READ: Joshua 16-19
THINK: As you've probably learned, it's not always convenient to obey God. Often, doing things our own way can appear to produce advantages. But down the road, what may have seemed to be the easy route can become a road to disaster. When the Israelites found it difficult to drive out some of the Canaanites as God had commanded, they decided to compromise and let the people remain. In the short term, it appeared to be a good and profitable decision. Little did the Israelites know how this situation would come back to haunt them. Sadly, many of them would never realize what they forfeited by failing to follow God's plan. It's an undeniable truth that rejecting or neglecting God's ways, no matter how convenient that may seem, will never turn out to your advantage. But obeying God, no matter how difficult it may be, will lead to lasting benefit and eternal reward.
RESPOND: In what way did Joseph, Jacob's (Israel's) "lost" son who became a ruler in Egypt, actually get a double portion of inheritance? (See 16:1 note.) How did the Israelites view what was spoken and written through Moses? (See 17:4 note.) Why were the Manassites unable to occupy some of their land at first, and what did they do when they were eventually able to overpower the Canaanites (17:12-13)? Why do you think the Israelites did that rather than drive the Canaanites out of the land? How did this "advantage" turn to a disadvantage and work against the Israelites? (See 17:13 note.) How and why did the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh show a lack of faith, and how did Joshua encourage them (17:14-18)? What did the Israelites set up at Shiloh and why? (See 18:1 note.)
PRAY: Pray for the wisdom and strength to carry out God's commands and plans, even when there seems to be an easier or more beneficial way.
ACT: Perhaps you've taken the easy way-or done things your own way-when you know in your heart that God wanted something different. You may feel that God is okay with your decision because things seem to have worked out to your advantage. But knowing that God had another plan, ask Him to forgive you and help you follow it. Make every effort to do what God wanted you to do in the first place, and trust Him to work things out for the best.
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