Blessing and Obedience

The nation of Israel had conquered the inhabitants of the land of Canaan in about five years. Pockets of resistance remained, but the war had been won by the power of God. Joshua, as leader of the nation of Israel, portioned out the land to the twelve tribes that made up the nation. The tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh came from Joseph. They received an allotment each. Still, their portion was not large enough to accommodate the numerous people in their tribes.

They approached Joshua and asked for more land. Joshua allotted them the hill country, though it was a forest. They would have to clear the land in order to use it. The Canaanites residing in the hill country had chariots of iron and would be tough to root out. Still, they could be defeated by Ephraim and Manasseh, as they supplied great effort with the strength the Lord supplied. The task of taking the hill country would be hard, but it could be done.

God treats us the same way. God places before us opportunities for blessing that require much discipline and great effort on our part. Even as the Lord supplies the strength and the victory, we must supply the courage and the energy. The land of God’s blessing is available to all Christians, yet occupied only by those willing to do hard things in order to gain promised rewards. Discipline and effort expand God’s blessings. Entitlement and sloth minimize God’s blessings.

Real life cannot be ordered online with the click of a mouse. Real life requires diligent effort over the long haul to accomplish tasks that God says should be done. God has never sent His greatest gifts down a chimney. God knows that fulfillment in life occurs when we overcome great challenges without compromising our faith or growing weary in well doing. Many a blessing in life has been missed by those who quit before they are done because the task gets hard, and they grow weary.

Life is hard. Marriage is hard. Raising children is hard. Serving Jesus is hard. Overcoming temptation is hard. Enduring trials is hard. These are all by God’s design. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Jesus said to count the cost before following Him because He charges more than many are willing to pay.

Luke 9:23,