Clear the promised Land ! (Joshua 17:14-18)
2014/2/24 morning prayer meeting
The people of Joseph said to Joshua, “Why have you given us only one allotment and one portion for an inheritance? We are a numerous people, and the Lord has blessed us abundantly.” 15“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.” 16The 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.”17But Joshua said to the tribes of Joseph—to Ephraim and Manasseh—“You are numerous and very powerful. You will have not only one allotment 18but 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.”
1) It is not easy to occupy the land and to give them to 12 tribes. Although God promised to provide the land taken by fighting with the Canaanites, if they do not try to do the voluntary challenge and the absolute obedience and to keep the holiness after occupying the land, it shall be a bread on a picture. So, above of all, the settlement of Canaan needed to have the spirit of the pioneer. Actually to manage the allotted land to make it as a residence demanded to have the strong frontier spirit and the obvious decision.
2) The text shows us the principles of conquer by understanding the divine spirit of Joshua. As such Israel, the Christian is a pilgrim and a pioneer in his life. How did they clear up the land?
First, They should stand up firmly in front of the forest (17-18).
According to verses 17-18 Joshua commanded to stand firm before the great mountain to the descendants of Joseph. “17But Joshua said to the tribes of Joseph—to Ephraim and Manasseh—“You are numerous and very powerful. You will have not only one allotment 18but the forested hill country as well. Clear it, and its farthest limits will be yours;”
First of all, Joshua show that they should stand up before the forest that they might clear it. This is the expression of their faith before God. Whenever we meet any problems, we have to challenge against that issue. Just like the people of great faith had done in their lives in the Scripture.
Ex: Zurubbabel stood up firm before the great mountain. Zechariah 4:6-7 says “Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts. 7Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain. And he shall bring forward the top stone amid shouts of ‘Grace, grace to it!’”
Ex: Peter concentrated on the lame who was sat on the place of the temple. (Acts3:4-6) 4And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” 5And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. 6But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” Peter stood up before the problem.
Ex: Joshua looked up the city Jericho to destroy it by the power of God.13When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?”(Joshua 3:13) Joshua looked up the Canaan before he entered into the land.
2) In the chapter five of Ephesian, we can find the same experience. The Christian who abide in Christ should stand firm up in Christ. (Ephesian 6:13-14) “13Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,” One who settles in Christ can stand firm up in Him and then he can walk toward another place. To stand before the problem clearly is very very important. Although we meet impossible problems we have to stand firm in front of the problems. This is the faith.
3) Our God permits some problems as such forest for us in order to make us grown toward imitate Christ’s image, those are, righteousness, mercy and faithfulness. Psalm 23:4 says “deep valley of death, “ the chaos of our enemy.” “4Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,cI will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
And also we find the same experience in our personal life, in our school life and in our ministry.
4) What is the motive to occupy the mountain of Perith and Rbaim ? It was two problems before them.
(1) First motive is that they had small heritage. We should believe that our Lord works in the small thing and in a difficult issue. Ish. 57:14 Says 15For thus says the One who is high and lifted up,
who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
“I dwell in the high and holy place,
and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly,
and to revive the heart of the contrite. “ “
Paul says “12I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”(Philiphian4:12-13) This is the principle of his success. If you have any worse situation and any weak points, do not worry about that. God prepared everything for you. At that time you can stand up firm before your problems.
(2) Moreover, the second motive is our enemy’s strong attack. Two primitive Canaanites tribes were very strong because they had iron chariot in that day. Historically their forefathers were the giant people. Ok of Basan was belonged to them. Their residence was the wide plain and the deep valley as a natural fortress. Then Joshua commanded that they themselves must attack the tribes. Although anybody took afraid the situation and fall down into frustration, they stand firm up before them with assurance. Strong attack made them to be more conviction.
– David took the wonderful victory against Goliath, a giant of the Palestine by trusting the almighty Lord. “ “
– Ex. As we know, look at the first vision of Zechariah that reveals the deep dark state. Zechariah saw the rider on the red horse in the myrtle tree forest in the deep valley. (1:8) What does it mean? The salvation of God comes out of depth, chaos, valley and the darkness.(it meas sins conviction and destruction) So the one who are saved by God’s grace should understand both sides of valley and plain, darkness and light.
May the boldness of God be with you consistently in your heart!
Second, we need to have not the passive attitude, but the active attitude
1) Verses 16 and 18 say “clear the land by themselves.” It means the stress of independence. Actually Adam lost true independent attitude after his committing sin before God. His automus destroyed him totaly. But The second Adam, Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross and restored us out of the sin, the automus beings into the new men by believing his merit. As we depend on Christ, finally we can independent truly in Christ. It means that we need active attitude to the work of God.
2) We have to take careful passive attitude to the work of the Lord. For example, “after 5 years I shall be a great believer.” “Although I am poor surely I shall become a rich man after 5 years.” etc. Satan love to put this thought to us. Although all positive thinking are not true faith, generally true faith shall be revealed as strong positive thought and faithful active attitude because God is their background in every things.
Do you have such active attitude in your school life and in your ministry?
We have to take the proper insight (wisdom) to overcome the suffering .
Verses 16-18 says “But Joshua said to the tribes of Joseph—to Ephraim and Manasseh—“You are numerous and very powerful. You will have not only one allotment 18but 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.”
They have real wisdom that overcome the present suffering. This is the faith. Joshua exhorted them that they can overcome their enemies for themselves. Of course, God shall help them until occupying the land.
True faith products in the present problem, present suffering and present troubles by standing firm before God. We learn the truth about true faith to relate to the suffering.
First of all, the true faith comes out of knowing the object of faith, God. The knowledge is depended on the Scripture. So we always search for the criteria of the Scripture, whenever we read the Scripture and meditate it in our heart.
True faith was made of much examination through trial. So James teaches that as we meet several temptation in our lives, rejoice in Christ. James 1:3-4 says “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. Why? Suffering makes training and perseverance and endurance in our lives. Finally we shall be changed into the image of God. We believe in it.
As we know, the symbolism of cleaning Canaanite land points the manage our heart in our Christian life. It means we have to grow up in the grace of Christ. As soon as their occupying work had finished they continuously manage the land to establish the will of God, the theocracy, the kingdom of God. Although they failed to erect it in Canaan, the eternal will of God could not be changed , rather, through the process of their failure the original purpose was appeared obviously in history. Finally the kingdom of God was fulfilled in Christ Jesus.
So all Christians should stand up before the forest of his problem and have the active attitude and the proper wisdom in his heart. In our Christian life we devote ourselves to clear our redemptive grace to glorify God, then we can be changed into the image of God, righteousness, mercy and faithfulness.