Archive for the ‘Gibeonites’ Category


Battle is the LordsFollow me to glimpse a scene where we find a teenager too young to enlist in the Army. He is bringing a care package for his brothers when he witnesses a disturbing sight. The entire Army of mighty men is cowering in fright because of one enemy soldier. The taunting of one enemy soldier has brought the Army of God to their knees in fear. Then this young boy gets riled up and wants to fight this enemy soldier. He goes out to face him, and the enemy soldier known as Goliath makes fun of the young boy. “Am I a dog that come at me with sticks”

This young boy called David makes an amazing statement that we would be well to understand:

David warns Goliath1 Samuel 17:46-47 (NKJV) This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.”

The Battle Belongs to the Lord! The Battle Belongs to the Lord. Petra sings a song:

In heavenly armour we’ll enter the land
The battle belongs to the Lord
No weapon that’s fashioned against us shall stand
The battle belongs to the Lord

Mine Eyes Have Seen the ComingAs we celebrate Independence Day, our Journey through Joshua brings us to Joshua 10, providing us a glimpse at the longest day in the history of this world. At the end of that hard day of fighting we can well imagine Joshua and his men breaking out in this song:

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord:
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword:
His truth is marching on.
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.

Our God is Marching On

Moses God El GibborJoshua 10 reveals the truth that we had better learn to grasp in our life, the truth that David learned even in his youth, a truth that America used to embrace: The Battle is The Lord’s. We can say God is Loving and merciful and forgiving, but unless we realize that God is El Gibbor God the Mighty Warrior, we will never truly understand the nature of God.

We first see God called El Gibbor in Deuteronomy 10:17. Moses in Deuteronomy 9 & 10 is preparing His people for their crossing into the promised land. He is reminding them of all God has done over the past 40 years. The way He miraculously delivered them from Egypt and how he sustained them in the desert wilderness. He recounts how God gave him the 10 commandments, not once, but twice. He reminds them of His covenant with them and how they must submit and not be stiff-necked. For the Lord our God is God of Gods and Lord of Lords, MIGHTY (Gibbor) and Awesome. (Deut 10:17)

Battle is the Lords MosesWhen Israel started to stray from the Lord after they had entered the promised land, Judges 2:15 reveals “Every time Israel went out to battle, the Lord fought against them, causing them to be defeated, just as he had warned. And the people were in great distress.”

If America does not return to our Confession and Belief in “One Nation Under God” we run the risk of finding ourselves fighting against God and suffering defeat in our battles, causing great distress here at home. This may already be the case as you examine the results of our battles since the Vietnam War.

One Nation Under GodThe Battle is the Lord’s and God is always on the winning side. God is the winning side.

When we get in step with El Gibbor, we will find that He is the Mighty Warrior, and no foe, no problem, no obstacle is too great for Him to defeat.

  • MOSES Declared to the Hebrews “…Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will show to you today: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.”     [Exod 14:13,14]
  • MOSES told Joshua: “When thou goest out to battle against thine enemies, and seest horses, and chariots, and a people more than thou, be not afraid of them: for the LORD thy God is with thee, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And it shall be, when ye are come nigh unto the battle…let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified because of them; for the LORD your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you. Deuteronomy 20:1-4
  • Deborah told Barak:  “Get ready! This is the day the Lord will give you victory over Sisera, for the Lord is marching ahead of you.”
  • Jonathon told his armor bearer: 1 Samuel 14:6 (NLT) “the Lord will help us, for nothing can hinder the Lord. He can win a battle whether he has many warriors or only a few!”
  • Jahaziel the son of Zechariah told King Jehoshaphat: [2 Chronicles 20:15] “This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.”
  • David wrote: [Psalms 24:7-10]  Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty in battle!
  • Solomon wrote: [Proverbs 21:31] The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.
  • King Hezekiah said this about the King of Assyria: [2 Chronicles 32:8] With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles.”
  • Isaiah wrote: [Isaiah 42:12-13] Let the whole world glorify the Lord; let it sing his praise. The Lord will march forth like a mighty hero; he will come out like a warrior, full of fury. He will shout his battle cry and crush all his enemies.
  • King Asa Cried Out: “LORD, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O LORD our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O LORD, thou art our God; let not man prevail against thee.”   II Chronicles 14:11
  • Paul wrote: Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ… II Corinthians 2:14

This world thinks they can beat Him, in fact they shout that He is dead, He is asleep, He’s just an old man. Powerless, sitting in the rocking chair, but oh no, El Gibbor is still His name!

Psalms 2:1-6 (NLT) Why are the nations so angry? Why do they waste their time with futile plans? The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the Lord and against his anointed one. “Let us break their chains,” they cry, “and free ourselves from slavery to God.” But the one who rules in heaven laughs. The Lord scoffs at them. Then in anger he rebukes them, terrifying them with his fierce fury. For the Lord declares, “I have placed my chosen king on the throne in Jerusalem, on my holy mountain.”

We See the Awesome Power of El Gibbor in Revelations, where God reveals the Final Chapter:

John Jesus Coming Warrior KingThe Apostle John knew Jesus as his Loving Savior, but when He saw Jesus as the Coming Judge, the Coming King, the Coming Warrior, John fell at His feet as though dead. God is indeed EL GIBBOR, our mighty warrior, and we need to fall at His feet daily and confess our need for Him to Fight the battles that we face.We need to make sure our enlistment papers are in order, that our service record is clean , and our duty roster has been performed. He is the Mighty Warrior, and we want to be on His Winning side.

  • Revelation 16:14 (NLT) They are demonic spirits who work miracles and go out to all the rulers of the world to gather them for battle against the Lord on that great judgment day of God the Almighty.
  • Revelation 16:16 (NKJV) And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.
  • Revelation 16:21 (NKJV) And great hail from heaven fell upon men, each hailstone about the weight of a talent. Men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, since that plague was exceedingly great.
  • Revelation 19:11-21 (NKJV) Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, “Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.” And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.

Isn’t it encouraging to know how the story ends? Sometimes we get so down because of the struggles we are facing that the power of God seems as a fable. But let’s see what the Lord wants us to grab hold of. Travel back with me to a day almost 3400 years ago. A War is being waged, a war of Righteousness, a GOD WAR that will determine the homeland for God’s Chosen people, the Jews. Joshua and his men have made a league with the Gibeonites, a league which obligates them to defend them if the need arises. Joshua 10 finds the Need Arising, and arising suddenly.

The Canaanite Strategy

Five Kings War on GibeonNow it came to pass when Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem heard how Joshua had taken Ai and had utterly destroyed it–as he had done to Jericho and its king, so he had done to Ai and its king–and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel and were among them, that they feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, like one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all its men were mighty. (GIBBORIM) Joshua 10:1-2 (NKJV)

The men of Gibeon, who were great warriors (gibboriym), knew that YHWH was Israel’s shield and defender. The Gibeonites called upon the name of the Lord, and sent word to Joshua. The King of Jerusalem despised what the Gibeonites had done. This peace treaty was a sign of weakness to the Canaanites, and if not punished, would encourage other people to capitulate to the Jewish forces. So the King of Jerusalem Adoni Zedek, decided to act. This alliance could not be tolerated.

Gibeons Plead for HelpThe Gibeonites were known as the Gibborim, Mighty warriors. Their treaty by deception was a sign that the Jews were superior in force. Adoni Zedek, the king of Jerusalem reasoned that the best way to defeat Israel was to attack Gibeon. This would put Israel and YHWH to the test. Would Israel fight to defend its new ally when the Israelites themselves had wanted to kill the Gibeonites because of their act of deception? Would YHWH actually fight for a Hivite tribe like the Gibeonites, who were destined for destruction? Such an attack by the five kings would also make Gibeon an example to all those other Canaanite tribes and cities who may have been considering defecting to the Israeli cause. It was a WIN WIN decision.

So, we read in verses 3-5, “Therefore Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem sent to Hoham king of Hebron, Piram king of Jarmuth, Japhia king of Lachish, and Debir king of Eglon, saying, “Come up to me and help me, that we may attack Gibeon, for it has made peace with Joshua and with the children of Israel.” Therefore the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon, gathered together and went up, they and all their armies, and camped before Gibeon and made war against it.”

The coalition of five Amorite tribes now begins to take shape as Adoni-zedek, recruits Amorite soldiers from four other city/tribes. These five kings will form an alliance and together attack the Gibeonites. A combined Canaanite army soon marched on Gibeon and surrounded the city, laying siege.

God Wants to Show His Power

Joshua to the RescueLittle did Adoni-Zedek know he was doing exactly as God wanted. This would work for quick victory for Joshua and his men. Instead of having to attack five separate cities at five separate times, God got the five kings to assemble together out in the open, where they were easy prey for Joshua’s men. That Adoni-zedek’s plan put the new Israeli-Gibeonite peace treaty to the test becomes clear in verse 6.

And the men of Gibeon sent to Joshua at the camp at Gilgal, saying, “Do not forsake your servants; come up to us quickly, save us and help us, for all the kings of the Amorites who dwell in the mountains have gathered together against us.”” Joshua 10:6 (NKJV)

When Joshua entered into a treaty with Gibeon, the Israelites pledged to defend Gibeon, even as the Gibeonites pledged their loyalty to YHWH and his covenant mediator, Joshua. When the Amorite coalition moves against Gibeon, the Gibeonites invoke their treaty with Israel with great urgency–the phrase “don’t forsake your servants” really means something like “please don’t abandon us!” In effect, the message to Israel from Gibeon was hhhheeeellllpppp!

Joshua Responds

Joshua  knew he had to honor his word, but before he left, he checked in with the Captain. The Captain of the Host said: Don’t hesitate Joshua, for I have already won this battle. They are as good as dead.”

So Joshua ascended from Gilgal, he and all the people of war with him, and all the mighty men of valor. And the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not fear them, for I have delivered them into your hand; not a man of them shall stand before you.” Joshua therefore came upon them suddenly, having marched all night from Gilgal. Joshua 10:7-9 (NKJV)

So Joshua assembled the warriors, and his mighty men of Valor, and went on a forced all-night march up the foothills to Gibeon. It was 25 miles, it was uphill from the plains of Gilgal, but the army made it before dawn and was able to come upon the forces in a surprise attack.

Joshua traveled all night from Gilgal and took the Amorite armies by surprise. The Lord threw them into a panic, and the Israelites slaughtered great numbers of them at Gibeon. Then the Israelites chased the enemy along the road to Beth-horon, killing them all along the way to Azekah and Makkedah. Joshua 10:9-10 (NLT)

Joshua Pursues Five KingsWhen we read that “the Lord threw them” (the five Amorite kings), “into a panic,” we should notice that this has a two-fold reference. The first thing indicated by the passage is that the LORD was with Joshua in such a way that he blessed Joshua’s surprise attack. When the armies of Israel show up unexpectedly and in force, the Amorites obviously panicked at the sight of Joshua’s men where they had not expected them. Since the Lord works through means, this is, in part what caused the Amorite panic. Yet God gets all the credit, giving Joshua wisdom and his men strength to fight the battle after marching all night. Joshua’s men totally defeated this Amorite coalition, driving them down the important trade route (the “way of ascent”) as far as Makkedah which is another twenty miles or so. No doubt, Joshua and the soldiers of Israel fought brilliantly and bravely. The Amorite army was in full retreat. Joshua’s training of the army and his tactics are superb, but without God’s blessing this victory would not have happened. God also directly intervened, sending a powerful hailstorm which killed more Amorites than did the Israelite soldiers. The very fact that the Amorite armies fled so far so fast is indicative of the shear panic that went through the ranks. Not only did the Israelite army outmaneuver the Amorite armies catching them by complete surprise, but a sudden hailstorm killed many, as soldiers caught out in the open facing gigantic hailstones would have no place to find shelter. This time it was the Amorites who broke and ran. After this amazing victory, no one in Canaan would remember Ai. It was clear to all that God was on Israel’s side. While not yet complete, the victory was stunning. God is the LORD. He is Israel’s shield and defender and gives his people the victory.

You see, battles are a reality in the life of the child of God, but we never have to face them alone,

Heb. 13:5 “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”; In the day of battle, we have the promise of help from One Who is “an ever present help in a time of need”, Psa. 46:1.

Our lives will be filled with battles. However, these battles are not simply physical battles, neither are they battles with other people. Our battles are spiritual battles, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Eph 6:12. Therefore, our weapons must be spiritual as well. “(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) ” 2 Cor 10:4.

To Find the Spiritual Truth of Joshua 10 we must Realize the Following:

Gods Peace is Ours1.God’s Peace is Ours

  • Vs 8 Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hands;
  • Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hands Vs 8.
  • Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you…Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14:27
  • I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace … take heart; I have overcome the world. John 16:33
  • For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Romans 14:17
  • And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts… Colossians 3:15
  • For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.No matter the battle, the struggle, the testing, a child of God can experience the peace of God that surpasses human ability and understanding. 2 Timothy 1:7

Does God ever worry? Does God ever get anxious? Is ANYTHING too hard for God? Is this world too much fro God to deal with? Does He sulk in the corner of His room wringing his hands saying O NO What am I Going to DO? Peace is the confident assurance that God is in control. We have no need to fear if we believe God is in control.

Gods Promises are Ours2.God’s Promises are Ours

  • I have given them into your hands. Joshua 10:8
  • But thanks be to God, who gives us the VICTORY through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57
  • No, in all these things we are more than CONQUERORS through him who loved us. Romans 8:37
  • COUNT IT ALL JOY, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, James 1:2-3

Gods Power is Ours3. God’s Power is Ours

When El Gibbor is leading the way, He provides amazing power. Nothing is too hard for him.

1.  Super Strength

He Gives Joshua’s army strength to battle even though they have been on an uphill march all night.

Gods Power - Super Hail2.  Super Hail

  • Job 38:22-23 (ESV) “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow, or have you seen the storehouses of the hail, which I have reserved for the time of trouble, for the day of battle and war?
  • Revelation 16:21 (ESV) And great hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, fell from heaven on people; and they cursed God for the plague of the hail, because the plague was so severe.

3.  Super-Natural Power

Gods Super Power Sun Stands StillJoshua says to God in front of all Israel: Joshua 10:12 (ESV) “Sun, stand still at Gibeon, and moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.”God performed the greatest act imaginable. God stopped the earth from spinning anto allow the daylight to continue 12 more hours.

a) This is the language of observation. (We all speak of the sunrise and the sunset. We do not use technical, scientific language to describe the things we observe all around us.) Very literally, the sun hung at the zenith of the sky for about a whole day!

b) Ancient history supports this claim. (The Chinese, the Babylonians, The Incas, the Aztecs, the Egyptians, the Assyrians, and other ancient cultures all record the existence of a long day, which occurred about this time.)

c) The calendar supports it. Using an ancient Chaldean calendar system, which was built around lunar and solar eclipses, it is possible to count forward to this day and find that this day fell on Tuesday July 22. However, if we count backward, using our system of reckoning days, we will find that this event happened on July 22, a Wednesday. Is there a problem? No, just the fact that an entire day is missing either way you go. Verse 13 tells us where that missing day went!

d) Some will surely counter, “But mudpreacher, this violates all the laws of nature!” I want to remind you that there are no laws of nature! There are only the laws of God which govern nature! We need to remember Who made this world. If He can create it, then surely He can control it!)

e) The bottom line is this, God wanted these people destroyed, so He did what He could do to see they finished the job. God gave them all the daylight they needed to get the job done!

Power to Proclaim GospelWhat does this mean for you and me? If you expect God’s Power to help you work harder or golf better or play football better, drive longer, drive faster, you are going to be disappointed. God promises His power to do the Job He has appointed for you.

  • With Joshua, it was getting rid of the evil people so they could take over Canaan as God’s Inheritance.
  • With you and I, it is in providing an inheritance for His Son.

There is Super Power given to those who PROCLAIM THE GOSPEL.

  • Luke 24:49 (ESV) And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
  • Acts 1:8 (ESV) But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Power to Live Victorious LifeThere is super power given to live a VICTORIOUS CHRISTIAN LIFE as a witness to others.

  • Acts 4:33 And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.
  • 1 Corinthians 1:18  For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
  • Ephesians 3:16, 20  that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being… Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,

Power for Hope in Times of DiscouragementThere is Super Power to give you hope in times of DISCOURAGEMENT

  • Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
  • 2 Corinthians 12:9  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
  • 2 Corinthians 10:4  For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.

Now there may be times when God shows his supernatural power in your life, but it will always be for the purpose of your witness and His testimony. It will never be for your own personal use or personal profit or personal boasting. God has the power to free people from drugs, from sexual bondage, from homosexuality, from anger, from bondage to sin habits. Sometimes that freedom comes in a flash, yet even on this long day, a day of amazing displays of God’s power, there were thing’s that required decisive human effort, effort that took time and human energy.

The PEACE, PROMISES AND POWER of God is Manifested in our Lives in the Following 4 Ways:

Power to Prevail1.  Power to Prevail

Joshua 10:19-20 (ESV) Pursue your enemies; attack their rear guard. Do not let them enter their cities, for the Lord your God has given them into your hand.” When Joshua and the sons of Israel had finished striking them with a great blow until they were wiped out, and when the remnant that remained of them had entered into the fortified cities,

We have to align ourselves with God in order to battle enemies and trials and temptations. These battles will require a commitment on our part to do what we must to see the victory.

  • Elisha had to lay aside everything in order to follow after Elijah.
  • Peter, even with his failures, had to lay aside his selfish desires in order to feed the people.
  • Paul had to lay aside his Jewish training in order to pursue after Jesus Christ.

Joshua and his men could not content themselves with the men killed at Gibeon. They had to keep on pursuing them until they were ALL killed.

You cannot be content with going half-way for God. You must commit to going all the way, even as far as makkedo. You must cleanse your life of all the enemy, all the world. It must be a relentless pursuit for your life. Paul said I keep my body under, I buffet my body like a boxer beats his foe.

Power to Control2.  Power to Control

And it was told to Joshua, “The five kings have been found, hidden in the cave at Makkedah.” And Joshua said, “Roll large stones against the mouth of the cave and set men by it to guard them,Joshua 10:17-18 (ESV)

Learn to Control the Enemy

In order to be mighty men and women of God, we must have hearts that are in love with God. Our hearts must be given to God. Our hearts must be undivided in our devotiuon to God. Satan and this world wants to steal your hearts affections. It wants to divide your hearts love. We must capture every imagination of our heart that exalts itself against God. We must set sentries at the door of our heart to keep the enemies at bay.

  • Guard the Heart for Out of it are the Issues of Life
  • Picture Your Heart as a Living Thinking Organ with Various Gates and Chambers
  • Each Gate Must Have a Guard Watching It.
  • The Sentries are the Powerful, Living Rhemas of God.
  • If you have heart guards of precise Scriptures standing at the doors of your heart, you will be able to take captive every thought and temptation.
    • Jesus Demonstrated This.
  • Before Nehemiah rebuilt the walls, the enemies came and plundered the people at will.
  • When Nehemiah began his Rebuilding Program there was Much Opposition
  • Nothing Stopped him from Securing the City and Placing Guards at the Gates.
  • Scriptures Guard Your HeartYou Should Memorize Scriptures in Order to Challenge and Reject Every Wrong Thought that Approaches Your Heart.

Guard your Heart with the Word

Unlocked Gate Destroys HeartIf you fail to guard the gates of your heart…The Tragedy of the Un-Locked Gate of Constantinople…

The Turkish frontal assaults on the walls were all repulsed with heavy casualties and the Turkish attempts to undermine the walls were all countered and abandoned. Mehmed’s offer to lift the siege, if he was given the city, was rejected. On 22 May, the moon rose in eclipse prophesying the fall of the city and a few days later Constantine received news that no Venetian relief fleet was coming. After midnight of the 29, the Ottoman army attacked the walls. The first wave of irregulars was thrown back. The second Turkish wave of Anatolians managed to breach the Blachernae section of walls. The defenders pushed back the Anatolians and managed to hold out against the Sultan’s elite Janissaries. During the fighting, the Genoese commander, Giovanni Giustiniani was fatally wounded and retreated to his ships with his men. The Emperor and his men continued to hold off the Turks until the Turks discovered an unlocked gate upon which they flooded into the city. Constantine reportedly fell leading a charge against the invaders, though his body was never found. The last defenders were subdued and the Turks proceeded to loot the city.

This battle marked the end of the Byzantine Empire, an empire which had lasted for over 1,100 years. The city’s fall was a massive blow for Christendom. Pope Nicholas V ordered an immediate counter-attack, but his death soon after marked the end of the plan. Mehmed made Constantinople his capital and proceeded to conquer the last two Byzantine states, the Despotate of Morea and the Empire of Trebizond. Many Greeks fled the city and migrated to other parts of Europe, in particular Italy. This move is thought to have helped fuel the Renaissance. The Fall of Constantinople is seen by some scholars as being a key event in leading to the end of the Middle Ages, and some mark the end of the Middle Ages by this event.

Power to Confront3.  Power to Confront

Then Joshua said, “Open the mouth of the cave and bring those five kings out to me from the cave.” And they did so, and brought those five kings out to him from the cave, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon. And when they brought those kings out to Joshua, Joshua summoned all the men of Israel and said to the chiefs of the men of war who had gone with him, “Come near; put your feet on the necks of these kings.” Then they came near and put their feet on their necks. And Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid or dismayed; be strong and courageous. For thus the Lord will do to all your enemies against whom you fight.” Joshua 10:22-25 (ESV)

God Gives Us The Power To Confront Our Enemies

Notice that after the battle had been won, Joshua came back to that cave and brought these kings out and humiliated them by having his princes place their feet upon their necks. He confronted them openly and publicly pronounced the victory over them.

Every person in this room knows what kings hide in your life. You know about your secret sins and those problems you have with the flesh. The only way for you to get absolute, permanent victory over these things is for you to confront them. I mean, you need to drag them out of their hiding place and lay them out before the Lord, place your foot on their necks in the name of Jesus and proclaim the victory over them this morning! You will never prosper as a child of God until your sins are handled God’s way, Pro. 28:13, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”)

Four ministers were admitting their secrets sins one day.
1st – battled lustful thoughts and desires
2nd – struggled with gambling
3rd – had a secret addiction to alcohol
4th – could hardly wait to leave. His sin was gossip.
We may laugh at the story but the problem of “secret” sins is no joke. The great preacher Charles Spurgeon once said, “Of all sinners the man who makes a profession of religion and yet lives in iniquity is the most miserable.”

Power to Conquer4.  Power to Conquer

Joshua 10:26-28 (ESV) And afterward Joshua struck them and put them to death, and he hanged them on five trees. And they hung on the trees until evening. But at the time of the going down of the sun, Joshua commanded, and they took them down from the trees and threw them into the cave where they had hidden themselves, and they set large stones against the mouth of the cave, which remain to this very day. As for Makkedah, Joshua captured it on that day and struck it, and its king, with the edge of the sword. He devoted to destruction every person in it; he left none remaining. And he did to the king of Makkedah just as he had done to the king of Jericho.

Reckon Your Enemies as Dead

  • Romans 6:11 (KJV) Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Willing to Trust GodNote Paul’s attitude toward life, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Gal 2:20

It all boils down to who’s will has the priority in your life: your’s or God’s. Which is it for you? How does one do this? “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” 2 Cor 10:5

Eventually, the battles of life will be over, the long day will be finished and we who are saved will go home to Heaven to rest in that glorious place. In the meantime, however, there are enemies and there are battles that must be fought. We can either fight them with our own weapons and LOSE, or we can fight them the way the Lord has shown us and WIN. Which would you rather have: defeat or victory?

I don’t know what you are fighting today, but I know Who can help you with that battle. Bring that thing to Jesus and let Him get you safely through the fight.

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The Great Con in JoshuaWe’ve all heard the word “con”. There are many synonyms: bamboozle, bilk, bluff, bunco, cajole, cheat, chicane, coax, crime, deception, double-cross, dupe, flimflam, fool,  fraud, gold brick, graft, gyp, hoax, hoodwink, hornswoggle, humbug, mislead, mockery, rip off, rook, sweet-talk, swindle, take in, trick, wheedle. Today we will look at the great Gibeonite Con and how Joshua overcame it with wood and water.Con Tweedle Hoodwink

The Leagues we make can be dangerous. They can be destructive. Perhaps you have heard the term “In League With the Devil?” Just so you will be relieved, here is a headline straight from the news:

Procter & Gamble Not In League With The Devil

Not in League with the DevilMarch 21, 2007: Procter and Gamble does not worship Satan, according to a court ruling that revolves around a decades-old urban myth targeting the world’s biggest consumer goods company. P&G said March 19 it had won $19.25 million in a civil suit brought against four former distributors of direct-selling company Amway who were accused of spreading false rumors.

On March 16 the Salt Lake City jury award represents the latest in a long line of court battles between P&G and Amway over the devil-worshipping claim, which has taken on new currency in the Internet era. “This is about protecting our reputation,” said Jim Johnson, P&G chief legal officer.

The former distributors were accused of rehashing a rumor that dates from at least 1981, to the effect that P&G is in league with the Devil. According to the false urban legend, the global company’s logo contains a “666” symbol, its bosses have appeared on television talk shows to declare their love of Beelzebub, and part of its profits go to the Church of Satan.

Amway has itself been forced to debunk accusations that its business model amounts to little more than a “get rich quick” pyramid-selling scheme. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

League:  To join in a league; to cause to combine for a joint purpose; to combine; to unite; as, common interests will league (Bowling League, Baseball League)

I know that none of you has knowingly and willingly made a league with the devil. But I would venture that you entered into a contract, a friendship, perhaps a marriage, that turned out to be destructive and detrimental, or at best that you regretted. Hopefully you have healed and come to see how God worked the character of Christ through your mistake. If not, then listen carefully toward the end of this message.

The truth is that a dentist’s mistake is pulled out, a lawyer’s mistake is imprisoned, a teacher’s mistake is failed, a printer’s mistake is corrected, a pharmacist’s mistake is buried, a postman’s mistake is forwarded, and an electrician’s mistake can be shocking. The novelist Joseph Conrad wrote, “It’s only those who do nothing that make no mistakes.”

If you are going to do anything in this life, you will make mistakes. This is exactly what happened to Joshua and the leaders of Israel. They made a serious mistake that threatened their inheritance. But they overcame it, and we will learn how.

  • If thou hast never been a fool, be sure thou wilt never be a wise man. ~ William Makepeace Thackeray (English novelist)
  • “Our wisdom comes from our experience, and our experience comes from our foolishness.” ~ Sacha Guitry
  • “Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise. Many men know a great deal, and are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great a fool as a knowing fool. But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom.” ~ Charles H. Spurgeon, English preacher
  • “There is a foolish corner in the brain of the wisest man.” Aristotle

Have you ever signed a contract and then regretted it later?

Regret Signing a ContractContracts come in different forms. There is the obvious contract such as a real estate or auto purchase contract. There is the financing note contract. There are also less obvious contracts. A Wedding license is a contract that both bride and groom must sign to give them legal standing in the state in which they live. A credit card receipt is a contract stating you will pay for the items you received. A sales receipt is a contract that states you received these items for such and such an amount. Behind all purchases is a warranty contract unless you buy something “as is”. There is not much that you bring into your home that does not have some sort of contract attached to it.

Groceries, Furniture, Electronics, Toys, Cable Service, Phone Service, Utility Service, all come with agreements or contracts, whether implied or written. In the Old Testament, when you invited someone into your home to dine with you, it implied a contract or agreement that meant you were providing hospitality to them. That agreement of hospitality meant that what is yours is theirs.

Marriage was never entered into lightly, because it involved the uniting of two families. That meant that the cultures, practices, religious observances were being united. It was a serious thing to marry someone of a different race or culture, because it could involve conflicts within the family.

Even at our church we have a contract, which we call our Church Covenant. When you join this church you are agreeing to abide by our church covenant. As Pastor I am charged with upholding this contract, and along with leaders, enforcing this contract.

We talk about the good ole days, when a man’s word was his bond. Yet with God, there has never been a change in that adage. With God, our Words are important. We will be judged for every idle word that comes from our mouth. God holds you to every thing you have told Him you would do. That is why many Christians suffer from guilt-because of not following through on what we say to God.

That is why God says to never use His name in Vain. Most of us think that means not to say a certain phrase. But actually it means to never use His name lightly, without purpose, or meaning. When we say the name of God, it is with reverence and love and the utmost respect.

Our words mean everything to God. Our words can bring health to our body, our words can bring death. With our words we confess Christ as Lord.

I think we all have horror stories of what happened to us when we signed something or said something we shouldn’t have, or perhaps not thought it through clearly, or rushed into, or didn’t read the fine print. I remember buying a home in 1997 and thinking I had a fixed rate loan and then two years later getting a big increase in my mortgage payment. Boy was I mad. Then there were those internet stock days when all these hot IPO’s were coming out and if you could just buy a few of the IPO shares you could turn around and make a killing. Well, when you purchase stock you are entering into an agreement. I entered into one of those agreements only to wish I hadn’t because the stock tanked.

Eye Irritants and Thorns in the sideJoshua 9 reveals a horror story that happened to Joshua and the leaders of Israel. If this had happened in America they would have taken the people to court and proved fraud. They would have gotten out of their league with the enemy.

God doesn’t abide by man’s laws. If you want to live your life by man’s laws, go ahead, but you are being a FRIEND OF THE WORLD. Being a friend of the world is being an enemy of God. This is what made Joshua’s League with the Gibeonites so dangerous. This simple league, this little agreement meant that the warning of God would come to pass:

Numbers 33:50-56 (NKJV) Now the Lord spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan, across from Jericho, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you have crossed the Jordan into the land of Canaan, then you shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, destroy all their engraved stones, destroy all their molded images, and demolish all their high places; you shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land and dwell in it, for I have given you the land to possess. And you shall divide the land by lot as an inheritance among your families; to the larger you shall give a larger inheritance, and to the smaller you shall give a smaller inheritance; there everyone’s inheritance shall be whatever falls to him by lot. You shall inherit according to the tribes of your fathers. But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it shall be that those whom you let remain shall be irritants in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall harass you in the land where you dwell. Moreover it shall be that I will do to you as I thought to do to them.'”

Deuteronomy 7:1-4 (ESV) “When the Lord your God brings you into the land that you are entering to take possession of it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations more numerous and mightier than yourselves, and when the Lord your God gives them over to you, and you defeat them, then you must devote them to complete destruction. You shall make no covenant with them and show no mercy to them. You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons, for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods. Then the anger of the Lord would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly.

Agreements, Leagues, Contracts, Church Membership, can affect our lives and livelihood, our friendships, our walk with God, our inheritance, our eternity. God wants us to make the Right Agreements. He wants us to enter the Right Leagues. This is His purpose in wanting Joshua to destroy all the inhabitants, and destroy all their idols. But when we mess up, God can use our mistakes for His Glory!

David made Right AgreementsDavid was not permitted by God to build the temple. His hands were bloody. So Solomon built the temple. Yet his father David made all the treaties, agreements that gave Solomon all the materials he needed to build a glorious temple. Dad’s, your friendships, your agreements, your work habits, will leave an impression and imprint on the lives of your children. Wrong friendships can result in harm. Witness child abuse at the hands of boyfriends, step fathers, even day care centers. We must guard our families against the evil and the corruption that is in this world.

If you doubt the way God listens to what we promise, and how he holds us to it, consider what happened in Israel several hundred years after this League with the Gibeonites:

God holds us to our word2 Samuel 21:1-6 (ESV) Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year. And David sought the face of the Lord. And the Lord said, “There is bloodguilt on Saul and on his house, because he put the Gibeonites to death.” So the king called the Gibeonites and spoke to them. Now the Gibeonites were not of the people of Israel but of the remnant of the Amorites. Although the people of Israel had sworn to spare them, Saul had sought to strike them down in his zeal for the people of Israel and Judah. And David said to the Gibeonites, “What shall I do for you? And how shall I make atonement, that you may bless the heritage of the Lord?” The Gibeonites said to him, “It is not a matter of silver or gold between us and Saul or his house; neither is it for us to put any man to death in Israel.” And he said, “What do you say that I shall do for you?” They said to the king, “The man who consumed us and planned to destroy us, so that we should have no place in all the territory of Israel, let seven of his sons be given to us, so that we may hang them before the Lord at Gibeah of Saul, the chosen of the Lord.” And the king said, “I will give them.”

I want us to look briefly at what Joshua did wrong in making this ungodly League. Then I want to look at what Joshua did in order to turn this league into good for Israel, and see the lessons that we have for our lives, in turning bad decisions into good for our families.

Cons require Props and wordsGreat Cons Require Two Things:

  1. Deceptive Props (Bait)
  2. Deceptive Words (Con)

The Gibeonite Props:

Gibeon was located only twenty-five miles from the camp of Israel at Gilgal and was on Joshua’s list to be destroyed. In Deuteronomy 20:10-20, God’s law stated that Israel must destroy all the cities in Canaan. If after the conquest Israel was involved in other wars, they could offer peace to cities that were outside the land. (See also 7:1-11.) Somehow the Gibeonites knew about this law and decided to use it for their own protection. Since the enemy knows how to use the Word of God for their own purposes, God’s people must keep alert (Matt. 4:5-7).

Gibeonite PropsThe Gibeonites assembled a group of men and equipped them to look like an official delegation from a foreign city. Their clothing, food, and equipment were all designed to give the impression that they had been on a long and difficult journey from a distant city.

  • Satan is a counterfeiter and “masquerades as an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14; niv). He has his “false apostles” and “deceitful workmen” (v. 13, niv) at work in this world, blinding the lost and seeking to lead believers astray. It’s much easier for us to identify the lion when he’s roaring than to detect the serpent when he’s slithering into our lives.
  • We allow ourselves to get into wrong agreements because of greed, desire for fame, desire for popularity, desires of the heart that are not honoring to God.
  • The enemy knows our weaknesses, just as the Gibeonites knew that if they could trick the Israelites into making a covenant with them, they would have to honor it according to God’s commands.

What the Gibeonites said (Josh. 9:6-13).

Gibeonite WordsSatan is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44), and human nature is such that many people find it easier to tell lies than the truth. With tongue in cheek, the American political leader Adlai Stevenson said, “A lie is an abomination unto the Lord—and a very present help in trouble.” The Gibeonites told several lies in their attempt to get out of trouble.

They lied about their origin.

  • They said they were “from a very far country” (Josh. 9:6, 9) when they actually lived twenty-five miles away.

I have to tell one story about Christians. I would never hide the fact that I was a Christian businessman and that my company had been given to the Lord. But I never made that the basis for why you should do business with me. I have had people in the past approach me about buying this or that, and want me to extend credit without the proper reference check. They even dropped names of good Christians I knew. I remember one guy in particular that got me to extend about 600 in credit for hose (when I was at Tompkins Industries). He went on and on about being a great Christian. But he never paid his bill. In fact, we could never find him. To even try to collect.

  • My caution to you: if someone wants you to do business with them, invest with them, give them money because they are a Christian, be doubly wary. They may be lying about their origin.

They lied about their clothing and food

  • “This bread of ours was warm when we packed it at home on the day we left to come to you. But now see how dry and moldy it is” (v. 12, niv).

Words alone could not deceive the Jews. Everything about their clothing, their property and provisions had to look the lie. Con men know they have to look the part, act the part, talk the part. They take great care to look exactly as they think you expect you to look. They will arrange all the props to be exactly as they think you would want them to be.

They lied about their purpose

  • called themselves “your servants” (vv. 8, 9, 11),

In reality they were the enemies of Israel. But they puffed up Joshua by caliming to be his servants. Note: I have never been to a time-share presentation where the presenter did not pretend to be my closest friend. I even had one guy take me by his home and met his wife and kid. They try to establish that connection that makes it difficult to say no. The Gibeonites were doing just that by twice saying they wanted to be their servants.

They lied about wanting to Follow God

  • “because of the name of the Lord your God.  For we have heard a report of him, and all that he did in Egypt”

When they said they had come “because of the name of the Lord” (v. 9), it was blasphemous. Con men, Satan, have one thing in common: they have no conscience when it comes to God. They will blaspheme, they will lie, they will excuse. Bernie Madoff, who could receive up to 150 years for the billions of dollars he conned people out of, requested only 12 years. His lawyer said this should be sufficient.

WHY THE CON SUCCEEDED

Joshua 9:14-15 (ESV) So the men took some of their provisions, but did not ask counsel from the Lord. And Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant with them, to let them live, and the leaders of the congregation swore to them.

The Con Succeeded because of two things:

  1. The Pride of Life
  2. The Prayerless Flesh

The Pride of Life

Pride of LifeDid success go to their heads? In spite of all the alarm bells sounding, Joshua and the leaders bought the con and made a covenant with the strangers. Their ego got in the way. Their recent successes had gotten into their head.

Struggling actors that all of a sudden make it big, child actors used to having their way, average Joes that when the lottery, anyone who starts to get attention because of some success, they are all prey for the devil, for con men, for being defrauded.

The sad news is that 1 in 3 lottery winners are in serious financial trouble or even bankrupt within 5 years. Why? The suddenly wealthy often never learn to manage their money. Financial windfall coupled with reckless buying and no concept of money almost always leads to trouble. This is especially true for people who decide to use their winnings to create a new business, said Birke, a psychologist on retainer with Lexington Wealth Management.

Andrew Jackson “Jack” Whittaker was already a millionaire when he won the multistate Powerball lottery in December 2002. At 55 years-old, he was president of a contracting firm in West Virginia; he had a beautiful family, a big house, and drove a Lincoln Navigator. On December 25, 2002, Whittaker became the biggest single lottery winner in US history, winning a $314.9 million jack pot. His initial expenditures consisted of building churches and beginning a foundation for the less fortunate. But things spiraled out of control, very quickly.

Whittaker was robbed numerous times, once of more than $500,000 at a strip club. He became a heavy drinker. He and his wife divorced. He was accused of bouncing checks at Atlantic City casinos. And then to make matters even worse, his granddaughter Brandi, whom Whittaker bought four cars for and was very close to, was found dead of a drug overdose. A drug problem that was easily funded with the $2,100 per week allowance he gave her.

The Gibeonites kept saying “We are your servants” We heard what mighty things Your God has done. You guys are amazing, you are rock stars and we want to be in your entourage! Joshua and his men bought the deception.

The Self-Sufficient Flesh

Self Sufficient Flesh ColumboJoshua had just renewed the commitment to God, and yet at the very first test, He didn’t go to God. He figured he could handle this decision on his own.

I loved to watch Columbo. He always played dumb, he always asked dumb questions, he always acted as if he was a bumbling fool. He would always catch the criminal off-guard. They thought they were smart enough to get away with it, they thought this stupid detective could never figure it out, so they let their guard down. He always got them in the end.

When ever you think you’ve got this life figured out, you don’t need God, you get up without praying, with out reading the word, you are letting your self-sufficent flesh run your life.

God calls this evil. He says in Jeremiah 2:

Jeremiah 2:13 (ESV) “my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.”

You don’t just commit one evil, you commit two. The first evil is to forsake “Relinquish, Let Go” You literally let go of God. You rely on yourself. But the second evil is when you use this self-sufficient flesh to live your life. Your plans, your job, your house, your contracts. The things you do become “YOUR WORK” your hollowed out cistern. God says, it is full of holes.

For the leaders to make that covenant, to sign that agreement, to make that league without first going to the Lord was committing evil in the sight of God. As Christians we are to abide in Christ. We are to cling to the branch. When we make any agreement, sign a contract, without checking with God, we are committing evil, we are “letting go” of God, and beyond that, we are hewing out cisterns of our own making.

I have even had a timeshare salesmen tell me they are going to go get some coffee so they can give Lydia and I time to pray about it.

The thing that God wants us to understand is that He wants to be involved in the minutiae of our life. He wants us to depend upon Him, even when it comes to signing contracts, making agreements with others, even in our friendships. There is nothing too small for you to depend upon, and nothing too small to trip you up.

The Challenge is to Walk by Faith and Not by Sight.

After listening to the strangers’ speech and examining the evidence, Joshua and his leaders concluded that the men were telling the truth. The leaders of Israel took the “scientific approach” instead of the “spiritual approach.” They depended on their own senses, examined the “facts,” discussed the matter, and agreed in their conclusion. It was all very logical and convincing, but it was all wrong. They had made the same mistake at Ai (chap. 7) and hadn’t yet learned to wait on the Lord and seek His direction.

Proverbs 3_56The will of God comes from the heart of God (Ps. 33:11), and He delights to make it known to His children when He knows they are humble and willing to obey.

We don’t seek God’s will like auto buyers considering different options, but like servants who listen for orders. “If any of you really determines to do God’s will, then you will certainly know” (John 7:17, TLB) is a basic principle for victorious Christian living. God sees our hearts and knows whether we are really serious about obeying Him. Certainly we ought to use the mind God has given us, but we must heed the warning of Proverbs 3:5-6 and not lean on our own understanding.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV) Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

The Rest of the Story

The story doesn’t end here. Soon someone spilt the beans and the Israelites discovered they had been duped. They immediately set out to find out if it was true.

Joshua 9:16-23 (ESV) At the end of three days after they had made a covenant with them, they heard that they were their neighbors and that they lived among them. And the people of Israel set out and reached their cities on the third day. Now their cities were Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath-jearim. But the people of Israel did not attack them, because the leaders of the congregation had sworn to them by the Lord, the God of Israel. Then all the congregation murmured against the leaders. But all the leaders said to all the congregation, “We have sworn to them by the Lord, the God of Israel, and now we may not touch them. This we will do to them: let them live, lest wrath be upon us, because of the oath that we swore to them.” And the leaders said to them, “Let them live.” So they became cutters of wood and drawers of water for all the congregation, just as the leaders had said of them. Joshua summoned them, and he said to them, “Why did you deceive us, saying, ‘We are very far from you,’ when you dwell among us? Now therefore you are cursed, and some of you shall never be anything but servants, cutters of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God.”

WoodCutters and WaterBearersThe army wanted to wipe out the deceivers, but the leaders said no, we must honor our word or run the risk of receiving God’s wrath. They told them to let them live, and the army grumbled. But here is what they did. Since they said “we are your servants” they gave them what they said. From that day forward the Gibeonites, these mighty soldiers as we see in chapter 10, would be woodcutters and waterboys.

You say that was tough, that was mean. While it may be mean it certainly was wise on the part of Joshua and the leaders.

Remember how God had warned them that if they let any Cannaaites live they would become thorns in their side. They would draw their hearts away from God. Well, by making the Gibeonites wood cutters and water bearers, Joshua was making sure it did not happen that way.

The Death of the Wood Cross, The Living Water of the Word.

Satan wants to deceive us to get us away from God. The only way to maintain a heart that keeps true to God is to apply two things to it: The death of the Cross and the Living Water of the Word.

Wood is kind of scarce in Canaan. You have to work hard to get it. And yet wood was needed constantly for sacrifices. The wood was set on the altar and lit on fire to consume the sacrifices. The wood is a picture of the Cross of Jesus Christ. It is on the Cross that our mistakes, our sins have been nailed and forgiven. It is on the cross that we die to self, die to pride, and live to Jesus Christ.

Water was needed in daily worship. Water was needed to was the blood away, it was needed to cleanse people coming to worship. It was needed for life itself.

So too we must depend upon the Word of Life, the Word of Living Water that washes us and cleanses us and brings life to our spirit and soul.

Jesus Carried the Wood and Bears the Water of Life

Jesus Carried the Wood and the WaterWhen Joshua discovered their deception and confronted them, he said “Now therefore you are cursed”. But by making them woodcutters and water bearers, he was giving them a way to escape the curse of Satan.

By making them wood cutters and water bearers, Joshua was guaranteeing that they would constantly be exposed to the worship of this Awesome God, this Powerful God that they had expressed an interest in. Their hearts would become converted and cleansed by the sacrifices and the testimony of the Word!

We are going to make mistakes. We are going to get conned now and then. We are going to give into pride, into the flesh. But we must become servants to the wood and to the water. We must give our hearts and lives to the Cross and to the Word!

I encourage parents with children to enter into agreements when it comes to dating standards, driving standards, friend standards. Do it before the need arises, do it based upon what your child believes is reasonable. Involve them in the process, and then get them to agree to it, and sign on the dotted line. That way when they are tempted to do something they shouldn’t, you both can get out the agreement and say here- this is what we agreed upon, and here are the consequences.

God has a similar agreement with us. We really had no part in drafting it, but the consequences of disobedience are well stated. We call it the Law, the Ten Commandments. Most of us know most of them, but, don’t really give them much thought.

But I think we need to bring the Ten Commandments into the Age of Grace, and see them through the eyes of the woodcutters and water bearers.

Overcoming the Devil and the World With Heart Agreements:

Gueards against the Great ConHere is a modern application of the Ten Commandments:

1. “You shall have no other gods before me.” = The Bible is the Inspired Word of God and the final authority for my life.

2. “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.” = My purpose in life is to seek God with my whole heart and to build my goals around his priorities.

3. “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.” = My body is the temple of God and must not be defiled by the lusts of the flesh.

4. “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.” = My church must teach the foundational truths of the Bible and reinforce my basic convictions

Guards against the Con 25. “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.” = My children and grandchildren belong to God and it is my responsibility to teach them scriptural principles, Godly character, and basic convictions.

6. “You shall not murder.” = My activities must never weaken the Scriptural convictions of another Christian.

7. “You shall not commit adultery.” = My marriage is a life-long commitment to God and my marriage partner.

8. “You shall not steal.”  = My money is a trust from God and must be earned and managed according to Scriptural principles.

9. “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.” = My words must be in harmony with God’s Word, especially when reproving and restoring a Christian brother.

Guards against the Con 310. “You shall not covet” = My affections must be set on things above, not on things in the earth.

Blessing of the Water with the Cross

Hold the Cross Up HighEach year at Epiphany, the Greek Church performs the “Blessing of the Water”. An Orthodox priest throws a wooden cross into the water and swimmers race to be the first toretrieve the cross. Along with Blessing the Water, the victor reeives a special blessing for good health all year long. Here the winner, Evaggelos Kargiofilis, holds up the wooden cross during an Epiphany ceremony to bless the water in Greece’s northern port city of Thessaloniki on Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2009. He is holding high the Croos of Christ. He is living large in the Living Water.

Are you holding high the wooden Cross of Christ? Are you dying to self and living to Jesus your Lord? Are you Living Large by the Living Water? Only by bearing the cross and the water will you overcome the deception and wheedle’s of the devil and the world.

Are you zealous of God? Do you love Him with all your heart and soul and strength?

Is there anything in your life which you are putting before God? We make all kinds of compromises with the world, with our possessions, with our desires. We allow them into our lives, and before long, they have stolen our love for God.

1 John 2_15-17Do you desire the Cross above all? Do you desire the Living Water above all?

1 John 2:15-17 (NIV) Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world–the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does–comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.

If there is any love of the world in your heart, it robs you of your love for God. Any of these cravings of the flesh, of our eyes, of our boasting do not come for God, but is the great Con of the Devil. He is enticing your heart to make a leagu with him, and with his stuff. All this stuff is only for a moment. Only the man who does the will of God will live for ever.

The will of God is that you come to the Cross and carry the wood, that you die daily to the world, and live daily with a heart totally in love with God. That love leads you to the Living water of His Son, the word of God. Do you love Jesus this morning. Are you in love with His Word? Does He live in your heart and life?