A Meditation: On Joshua 17:13-18 // The Language Of Idleness //
by Matheus Yuhlung
‘Now when the people of Israel grew strong, they put the Canaanites to forced labor, but did not utterly drive them out. 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?” And 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 17:13-18
Right from the fact that the house of Joseph had housed the Canaanites for forced labour was an indication that they slacked in caring out their own basic necessities of life. And the way Joshua had replied to Joseph’s complain that the land he had allotted to them is insufficient was apt. They clearly did not see the vast land that was there at their disposal only because it was covered with forest. And even after being made aware of that they complain of the hard labour that was required in clearing that forest by saying that the majority of their land was still being occupied by the Canaanites who had chariots of iron.
While reading through these verses; it made me wanna introspect if I was holding on to things or emotions that would resemble the Canaanites of our times; and what if the fear and lethargy of spiritual sweat had kept me away from receiving God’s blessings that he had abundantly showered upon me. What if there was an extraordinary life waiting for me to just wake up from the slumber of this ordinary life? And if I never did wake up and look at the abundance of blessings that God was waiting to shower upon me; won’t that be such a great loss?
Indeed Matthew Henry did great justice when he wrote:
many of our “cannots” are only the language of idleness, which magnifies every difficulty and danger.
Because when you are in Christ – there really is nothing that we cannot for through Him everything is possible.[i] So if today you face a hill of a task; let it not intimidate you – go ahead and conquer it for there are no mountains that a little bit of faith cannot move.
[i] Philippians 4:13