The people of the tribe of Joseph (representing both of Joseph’s sons) whine about their allocation of land, “Why have you given us only one lot and one share to inherit, since we are a great people, inasmuch as the LORD has blessed us now?” (Josh. 17:14).
Joshua responds to their complaint by urging them to appropriate the forested areas of their territory. The people of Joseph ratchet up their complaint and appeal to Joshua once again for more land, “The mountain country is not enough for us; and all the Canaanites who dwell in the land of the valley have chariots of iron” (17:16).
Joshua counters their complaints with finality, “You are a great people and have great power; you shall not have only one lot, but the mountain country shall be yours. Although it is wooded, you shall cut it down, and its farthest extent shall be yours; for you shall drive out the Canaanites, though they have iron chariots and are strong” (17:17-18).
The complaint’s of Joseph’s tribe reveal a number of truths about whining and receiving what is whined over:
An inheritance is a gift, not an entitlement. Gratitude produces a “can do” attitude that rolls up its sleeves to do whatever is required to appropriate the gift. God’s person lives in an air of gratitude that treats every gift--no matter how small--as a reason to respond with thanksgiving.
The Canaanites “dug in their heels” when confronted by the tribe of Manasseh. What would it require of Manasseh to drive them out? Why did Manasseh compromise?
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