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Odd Exceptions

Read Joshua 17:1-18

But the descendants of Manasseh were unable to occupy these towns. They could not drive out the Canaanites who continued to live there. Later, however, when the Israelites became strong enough, they forced the Canaanites to work as slaves. But they did not drive them out of the land.

The descendants of Joseph came to Joshua and asked, “Why have you given us only one portion of land as our homeland when the Lord has blessed us with so many people?”

Joshua replied, “If there are so many of you, and if the hill country of Ephraim is not large enough for you, clear out land for yourselves in the forest where the Perizzites and Rephaites live.”
(Joshua 17:12-15)


Notice the difference between Caleb and the two tribes of Joseph. They had two very different attitudes toward settling the Promised Land: Caleb took what God gave him and moved ahead to fulfill God’s plan for him (Joshua 14:12). He confidently believed that God would help him drive out the wicked inhabitants and that he would soon fully occupy his land (Joshua 15:14-15).

In contrast, the two tribes of Joseph were given rich land and lots of it, but they were afraid to drive out the inhabitants and take full possession of it. Instead they begged for more land. In response, Joshua asked them to prove their sincerity first by clearing the unclaimed forest areas. They agreed, but they failed to carry through (Judges 1:27).

Both Caleb and the two tribes had significant obstacles to possessing the land God had promised to them. Just because God promised it didn’t mean it would be easy. They all still had to trust God and take action in that faith.


Do you feel God has called you to somewhere or something? Are you facing obstacles as you pursue it? Continue listening for God’s leading. Prayer to him about them. If you still feel a confidence in God’s calling and others are affirming your pursuits, God may be asking you to go forward like Caleb. The resistance you’re facing may refine the faith you have right now and make it more sure as you move into the future. What’s the next step for you?

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