Daily Archives: March 23, 2023

Joshua 14-17, Mark 7

Today we learn of where all the boundaries are for each tribe. Like Israel, we have boundaries as well.  It might not be the Mediterranean Sea or a hill country, but nonetheless we have boundaries.  And mine are different than your boundaries.  For just as we all look different, we all act different: some quiet, some loud, some introverts and some extroverts, some calm, some hyper and some loving and some mean, but all are created in the image of God, just spoiled by the world around us. And because we are different, God reaches down to touch us just where we are.  Likewise, we are on different paths and different levels, so I can’t look at someone else’s boundaries and wonder why they don’t have the same boundaries as me. 

The sons of Manasseh struggled with their boundaries because they did not do as the Lord told them—drive out the inhabitants of the land, so they thought that their land was too small because they were sharing it with the Canaanites.

But the sons of Manasseh were not able to (drive out the inhabitants and) take possession of these cities, because the Canaanites persisted in living in that land.

When the Israelites became strong, they put the Canaanites to forced labor, but they did not drive them out completely.

The sons of Joseph spoke to Joshua, saying, ”Why have you given us only one lot and one portion as an inheritance, when we are a numerous people whom the Lord has so far blessed?”

Then Joshua replied, “If you are a numerous people, go up to the forest and clear ground for yourselves there in the land of the Perizzites and the Rephaim, since the hill country is too narrow for you”

The sons of Joseph said, “The hill country is not enough for us, and all the Canaanites who live in the valley have iron chariots, both those who are in Beth-shean and its towns and those in the Valley of Jezreel.”

Joshua said to the house of Joseph, to Ephraim and Manasseh, “You are a numerous people and have great power: you shall not have only one lot, but the hill country shall be yours.  For though it is a forest, you shall clear it and possess it to its farthest borders; for you shall drive out the Canaanites, even though they have iron chariots and though they are strong.” (Joshua 17: 12-18 Amplified)

Sometimes I just don’t want to do the hard things that I need to do to fully enjoy my boundaries.  I see the iron chariots and think that I am not enough and pull back.  I forget I have a God, who can do all things, and is on my side.  Because I only see the physical, sometimes I forget the spiritual forces working on my behalf.  My faith plays a big part in where my boundaries lie.  It can be a tiny box, or a football field or the hill country, the choice is mine.  There may be people I need to remove, or things I need to stop doing.  There may also be people I need to add, and things I need to start doing.  No matter what I need to do, the most important thing is that I need to step out in faith and take what is rightfully mine.

Sometimes I add things that are unnecessary, just like the Pharisees and scribes did.

And when they come from the market place, they do no eat unless they cleanse themselves (completely according to ritual): and there are many other things (oral, man-made laws and traditions handed down to them) which they follow diligently, such as the washing of cups and pitchers and copper utensils.) (Mark 7:4 Amplified)

God did not command them to wash their hands before eating, even though it is a sanitary practice, it is not something that will separate you from God if you don’t.  It is not something that you need to ask forgiveness for. What is in my heart can either draw me closer or create distance between me and God.  I need to always be devoted to God’s way, and to remember that my words and actions do reflect my sincere worship of God. 

And He said, “Whatever comes from (the heart of) a man, that is what defiles and dishonors him.

For from within, (that is) out the heart of me, come base and malevolent thoughts and schemes, acts of sexual immorality, thefts, murders, adulteries, acts of greed and covetousness, wickedness, deceit, unrestrained conduct, envy and jealousy, slander and profanity, arrogance and self-righteousness and foolishness (poor judgment).  (Mark 7: 20-22 Amplified)

But also, from the heart can come goodness.  If I decide to do a nice deed for someone, or forgive someone, or give someone mercy when they deserve wrath, these are all good things that draw me closer to God.  I need to treat others as I want God to treat me. We have choices that we have to make every day.  Jesus is very clear what to avoid, but that doesn’t limit me, it gives me freedom to make good decisions.  I will never be perfect, but each good choice I make comes with freedom and space to grow.  But when I make a bad choice, I instinctively shrink back and hide in my box.  The choice is mine.  One day at a time, one second at a time.  Do I want my heart enlarged by the Spirit, or do I want it filled with darkness? I pray the Spirit will overtake my heart so that my boundaries will be enlarged to their original allotment.

Father God, Help me each day to drive out the darkness and let Your light shine through me.  Help me when I fail, to get up quickly and get right back on track.  I want all You want for me! I don’t want to give up anything that should be mine, for something, that holds me back from my inheritance.  I want it all, for whatever You have for me is good, and falls in pleasant places.  It gives me peace on all sides.  Thank you for guiding me each day towards my completion of receiving all you have for me.  In Jesus’ name I pray Amen!

Carol (carolvorwe)


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