There are people who do everything on their own, relying on self all of the time. These people are the independent people. They might say, “Look what I have done” or “I have to do everything myself if I want it done.” Then there are people who are dependent people. There are those who recognize that they are dependent on God (truth is we all are dependent on God), and then there are those who are dependent for everything. These are the people who will not move a finger because someone will do it for them. The first example that comes to mind is someone who enables another from growing through a situation because the dependent person plays the victim card. Another example is someone who loses a job and says, “God will get me another job” but never even attempts to fill out an application.
In today’s passage we read about Joseph approaching Joshua. The people want more land for their inheritance because they do not have a large enough area for their tribe. They ask why they were only given one portion. Joshua tells the people to go up and clear an area for themselves. The response isn’t, “Okay, we shall do that then.” The people of Joseph respond by stating again that their land isn’t enough, and that the Canaanites have chariots. Joshua had to restate what the tribe of Joseph shall do to get what they were promised.
There are moments when we are to wait on God to move but then there are moments when we are to act in faith, trusting that God will be faithful. We need to recognize the importance of listening for God’s voice so we are able to know when to wait and when to move. When we are led to move, we must move. You shall. God is with you. You shall.
“Then the people of Joseph spoke to Joshua, saying, ‘Why have you given me but one lot and one portion as an inheritance, although I am a numerous people, since all along the Lord has blessed me?’ Joshua said to them, ‘If you are a numerous people, go up by yourselves to the forest, and there clear ground for yourselves in the land of the Perizzites and the Rephaim, since the hill country of Ephraim is too narrow for you.’ The people of Joseph said, ‘The hill country is not enough for us. Yet all the Canaanites who dwell in the plain have chariots of iron, both those in Beth-shean and its villages and those in the Valley of Jezreel.’ Then Joshua said to the house of Joseph, to Ephraim and Manasseh, ‘You are a numerous people and have great power. You shall not have one allotment only, but the hill country shall be yours, for though it is a forest, you shall clear it and possess it to its farthest borders. For you shall drive out the Canaanites, though they have chariots of iron, and though they are strong.’” – Joshua 17:14-18
As a baby, we grow and learn how to do things for ourselves. We spend many years trying to learn how to be independent. From walking to talking to eating to reading to driving, we become more and more independent. We are so often taught about hard work and pushed to put forth great effort to become a “success” in life. And there is nothing wrong with these milestones and achievements.
Nonetheless, no matter how hard we work, no matter how much we learn, there is no way we can be truly independent. We rely on God, whether we believe or not. He is our Creator and our Sustainer. But sometimes because we have achieved some success in life, we begin to put our confidence in our own hands or in the hands of others. Someone might have come through for us a few times and we believe we can count on them. Or we only trust ourselves because we know we can get the job done.
No one can do it all. Everyone falls from time to time, some more than others. Humans are finite. Humans make mistakes. Humans have needs that can only be met through God. When we put our confidence in people, we will always be let down. There is only One who can keep every promise. There is only One who knows all the stars. There is only One who sees all things, knows all things, created all things. There is only One who can save us. Therefore, “we rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us.” He alone is our hope and confidence.
“For we who worship by the Spirit of God are the ones who are truly circumcised. We rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us. We put no confidence in human effort.” – Philippians 3:3 [NLT]