Entitlement in scripture!
A sense of entitlement is not something new. Joshua deals with it in Joshua 17.
It’s the time of the disbursement of the land to the various tribes of Israel. The land was distributed by lot (like drawing names from a hat). The leaders believed that God determined who received what parcel of land.
The tribe of Manasseh felt they were entitled to more and than they were originally given. In Verse 14 they complain, “Why have you given us only one allotment and one portion for an inheritance? We are a numerous people and the Lord has blessed us abundantly.” In verse 16 they added, “The hill country is not enough for us, and all the Canaanites who live in the plain have iron chariots, both those in Beth Shan and its settlements and those in the Valley of Jezreel.”
The arguments for more land were: 1) We are a numerous people 2) We are abundantly blessed (in other words God thinks we’re special); 3) the people who live in the valley are too strong.
On the surface it sounds like a reasonable request. However, the truth is that the tribe of Manasseh was really the sixth largest tribe out of the twelve. If you look at a map of the twelve tribes you see that they were given a very large lot of land (it would have been more understandable if others had been the ones complaining).
In addition, half of the tribe of Manasseh was given a generous portion of land (per their request) on the eastern side of the Jordan River. They had actually been very blessed yet they felt entitled to more!
Jesus did not call us to demand our rights; in fact, He seemed to teach that we should be willing to surrender our rights for the sake of the gospel. Jesus didn’t teach us to gather stuff, He told us to give it away to help others. He did not teach us to demand from others, He taught us to give of ourselves to others. He taught us that joy does not come from material things. True joy comes from resting in Him.
A Sense of Entitlement Causes us to be Lazy
We are told, the Manassites were not able to occupy these towns, for the Canaanites were determined to live in that region. 13However, when the Israelites grew stronger, they subjected the Canaanites to forced labor but did not drive them out completely. (17:12-13)
Manasseh had been given a job to do. Instead of driving the Canaanites out of the area, they made them their servants. They did not do what they were told and they wanted Joshua (or God) to compensate them for what they failed to do. It is like giving somebody money for not working (when they could work), or giving someone a good grade even though they didn’t meet the requirements. When that happens, the people don’t work harder; they do even less!
Coming in Part 3 – How Josiah handled the request, and the best way for us to handle a person who suffers from a sense of entitlement.