In Joshua 16 through 19, we see this strange event of the giving of the inheritance. God uses a lot to divide the land and unexpectedly gives the inheritance to the younger Ephraim rather than the older Manasseh. Though all this may seem to involve mere chance, we know in truth that the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord. Though God is sovereign over these affairs, we know as well that the actions of men have consequences. We look at that here.
1. The good The daughters of Zelophehad behaved in a good manner (16:4). They had a promise from God and they asked for it. God wants us to ask for those things He wants to give us. What things are we missing in our spiritual experience because we are not asking?
2. The bad The bad comes with the inability to drive out the Canaanites (16:10). They had an initial inability to do it. Then they made a decision to accept tribute from the Canaanites rather than drive them out. There was no war (14:15) but that was not a good thing because there was war to be fought and drive out the Canaanites. It was in God's revealed will to drive them out (Deut 7:1-7). They were strong enough to drive them out, but they choose to do what was convenient rather than drive them out. Beware of the danger of the gradual. We can gradually fall into compromise and sin. We can pitch our tents toward Sodom in a subtle manner like Lot. Don't embrace the world in your heart. Little by little and bit by bit the world enters your heart. Beware.
3. The ugly We see the ugliness of unbelief (17:16-18). The problem was not that their inheritance was too small but they were unwilling to work for it. They had a discontented unbelieving heart.