MLToday: [Joshua Chapter Sixteen]: Are You Bendable, Sendable and Spendable? In this chapter the tribes were assigned their inheritance by casting of the Urim and Thummim. Once the territory was promised each tribe had to go out and take their land. What has God promised you? Is it enough to believe that God promise or is there something you must do? What do we do when circumstances change and the promise of God in His word or through a prophet doesn’t fit the new reality? The answers to these questions and how you respond to them make all the difference between victory and stunning defeat in our lives.

Today: [Joshua Chapter Sixteen]: Are You Bendable, Sendable and Spendable? In this chapter the tribes were assigned their inheritance by casting of the Urim and Thummim. Once the territory was promised each tribe had to go out and take their land. What has God promised you? Is it enough to believe that God promise or is there something you must do? What do we do when circumstances change and the promise of God in His word or through a prophet doesn’t fit the new reality? The answers to these questions and how you respond to them make all the difference between victory and stunning defeat in our lives.

[Jos 16:1-10 KJV] 1 And the lot of the children of Joseph fell from Jordan by Jericho, unto the water of Jericho on the east, to the wilderness that goeth up from Jericho throughout mount Bethel, 2 And goeth out from Bethel to Luz, and passeth along unto the borders of Archi to Ataroth, 3 And goeth down westward to the coast of Japhleti, unto the coast of Bethhoron the nether, and to Gezer: and the goings out thereof are at the sea. 4 So the children of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim, took their inheritance.

Is your inheritance something God gives you or something you have to take? This is such a very important question. Failing to comprehend this results in believers living their whole life falling far short of what God has for them. Notice that the lot that fell to the children of Joseph indicated what land they were to take. This was inquiring of the Lord by the Urim and Thummim. The Urim and the Thummim are totally ignored by most bible teachers today yet every place in the historical books where it is said “they inquired of the Lord” referred to the Urim and the Thummim that were sacred dice as it were that were cast to make decisions by the Lord.

We tend to say “just obey God’s word…” They had the books of Moses but it wasn’t enough. If they were going to take their territory they needed to be able to consult God specifically on their next move. That is where the Urim and the Thummim come in. There came a time that God no longer answered through Urim and Thummim that prophets were raised up to give the answer of the Lord. One of the problems with this is when the prophet didn’t tell them what they wanted to hear they would simply ignore or worse kill the prophet. You couldn’t argue with the Urim and Thummim. You could kill the prophet. You could immune the word they give as inaccurate. God always expects us to mature in hearing His voice. 2 Chron. 20:20 says that if we believe the prophets we will prosper. Who is the prophet in your life? When God stopped answering by Urim there was a gap or period of time before the first prophets showed up. It was the most heart breaking time period in Isreal. The history of that time is in the book of Judges when every man was condemned to do what was right in his own eyes and the history of failure and captivity is heart wrenching.

When the Urim was cast it meant that God had done all that He would do. The responsibility of the tribe was to go and take the land indicated. There was no follow up question. There were no rationalizations. There was no negotiation. Here is the assignment. The Urim didn’t tell you what God would to it told you what YOUR portion was. Many people come to the prophetic wanting to know what will God do for them without any action on their part. These people ultimately wind up despising the prophetic. Even in the New Testament time there was a love / hate relationship with the prophetic. 1 Thess. 5:7 was necessary for Paul to say “despise not prophesying…” Why? Because nobody likes to be told what to do however pleasant the words may be no matter how pregnant with promise.

The Urim when cast became an assignment from heaven. What is your assignment from heaven? What is God telling you to do. What instructions and encouragements have you ignored in God’s word or dismissed in prophetic words given to you time and again? If you will go back and hold yourself accountable you will come into your possession. If you choose rather to defend yourself with ambiguous religious questions about God’s faithfulness nothing will change. If you erect walls of theology that says God will not always follow through on His promise then your inheritance will not be attained. Things can be different but we must be sendable, spendable and bendable to His will.

5 And the border of the children of Ephraim according to their families was [thus]: even the border of their inheritance on the east side was Atarothaddar, unto Bethhoron the upper; 6 And the border went out toward the sea to Michmethah on the north side; and the border went about eastward unto Taanathshiloh, and passed by it on the east to Janohah; 7 And it went down from Janohah to Ataroth, and to Naarath, and came to Jericho, and went out at Jordan. 8 The border went out from Tappuah westward unto the river Kanah; and the goings out thereof were at the sea. This [is] the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Ephraim by their families. 9 And the separate cities for the children of Ephraim [were] among the inheritance of the children of Manasseh, all the cities with their villages. 10 And they drave not out the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer: but the Canaanites dwell among the Ephraimites unto this day, and serve under tribute.

Here you see that God gave them territory but the tribe of Ephraim did NOT drive them out. So God gave them the inheritance but they didn’t follow through. Is it because God didn’t honor His word? Notice that the scripture doesn’t tell us why this occurred. It is the question they dare not ask or the observation they dared not make. The fact that the Canaanites were not driven out is a stark contradiction to all God said would happen. No doubt the Ephraimites cried out to God many times – “WHY GOD?” But notice it doesn’t say “God didn’t drive them out …” It says “Ephraim didn’t drive them out …” The implication is that God did what He was going to do and it was up to Ephraim to do their part. Why didn’t the drive them out? It was no doubt difficult. They came up with an alternative. Instead of driving them out they put them under tribute. There was a monetary advantage. How many times to financial considerations or because something is hard and challenging that we don’t follow through on what God promised? Then we come back and complain to God and question His word. The promises of God become so murky and obscure when we choose not to act on their simplicity. Drive out the Canaanites! Is that fair? Wouldn’t it be better to put them under tribute and collect money from them?

How many times have we had people ask us for money and God said no? Instead of keeping it simple we loan them the money instead of giving it and the relationship is damaged if not ultimately destroyed? How often do we have a better idea and muck up the simple plan of God with our rationalizations? Then we cry and complain that we are in such a hard place and why didn’t God come through for us? Let the word of God discern the situation! I absolutely get being under pressure and struggling to make a God honoring decision. Remember that God’s word is always available to us to show the way out. God’s word is the ultimate discerner.

[Heb 4:12 KJV] 12 For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Are things hard? Then let the word of God discern the situation! Then you will see a way out. Stop trying to come up with a better idea and submit to the simplicity of God’s word. When things are hard the scriptures direct us to the path of progress:

[Pro 13:15 KJV] 15 Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors [is] hard.

Ask yourself, ask God where the deviation from His truth is in the situation. Where have we capitulated to people, given in to the circumstance or failed to follow through on our part of a promise of God given? Are there hard decision we have totally ruled out that actually are in our grasp we just don’t have the willingness or courage to make them? Ephraim was the largest and most powerful tribe in Israel. They were WELL ABLE to take the Canaanites but for reasons unspoken they had a better idea. Perhaps they were tired of fighting battles for the other tribes.

We know that they asked Moses to give them land on the other side of Jordan and that they initially tried to get out of going to the promised land altogether. They wanted to settle for less than what God had in mind for them. That same attitude showed up in their homeland. Are you settling? Are you willing to have second best, third best? There is a theology of suffering in Christianity that is deeply defiling to the faith. It appeals to the lowest common denominator of our resolve and turns defeat, suffering, pain and loss into a perverted treasure and a mark of piety and spirituality rather than what it really is – being overthrown by the enemy. We are taught God allows sickness for His glory. Why then do we step out of God’s will trying to get well? Why do we not then simply inject ourselves with some pathogen so we can glorify God more? We are taught that poverty is a good thing and it keeps us humble. Why then don’t we quit our jobs, put on sackcloth and beg in the streets because it honors God to live in destitution? There are elements of Christianity so blinded by demonic religious spirits that it is stupefying. We come under pressure and yield to these doctrines of demons and sit back and blame God for the outcome. It doesn’t have to be this way. We can return to the purity of God’s promise and things can be different than they have been. We have to abandon the emotional investments we have made in the geography of suffering and return to the purity of God’s word.

The time came after the writing of this passage in Joshua that the Canaanites revolted and overthrew the tribe of Ephraim. Because Ephraim didn’t follow through on God’s promise (for whatever solid, fair, religious reason they came up with for doing so) the result was the Canaanites plagued Israel for centuries. They destroyed their crops and killed their children. They burned their cities and assassinated their kings. I wonder what the other tribes must have thought? The other tribes suffered because one tribe decided God didn’t mean what He said. What about your choices? Suffering in your life will migrate to the lives of those around you. The compromises and rationalizations you make will be reproduced in your children and your children’s children. The tough decisions you make or fail to make will bless those that come after you or cause them to spiral into a life of suffering because they don’t have any example of things being any different. Let us make up our minds like David did when he faced Goliath – “is there not a cause?” Let us lay hold on the promise of God and move forward in areas that we can believe and act differently and expect that God’s promise will come through for us and for our loved ones. Life can be better. Long standing mountains of adversity can be pulled down and new blessing can be experienced when we do our part and act on what God has promised us.

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