Free Chapter Excerpt
Now it came about after the death of Joshua that the sons of Israel inquired of the LORD, saying, "Who shall go up first for us against the Canaanites, to fight against them?" And the LORD said, "Judah shall go up; behold, I have given the land into his hand." Then Judah said to Simeon his brother, "Come up with me into the territory allotted me, that we may fight against the Canaanites; and I in turn will go with you into the territory allotted you.” So Simeon went with him. (Judges 1:1-3)
The boundary lines had already been drawn up for each of the tribes to take the land. They just hadn't done it yet. So I love that even though their leader had died, they didn't give up on the mission. And more importantly, they didn't give up on turning to the Lord.
I find it interesting that they asked who should go up and fight. Because before this time, they all had worked together under one leader. Having worked together to fight, it's interesting that they assumed only one of the tribes should go. God had appointed Moses. Just one guy. And then God told Moses to appoint Joshua. Again, just one guy. But the Lord never told Joshua to appoint a successor. And what a gift because it allows us to see that God also uses ordinary people who aren’t appointed to be the head honcho.
So the Lord sends the tribe of Judah, and they ask the Simeonites to go with them. This brings a lot of questions to mind:
* Would you be willing to be the tribe not chosen for this great task?
* How would you react? Would you complain, criticize, or be jealous? Or take the route of self-pity?
* If in the tribe of Simeon, would you be willing to be an accompanist and take joy in helping the chosen tribe?
* Would you root whole-heartedly from the sidelines, knowing you still had a part to play?
The Lord is the One who knows who is best fit for each task. When I am not chosen or picked, Lord, remind me that You had a hand in it. That You have not overlooked or disregarded me; it's just that You have different plans. Lord, how does this relate to my daily life?
Have you been overlooked recently? Not appreciated or disregarded? Has someone else received the thing you were hoping for or was asked to do something you were hoping to be asked to do?
I've been there. Just know the Lord has not overlooked you. He has not disregarded you. He knows exactly what He is doing. So often we have to remind ourselves what's true: If the Lord is for me, who can be against me?
God radically loves you, and He is for you!
It helps to be proactive and give thanks in all things because it changes our attitudes. But having an attitude of thankfulness (such as thanking God for the other person getting _____) is only something that comes by the strength, perspective, and ability of His Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit—love (which is unselfishly choosing for another’s highest good), joy, peace, patience—are not something we can conjure up. They are born in our hearts as we remain connected to the Lord as a branch does to a vine. As we submit and yield to Him, we give Him freedom to allow His heart and perspective to be lived through us.
Lord, we are desperately dependent on You. We want to have a heart that pleases You and not be selfish, but apart from You, we can do nothing. Please produce in us a heart that is able to be grateful for not being chosen right now. A heart that is willing to do whatever You ask. A heart surrendered to You and willing to be aligned to Yours. Lord, You are pretty incredible, knowing everything and being patient even when we get tired of being overlooked. Your knowledge and patience are so comforting, Lord. Thank You for opening our eyes and showing us that about You!