Scripture: Joshua 17
Observation: Joshua grants land to the half-tribe of Manasseh (the descendants of one of Joseph’s sons). However, they were unsuccessful in driving out the Canaanites who already lived there, so those Canaanites eventually became their slaves. The tribe of Manasseh then came to Joshua, saying that their allotment was not enough for all of their people. Joshua responded by offering them additional land, but seeing only the enemies that occupied the land, the tribe of Manasseh was full of fear and hesitant to claim it as their own.
Application: A few months ago, I took two afternoons and wrote out my personal declaration statements, an attempt to put language around who I am and who I want to be. I prayed, I wrote, I used this guide, and a few hours later, I had developed twelve personal declarations.
Each morning in my slot and spot (my time and place with God), I repeat those declarations out loud. These statements act as a daily reminder of who I strive to be – no matter what my circumstances. My final declaration is this:
My faith is bigger than my fear. God did not give me a spirit of fear or timidity but rather a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline. I can conquer anything because Jesus lives inside of me and his strength will carry me whenever I fail. I am faithfully obedient, patient, and firm in my unwavering commitment to him.
Here’s the thing about my declarations: they’re not always true of me in a certain moment. There are times throughout my day when my fears are so much bigger than my faith. I start to worry about something that’s out of my control; I get anxious about a conversation or decision. I let doubt – about who I am or who God is – creep in at inopportune moments.
But then I tell myself: my faith is bigger than my fear. And just like that, my fears dissipate. They’re still there, blurring lines on the edges of my peripheral vision, but they’re nowhere as big as the faith that fills my heart.
As we read about the half-tribe of Manasseh, we see that their fears were certainly bigger than their faith. After asking Joshua why they only received a single portion of land when they had so many people, he replied that if they needed more land, they should go clear out the forests and claim that land as their own.
“Okay, but…” (v. 16)
Fear responds with “Okay, but…” Faith responds with “Okay, let’s go.”
Do you face life with an “okay, but…” attitude or an “okay, let’s go” attitude?
Thankfully, their “okay, but” couldn’t deter Joshua’s relentless determination and perseverance. He didn’t scold them for their fears; he didn’t punish them – he simply reinforced what he knew to be true.
“The forests of the hill country will be yours as well. Clear as much of the land as you wish, and take possession of its farthest corners. And you will drive out the Canaanites from the valleys, too, even though they are strong and have iron chariots.” (v. 18)
We hear you, Joshua. It’s time to say “okay, let’s go.”
Are you in?
Prayer: God, thank you for your son Jesus – who he is and how he lives within us today, strengthening us, giving us the courage to face or defeat anything that comes our way. I pray I can offer my “okay, but’s” up to you and instead face anything that stands in front of me with an “okay, let’s go” measure of faith. Amen.