The men of the tribe of Manasseh complain about the size of their allotment of land. Their people were too numerous and there was not enough room for all of them to spread out. Joshua’s response is to point them to the forested area in their midst which had not yet been subdued. Joshua also reminds them of God’s command not to be afraid when outnumbered, but to courageously take what was theirs.
When you go out to battle against your enemies and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt, is with you.
This was based on God’s power and faithfulness which had already been proven by Israel’s deliverance from Egypt (John MacArthur Study Bible).
They already had what they needed but did not value it because it required effort and they wanted it fast and easy. However, they were now at an impasse – unable to spread their population any further without doing a little work.
Bicycles were the preferred way to get around on my college campus. Bike paths sprawled along the pedestrian paths and in the early mornings it was a bike version of a traffic jam. I remember there was one central area both bikes and pedestrians could pass through and lining it were all the tables for this and that clubs. Well, have you ever tried riding a bike and trying to read a sign at the same time? I have. and guess what? I gradually drifted out of the bike lane and ran over someone’s backpack that was sitting on the ground. Oops…
Your focus affects your direction.
The tribe of Manasseh had large pockets of land in the forest but they had avoided it until now because it was inhabited by Canaanites with “iron chariots”. They were focused on 2 things: 1. They didn’t believe God had given them “enough”, so they spent their time complaining and grumbling. 2. They were afraid of the advanced weaponry and danger of trying to overtake them. They were more afraid of failing than they were confident of God’s promise. I can relate.
Lord, let us not be blinded by fear, but to focus all the more on your promises which are true. Distractions constantly vie for our attention, but