SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- In today's reading, land continues to be divided among the people who were led by Joshua.
- In previous chapters, the land had been divided among heirs without consequential discussion or resistance. Things get a little more interesting in today's chapter.
- Back then, males were the only ones who could own or inherit property. In verse 3 we learn that a guy named Zelophehad has no sons, so he asks Joshua and other leaders for his property to be shared among him and his brothers. The leaders agree to this arrangement.
- Starting in verse 12 we learn about grumbling from the Manassites, a group of people who were allotted land that was partially inhabited by another group of people called the Canaanites. In chapter 16 the Manassites peacefully coexisted with the Canaanites, but now they are starting to grumble because they want more of the land.
- The Manassites come to Joshua and ask him to give them more land and drive out the Canaanites. Instead of bending to their desires, Joshua tells them to take care of it themselves by driving out the Canaanites and removing physical barriers (like trees) that were keeping them from fully spreading into the land.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- It's important to have healthy relationships with God and with other people who are seeking God. The Manassites were a tight-knit group of people with a strong heritage. Because of their unity they had the ability to overcome obstacles that stood between them and what they were pursuing.
- However, we need to be careful not let our dependence on others lead us to a place of irresponsibility. The Manassites were so dependent on Joshua that they asked him to take care of their problem. Joshua responds by directing them to work together to resolve the situation on their own. Likewise, we need to have a healthy sense of responsibility when dealing with our own problems. One way we can do this is by asking God to guide us through difficult situations.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- Is there an area of your life where you're not dependent enough on other people? If you're trying to do life by yourself, why not build relationships with people who are following God and can help you better live for him? A great way to do this is through a micro group.
- Is there a problem in your life you're not taking enough responsibility for? Ask God to guide you through that and to take action on that issue in a way that honors him.