It is Not What Seems Right But What God Says

Elisabeth Elliot, at Urbana 76, told of her brother Thomas Howard. Their mother let him play with paper bags she’d saved if he put them away afterwards. One day she walked into the kitchen to find them strewn all over the floor. Tom was out at the piano with his father singing hy … More


One prevailing theme of this chapter is not finishing the work God’s way. Israel was ready to divide up the land among the tribes, but we find there were enemies yet to be conquered in the land (13:1). It appears that some of the Israelites wanted to spare the Canaanites because of a false sense of mercy as many of the enemy to be killed were women and children. It seemed humanitarian to spare them. This thinking was faulty because of several reasons. Number one, God always does what is right. Number two, there were other people who had been completely destroyed. An example of this was that all but Noah and his family were destroyed by the flood. Sodom and Gomorrah is another example of God’s complete judgement (Gen. 19:24-25).

Throughout this section of Scripture you will notice that God’s people did not drive out the enemy as He had commanded (16:10; 17:12). It is hard to understand how they could be so blatantly disobedient. Perhaps one reason was because of their materialistic mind set. They thought more about what money could do for them than in being obedient to the Lord. As a result, many of the Israelites captured the people and put them to work (v. 10). Another possible reason the Israelites did not completely destroy their enemy was that they wanted to receive God’s blessing without exerting themselves. An example of this was when the children of Joseph complained that they were not given enough land for being such a great people. Joshua told them that if they wanted more land they would have to earn it (17:15).


Do I have an inflated view of myself and feel I deserve more than I am getting? Am I willing to forget myself and give myself diligently to the work of the Lord with His glory in mind? I want to make a  conscious effort to have a better spirit and attitude and to be diligent about the work of the Lord.

Joshua 16:1-10 (English Standard Version)

The allotment of the people of Joseph went from the Jordan by Jericho, east of the waters of Jericho, into the wilderness, going up from Jericho into the hill country to Bethel. Then going from Bethel to Luz, it passes along to Ataroth, the territory of the Archites. Then it goes down westward to the territory of the Japhletites, as far as the territory of Lower Beth-horon, then to Gezer, and it ends at the sea. The people of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim, received their inheritance. The territory of the people of Ephraim by their clans was as follows: the boundary of their inheritance on the east was Ataroth-addar as far as Upper Beth-horon, and the boundary goes from there to the sea. On the north is Michmethath. Then on the east the boundary turns around toward Taanath-shiloh and passes along beyond it on the east to Janoah, then it goes down from Janoah to Ataroth and to Naarah, and touches Jericho, ending at the Jordan. From Tappuah the boundary goes westward to the brook Kanah and ends at the sea. Such is the inheritance of the tribe of the people of Ephraim by their clans, together with the towns that were set apart for the people of Ephraim within the inheritance of the Manassites, all those towns with their villages. However, they did not drive out the Canaanites who lived in Gezer, so the Canaanites have lived in the midst of Ephraim to this day but have been made to do forced labor.

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