Taking care of our needs is essential. Jesus tells us not to worry about our needs as He has got our back (Matthew 6:26, 27). God also tells us to be generous in meeting the needs of others (Leviticus 19:9-11). When we have needs, most of us are mindful of God’s presence and work in our lives. We cry out to God to protect our lives when we are sick or at war. We beg God to provide for us when we struggle for food, clothes, or house/rent payments. But what happens when God provides for all our needs?
When God meets our needs, we want to fulfill our wants. It is a natural desire to fulfill our wants. We all crave ease and comfort and detest pain and suffering. But unfortunately, when we start to fulfill our wants, many of us put on blinders and forget God. Instead of waiting for God to meet our desires, we try to meet them ourselves. We do things our way; usually, it results in selfish strategies where we use or even exploit others.
In Joshua 16, this is what the children of Joseph experience. God has brought them to the place He promised them. They now have fields, homes, and food. So, instead of obeying God and fighting the Canaanites, they decide to make their lives comfortable by forcing them to become laborers and servants. It is just like the children and adults we see today who are forced to work to repay an ‘unrepayable’ debt. In doing so, instead of being light to the nations around them, the people of Ephraim and Manasseh become oppressors.
Sadly, what was true of these two tribes is true of many of us who follow Jesus Christ. When the desire to fulfill our wants takes hold of us, we forget to rely upon God to meet our wants. We forget how generous God is with us and how helpful we should be with others. Rather, we become self-focused and ambitious, and instead of being a light in our world (Matthew 5:14, Ephesians 5:8), we become the snares that keep people around us from turning to Jesus.
Here is the takeaway: Examine your heart today. If you are relying on your strength to meet your wants, stop. Instead, trust Jesus, and be over the top generous with those who have needs, whom God has brought to your attention.