Joshua’s Response to Entitlement
Notice how Joshua responded to the request from Manasseh and Ephraim. First, to the claim that they were numerous and especially significant and therefore needed more space, Joshua responded,
15 “If you are so numerous,” Joshua answered, “and if the hill country of Ephraim is too small for you, go up into the forest and clear land for yourselves there in the land of the Perizzites and Rephaites.”
In other words, “If you are so special, go clear the land that is available to you!”
Second, to the claim that the hills were not enough and the valley was filled with Canaanites who were strong, Joshua said,
17 But Joshua said to the house of Joseph—to Ephraim and Manasseh—“You are numerous and very powerful. You will have not only one allotment 18 but the forested hill country as well. Clear it, and its farthest limits will be yours; though the Canaanites have iron chariots and though they are strong, you can drive them out.”
Joshua said to these people, “Look, you only get one allotment but there is all kinds of room for you to expand. And as for the Canaanites, since you are so strong, go and defeat them!” Joshua understood that catering to indulgent people does not help them in the slightest. It only serves to make them even lazier.
The best way to handle a person who suffers from a sense of entitlement is to make them work for what they want! When we require responsibility, we are helping people stand on their own feet. We are helping them to be free and responsible adults. This is actually a greater act of love than giving people what they want.
After reading this scripture on entitlement, the Lord whispered to me, “What does an entitled believer look like?” Here are three examples:
- I can do what I want to do and still be blessed, favored and anointed.
- A promise from God is a statement we can depend on with absolute confidence. The promises of God in the Bible are numerous and yet each has a condition attached that must be fulfilled if we are to reap the harvest of blessing that the promises offer. “IF”
- The entitlement mentality can show up in church when we feel “It’s all about me!”
What blessings will Bible study (or prayer, or any other activity) bring me? Why doesn’t the pastor (or other leaders) pay more attention to me? I don’t like the music (or anything else) so I’ll just stay away. How can I get God to do what I need Him to do for me?
Remember the famous quote from President Kennedy: “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what can you do for your country!” Perhaps we need to ask less of “What can my pastor do for me? What can the church do for me? What can God do for me?” Instead, what would happen if we asked, “What can I do for my fellow believers? What can I do for God?”
God has this amazing idea that church is about Him! What if we agreed with Him?