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The cost of disobedience

The cost of disobedience

The allotment for the descendants of Joseph extended from the Jordan River near Jericho, east of the springs of Jericho, through the wilderness and into the hill country of Bethel. From Bethel (that is, Luz) it ran over to Ataroth in the territory of the Arkites. Then it descended westward to the territory of the Japhletites as far as Lower Beth-horon, then to Gezer and over to the Mediterranean Sea. This was the homeland allocated to the families of Joseph’s sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. The following territory was given to the clans of the tribe of Ephraim. The boundary of their homeland began at Ataroth-addar in the east. From there it ran to Upper Beth-horon... In addition, some towns with their surrounding villages in the territory allocated to the half-tribe of Manasseh were set aside for the tribe of Ephraim. They did not drive the Canaanites out of Gezer, however, so the people of Gezer live as slaves among the people of Ephraim to this day. Joshua 16:1-5, 9-10 NLT

From the text, the sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh received their inheritance. Judah had the best inheritance in the south while Ephraim and Manasseh in the north. Joseph was one of the youngest sons of Jacob yet he was considered as the beloved son. His brothers were jealous of his position in the family that they sold him to slavery. But God used Joseph’s difficult situation for good. During the famine in Israel, it was Joseph that was used by God to save the Israelites and kept his family from perishing. The allotment of the inheritance for Joseph’s children signified the favor he received from God. The portions Ephraim and Manasseh received lay in the very heart of the promise land. There was no doubt by the descriptions of the land detailed from the text that their portion was fertile. The blessings of the fruitfulness of their soil were the answer to Jacob’s declaration; “May the Almighty bless you with the blessings of the heavens above, and blessings of the watery depths below...May these blessings rest on the head of Joseph, who is a prince among his brothers” (Genesis 49:25-26). God’s instruction as relayed by Joshua was that the Israelites should drive out the inhabitants of Canaan. But Ephraim and Manasseh did not drive out the inhabitants of Gezer. They placed the inhabitants of Gezer under their control as forced laborers. They failed to obey God’s commands and their actions resulted to idolatry. They asked the Canaanites to renounce their worship of idols thinking that they will listen. Instead, they found themselves giving in to the temptation by doing what the Canaanites were doing. The Israelites were called to proclaim the One true God whom they worship and to provide a testimony to the world that the God of Israel is faithful. Their compromise of their faith by worshiping the God of Canaanites led to God punishing them and resulted to the next generations’ disregard of worshiping the God of Israel. “For your part, you were not to make any covenants with the people living in this land; instead, you were to destroy their altars. But you disobeyed my command. Why did you do this? So now I declare that I will no longer drive out the people living in your land. They will be thorns in your sides, and their gods will be a constant temptation to you” (Judges 2:2-3). There is a great cost to pay when we disobey God’s commands.



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