“You Are A Great People”

Pastor Tony Butler

Prattville Alliance Church

 

“The children of Joseph spoke unto Joshua, saying, ‘Why have you given me but one lot and one portion to inherit, seeing I am a great people, inasmuch as the LORD has blessed me until now?’  Joshua answered them, ‘If you are a great people, then you get up to the forest country, and clear a place for yourself there in the land of the Perizzites and of the giants, since the mountains of Ephraim are too confined for you.’  The children of Joseph said, ‘The hill is not enough for us: and all the Canaanites that dwell in the land of the valley have chariots of iron, both they who are of Bethshean and her towns, and they who are of the valley of Jezreel.  Joshua spoke unto the house of Joseph, even to Ephraim and to Manasseh, saying, ‘You are a great people, and have great power: you shall not have one lot only: but the mountain country shall be yours; although it is wooded, you shall cut it down: and its farthest extent  shall be yours: for you shall drive out the Canaanites, though they have iron chariots, and though they are strong.’ (Joshua 17:14-18)

 

The Lord God of Israel had given His people Israel all the land of Canaan as an inheritance, and told them to go into it and drive out the inhabitants with the sword.  He assured His people they would be victorious, and told them not to be afraid.  As the people went forth to conquer the Canaanites, they discovered that the peoples of the land were determined to stay, and fought vigorously against the Children of Israel.  The resistance was to the place that seven tribes of Israel would not possess the land that God had given them.  In their hearts, their circumstances were bigger than God’s promises.

They saw themselves as the chosen people of the True and Living God in their standing, but they did not put that truth to practice in their circumstances.  It is one thing to declare ones self to be “great” and quite another to actually believe it and act on it.  The children of Joseph, one of the tribes of Israel, had a good problem.  They had more people than land.  The solution to the problem was merely the acquiring of more land.  However, the people who owned the land weren’t going to give it to them without a fight.  They were formidable foes with chariots of iron.  They would not be ousted easily.  When looking in the eyes of powerful enemies that outwardly seemed much greater than themselves, the children of Joseph needed to be reminded by Joshua (a picture of Jesus) who they were, and how powerful they were.  What they needed would be theirs if they stepped out in faith and believed God’s estimation of who they were, instead of basing their lives on their circumstances.

As Christians, we are often like the above tribe of Israel.  We know we are a great people who are called of God to do mighty exploits in His Name.  He told us to go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to all ethnic groups.  He warned us of enemies we would have to fight, only they would not be flesh and blood, but the principalities and powers of Satan.  Instead of engaging the enemy with the armor and might of God, we focus on our circumstances and make excuses why we can’t defeat the enemy.

Ultimately Israel decided to compromise and made a deal with its enemies, and paid a high price that they have not recovered from until this day.  Don’t be like them.  Believe God that you are a great people, and fulfill the calling that the Lord Jesus Christ has placed on your life.