Just as the Jebusites remained in Judah, the Canaanites living in Ephraim weren't driven out. In fact, they became forced laborers to the present day (Josh. 16:10). Incomplete obedience and disobedience in not carrying out all our kingdom responsibilities allow the world's philosophy to squeeze us into its mold. Instead of God's kingdom being the number one priority in our lives, we allow career, physical exercise, hobbies, entertainment and even our families take precedence. As a result, we experience stress and fatiguing labor, not the exhilaration of God's rest. His yoke is easy, pleasant and profitable (Matt. 11:28-30).
Manasseh, father of Gilead, was allotted Gilead and Bashan, because he was a man of war. Manasseh's sons received lots according to the male descendants (Josh. 17:1-2). Ten portions fell to Manasseh, besides land of Gilead and Bashan beyond Jordan, because of his request for the daughters to receive an inheritance. Manasseh could not take possession of these cities because the Canaanites continued living there. Even when Israel became strong and put Canaanites to forced labor, some remained (Josh. 17:5-6,12-13). Because most Christians don't understand they are in a spiritual battle against the kingdom of darkness, they pursue other activities besides God's kingdom purposes. The evil one targets families. If satan can't get us fighting one another, he will distract us with unprofitable activities without eternal significance. The bad outcomes include divorce, church splits and materialism.
Manasseh complained they only received one lot, but Joshua said they could take more territory by driving out the Canaanites despite their iron chariots (Josh. 17:14-18). God provides strength to defeat worldliness in our lives. Faithfulness to God determines the responsibilities entrusted to us because those faithful in a little will be faithful in much.
Once the whole congregation assembled at Shiloh and set up the tent of meeting where God dwelt, the land was subdued before them. Joshua questioned how long it would take the other seven tribe to possess their land (Josh. 18:1-3). Christianity is not a spectator sport. Too many people sit in the pews, not engaged in God's kingdom purposes. God wants every congregation take some responsibility to reach certain people groups, cultural spheres and geographical locations. Like the church in Antioch, He will reveal our portion of the mission field through prayer as we listen to Him (Acts. 13:1-5).
Joshua commanded three men from each tribe to return a description after walking through the land. The remaining land would be divided into seven portions with lots cast. Benjamin received 14 cities, Simeon receiving a portion from Judah, Zebulun received 12 cities, Issaachar 16 cities, Asher 22 cities, Naphtali 19 cities and Dan fought and captured Leshum with the edge of the sword so they could possess and dwell there (Josh. 18:4-19:51). Not only through prayer, but God uses research of the mission field to reveal which portion He allots to our congregation. Balancing needs with available gifting, financial and personnel resources determines the mission niche for our congregation.
What sin or activity is hindering or distracting you from God's kingdom purposes? Through research and listening prayer, what is God saying to you?