The children of Joseph questioned Joshua’s accounting of giving them only one lot of land. They were many, they were great, and they felt they could not fit in the one measly lot provided. Joshua did not correct them; he even seemed to agree with them. But, judging by their reaction, his response to them was a bit unexpected.
“So Joshua answered them, ‘If you are a great people, then go up to the forest country and clear a place for yourself there in the land of the Perizzites and the giants, since the mountains of Ephraim are too confined for you.'” –Joshua 17:15, NKJV
Wait, what? They got what they asked for: more land. But, wait. They have to clear it themselves? This can’t be right, can it? So they question Joshua again, citing the strong army of the Canaanites that need to be driven out of that additional land. Surely, there was something easier. Joshua acknowledged their concern, and responded yet again:
“You are a great people and have great power; you shall not haveonly one lot, but the mountain country shall be yours. Although it iswooded, you shall cut it down, and its farthest extent shall be yours; for you shall drive out the Canaanites, though they have iron chariots and are strong.” –Joshua 17:17-18, NKJV
Yes, the land is wooded, but you can clear it. Yes, the enemy is strong, but so are you.
Like Joseph’s children, I ask and ask of God. Like Joseph’s children, I am not wrong in my asking. But like Joseph’s children, I tend to want the land cleared of obstacles and enemies. He is God, after all. He can do that with a blink. But He asks of me too–if I want the greater land, there is work to be done. If I want to spread out, there is an enemy to conquer.
So the question is this: am I willing to do the work required to get the result for which I ask? Let me be clear, there is no work required to receive the grace of God. We need not work to please Him for He is already pleased. But if we want bigger, sometimes we have to swing an axe or two. If we want that land over there, we may have to draw the sword and engage the enemy.
But fear not. Like Joshua, if God has availed the land to you and has called you strong enough to conquer the enemy, He means it. It is yours for the taking; you just have to do the taking.