March 26 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“‘If you are so numerous,’ Joshua answered, ‘and if the hill country of Ephraim is too small for you, go up into the forest and clear land for yourselves there in the land of the Perizzites and Rephaites.’” ~Joshua 17:15

The land is a blessing from God, but the people are required to roll up their sleeves and do some work to make it habitable. When the leaders of the tribe of Manasseh (the descendants of Joseph) complain that their allotment simply isn’t large enough, Joshua challenges them to do something about it. He doesn’t offer to see what he can do; he sends them to clear more land, which means “clearing” enemies off of it. And when they complain about the difficulty, the leader doesn’t coddle them. If you want more, he tells them, go and get it from the Canaanites.

After a number of years, more than half the tribes have yet to take possession of their property. Unlike their countrymen who are dwelling in cities and villages and civilizing the land, these tribes are still living in wilderness camps situated around a temporary, makeshift capital. Joshua challenges them to get to work conquering and settling. He prompts the people to action with a promise to draw up property lines to divide the remaining land.[1] The land is within the people’s grasp, but they have a role to play in possessing it.

This principle of acting to receive blessing can be applied generally. God doesn’t usually choose to send His blessings via direct deposit. Instead, He often requires that we get up off the couch and do something! (The only exception is salvation, which is indeed a gift of God.) If God does everything for us without requiring anything from us, He risks ruining us. How many stories have we heard of lives wrecked because of a lottery win or a large inheritance? God places blessing within reach and encourages us to possess it.

Look around you. Are there are opportunities to work, to learn, to invest, to sweat? Then thank God for the opportunities He has given you, roll up your sleeves, and possess the blessing with God’s help. And then take to heart the words of a popular praise song, “Every blessing you pour out, I turn back to praise.” Give thanks because He is the one who gave you prospects, strength, and protection. May God strengthen you to possess what He has placed before you!

[1] Joshua casts lots to determine who will get which portion. Like drawing straws, casting lots removes bias and wrong motives from the decision-making process by leaving the outcome wholly up to a sovereign God. See Acts 1 for an example of how lots were used in the first election of a church leader.

Lectio Divina is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of Calvary Church in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.