Serving Jesus through discipleship

The Failure of Manasseh

The book of Joshua records the division of the land among the tribes of Israel. Joshua chapter 17 records the allotment of the land to the half tribe of Manasseh. After describing the portion of land that was to be Manasseh’s inheritance, verse 12 records that “the sons of Manasseh could not take possession of these cities, because the Canaanites persisted in living in that land.”

Wasn’t god’s command to take possession of the land? Didn’t God say that He would drive the inhabitants of the land out before them? This sounds to me like disobedience on the part of the tribe of Manasseh. Why, after all they had experienced, the grace and protection of God Almighty, would they not obey Him? They were afraid because the Canaanites living in the valley has chariots of iron. They did not trust God to keep His part of the bargain. Then in verse 14 we see that they complained because the portion of land they had been given wasn’t adequate for them.

Do we do the same thing? Do we not follow God’s command, which is required to claim His promise, and then complain when things don’t go our way? Like the tribe of Manasseh, we rationalize away our failure to obey. We compromise God’s word to suit our own desires. We don’t do what God requires because we are afraid; afraid of what people will think, afraid of being “different”, afraid of not fitting in. We forget the nature of the God that we worship. We don’t trust His promises.

The answer? Repent and follow God.


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