From Joshua 17:17-18:
“You will have not only one allotment, but the forested hill country as well. Clear it, and its farthest limits will be yours; though the Canaanites have chariots fitted with iron and though they are strong, you can drive them out.”
What does this passage instruct me to do (instruction)?
Work hard. Don’t complain. But this is not working to earn blessing or to earn favor from God. The instruction here is “see that forest? If you want more land, go cut down the trees, pull up the stumps, haul off the timber, fill in the holes, level the ground, and make yourself a home.” Also, “see those chariots? You can drive them out. But you have to go to war.” It’s a call to action and a rejection of apathy.
How does it reveal my sin (confession)?
I am so opposed to apathy because my heart’s sinful longing is to be apathetic. If I get a day at home by myself I’ll watch six movies back-to-back-to-back ad nauseum. I want to complain when things get hard. When I see a thick tree line, I want to stop working. When I see a powerful army, I want to avoid them instead of mustering an army.
For what does it teach me to be thankful (thanksgiving)?
I am thankful that in Christ there are blessings forever. I don’t have to work to earn my salvation! Salvation is secure and sufficient in Jesus. My participation in His grace means I have a forest before me “and its farthest limits will be [mine].” The more that I clear, the deeper I go, only reveals that there’s even more forest to claim. I am thankful that “skilled” and “advanced” foes are laughed at by my God. In Christ, I not only have courage to “fight the good fight of faith” but I have victory in Jesus (Colossians 2:15; Revelation 5:5).
For what does it teach me to ask God (petition)?
Courage to face a strong enemy. Humility to know that I’ve never “made it” in my understanding of God (Ephesians 3:18; 2 Peter 3:18), realizing there’s always more “forested hill country” to clear and to claim.
(The four questions above are from: Luther, A Simple Way to Pray, 1535, and were given to us as a challenge as we meditate on Scripture as a church family this month.)