of the Perizzites and Rephaites.’”
Joshua 17:15 NIVUK
Joshua wouldn’t budge. He didn’t give them more land but a challenge. If their tribe was as strong as they claimed, what’s stopping them from conquering more territory from the enemy? He refused to give in to their demands because he knew they had the numbers and resources to achieve what they needed. All they needed was to step out in faith and fight for more of the forest land. We need more Joshuas in our life. People who challenge us to step up and fight for what God has shown us. People who believe in us that we can achieve our goals because God has given us the abilities and resources already. Are there Joshuas in your life? Or maybe you can be one to others who need that encouragement to take a step of faith. How did the tribe of Joseph respond?
“The people of Joseph replied, ‘The hill country is not enough for us, and all the Canaanites who live in the plain have chariots fitted with iron, both those in Beth Shan and its settlements and those in the Valley of Jezreel.’”
Joshua 17:16 NIVUK
The people were scared stiff! They gave two excuses: One, that the area wasn’t really big enough (so let’s look elsewhere). Two, the Canaanite inhabitants had powerful iron chariots (so let’s find some weaker guys to conquer). We like to give many excuses for not achieving our God-given dreams. I’m not good enough. That job isn’t that great. The task is impossible to do. We give excuses after excuses for our inaction when it’s the fear of the unknown that holds us back. As leaders, we face many people who are afraid of stretching forward to reach a God-sized goal. We need to encourage and empower them. That’s what Joshua did.
“But Joshua said to the tribes of Joseph – to Ephraim and Manasseh – ‘You are numerous and very powerful. You will have not only one portion of land allotted to you but the forested hill country as well. Clear it, and its farthest limits will be yours; though the Canaanites have chariots fitted with iron and though they are strong, you can drive them out.’”
Joshua 17:17-18 NIVUK
Joshua debunked their two excuses. In response to their first excuse that the land won’t be big enough, he said, “You have the allotted land and the whole forested hill country. That’s more than enough!” I love how he put it. Clear to the furthest limit and it’s all yours. You just need to do it and it’s yours. The land is waiting for you. Well, some scary Canaanite were staying there but Joshua reassured them. Sure, the enemy had powerful chariots but you can drive them out.
You. Can. Drive. Them. Out.
Why? Because God was with them and would help them conquer any foes. God is more powerful then any chariot. My friend, God is with you if you are in Christ. With Jesus, you can drive them out. You can conquer the enemy. You can achieve victory over insurmountable problems. You can drive them out.
This 2019 will you cling to this promise that your God-given dream is there for the taking? Can you hear his reassuring voice? A new spiritual Joshua, Jesus Christ, is cheering you on with the same phrase – You can drive them out. Step out in faith this year to do great things for God. Stop giving excuses. Start taking action in God’s strength.