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
Here’s a sermon outline from a message I shared on the Slavery of Self-Reliance. You may download the outline below. Please note there was no illustration with this message but instead I spoke of King Asa of Judah from 2 Chronicles 16 giving the gold and silver from the Temple to Ben-Hadad King of Syria.
Slavery of Self-Reliance
Everyone needs: Meaning / Purpose / Security / Safety / Significance / Worth / Value
Self-reliant / Self-determination / Self-Dependence / Independent / Self-Sufficient / Self-Contained
The world sees these as good things / the world applauds these things
The problem: These things enslave us. Burden of Self-Reliance à when all relies on you à Slavery
The solution: God wants to free us from ourselves
God is our: meaning / purpose / significance / security / safety / protection
- God provides you meaning and purpose
- Isaiah 43:7 – God has made you for His glory.
- 1 Corinthians 10:31 – Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
- Matthew 5:16 – Let your light shine before others to glorify God
- God provides you security
- Proverbs 3:26 – “For the LORD is your security. He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap” (NLT).
- God provides you safety
- Psalm 18:2 – “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
- Psalm 91:2 – “… He alone is my refuge, my place of safety…” (NLT)
- Proverbs 18:10 – Godly run to God and are safe
- God provides you significance and worth and value
- Genesis 1:27 – God made you in His image
- Psalm 139:13 – God created each of us individually – knit you in your mother’s womb with certain abilities & gifts – allows certain experiences – all so you can be of great worth to His Kingdom – YOU CAN DO GREAT THINGS! (John 14:12 – “… anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works…” NLT).
- Ephesians 2:10 – “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (NLT).
Only those who stand in need of a savior will look for and recognize one.
Proverbs 3:5 – “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” (ESV)
Jeremiah 17:5-8 – “This is what the LORD says: ‘Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the LORD. They are like stunted shrubs in the desert, with no hope for the future. They will live in the barren wilderness, in an uninhabited salty land. But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.”
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]