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Judges 1:27-36

Places Not Conquered

27 But Manasseh did not take possession of Beth-shean and its villages, or Taanach and its villages, or the inhabitants of Dor and its villages, or the inhabitants of Ibleam and its villages, or the inhabitants of Megiddo and its villages; so the Canaanites persisted in living in that land. 28 It came about when Israel became strong, that they put the Canaanites to forced labor, but they did not drive them out completely.

29 Ephraim did not drive out the Canaanites who were living in Gezer; so the Canaanites lived in Gezer among them.

30 Zebulun did not drive out the inhabitants of Kitron, or the inhabitants of [o]Nahalol; so the Canaanites lived among them and became subject to forced labor.

31 Asher did not drive out the inhabitants of Acco, or the inhabitants of Sidon, or of Ahlab, or of Achzib, or of Helbah, or of Aphik, or of Rehob. 32 So the Asherites lived among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land; for they did not drive them out.

33 Naphtali did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh, or the inhabitants of Beth-anath, but lived among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land; and the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh and Beth-anath became forced labor for them.

34 Then the Amorites [p]forced the sons of Dan into the hill country, for they did not allow them to come down to the valley; 35 yet the Amorites persisted in [q]living in Mount Heres, in Aijalon and in Shaalbim; but when the [r]power of the house of Joseph [s]grew strong, they became forced labor. 36 The border of the Amorites ran from the ascent of Akrabbim, from Sela and upward.

This last account reads like a tale of “We forgot God was on our side and couldn’t do what He asked us to…” God told the Israelites to wipe out the inhabitants of the land. One major reason was that they would be a stumbling block to us.

But perhaps that’s what He intended, for of course God knew they wouldn’t actually destroy all the Canaanites. And unlike the decrees of Islam, where people are to be converted or killed, God doesn’t intend for us to go around killing off worldly people because they might be a stumbling block.

The trappings of this materialistic world will be a stumbling block, but God wants us to know that He is bigger, and if we will put our trust in Him, we have the power to overcome the world, because Jesus overcame the world already.

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Judges 1:11-26

Capture of Other Cities

11 Then from there he went against the inhabitants of Debir (now the name of Debir formerly was Kiriath-sepher). 12 And Caleb said, “The one who attacks Kiriath-sepher and captures it, I will even give him my daughter Achsah for a wife.” 13 Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, captured it; so he gave him his daughter Achsah for a wife. 14 Then it came about when she came to him, that she persuaded him to ask her father for a field. Then she alighted from [h]her donkey, and Caleb said to her, “What [i]do you want?” 15 She said to him, “Give me a blessing, since you have given me the land of the [j]Negev, give me also springs of water.” So Caleb gave her the upper springs and the lower springs.

16 The [k]descendants of the Kenite, Moses’ father-in-law, went up from the city of palms with the sons of Judah, to the wilderness of Judah which is in the south of Arad; and they went and lived with the people. 17 Then Judah went with Simeon his brother, and they struck the Canaanites living in Zephath, and utterly destroyed it. So the name of the city was called Hormah. 18 And Judah took Gaza with its territory and Ashkelon with its territory and Ekron with its territory. 19 Now the Lord was with Judah, and they took possession of the hill country; but they could not [l]drive out the inhabitants of the valley because they had iron chariots. 20 Then they gave Hebron to Caleb, as Moses had [m]promised; and he drove out from there the three sons of Anak. 21 But the sons of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites who lived in Jerusalem; so the Jebusites have lived with the sons of Benjamin in Jerusalem to this day.

22 Likewise the house of Joseph went up against Bethel, and the Lord was with them. 23 The house of Joseph spied out Bethel (now the name of the city was formerly Luz). 24 The spies saw a man coming out of the city and they said to him, “Please show us the entrance to the city and we will treat you kindly.” 25 So he showed them the entrance to the city, and they struck the city with the edge of the sword, but they let the man and all his family go free. 26 The man went into the land of the Hittites and built a city and named it Luz [n]which is its name to this day.

Caleb shows us a glimpse of our Father’s heart in dealing with his daughter. God wants to bless us, but that doesn’t always mean just giving us material things. No all things that we think are good are actually a blessing. So it is interesting that Achsah approaches her father and the first words are “Give me a blessing…”

Had Caleb though it would be too much for his son-in-law and daughter to manage, surely he would have declined, or perhaps only given them one set of springs. So it is with God, except He knows exactly what we can handle, what will challenge us to grow closer to Him vs. what will weigh us down and pull us away from Him.

So I think it is appropriate that we recognize that when we ask for blessings that we actually keep in mind that God does want to bless us. But he will not give us something that will be a burden or a curse instead (though he may at times give us a taste of it, to show us it isn’t what we really want).

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Judges 1:1-10

Jerusalem Is Captured

Now it came about after the death of Joshua that the sons of Israel inquired of the Lord, saying, “Who shall go up first for us against the Canaanites, to fight against them?” The Lord said, “Judah shall go up; behold, I have given the land into his hand.” Then Judah said to Simeon his brother, “Come up with me into [a]the territory allotted me, that we may fight against the Canaanites; and [b]I in turn will go with you into [c]the territory allotted you.” So Simeon went with him. Judah went up, and the Lord gave the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hands, and they [d]defeated ten thousand men at Bezek. They found Adoni-bezek in Bezek and fought against him, and they [e]defeated the Canaanites and the Perizzites. But Adoni-bezek fled; and they pursued him and caught him and cut off his [f]thumbs and big toes. Adoni-bezek said, “Seventy kings with their thumbs and their big toes cut off used to gather up scraps under my table; as I have done, so God has repaid me.” So they brought him to Jerusalem and he died there.

Then the sons of Judah fought against Jerusalem and captured it and struck it with the edge of the sword and set the city on fire. Afterward the sons of Judah went down to fight against the Canaanites living in the hill country and in the [g]Negev and in the lowland. 10 So Judah went against the Canaanites who lived in Hebron (now the name of Hebron formerly was Kiriath-arba); and they struck Sheshai and Ahiman and Talmai.

In a graphic example, God reminds us that He doesn’t ignore the deeds of the wicked. It’s something Kind David struggled with also, thinking the wicked were prospering. But though they might accumulate material gain for a season, God does not ignore sin.

Further, punishment in this life is temporary, those who reject God will have their fill in eternity, and those who love God and choose to serve Him will have eternal reward. Keep your eyes on God, serve Him, and you will not be disappointed.

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Joshua 24:29-33

Joshua’s Death and Burial

29 It came about after these things that Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being one hundred and ten years old. 30 And they buried him in the territory of his inheritance in Timnath-serah, which is in the hill country of Ephraim, on the north of Mount Gaash.

31 Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua and all the days of the elders who [m]survived Joshua, and had known all the deeds of the Lord which He had done for Israel.

32 Now they buried the bones of Joseph, which the sons of Israel brought up from Egypt, at Shechem, in the piece of ground which Jacob had bought from the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for one hundred [n]pieces of money; and they became the inheritance of Joseph’s sons. 33 And Eleazar the son of Aaron died; and they buried him [o]at Gibeah of Phinehas his son, which was given him in the hill country of Ephraim.

Spoiler alert! Though this passage mentions that Israel “served the Lord all the days of Joshua and … the elders who survived Joshua…”, that would change. The passage references Joshua and the elders as those who had known all the deeds of the Lord, but the problem that would arise wasn’t that God would stop doing things for Israel. The problem was that their faith in God depended on seeing huge massive miracles, which isn’t faith at all.

Jesus would later decry those around him as a faithless and adulterous generation who demands a sign. If you need miracles to believe in God, you’re not paying attention well enough. Look around, God’s hand is not hard to see in this world, or even in your own life.

Those who say otherwise.. are just not paying attention. Do I need to say it a third time? Seek Him and you will find Him, that was Jesus’ promise to us, and it has never ceased to be true. If you don’t look, you won’t find Him. But by those who are searching, Jesus will be found. If you can’t see Him, it isn’t because He is hiding, it’s because you’re not looking.

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Joshua 24:14-28

“We Will Serve the Lord”

14 “Now, therefore, [g]fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and [h]truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the [i]River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

16 The people answered and said, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods; 17 for the Lord our God is He who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, from the house of [j]bondage, and who did these great signs in our sight and preserved us through all the way in which we went and among all the peoples through whose midst we passed. 18 The Lord drove out from before us all the peoples, even the Amorites who lived in the land. We also will serve the Lord, for He is our God.”

19 Then Joshua said to the people, “You will not be able to serve the Lord, for He is a holy God. He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgression or your sins. 20 If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, then He will turn and do you harm and consume you after He has done good to you.” 21 The people said to Joshua, “No, but we will serve the Lord.” 22 Joshua said to the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen for yourselves the Lord, to serve Him.” And they said, “We are witnesses.” 23 “Now therefore, put away the foreign gods which are in your midst, and incline your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.” 24 The people said to Joshua, “We will serve the Lord our God and we will [k]obey His voice.” 25 So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and made for them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem. 26 And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God; and he took a large stone and set it up there under the oak that was by the sanctuary of the Lord. 27 Joshua said to all the people, “Behold, this stone shall be for a witness against us, for it has heard all the words of the Lord which He spoke [l]to us; thus it shall be for a witness against you, so that you do not deny your God.” 28 Then Joshua dismissed the people, each to his inheritance.

Throughout the Bible, we are reminded that God is love, and that He desires our love in return. But corollary to that theme is a necessary “evil”: free will. The ability to choose is essential to any story about love. Watch a romantic movie, and it will inevitably contrast one with a desire for control, and another who freely gives (and receives) love.

But though love does not control, it involves a desire for obedience. It’s hard to convince anyone you love your mom or dad if you constantly disobey them. Granted, you will disobey them at some point, but living in a state of rebellion is a far cry from an occasional act of disobedience.

At any rate, free will enables us to disobey, a fact which is necessary by the relinquishing of control native to love. The people of Israel were free to choose another “god”. And we are free to reject God, to hate our enemies, to lust after our neighbor’s wife, or worse. Life will suck, and eternity will be worse, but we are given the choice to make. Trust God, love Him, obey Him, choose to follow His way, or… Go our own way, reject God, and die (sooner or later). As the serpent so aptly noted, “you won’t really die…” But the wages of sin (disobedience) is death, a death that our physical minds can’t really grasp or comprehend.

The children of Israel, at least at this point, knew better than to reject God. It’s like a choice between cake and poop, is it really a choice? We only fall for the latter because Satan throws some frosting on it, but at the end, it’s still a twisted, empty promise of being “like God.” But if we really want to be like God, the only choice is to follow Him, become more like Him every day, until one day… we see Him face to face.

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Joshua 24:1-13

Joshua Reviews Israel’s History

24 Then Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and called for the elders of Israel and for their heads and their judges and their officers; and they presented themselves before God. Joshua said to all the people, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘From ancient times your fathers lived beyond the [a]River, namely, Terah, the father of Abraham and the father of Nahor, and they served other gods. Then I took your father Abraham from beyond the [b]River, and led him through all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his [c]descendants and gave him Isaac. To Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau, and to Esau I gave Mount Seir to possess it; but Jacob and his sons went down to Egypt. Then I sent Moses and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt [d]by what I did in its midst; and afterward I brought you out. I brought your fathers out of Egypt, and you came to the sea; and Egypt pursued your fathers with chariots and horsemen to the [e]Red Sea. But when they cried out to the Lord, He put darkness between you and the Egyptians, and brought the sea upon them and covered them; and your own eyes saw what I did in Egypt. And you lived in the wilderness for a long time. Then I brought you into the land of the Amorites who lived beyond the Jordan, and they fought with you; and I gave them into your hand, and you took possession of their land when I destroyed them before you. Then Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose and fought against Israel, and he sent and summoned Balaam the son of Beor to curse you. 10 But I was not willing to listen to Balaam. So he had to bless you, and I delivered you from his hand. 11 You crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho; and the citizens of Jericho fought against you, and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Girgashite, the Hivite and the Jebusite. Thus I gave them into your hand. 12 Then I sent the hornet before you and it [f]drove out the two kings of the Amorites from before you, but not by your sword or your bow. 13 I gave you a land on which you had not labored, and cities which you had not built, and you have lived in them; you are eating of vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant.’

Sometimes, God gives us things we did not work for, things we did not earn. Other times He gives us things as we work diligently. In most cases, He does not give us more than we can handle responsibly (unless it is to stretch us and test us). Whatever we have, whatever we might call “our own”, is not really “ours”. Instead, we are stewards of whatever God has given us, and we must strive to be faithful in managing the resources God has entrusted to us.

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Joshua 23

Joshua’s Farewell Address

23 Now it came about after many days, when the Lord had given rest to Israel from all their enemies [a]on every side, and Joshua was old, advanced in years, that Joshua called for all Israel, for their elders and their heads and their judges and their officers, and said to them, “I am old, advanced in years. And you have seen all that the Lord your God has done to all these nations because of you, for the Lord your God is He who has been fighting for you. See, I have apportioned to you these nations which remain as an inheritance for your tribes, with all the nations which I have cut off, from the Jordan even to the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun. The Lord your God, He will thrust them out from before you and [b]drive them from before you; and you will possess their land, just as the Lord your God [c]promised you. Be very firm, then, to keep and do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, so that you may not turn aside from it to the right hand or to the left, so that you will not [d]associate with these nations, these which remain among you, or mention the name of their gods, or make anyone swear by them, or serve them, or bow down to them. But you are to cling to the Lord your God, as you have done to this day. For the Lord has [e]driven out great and strong nations from before you; and as for you, no man has stood before you to this day. 10 One of your men puts to flight a thousand, for the Lord your God is He who fights for you, just as He [f]promised you. 11 So take diligent heed to yourselves to love the Lord your God. 12 For if you ever go back and cling to the rest of these nations, these which remain among you, and intermarry with them, so that you [g]associate with them and they with you, 13 know with certainty that the Lord your God will not continue to [h]drive these nations out from before you; but they will be a snare and a trap to you, and a whip on your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from off this good land which the Lord your God has given you.

14 “Now behold, today I am going the way of all the earth, and you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one word of all the good words which the Lord your God spoke concerning you has failed; all have [i]been fulfilled for you, not [j]one of them has failed. 15 It shall come about that just as all the good words which the Lord your God spoke to you have come upon you, so the Lord will bring upon you all the threats, until He has destroyed you from off this good land which the Lord your God has given you. 16 When you transgress the covenant of the Lord your God, which He commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them, then the anger of the Lord will burn against you, and you will perish quickly from off the good land which He has given you.”

The lesson here is fundamental to our existence, though it may not be obvious at first glance from the passage. Everything we have in this life is a gift from God. This life we live is not about us, it is about God first, us second.

It is for this reason that Joshua reminds them “For the Lord has driven out…” Lest they be tempted to think it was on their own strength, their own awesomeness, their own battle tactics, Joshua reminds them it is all because God was involved. Without Him, nothing would have been accomplished in the promised land.

So remember, when things are going well, and you think you’re doing pretty well: it isn’t you, it is Him, always Him.

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Joshua 22:10-34

The Offensive Altar

10 When they came to the region of the Jordan which is in the land of Canaan, the sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh built an altar there by the Jordan, a large altar in appearance. 11 And the sons of Israel heard it [d]said, “Behold, the sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh have built an altar at the [e]frontier of the land of Canaan, in the region of the Jordan, on the side belonging to the sons of Israel.” 12 When the sons of Israel heard of it, the whole congregation of the sons of Israel gathered themselves at Shiloh to go up against them in war.

13 Then the sons of Israel sent to the sons of Reuben and to the sons of Gad and to the half-tribe of Manasseh, into the land of Gilead, Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, 14 and with him ten chiefs, one chief for each father’s household from each of the tribes of Israel; and each one of them was the head of his father’s household among the [f]thousands of Israel. 15 They came to the sons of Reuben and to the sons of Gad and to the half-tribe of Manasseh, to the land of Gilead, and they spoke with them saying, 16 “Thus says the whole congregation of the Lord, ‘What is this unfaithful act which you have committed against the God of Israel, turning away from following the Lord this day, by building yourselves an altar, to rebel against the Lord this day? 17 Is not the iniquity of Peor [g]enough for us, from which we have not cleansed ourselves to this day, although a plague came on the congregation of the Lord, 18 that you must turn away this day from following the Lord? If you rebel against the Lord today, He will be angry with the whole congregation of Israel tomorrow. 19 If, however, the land of your possession is unclean, then [h]cross into the land of the possession of the Lord, where the Lord’s tabernacle [i]stands, and take possession among us. Only do not rebel against the Lord, or rebel against us by building an altar for yourselves, besides the altar of the Lord our God. 20 Did not Achan the son of Zerah act unfaithfully in the things under the ban, and wrath fall on all the congregation of Israel? And that man did not perish alone in his iniquity.’”

21 Then the sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh answered and spoke to the heads of the [j]families of Israel. 22 “The Mighty One, God, the Lord, the Mighty One, God, the Lord! He knows, and may Israel itself know. If it was in rebellion, or if in an unfaithful act against the Lord do not save us this day! 23 If we have built us an altar to turn away from following the Lord, or if to offer a burnt offering or grain offering on it, or if to offer sacrifices of peace offerings on it, may the Lord Himself require it. 24 But truly we have done this out of concern, [k]for a reason, saying, ‘In time to come your sons may say to our [l]sons, “What have you to do with the Lord, the God of Israel? 25 For the Lord has made the Jordan a border between us and you, you sons of Reuben and sons of Gad; you have no portion in the Lord.” So your sons may make our sons stop fearing the Lord.’

26 “Therefore we said, ‘Let us [m]build an altar, not for burnt offering or for sacrifice; 27 rather it shall be a witness between us and you and between our generations after us, that we are to perform the service of the Lord before Him with our burnt offerings, and with our sacrifices and with our peace offerings, so that your sons will not say to our sons in time to come, “You have no portion in the Lord.”’ 28 Therefore we said, ‘It shall also come about if they say this to us or to our generations in time to come, then we shall say, “See the copy of the altar of the Lord which our fathers made, not for burnt offering or for sacrifice; rather it is a witness between us and you.”’ 29 Far be it from us that we should rebel against the Lord and turn away from following the Lord this day, by building an altar for burnt offering, for grain offering or for sacrifice, besides the altar of the Lord our God which is before His [n]tabernacle.”

30 So when Phinehas the priest and the leaders of the congregation, even the heads of the [o]families of Israel who were with him, heard the words which the sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad and the sons of Manasseh spoke, it pleased them. 31 And Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest said to the sons of Reuben and to the sons of Gad and to the sons of Manasseh, “Today we know that the Lord is in our midst, because you have not committed this unfaithful act against the Lord; now you have delivered the sons of Israel from the hand of the Lord.”

32 Then Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest and the leaders returned from the sons of Reuben and from the sons of Gad, from the land of Gilead to the land of Canaan, to the sons of Israel, and brought back word to them. 33 The word pleased the sons of Israel, and the sons of Israel blessed God; and they did not speak of going up against them in war to destroy the land in which the sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad were living. 34 The sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad called the altar Witness; “For,” they said, “it is a witness between us that the Lord is God.”

Sometimes, the things we mean for good can be grossly misunderstood by those around us. In this case, the 2.5 tribes on the East side of the Jordan feared that their descendants would be pushed away from serving God, while the tribes on the West side of the Jordan thought the others were resorting to pagan worship and building an altar to worship other gods.

The disconnect between them was so great, that those on the West side were mustering for war to bring the Eastern tribes out of their rebellion by force.

The situation is resolved by cooler heads though, when they send the priest and their leaders to find out what is going on. They asked whatever the Eastern tribes could have meant by rebelling against the Lord with this altar. And the Eastern tribes responding with clarity and a rational that would not only assuage the war-mongering, but no doubt it rekindled the familial bonds in their Western brothers when they heard the real reason.

When there is a misunderstanding, there is no surer path to resolution than communication. When someone mistakes your actions for negative intent, reach out to them and show them your positive intentions. On the other side, do not be quick to anger, but give others the benefit of the doubt. Communication can resolve a world of hurts, in fact it can often prevent them altogether. God made us for relationship, and the fuel of relationships is communication, so there’s no mistake in this fundamental truth of human relations. Don’t misuse a tool that God intended for good either!

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Joshua 22:1-9

Tribes beyond Jordan Return

22 Then Joshua summoned the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, and said to them, “You have kept all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, and have listened to my voice in all that I commanded you. You have not forsaken your brothers these many days to this day, but have kept the charge of the commandment of the Lord your God. And now the Lord your God has given rest to your brothers, as He spoke to them; therefore turn now and go to your tents, to the land of your possession, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave you beyond the Jordan. Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God and walk in all His ways and keep His commandments and hold fast to Him and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul.” So Joshua blessed them and sent them away, and they went to their tents.

Now to the one half-tribe of Manasseh Moses had given a possession in Bashan, but to the other half Joshua gave a possession among their brothers westward beyond the Jordan. So when Joshua sent them away to their tents, he blessed them, and said to [a]them, “Return to your tents with great riches and with very much livestock, with silver, gold, bronze, iron, and with very many clothes; divide the spoil of your enemies with your brothers.” The sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh returned home and departed from the sons of Israel at Shiloh which is in the land of Canaan, to go to the land of Gilead, to the land of their possession which they had possessed, according to the [b]command of the Lord [c]through Moses.

Finally, when the bulk of the battle was finished and the land had been subdued, the tribes who had left their home beyond the Jordan could return home. When the work had been completed, and they had followed the command of the Lord, he would give them rest.

This life is filled with trials, tests, and it seems we go from one mission to another without stopping. But in all of this, God wants to give us rest. For that matter, He gave us one day a week and commanded us to rest.

Beyond that though, there are times when God says, “step back, and rest.” I have something new for you, and you need to rest and recharge. Don’t be afraid, and don’t be ashamed, of resting. It’s an important part of life, that is far too easily overlooked in our lives. Without rest, our lives fall apart, and we cannot become who God created us to be.

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Joshua 21:20-45

20 Then the cities from the tribe of Ephraim were allotted to the families of the sons of Kohath, the Levites, even to the rest of the sons of Kohath. 21 They gave them Shechem, the city of refuge for the manslayer, with its pasture lands, in the hill country of Ephraim, and Gezer with its pasture lands, 22 and Kibzaim with its pasture lands and Beth-horon with its pasture lands; four cities. 23 From the tribe of Dan, Elteke with its pasture lands, Gibbethon with its pasture lands, 24 Aijalon with its pasture lands, Gath-rimmon with its pasture lands; four cities. 25 From the half-tribe of Manasseh, they allotted Taanach with its pasture lands and Gath-rimmon with its pasture lands; two cities. 26 All the cities with their pasture lands for the families of the rest of the sons of Kohath were ten.

27 To the sons of Gershon, one of the families of the Levites, from the half-tribe of Manasseh, they gave Golan in Bashan, the city of refuge for the manslayer, with its pasture lands, and Be-eshterah with its pasture lands; two cities. 28 From the tribe of Issachar, they gave Kishion with its pasture lands, Daberath with its pasture lands, 29 Jarmuth with its pasture lands, En-gannim with its pasture lands; four cities. 30 From the tribe of Asher, they gave Mishal with its pasture lands, Abdon with its pasture lands, 31 Helkath with its pasture lands and Rehob with its pasture lands; four cities. 32 From the tribe of Naphtali, they gave Kedesh in Galilee, the city of refuge for the manslayer, with its pasture lands and Hammoth-dor with its pasture lands and Kartan with its pasture lands; three cities. 33 All the cities of the Gershonites according to their families were thirteen cities with their pasture lands.

34 To the families of the sons of Merari, the rest of the Levites, they gave from the tribe of Zebulun, Jokneam with its pasture lands and Kartah with its pasture lands. 35 Dimnah with its pasture lands, Nahalal with its pasture lands; four cities. 36 From the tribe of Reuben, they gave Bezer with its pasture lands and Jahaz with its pasture lands, 37 Kedemoth with its pasture lands and Mephaath with its pasture lands; four cities. 38 From the tribe of Gad, they gave Ramoth in Gilead, the city of refuge for the manslayer, with its pasture lands and Mahanaim with its pasture lands, 39 Heshbon with its pasture lands, Jazer with its pasture lands; four cities in all. 40 All these were the cities of the sons of Merari according to their families, the rest of the families of the Levites; and their lot was twelve cities.

41 All the cities of the Levites in the midst of the possession of the sons of Israel were forty-eight cities with their pasture lands. 42 These cities each had its surrounding pasture lands; thus it was with all these cities.

43 So the Lord gave Israel all the land which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they possessed it and lived in it. 44 And the Lord gave them rest on every side, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers, and no one of all their enemies stood before them; the Lord gave all their enemies into their hand. 45 Not [m]one of the good promises which the Lord had [n]made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass.

This last section is evidence of a very important fact about God. When He makes a promise, He will fulfill it. There’s no getting around that fact, though some, like the promised land, require action on our part. Some promises are unconditional, but God didn’t create us with the intent of just doing everything for us.

He created us with the ability to reason, to take action, and to connect with Him on a level that is foreign to any other thing that was created. That uniqueness includes the ability, I would dare to say, the requirement that we engage with our Creator. To do anything less is to deny who we are. God will never change, but we choose daily if we will be who He created us to be, or if we will pretend to be something else, much like Adam & Eve. When they tried to be “more” than what they were, they became very much less.

Don’t be less than who you really are, choose to live life to the full, walking hand in hand with your Creator.