Territory of Ephraim
16 Then the lot for the sons of Joseph went from the Jordan at Jericho to the waters of Jericho on the east into the wilderness, going up from Jericho through the hill country to Bethel. 2 It went from Bethel to Luz, and continued to the border of the Archites at Ataroth. 3 It went down westward to the territory of the Japhletites, as far as the territory of lower Beth-horon even to Gezer, and [a]it ended at the sea.
4 The sons of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim, received their inheritance. 5 Now this was the territory of the sons of Ephraim according to their families: the border of their inheritance eastward was Ataroth-addar, as far as upper Beth-horon. 6 Then the border went westward at Michmethath on the north, and the border turned about eastward to Taanath-shiloh and continued beyond it to the east of Janoah.7 It went down from Janoah to Ataroth and to Naarah, then reached Jericho and came out at the Jordan. 8 From Tappuah the border continued westward to the [b]brook of Kanah, and [c]it ended at the sea. This is the inheritance of the tribe of the sons of Ephraim according to their families, 9 together with the cities which were set apart for the sons of Ephraim in the midst of the inheritance of the sons of Manasseh, all the cities with their villages. 10 But they did not [d]drive out the Canaanites who lived in Gezer, so the Canaanites live in the midst of Ephraim to this day, and they became forced laborers.
It can be difficult to visualize what the territory of the various tribes looked like, but one thing stands out beyond the borders. “They did not drive out the Canaanites who lived in Gezer…”
That isn’t what God told them to do, it isn’t what Moses told them to do, and it isn’t what Joshua told them to do. But there was a dangerous precedent set earlier, where Joshua allowed the Gibeonites to live, but put them into servitude.
So the pattern is repeated here, but the real problem comes many years down the road. Will the Gezerites choose to follow the God of the Israelites, and leave behind their past? Or will they cling to false God’s, and take down Ephraim with them?
When we don’t follow God’s plan, we can’t expect Him to make the road very smooth. We don’t follow through on the hard thing, so something equally difficult will come our way later. He intends to make us better, stronger, more like Him, and that’s not going to happen on the easy road. Better to take care of the hard things the first time we see them, and learn the “easy” way…