Archive for the ‘God Wars’ Category


I just had to comment on the following OP-ED piece from the New York Times on Nov 26, 2009.

What I am amazed at is how people who do not know God try to ACT like they know Him. What they fail to realize is that God must be “revealed” to us (Paul calls it the ‘spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him’ –Eph 1:17). He is not to be figured out by our tiny brains. Why do we even pretend to think we can figure Almighty God out? As Mr. Kristof illustrates, modern ‘self-enlightened man’ thinks we have an ‘evolving’ view of God. As he concludes:

“I’m hoping that the latest crop of books marks an armistice in the religious wars, a move away from both religious intolerance and irreligious intolerance. That would be a sign that perhaps we, along with God, are evolving toward a higher moral order.”

Mr. Kristoff, if there is any evolution going on here, it is man evolving farther away from our Creator God. Yes, He is an ‘intolerant’ God. He says “You shall have no other god’s beside me“. Modern man as well as ancient ‘heathen’ man has had the same problem from the very beginning…we make ourselves and what WE think to be more important than God. We become our own ‘god’s’.

Paul brilliantly explained in Romans 1 that God and His invisible attributes (eternal power and divine nature) can be clearly perceived by even the most ignorant and backward man. The problem as Paul points out is that even though we can perceive this awesome God and what He has created, we refuse to honor Him as God and refuse to have a grateful heart toward Him. We become futile (I might add stupid) in our thinking and our foolish hearts become darkened. God opens the door to our hearts, but when we fail to honor Him, our hearts become darkened, and there is no ‘revelation’ from Him as to His amazing Grace and Love. He has been the same yesterday, today and forever. It is mankind who changes, becoming wiser and wiser in our own ‘conceits’.

Mr. Kristoff’s article is an excellent representation of just how foolish our thinking is becoming. I am placing his column here so that you can discern for your self. To see further examples of darkened hearts (this time ‘celebrities’) read my column “We don’t need no stinkin’ God, we’re Celebrities and Rock Stars!” One example of further ignorance is the comment by Angelina Jolie, who said this when asked if there is a God:

“Hmm… For some people, I hope so, for them. For the people who believe in it, I hope so. There doesn’t need to be a God for me. There’s something in people that’s spiritual, that’s godlike. I don’t feel like doing things just because people say things, but I also don’t really know if it’s better to just not believe in anything, either.”

If we can’t come to an agreement on who God is, maybe we should follow Angelina’s advice and ‘just not believe in anything, either.” The we won’t have ‘Religious Wars’. I might add that we won’t have Salvation either!

The Religious Wars By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF

“Just a few years ago, it seemed curious that an omniscient, omnipotent God wouldn’t smite tormentors like Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris. They all published best-selling books excoriating religion and practically inviting lightning bolts.

Traditionally, religious wars were fought with swords and sieges; today, they often are fought with books. And in literary circles, these battles have usually been fought at the extremes.

Fundamentalists fired volleys of Left Behind novels, in which Jesus returns to Earth to battle the Anti-Christ (whose day job was secretary general of the United Nations). Meanwhile, devout atheists built mocking Web sites like www.whydoesGodhateamputees.com. [One profound statement from this site: “If God is imaginary, then religion is a complete illusion. Christianity, Judaism and Islam are pointless. Belief in God is nothing but a silly superstition, and this superstition leads a significant portion of the population to be delusional.” Well mudpreacher contends that the delusion is all in the minds of those who refuse to honor God as God, and the delusion results from a darkened heart(-mp)] That site notes that although believers periodically credit prayer with curing cancer, God never seems to regrow lost limbs. It demands an end to divine discrimination against amputees.

This year is different, with a crop of books that are less combative and more thoughtful. One of these is “The Evolution of God,” by Robert Wright, who explores how religions have changed — improved — over the millennia. He notes that God, as perceived by humans, has mellowed from the capricious warlord sometimes depicted in the Old Testament who periodically orders genocides.

(In 1 Samuel 15:3, the Lord orders a mass slaughter of the Amalekite tribe: “Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child.” These days, that would earn God an indictment before the International Criminal Court.) [Once again, man wants to exert authority over God-mp]

Mr. Wright also argues that monotheism emerged only gradually among Israelites, and that the God familiar to us may have resulted from a merger of a creator god, El, and a warrior god, Yahweh. Mr. Wright also argues that monotheism wasn’t firmly established until after the Babylonian exile, and he says that Moses’s point was that other gods shouldn’t be worshiped, not that they didn’t exist. For example, he notes the troubling references to a “divine council” and “gods” — plural — in Psalm 82.

In another revelation not usually found in Sunday School classes, Mr. Wright cites Biblical evidence that God (both El and Yahweh) had a sex life, rather like the Greek gods, and notes archaeological discoveries indicating that Yahweh may have had a wife, Asherah. (I find this statement as stupid as you can get. It brings our Creator God down to our level-maybe that makes Mr. Wright feel more at peace with his conscience. He will be in for a harsh awakening when he finally sees God as He is. But it will be too late).

As for Christianity, Mr. Wright argues that it was Saint Paul — more than Jesus, an apocalyptic prophet — who emphasized love and universalism and built Christian faith as it is known today. Saint Paul focused on these elements, he says, partly as a way to broaden the appeal of the church and convert Gentiles.

Mr. Wright detects an evolution toward an image of God as a more beneficient and universal deity, one whose moral compass favors compassion for humans of whatever race or tribe, one who is now firmly in the antigenocide camp. Mr. Wright’s focus is not on whether God exists, but he does suggest that changing perceptions of God reflect a moral direction to history — and that this in turn perhaps reflects some kind of spiritual force.

“To the extent that ‘god’ grows, that is evidence — maybe not massive evidence, but some evidence — of higher purpose,” Mr. Wright says.

Another best-seller this year, Karen Armstrong’s “The Case for God,” likewise doesn’t posit a Grandpa-in-the-Sky; rather, she sees God in terms of an ineffable presence that can be neither proven nor disproven in any rational sense. To Ms. Armstrong, faith belongs to the realm of life’s mysteries, beyond the world of reason, and people on both sides of the “God gap” make the mistake of interpreting religious traditions too literally.

“Over the centuries people in all cultures discovered that by pushing their reasoning powers to the limit, stretching language to the end of its tether, and living as selflessly and compassionately as possible, they experienced a transcendence that enabled them to affirm their suffering with serenity and courage,” Ms. Armstrong writes. Her book suggests that religion is not meant to regrow lost limbs, but that it may help some amputees come to terms with their losses.

Whatever one’s take on God, there’s no doubt that religion remains one of the most powerful forces in the world. Today, millions of people will be giving thanks to Him — or Her or It.

Another new book, “The Faith Instinct,” by my Times colleague Nicholas Wade, suggests a reason for the durability of faith: humans may be programmed for religious belief, because faith conferred evolutionary advantages in primitive times. That doesn’t go to the question of whether God exists, but it suggests that religion in some form may be with us for eons to come.

I’m hoping that the latest crop of books marks an armistice in the religious wars, a move away from both religious intolerance and irreligious intolerance. That would be a sign that perhaps we, along with God, are evolving toward a higher moral order.”

Thank you Mr. Kristoff. I became so focused on thanking God for all He has done in my life and for my family and for my church that I forgot how much still needs to be done. I thank you for reminding me that America is joining the ranks of the rest of the nations that have forgotten who God really is. We have our work cut out for us, because America needs to rediscover who our awesome Creator God is!

Hope everyone takes time to thank God, the REVEALED God of His Word!

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Stone of WitnessWe have traveled back in time through the eyes of Joshua. It is now time for him to pass on to his eternal reward. Over the last four months we have seen that of ultimate importance to God is the inheritance He has promised His Son. The journey of the Hebrew children is for our example to learn all about claiming this inheritance arm in arm with our elder brother. For when you come to Christ as your Savior, not only are you made an heir of all that He has, you are made a joint-heir. He can not enjoy the inheritance without us.

So we must join in the Battle for the inheritance for our King!

This battle is not a physical battle, one requiring brute strength and weaponry, but it is a spiritual battle, one requiring the Presence and Power of the Spirit of God.

Joshua is the very picture of the man of God unite, guided, filled and controlled by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Every time Joshua followed His leading, there was victory. Every time he relied on his own strength, their was defeat. Joshua is the Christians Guidebook to Victory in the Christian Walk.

This will be the last message in our series from the book of Joshua, but the lessons here build and expound upon the lessons of the entire book.

God values one character quality above all others. He saw this quality in Abraham and that is why He called him even though he was an idolater living in a wicked town and wicked country.

  • For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him. Genesis 18:19

Can anyone guess what that quality is? FAITHFULNESS

  • Adhering firmly and devotedly, as to a person, cause, or idea; loyal.
  • Worthy of trust or belief;
  • reliable.
  • Synonyms: faithful, loyal, true, constant, fast, steadfast, staunch
    These adjectives mean adhering firmly and devotedly to someone or something that elicits or demands one’s fidelity. Faithful and loyal both suggest undeviating attachment

Faithful GodFaithful God

Joshua 21:43-45 :And the LORD gave unto Israel all the land which he sware to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein. And the LORD gave them rest round about, according to all that he sware unto their fathers: and there stood not a man of all their enemies before them; the LORD delivered all their enemies into their hand. There failed not ought of any good thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.

  • Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations; Deuteronomy 7:9
  • And I said, “O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, Nehemiah 1:5

Writer and speaker Lewis Smedes says: Yes, somewhere people still make and keep promises. They choose not to quit when the going gets rough because they promised once to see it through. They stick to lost causes. They hold on to a love grown cold. They stay with people who have become pains in the neck. They still dare to make promises and care enough to keep the promises they make. I want to say to you that if you have a ship you will not desert, if you have people you will not forsake, if you have causes you will not abandon, then you are like God. What a marvelous thing a promise is! When a person makes a promise, she reaches out into an unpredictable future and makes one thing predictable: she will be there even when being there costs her more than she wants to pay. When a person makes a promise, he stretches himself out into circumstances that no one can control and controls at least one thing: he will be there no matter what the circumstances turn out to be. With one simple word of promise, a person creates an island of certainty in a sea of uncertainty.When a person makes a promise, she stakes a claim on her personal freedom and power.
When you make a promise, you take a hand in creating your own future. Citation: Lewis Smedes, “The Power of Promises,” A Chorus of Witnesses, edited by Long and Plantinga (Eerdmans, 1994)—Perfect Illustrations

Application: You must decide within your own heart if God is truly faithful to His Word. Can you trust your life to God?

A man was hiking along a narrow mountain trail when he stumbled and started over the side of a cliff. Just before he hurtled over the side he reached out and grabbed a scrubby little bush which managed to stop his fall. He knew he could not hold on for very long, plus the bush looked as if it was about to tear from its roots. In terror he called out: “Is anyone up there” All of a sudden he heard a deep booming voice; YES! Can you help me he cried out. YES, But only if you believe! He said I believe I believe. The deep booming voice said “LET GO”. The man thought to himself and then cried out “Is there anyone else up there?

  • Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Hebrews 6:1

Faithful Leadership Faithful LEADERSHIP

We shall neither fail nor falter; we shall not weaken or tire…give us the tools and we will finish the job.” Winston Churchill.  We rate ability in men by what they finish, not by what they attempt. While Joshua certainly made his mistakes along the way, he was faithful to finish the job he had been given. He led those stubborn selfish Jews to conquer a country wherein dwelled 7 mighty people groups. He did it with a people who were not warriors by training, and he did it against overwhelming numbers and weaponry. Plus he did it to trained warriors who had every advantage of place and position.

Joshua 22:1-6 : At that time Joshua summoned the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, and said to them, “You have kept all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you and have obeyed my voice in all that I have commanded you. You have not forsaken your brothers these many days, down to this day, but have been careful to keep the charge of the Lord your God. And now the Lord your God has given rest to your brothers, as he promised them. Therefore turn and go to your tents in the land where your possession lies, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave you on the other side of the Jordan. Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments and to cling to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.” So Joshua blessed them and sent them away, and they went to their tents.

One promise he had made to the Reubenites, Gadites and half tribe of Manasseh was that if they fought with their brothers, then they could have the choice plains on the other side of the Jordan River. They had kept their word for over seven years, and now it was time to return to their families and land. They had fought with their brothers.

Application: We have the Holy Spirit as our faithful leader and companion.

Faithful FamiliesFaithful Families

Joshua 22:10-34 :

  • Behold, the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh have built the altar at the frontier of the land of Canaan, in the region about the Jordan, on the side that belongs to the people of Israel.” And when the people of Israel heard of it, the whole assembly of the people of Israel gathered at Shiloh to make war against them.

  • Therefore we said, Let us now build an altar, not for burnt offering, nor for sacrifice, but to be a witness between us and you, and between our generations after us, that we do perform the service of the Lord in his presence with our burnt offerings and sacrifices and peace offerings, so your children will not say to our children in time to come, “You have no portion in the Lord.”’ And we thought, If this should be said to us or to our descendants in time to come, we should say, ‘Behold, the copy of the altar of the Lord, which our fathers made, not for burnt offerings, nor for sacrifice, but to be a witness between us and you.’ Far be it from us that we should rebel against the Lord and turn away this day from following the Lord by building an altar for burnt offering, grain offering, or sacrifice, other than the altar of the Lord our God that stands before his tabernacle!”

  • Today we know that the Lord is in our midst, because you have not committed this breach of faith against the Lord. Now you have delivered the people of Israel from the hand of the Lord.”

  • The people of Reuben and the people of Gad called the altar ‘ED’ Witness, “For,” they said, “it is a witness between us that the Lord is God.”

Families fight. Often that fighting brings something we call walls of separation. Communication is the most important thing we can do as a family. Even when someone is acting unruly, even crazy.

Some of you may have heard the name Helen Keller ( the blind lady who did something ), perhaps you’ve seen the movie “The Miracle Worker” based on her life. There was even a remake, though I think the original black & white captured the true feel of the time which she lived. I believe Helen’s story wasn’t even the “real” miracle, and only once was it alluded to in the movie. Her teacher was asked how she was so sure that the intense, sometimes harsh, unrelenting treatment towards Helen could possibly help. To which Miss Sullivan quickly replied, “Because I’ve been there.”
And that is the true miracle. You see, many years before, this young girl stricken with a rare illness was abandoned along with her younger brother and sent to what was then an insane asylum. The young girl known as “Little Annie” was locked in the basement dungeon. The doctors felt she was hopelessly insane and there was nothing they could do for her.
An old nurse started taking her lunch into the dungeon and eating outside Annie’s cage. She felt perhaps she could communicate some love and hope to the little girl, but Annie gave no indication that she was even aware of her presence.
One day the elderly nurse left some brownies outside the cage and upon returning the next day saw they were gone. From that day on the nurse would bring brownies and soon the doctors began to notice a change in Little Annie. She was eventually moved upstairs and over time this “hopeless girl” was told she could leave the institution. That little girl was Anne Sullivan.
She did not leave right away, instead she decided to stay and help others until she was asked to help another little girl named Helen. Yes…Helen Keller influenced millions of people all over the world, she graduated college, learned to read and write, to speak and was even an entertainer on stage. One of my favorite quotes from Helen is: “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.”

Communication is the way we have vision!

Faithfulness requires ObedienceFaithfulness Requires Obedience

Joshua 23:5-10 Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left; …But cleave unto the LORD your God, as ye have done unto this day. …One man of you shall chase a thousand: for the LORD your God, he it is that fighteth for you, as he hath promised you.

Application: God says do not stray too far to the left or the right. Stay on His path.

A few centuries before Christ a man named Alexander conquered almost all of the known world using military strength, cleverness and a bit of diplomacy. The story is told that Alexander and a small company of soldiers approached a strongly fortified walled city. Alexander, standing outside the walls, raised his voice and demanded to see the king. When the king arrived, Alexander insisted that the king surrender the city and its inhabitants to Alexander and his little band of fighting men.

The king laughed, “Why should I surrender to you? You can’t do us any harm!” But Alexander offered to give the king a demonstration. He ordered his men to line up single file and start marching. He marched them straight toward a sheer cliff.

The townspeople gathered on the wall and watched in shocked silence as, one by one, Alexander’s soldiers marched without hesitation right off the cliff to their deaths! After ten soldiers died, Alexander ordered the rest of the men to return to his side. The townspeople and the king immediately surrendered to Alexander the Great. They realized that if a few men were actually willing to commit suicide at the command of this dynamic leader, then nothing could stop his eventual victory.

Are you willing to be as obedient to the ruler of the universe, Jesus Christ, as those soldiers were to Alexander? Are you as dedicated and committed? Think how much power Christ could have in our community with just a portion of such commitment.

Faithfulness Requires No CompromiseFaithfulness REQUIRES NO COMPROMISE

Joshua 23:11-16 : 11 Take good heed therefore unto yourselves, that ye love the LORD your God. 12 Else if ye do in any wise go back, and cleave unto the remnant of these nations, even these that remain among you, and shall make marriages with them, and go in unto them, and they to you: 13 Know for a certainty that the LORD your God will no more drive out any of these nations from before you; but they shall be snares and traps unto you, and scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until ye perish from off this good land which the LORD your God hath given you. 14 And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof. 15 Therefore it shall come to pass, that as all good things are come upon you, which the LORD your God promised you; so shall the LORD bring upon you all evil things, until he have destroyed you from off this good land which the LORD your God hath given you. 16 When ye have transgressed the covenant of the LORD your God, which he commanded you, and have gone and served other gods, and bowed yourselves to them; then shall the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and ye shall perish quickly from off the good land which he hath given unto you.

Faithfulness Total CommitmentFaithfulness Requires Total Commitment

Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. Joshua 24:14-15

Faithfulness Requires DependenceFaithfulness Requires Total DEPENDENCE

Joshua 24:16-28

  • And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the LORD: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. If ye forsake the LORD, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good. And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the LORD. ….
  • And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak, that was by the sanctuary of the LORD. And Joshua said unto all the people, Behold, this stone shall be a witness unto us; for it hath heard all the words of the LORD which he spake unto us: it shall be therefore a witness unto you, lest ye deny your God. So Joshua let the people depart, every man unto his inheritance.

Devotion (Josh. 24:19-28). When the former generation had met the Lord at Mount Sinai, they had said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do” (Ex. 19:8, nkjv). But a few weeks later, they were worshiping a golden calf! Joshua knew that it was easy for the people to promise obedience to the Lord, but it was quite something else for them to actually do it. His stern words were meant to curb their overconfidence and make them look honestly into their own hearts (Josh. 24:19).
Israel was “married” to Jehovah, and He would not tolerate any rivals in their hearts. He is a jealous God (Ex. 20:5) and a holy God, and He could never permit them to be divided in their loyalty. Just as a husband and wife are faithful to their marriage vows and jealously guard their mate’s affection, so Israel and the Lord had to be faithful to each other.—Bible Exposition Commentary – Old Testament

Faithfulness requires a Life Dependent upon God’s Power and God’s Word.There is no room for self-confidence. There will always be something you lack.

And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved? And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God. Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee. Luke 18:18-28

Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee. And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake, Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting. Luke 18:28-30

Victory & Inheritance follows this same principle that Jesus said involves Eternal Life.

We must realize that we all lack one thing. There is always one area in our life that we cannot overcome. There was one area of Gaza that the Israelites could not overcome. There was one area in this rich young rulers life that he was not able to let go of.

The lesson to learn is not how many things have you overcome, but is there one particular thing you can not overcome. God allows this one area to convince you of your inability.

Joshua could see through their words. Jesus could see through Peter’s words. If you boldly claim to be such and such, or do such and such, there is the temptation that byou will rely on your own strength. There must be the constant awareness that there is always one thing we lack.

Salvation is impossible with man. Eternal life is impossible. Victorious Living is impossible

God echoes Joshua’s verdict-You are Unable

We weep over our failure, over a habit we cannot break, but God wants you to praise Him for your inability! God wants you to realize your inabilities. How many times will you fail 3, 30, 300 before you give up and say God, this has to be by you! We must yield our confidence to Him and let go!

A young woman expresses it this way. When Satan comes knocking with a temptation, I used to push hard against the door and say no don’t come in, but before long he would get in. Now, when Satan knocks, I simply say Jesus, would you go answer the door? As soon as the devil sees Jesus, he says, sorry, I must have knocked at the wrong door.

You must realize your inabilities, and let go of any attempts to do things in your own way, and strength.

Have you ever argued with a friend over who was going to pay for something. It could be a meal, a gift, anything.

I’ve even seen some people throw the money at someone because they refused to take it. Imagine you insist on paying for something but your friend refuses. You argue back and forth, but he insists. Well, you get ready to go, so you throw the money on the table and walk away. But you keep looking to see if he picks it up. Then you wonder if he just walks away and leaves it there. Maybe someone else gets it.

But what would happen if you simply left the money there and forgot about it. You simply didn’t care. Your friend would probably pick it up.

This is the way God is about our problems. As long as we care about something, about trying to solve it ourselves, or take care of it ourselves, God will let us. He won’t pick the problem up. But if we really let go and say, God, I don’t care what happens. Its yours. God will certainly take over!

Let Go and let God take over!

stone-of-witnessAnd Joshua said unto all the people, Behold, this stone shall be a witness unto us; for it hath heard all the words of the LORD which he spake unto us: it shall be therefore a witness unto you, lest ye deny your God. Joshua 24:27

The Holy Spirit is our witness. He knows when you deny your God.He knows when you walk in your own strength.

God is Faithful to those who enter into the Covenant of Blood with His Son Jesus Christ. Will you be faithful to Him in return. Such faithfulness requires Obedience, No Compromise, Total Commitment, and Total Dependence. What doe the Stone say about your Faithfulness?


Caleb climbing mountains killing giantsLet us consider a man with extraordinary faith. Faith that enabled him to claim a mountain, and continue killing giants. Perhaps we will be encouraged by his faith, and God may open our eyes to what He wants to do in our life.

The Conquest of Canaan continues in Joshua 10:28. Here we find the battle continuing that was begun on the longest day in earth’s history. The day the God made the sun stand still. The Southern Conquest continues. Then in Joshua 11 we find that the Northern Conquest takes place when some kings think they can take Joshua and his men out. Even though they have superior forces and weapons, they are no match for the God of Jehovah. In Joshua 11: 6 God gives special instructions to Joshua. He tells him to hough the horses. The Hebrew word is ‏עָקַר‎ (ʿāqar). Modern translators use the word “hamstrung”.

What does it mean to hough a horse?

Houghing the horses is done by cutting the sinews and arteries of their hinder legs, so that they not only become hopelessly lame, but bleed to death. The reasons for this special command were that the Lord designed to lead the Israelites to trust in Him, not in military resources (Ps 20:7); to show that in the land of promise there was no use of horses; and, finally, to discourage their travelling as they were to be an agricultural, not a trading, people.—Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

HamstrungWhy did God give this strange command? After all, the Jews could benefit from having horses. They would make them stronger and more effective fighters.  Joshua was destroying the enemy and the enemies devices for war, but they were to rely on GOD for their Victory, not their own abilities. Furthermore, God had called the Jews to possess Canaan, to enjoy the bounty of her soil. He wanted them to settle down, not continue traveling, which horses would have encouraged. Horses would have also encourage trade, and open the Jews to the influences of the world, influences that God was having them destroy. Horses could also fall into enemy hands. No, God had specific reasons for hamstringing the horses. God wanted them to obey and not question His instructions. God wanted them to rely wholly upon Him. This is the lesson from Caleb. Caleb is in stark contrast to the Jews who perished in the wilderness. They were hamstrung because of their unbelief, because of the influence of Egypt. Caleb represented man in the FULLNESS of God’s Strength, man unhindered by the world, by Satan, because Caleb WHOLLY FOLLOWED GOD!

So the subject of being Hamstrung applies to our own walk with Christ. God wants us to know the strength of following Him, a strength and vitality that Caleb experienced throughout his life. While the rest of the Jewish men were dying in the wilderness, Caleb remained strong and vibrant. He is a picture of what Christ promises to all those who follow Him. He promised an Abundant Life. Instead of walking victoriously, and hamstringing our enemies, we are often hamstrung by the accusations of Satan.

SATAN IS OUR ACCUSER

Satan Accuser Rev 12_10Satan is an Accuser in this age of grace. His work is to accuse the brethren, to cause defeat and discouragement to loom over our lives. He does not want us to see and know and revel in the power of God to bring victory! When the accusations of Satan become so large that we are defeated, we are allowing our  failures and transgressions to become GIANTS that block our seeing Him who is invisible. Satan’s accusations cause us to focus on our failures and inadequacies rather than on the AWESOME POWER OF ALMIGHTY GOD! We must not allow Satan to Hamstring us!

The greatest day in the history of the world is described in Revelation 12:10: “the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.” 1 John 3:8 assures us that Jesus Christ came for this purpose: “for this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” Jesus rendered Satan POWERLESS. He hamstrung Satan. There is no reason a born again Christian should listen to Satan’s accusations, or be defeated by his wiles. Satan has been rendered powerless. We must learn to focus upon the POWER of GOD in EVERY situation we face.

Joshua 12 lists the conquests of Moses and Joshua. Joshua 13 – Joshua Is Getting Old, Time to Divide the Land. Joshua 14 – Time for Caleb to Collect

Notice especially Joshua 14:6-15

What Kind of Man Was Caleb?

Faith of CalebNumbers 14:24 (KJV) But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.

How do you recognize someone with “another spirit”? The Hebrew pictures an “excellent spirit or wind”. It has the meaning of BREATH. Caleb was a breath of fresh air, that cool gentle breeze in the midst of a scorching desert. One who has “another spirit” is one whose spirit is in touch with God, regardless of the heat of the situation you face. One who has another spirit is like the mighty tree whose leaves do not wilt no matter how severe the heat and drought become. You know someone has another spirit:

  • When your spirit is in touch with God!
  • When you see and believe God is
  • When God’s Spirit within you is influencing your 5 other senses-sight, touch, smell, hearing, seeing.

GOD SENSE

Caleb looked at the same things the other 10 spies looked at, yet he ran everything through his “GOD SENSE”. Sure, those giants were huge. Sure the walls were high and thick, but Caleb wasn’t controlled by his physical senses. He was controlled by his God-Sense. He knew God would give them the victory. Caleb had another spirit, an excellent spirit, and it controlled his life, gave him a fountain of youth, gave him a faith that was remarkable. If you are in the majority, as were the 604,998 other men (between ages of 20 & 60) that day, you will look at problems with only your five senses, and you will have three reactions:

Defeat & Discouragement

Numbers 14:1-The people wailed and wept.

Oh no, mudpreacher, I don’t do that. No, but perhaps you show it in another way. Instead of openly showing your defeat and discouragement, you internalize it. You give up on believing God. You give up on having any enthusiasm for God. Your resolve is diminished, your shoulders become stooped over a bit more, your work for the Lord becomes less and less.

Another way is you limit what you will do for the Lord. Serving others, being a friend, helping people, you are all into that. But doing anything that is outside your comfort zone, even asking friends if they know for certain they will live with God in eternity, no, that is too difficult. You end up doing just enough to be considered a good Christian, but Satan has taken the joy of your salvation away. He has you in that mediocre walk, that walk that does not impact the giants and problems that you will face.

Complaining Spirit

Numbers 14:2-the people murmured

Spirit is breath. The words you speak reveal the spirit of your heart. Words of encouragement, words of joy, words of praise, words of hope, trust, these are the BREATH of another spirit. Words of complaint, murmuring, disgust, impatients, negative these reflect a wrong spirit, a self-sense spirit.

Fail to Believe God

Numbers 14:9 Only rebel not, neither fear

What most people don’t understand, is that failure to believe what God has said is actually rebellion against God. Fearing the enemy when He has told you that you will have victory is slapping God in the face and saying I don’t believe you. You are allowing your flesh, your senses to override what God’s Word says. Ignorance of God’s Word is just as much rebellion as out and out disobedience.

You are in rebellion to God if you ever find yourself saying:

  • I know I should but…
  • He knows my heart…
  • He made me this way so…
  • I’m not hurting anyone…
  • I need my sleep…
  • Just this one time won’t hurt…

Anytime you offer up an excuse for not doing what His Word is telling you to do is REBELLION. Anytime you offer up an excuse for doing something contrary to what His Word is telling you is REBELLION.

CALEB FOLLOWED THE LORD FULLY

Caleb Another SpiritGod doesn’t enjoy halfway Christians. He delighted in Caleb because he followed the Lord “fully”, “wholly”. The phrase is actually two Hebrew words: ʾaḥar – the hind part, behind,and mālâ, to be filled up. God used mālâ to describe the earth when it was filled up with violence (Gen 6:13) Elijah used it to tell the widow women to fill up the vessels with oil. 2 Kings 4:6Dinozzo-Gibbs-On-Your-Six-Boss

Caleb was filled up with the hind part of God. He kept so close! He had another spirit! He was always going “I’m on your Six, Boss!” (as Tony DiNozzo tells his N.C.I.S. boss, Leroy Jethro Gibbs). To be filled with the Spirit of God means you are so dependent upon Him he can’t shake you! You are in his rear view mirror all the time! Like you’ve jumped on his back and nothing can shake you off!

Caleb was a Man of EXTRAORDINARY Faith

  1. Carrying Faith
  2. Climbing Faith
  3. Conquering Faith

I. CARRYING Faith

Joshua 14:10-11 (KJV) And now, behold, the LORD hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the LORD spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old. As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in.

Caleb Carrying FaithThere are certain memories that you always have. Caleb would always remember those grapes. He would always remember the sweetness of the juice, the way they exploded in his mouth, juice running down his beard. He was so excited to taste the bounties of the promised land. For two years they had been eating manna and quail. Now this! He wanted it so badly. He wanted this land. Joshua and Caleb just had to show the people, so they cut down a cluster of grapes so large it took both of them to carry. They just knew the people would get excited about this wonderful land God wanted to give them. He could hardly believe his ears as the people listened to the descriptions of the giants and the walled cities. Can’t you see these grapes! Can’t you see that God is with us. Instead, the people decided to listen to the 10 rather than the 2. They let their fears, their apathy, their unbelief rule their wills. They decided not to go into the land.

Caleb-Grapes of escholCaleb had Carrying Faith. Faith that could carry his soul the next 45 years. Faith that could carry his family. Faith that could keep his spirit on the back of God, even though all those around him were complaining, murmuring, ignoring the power of God. Caleb had another spirit in Him, That spirit gave him faith that carried him through any discouraging situation. During those forty years I suppose that there were many chances for Caleb to become discouraged, to think he would never see the Promised Land again. After all, his friends were dropping like flies. The complaining continued, the manna continued. I can imagine everyday would say to Caleb, “Oh, brother Caleb, isn’t it terrible out here in this wilderness! It is so hot — it’s 118 degrees today!” But Caleb was a man of another spirit. He had another focus. He had GOD SENSE controlling his vision! Caleb would say, “I really hadn’t noticed. I guess it is pretty warm, but I was thinking about those grapes of Eschol that I saw. And I was thinking about the city of Hebron. Our father Abraham liked that place, and I like it. That’s where I am going.”

Caleb, even in the wilderness, could think of the future. He had a great hope. It kept him young. Those forty years in the wilderness killed off the rest of the crowd, but they didn’t do a thing to him but make him healthy. They grew old, and he grew young. The giants in the Promised Land made the others tremble — they thought of themselves as grasshoppers. But Caleb thought of God. There was freedom from fear in the heart of this man. As Martin Luther said, “One with God is a majority.” God was bigger than the giants.

Look at John 15:7-12

abide-in-christIf you are lacking in carrying faith, perhaps you are not centering your life upon the right things. Jesus said to abide in Him, and you will have fruit and joy and love. But the basis for that abiding is obedience, obedience to his commands. What are you disobeying Jesus Christ in? Is your love for Him full? Is your Joy in Him full? Then you are disobeying Christ, and you will not have faith to carry you through the storms of life. Instead of feasting on the monster fruit of God, you are starving on Gerber’s processed baby food.  How is your Love for God, How is your Enthusiasm for God, How is your Spirit for God? Are you Following Him WHOLLY! Do You Have Carrying Faith? Are your Carrying anyone Closer to God!

II. CLIMBING Faith

Joshua 14:12 (KJV) Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day…

Caleb Climbing FaithCaleb is now eighty-five years old, and yet he can say that he is as strong as the day Moses sent him into Canaan as a spy! What he was really saying is that he was still able to tackle any problem same as when he was a young man. His power from God had not diminished, in fact, if anything, he had grown stronger! Most people when they get older, look forward to retiring. They don’t want the stairs anymore, the two stories. They want everything on one level. They want to live in the valley. They don’t want anything too difficult.

When Caleb stepped forward to claim any land he wanted, he chose Hebron. He chose the Hebron mountain area, about 3500 feet above sea level. Why? Because he wasn’t through climbing in his life. He had not accomplished all his goals. He was still pressing upward for the prize of the high calling in Jesus Christ.

Caleb reminds me of Adoniram Judson, the missionary who spent twelve years in Burma without a convert. The board that sent him out didn’t sense the situation nor what a tremendous missionary they had in Judson; so they wrote him a very diplomatic letter, suggesting that he should come home. They asked him what the prospects in Burma were for the future. His reply was, “The future is as bright as the promises of God.” His confidence in God was the reason he could stay in the wilderness of Burma all those years. Although he suffered a great deal and it took a long time for revival to break out, it finally did. His time was well spent. Today, in Burma, there are Christians thriving becasue of the work of Adoniram Judson. In 2013 they will have a huge 200th anniversary celebration.

Are you enjoying all the spiritual blessings that God has for you today? You say, “I have lots of trouble.” I know that Christians have many troubles in the course of their lives. My heart goes out to them.  But I always think of the testimony of a wise old saint who said his favorite Bible verse was, “It came to pass.” When puzzled people asked him what he meant by that, he replied, “When I get into trouble and problems pile up, I turn to my verse and know my troubles have not come to stay; they have come to pass.” We can complain all day long, but that will only hamstring our walk. We need to focus on God, His Hope for us, His Future for us! These things will pass! Our Victory is Promised!

Press-toward-the-MarkCaleb for forty years followed fully the Lord his God. Everyone else around him was dropping dead, was complaining, getting bit by snakes, getting swallowed by the earth, but old Caleb kept on following fully his Lord. He was thinking about going mountain climbing. He was still pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus!

In this life you are either running a winning race or you are falling down in the wilderness.

1 Corinthians 10:1-11 (KJV) Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

There are five reasons why we are overcome in the wilderness: we lust after evil things, we have idols before God, we commit fornication, we tempt Christ (fail to Honor Him), we murmur. These all could have infected the spirit of Caleb. These all could have overcome him in his walk toward the blessing of God, but NO, Caleb had ANOTHER SPIRIT, He Had God Sense, He focused on Him who is INVISIBLE, but ALL POWERFUL!

Caleb kept on drinking from the Rock. He kept on thinking about those grapes. He kept on thinking about his land. He looked forward to climbing. After all, He was on the Boss’s Six!

  • Do you still have goals for Christ?
  • Are you still climbing towards him,
  • Or are you coasting, getting by, just doing what you have to.

Watch out. If you are not climbing, you will get overthrown.

Caleb followed God fully. This is why Caleb chose Hebron.

Hebron means fellowship, it means fullness, and it means fruitfulness. So Caleb was saying, “Joshua, I want that mountain that represents fellowship with God; I want to walk with God. I want that mountain that represents fullness; I want everything that God has for my life. I know there are some giants left, but that is no problem when I am on the back of God!

Have you heard of the man who was mountain-climbing in the American Rockies, along a very rugged track. Suddenly he slipped, falling over a cliff. He grabbed the roots of a tree and hung there. When he got his breath back he looked down and saw an enormous drop. If he fell, he’d certainly be killed. Looking up, the cliff top was so far above him he couldn’t climb back. In desperation, although he knew he was alone, he cried out ‘Is anyone up there?’ He was startled to hear a booming voice say ‘Yes!’ ‘Can you help me?’ ‘Yes’ came the response. ‘What must I do?’ The voice answered ‘Let go!’. There was a long pause, then finally the man called out ‘Is anybody else up there?’

Someday we will be rewarded. We will not be rewarded according to the great amount of work done for God, nor according to our prominence and popularity. The important thing will be — did we wholly follow the Lord?

Oh, that God’s people would learn today that the most important thing in this life is to wholly follow the Lord! Caleb, man of God that he was, took Hebron. There were giants there, but he said, “That’s the place I want. That’s the very best spot!” Oh, that you and I might keep climbing toward the mark for the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

III. Conquering Faith

Caleb Conquering FaithWhy did a man 85 years old pick a place like Hebron? It was mountainous, it was rocky, it was controlled by not just one giant, but by his three giant sons. But that was why he wanted Hebron. He wanted to PROVE the POWER of GOD! “Bring them on,” says Caleb. “They’re no match for the LORD!” Forty-five years before he had promised, “Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us” (Numbers 14:9). Now he had a chance to prove it as leader of “the men of Judah”. The giants represent the enemies of Conquest, and Caleb is ready for them

Fear looks at the problems, faith claims the opportunities. Caleb had GOD SENSE! Sure the giants are big, their strength superhuman, their reputation terrifying. We may be like grasshoppers, but there is none mightier than EL GIBBOR! Faith filters every giant through the Power of God! There is no trick to Conquering Faith. If you believe Jesus saved you by His blood and He lives in your life, then you have experienced conquering faith.

In Luke 17 Jesus says we should forgive someone who sins against us seven times in one day! The disciples ask – reasonably enough we might think – for more faith to do this. Jesus brushes off the request, saying, in effect, ‘What you need isn’t more faith, but using the faith you already have! Your problem isn’t faith or the lack of it, but obedience!’

To grow stronger, you don’t need a muscle transplant, but to exercise the muscles you have! Trust and obey says the old hymn – and it’s still true.  They think of possibilities. Just as Augustine wrote the biography of sin in four words: a thought, a form, a fascination, a fall, so faith begins with your thoughts of faith.  We need to exercise our GOD SENSE and see His Power. We need to believe His PROMISES! We must unite our FAITH with the VISION of GOD ALMIGHTY! We must BREATH ANOTHER SPIRIT through our lives: ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’ (Phil.4:13). “I am more than a Conqueror through Him who loves me!” (Rom 8:37)

See What Caleb Did at 85: “From Hebron Caleb drove out the three Anakites — Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai — descendants of Anak” (Joshua 15:14).

Why does the Scripture give their names? Because their names were well known; the giants were what legends are made of. You only name great opponents, and these giants were great enemies with great reputations to match. But Caleb fearlessly drove them out. Doubtless the story was told again and again around the campfires, “Do you remember when Caleb….”

Just How Big were the sons of ANAK?

Anak was How BigCaleb said in Numbers: “Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us:

  • Caleb said, these giants won’t be the means of our defeat but of our growth.  We’re gonna eat their lunch!  He bellied up to the table and said, please pass the Anakim, Breakfast of Champions!
  • Why did your momma make you eat your spinach?  Because it was good for you.  “But I don’t want to!”  But you should, it will make you strong.  God says, eat your Anakim!
  • We need heroes. We need to know those who have gone before and have conquered the giants of life.

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith….” (Hebrews 12:1-2a, KJV)

You can view life as a stumbling block or a stepping stone.

Granny BrandDr. Paul Brand, (Pioneering physician in the field of leprosy), was raised in India. His parents were missionaries there. In his book, “In His Image,” he writes about his mother.

His mother, Evie “Granny” Brand had just lost her husband. Their mission term was up for renewal. A widow, 68, she was seeking another term. She actually took no support from the organization, becasue she lived off an inheritance. But the board said it made no sense to appoint a sixty-eight year old woman to another five year term.

Evie did not see it that way. Years ago, she and her husband Jesse had vowed to reach five mountain ranges with the gospel. Four still had to be reached. Evie felt that God intended for her to fulfill that vow. She saw one last chance. “Please just send me back for one year,” she pleaded. “I promise not to make any more trouble. At the end of one year I will retire.”

Reluctantly the board agreed. Had they known Evie’s secret plan, they would surely have refused. When her year with the mission ended, fellow missionaries gathered to wish her goodbye. Then came the shocker. Evie gleefully informed them that she was retiring from the mission– retiring to take up independent work in the mountains. She would fulfill the promise that she and Jesse had undertaken years before. Protests and warnings fell on deaf ears.

Paul BrandRejoicing, seventy-year-old Evie began to fulfill Jesse’s dream. Everyone called her “Granny,” now, but she felt young. She traveled from village to village, riding a hill pony, camping, teaching, and dispensing medicine. She rescued abandoned children. The work was hard because her body was thin now. Life became even more difficult when she was dropped by her carriers and whacked her head on a rock. She never completely recovered her balance after that. She took to walking with bamboo canes in her hands. Yet the face that she turned upon the world was full of joy and laughter. “Praise God!” she exclaimed continually.

Despite broken bones and fevers, she labored on. In fifteen years, she almost eradicated Guinea worm from the Kalryan range. (Guinea worms grow several feet long under a person’s skin.) Through her efforts, the five ranges were evangelized, and a mission work planted on each. She added two more ranges. “Extraordinary,” said people. Granny insisted it was all God’s doing.

Whether on her mountains or off, she proclaimed Christ. In a hospital with a broken hip, she scooted on a carpet from room to room and talked to the other patients. She painted landscapes for them. Her bones knit in record time and back she went to the mountains to fight marijuana growers. Her son Paul visited her and found her looking not older but younger. “This is how to grow old,” he wrote. “Allow everything else to fall away, until those around you see just love.”

Granny-Brand2When she was 75 years old, she was still walking miles every day, visiting the villages in the southern part of India, teaching the people about Jesus. One day, at age 75, she was travelling alone & fell & broke her hip. After two days of just lying there in pain, some workers found her & put her on a makeshift cot & loaded her into their jeep & drove 150 miles over deep rutted roads to find a doctor who could set the broken bones.

But the very bumpy ride damaged her bones so badly that her hip never completely healed.

Paul Brand wrote: “I visited my mother in her mud-covered hut several weeks after all of this happened. I watched as she took two bamboo crutches that she had made herself, & moved from one place to another with her feet just dragging behind because she had lost all feeling in them.”

He said, “At age 75, with a broken hip, unable to stand on her own two legs, I thought that I made a pretty intelligent suggestion. I suggested that she retire.” He said, “She turned around & looked at me & said, `What value is that? If we try to preserve this body just a few more years & it is not being used for God, of what value is that?’”

So she kept on working. She kept on riding her donkey to villages until she was 93 years old. At age 93 she couldn’t stay on her donkey anymore. She kept falling off. But she didn’t stop preaching. Indian men would carry her in hammocks from one village to another. And she continued to tell people about Jesus Christ until she died at age 95.

Paul Brand writes, “My most vivid memory of my mother is of her propped up against a stone wall as people are coming to her from their homes, schools, & places of work. I can still see the wrinkles in her face, & her skin so tanned by the weather & the heat. “I saw her speaking to those people. I looked at them & saw the sparkle in their eyes, & the smiles on their faces. And I saw them deeply moved by the message of God’s love, spoken by this old woman. I knew what they saw was not an old woman who had passed her prime, but a beautiful person bringing tidings of love straight from heaven.”

When her son, Paul visited her in the mountains, he found her looking younger. Her smile, brighter than ever, made the difference. “This is how to grow old,” he wrote. “Allow everything else to fall away, until those around you see just love.”

Granny tore some ligaments and had to go to the plains for treatment. Before she could return to her beloved mountains, her speech became jumbled and her memory failed. Seven days later, on this day, December 18th, 1974, she died. The next day her body was taken back to the hills and laid beside Jesse’s while a multitude wept. The woman who had been declared too old for India had carried on for 24 more years, working almost to her day of death.

We Need Heroes Like CalebAre you Wholly Following the Lord God?

We need more Caleb’s. We need Heroes who exercise their God Sense, who can visualize God’s Power, Power to Keep on Carrying, Power to Keep on Climbing, Power to Keep on Conquering!

Would you tell God each and every day “I’m on your six, Boss!”


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.


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?