Archive for the ‘Jordan River’ Category


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?

Advertisements

Reading Joshua 3-5, I pause to ask myself, “am I willing to Step Out by Faith and Start Stacking Stones that are Worth Remembering for all Eternity?” What stones have I stacked that cause my children and grandchildren to ask “What do these mean?” Am I stacking any Stones that have made an impact on the eternity of other people?

The day has arrived when the Israelites are going to step out in faith and cross a raging Jordan River. Normally it would be no problem to ford the river. In fact there is today a place that you can ford the river to cross to Jericho. At this time, the Bible indicates that the River was in flood stage. And unfortunately, the Israelites, all 2-3 million of them, were not like this guy and able to walk on water. Of course it took a charging bull for him to learn. I doubt if he got very far.Walking on Water

So what could the the Israelites do but trust in the Power of God! Have you ever wondered why the Canaanites didn’t assemble an army across the Jordan? I think there were two reasons: First, it was the time of the barley harvest, and the Canaanites were busy with their harvest. Second, the Jordan River, normally only 20 to 60 yards wide, had swollen to nearly ¾ of a mile wide. They thought there was no way the Israelites could cross the River now. They thought they could finish the harvest, let the flood waters recede, and then assemble an army to confront the invaders. In order to understand, let me read an account from 1894, when the Jordan was not dammed up like it is today.

In order to understand how the river appeared when it was thus out of its banks, let me state that the valley fourteen miles wide, lies about seventy-five feet higher than the bed of the river. As you walk across the valley toward the river, you come to a bluff, not very steep usually–in some places too steep for a horse to go down, in others a gradual slope–and you look down seventy-five feet into a river bottom, from a half mile to a mile wide. Now a river which falls as rapidly as the Jordan (falling nearly seven hundred feet in sixty miles) has a rapid current when it is low; but when it is so swollen that it leaves its crooked channel, and its waters rush in a direct line toward their resting place, we can see at once with what a terrific force it plunges along. And as that valley is full of small trees and underbrush, thick and rank of growth, you can see that as the water would be tearing its way over the brush and the tree tops, it would be a fearful sight to look at, and to think of marching across it would appear preposterous. THE RIVER JORDAN by J. W. MCGARVEY. 1894

joshua-leadsCrossing the Jordan required a leader who did not think like normal man thinks. It required a leader in touch with God! Joshua was the Leader who saw the Invisible! He followed the dictates of an unseen God, the Creator of the Universe. God had declared that Canaan was theirs. He would cause the hearts of the Canaanites to melt before the Israelites, His Presence and Power was going to be with them, so therefore, be  Strong and Very Courageous. Once again Jehovah God is about to show His awesome power to an obedient people.

Joshua 3:3-6 (NKJV) and they commanded the people, saying, “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests, the Levites, bearing it, then you shall set out from your place and go after it. Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure. Do not come near it, that you may know the way by which you must go, for you have not passed this way before.” And Joshua said to the people, “Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” Then Joshua spoke to the priests, saying, “Take up the ark of the covenant and cross over before the people.” So they took up the ark of the covenant and went before the people.

LEVITES ARE CENTRAL

Joshua is divided into two sections:

  1. THE CONQUEST OF THE LAND,
  2. THE INHERITANCE IN THE LAND.

Both these sections are governed by one prominent feature. They are governed and characterized by what we may call the Levitical feature; that is, the Levites are seen to have a place of very great pre-eminence and importance in both sections. Here at the very beginning it is all about the Levites carrying the Ark of Testimony. The priests, the Levites, as they are mentioned in chapter one, indicates there is now no distinction between the two as in the days of Aaron. Now the Levites are the Priests, and they are charged with carrying the Ark of God, the Testimony of God, which contains the Word of God. The Ark has taken the place of the Pillar of Fire at night. The Ark is God’s constant abiding presence, just as God had promised Joshua. The Ark represents not only the Presence of God, but the Power of God’s Word, for it contains the Law of God.

The Importance of the Levites and their orderly handling of the Ark, and their centrality of position, is “that ye may know the way by which you must go” (Josh 3: 4).

Who is on the Lord's SideGod has always expected a select group of people to take responsibility for His Testimony, for His Word! He expects the same of Pastors and Preachers today! From the very first cry of Moses in Exodus 32:26 “Who is on the LORD’S side? let him come unto me!”, the Levites were distinguished by their utter devotion and zealousness for obedience to God and His Word. That is why they alone answered Moses Cry, and proceeded to kill 3000 of the people who were worshiping the golden calf.

The centrality of the Levites indicates that this conquest of Canaan was not to be a physical thing. It was to be a spiritual battle. Only those who adhere strictly to following God would be victorious. In claiming our inheritance for God, we MUST see it as a SPIRITUAL battle. This is not a work of the flesh so that you can look back over your life and say “See what I accomplished! See how much I have gained.” No that is not the inheritance that God wants. His is a spiritual inheritance, that is gained not by hard work, but by obedience, faith, humility, trust.

God offers an inheritance of family unity in the midst of roaring rivers, family unity in the face of giant enemies, family salvation in the face of tumbling walls. Oh the Joy of being able to see your entire family claim their inheritance in Heaven. Oh to see a country of Tompkins (or whatever your family name is) in the New Earth. This is a Spiritual Journey, a Spiritual Undertaking. We need the Power of the Holy Spirit!

The greatest thing that matters is to have the Lord, to see the Lord, to possess the Lord, to rest in the Lord. Life is a series of raging rivers that are impossible to cross, and the Lord uses those rivers to ask us: “Is it in ME that your confidence rests? Am I alone sufficient for your trials? Am I more to you than anything in this world?

This is what the crossing the Jordan does. We come to the place where the Lord is our goal and our end. “Seek ye the things that are above” (Col. 3:1). The Holy Spirit energizes in us to do this thing and to bring us to the place where it is for us to utterly rely on the power of God. This is where we are brought by the Jordan, when we are clean over the place of the cutting off from the cravings of our flesh, from knowing after the flesh – our sense, seeings, feelings, or of having to have something tangible in our hands. No it has to be all of faith when we can say even in the midst of raging rivers “I believe God and He is my portion forever, for ‘To me to live is Christ.'”

To Find God As Your ALL You Must Cross The Jordan, You Must Die To Self.

Pareto PrincipleEver heard of the Pareto Principle? Sure you have, but probably as the 80/20 rule.

  • The Pareto principle (also known as the 80-20 rule and the law of the vital few) states that in many things, 80% of the consequences come from 20% of the causes.
  • Vilfredo Pareto observed that 80 percent of the land in England was owned by 20 percent of the population. Over the years, he and many others observed this rule in action in different spheres. Some examples:
  • Relationship: 20% of the people you know (friends, colleagues, family) provide you with 80 % of nurturing support and satisfaction
  • Business: 20% of customers will account for 80 % of profit
  • Productivity: 20% of your activities will account for 80 % of your success

God’s 80/20 Rule:

GOD WANTS 100% of HIS INHERITANCE. JESUS WANTS 100% OF HIS INHERITANCE. JESUS WANTS ALL 100 SHEEP. BUT HE REALIZES PRECIOUS FEW WILL BE WILLING TO DIE TO THE FLESH TO SEE IT HAPPEN. So God’s Pareto Principle is that those who die to self and step into the Jordan are able to carry the others through to their inheritance. God always uses a remnant to accomplish His will. He always uses the minority to see His Will accomplished on earth. God is looking for the 20% to accomplish His Will.

  • He needs people willing to step into death if need be, and to be steadfast until all are safely over.
  • You will be ignored, you will be talked about, you will be weary from holding the ark for countless hours, you will see walls of troubles all around you, but God needs people who want to walk by faith.

To Jericho via the JordanGod needs people that are willing to die to what they want to see the salvation of others around them. There are to be no excuses, there is to be no complaining, there is only to be dependence upon God and His purpose. There is no room for ego, for rights. There is only room for people who want to do what God wants to claim His inheritance.

JOSHUA GIVES THREE COMMANDS

So Joshua, representing a man united with the Holy Spirit gives THREE commands to the Israelites, all necessary so that they would KNOW THE WAY TO GO!

1.  Keep Your Eye on the Ark, and Follow it Wherever it Goes

Keep Your Eye on the ArkWhenever they see the priests that bear it in motion, they are to move from their places and follow it. This is a blessed truth we need to take hold of. Always keep God in sight. A blessed truth for all time was clearly shadowed forth. Follow God implicitly and unhesitatingly in every time of danger, and you are safe. Set aside the counsels of caution and worldly wisdom; find out God’s will and follow it through good report and through evil report, and you will be right.

2.  Allow Others to See the Ark

Allow Others to See the Ark“A span of two thousand cubits was to be left between the people and the ark.” God wants you to follow Him, but He wants you to bring your family with you! Don’t get so close to God that you block Him from your friends and family. Christ prayed that His disciples would stay in the world, but NOT become part of the world. Christ came into the world to save sinners. He did so by being a friend to sinners.

  • That ALL may know the way by which you must go” (ver. 4).
  • If this arrangement had not been made, the course of the ark through the flat plains of the Jordan would not have been visible to the mass of the host, but only to those in the immediate neighborhood, and the people would have been liable to straggle and fall into confusion, if not to diverge altogether.
  • In all cases, when we are looking out for Divine guidance, it is of supreme importance that there be nothing in the way to obscure the object or to distort our vision.
  • In fact, God wants us with our people, with our friends, so that we can show them the way to go. Sure, there must be times of being close to God, but God wants others to see Him too, and He will use your life to influence your family and friends.

3.  Sanctify Yourselves and see God’s Wonders.

Sanctify Yourselves to See God's WondersSet yourself apart to God. I believe God was going to do this great miracle regardless of what the people did. But there does seem to be a shortage of miracles today. Or perhaps movies have made minor miracles seem so ho hum. Regardless, I believe in order for us to see how awesome God is, we must sanctify ourselves unto Him. Otherwise we would be saying, “I’ve already heard this, I saw this when I was younger. It is no big deal!”

How much time do you actually spend each week getting alone with God. How much time do you spend thinking about Him, about what He is doing, what He is planning, what He is wanting to do. We don’t take the time to set ourselves apart to God, and then it is no wonder that we hear amazing spiritual truth and just go “ho hum” We see an amazing thing and our hearts are barely touched.

If you want to see wondrous things, if you want to see wondrous things in the Word, you need to take time to be alone with God. An hour a week is not enough. Your enthusiasm for the Power of God wil be indirect relation to the time you spend alone with Him.

God looks on our heart, and yet we spend so little time letting Him work on our heart. We need time to tremble before God, to cry before God. But while ” man looketh on the outward appearance the Lord looketh on the heart.” Psalms 90:8 (NLT) “You spread out our sins before you— our secret sins—and you see them all.”

In order to Cross the Jordan and go into the Rest, the Promised Land-God wants you to take time to set yourselves apart and unto Him, to always keep your eyes on Him and His Word, and to Bring your family with you! Be involved with their lives and teach them how to always Keep God in view.

What Miracles Have You Seen?

Has God ever woke you up when you’ve drifted off at the wheel, just in time to prevent you from running into the back of the vehicle in front of you?  That’s providence.  But if you didn’t wake up, and God lifted your car over the one you were about to hit, that would be a miracle.  Both are plausible, and I know, I’ve experienced both.

JOSHUA HAS THEM STACK STONES AS A MONUMENT

Joshua 4:1-6 (NKJV) And it came to pass, when all the people had completely crossed over the Jordan, that the Lord spoke to Joshua, saying: “Take for yourselves twelve men from the people, one man from every tribe, and command them, saying, ‘Take for yourselves twelve stones from here, out of the midst of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet stood firm. You shall carry them over with you and leave them in the lodging place where you lodge tonight.’ ” Then Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from the children of Israel, one man from every tribe; and Joshua said to them: “Cross over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and each one of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’…21″When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, ‘What are these stones?’ 22 then you shall let your children know, saying, ‘Israel crossed over this Jordan on dry land’; 23 for the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed over, 24 that all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.”

What are these StonesWHAT MONUMENTS HAVE YOU BUILT? WHAT DOES THE ROCK MEAN TO YOU? DO YOU HAVE STONES WORTH REMEMBERING?

I had a stone wall fall down. And I decided to repair it myself. Didn’t do it very well, and in fact I’m embarrassed to show the after picture. I did it in my own strength with limited abilities. God allows us to stack eternal stones of lasting value and influence, when we allow Him to do the work. That is what the crossing of the Jordan represented. The world (Canaan) was not expecting this crossing. In fact they thought it too preposterous to even attempt. God specializes in the Impossible when we die to our own flesh and strength and say GOD YOU ARE! GOD YOU ARE ABLE! We must build our life on the Eternal Rock of Jesus Christ, so that we can build eternal monuments of God’s grace in our life!Our Stone Wall Fell Down

Is your life built upon the Rock? Do your children and grandchildren see you pray? Do they see you read your Bible? Do they ask you what Jesus means to you? Is there anything of eternal value that you will eave behind? What Stones are your stacking in your life? We need monuments in our homes and in our lives-testimonies of how God has worked. Something we can point to and tell our children about, tell our grandchildren about.

Stone Monument in IsraelWe really aren’t big on monuments, at least erecting them in our yard. So God has led me to leave each one of my children and grandchildren, a book of my thoughts toward them, and what I want to see happen in their life. I will give it to them after I die, unless the Lord tells me otherwise.

Joshua Restores Circumcision

Joshua 5:2-5 (NKJV) At that time the Lord said to Joshua, “Make flint knives for yourself, and circumcise the sons of Israel again the second time.” So Joshua made flint knives for himself, and circumcised the sons of Israel at the hill of the foreskins. And this is the reason why Joshua circumcised them: All the people who came out of Egypt who were males, all the men of war, had died in the wilderness on the way, after they had come out of Egypt. For all the people who came out had been circumcised, but all the people born in the wilderness, on the way as they came out of Egypt, had not been circumcised. Joshua 5:9-15 (NKJV) Then the Lord said to Joshua, “This day I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” Therefore the name of the place is called Gilgal to this day.

HAS THE REPROACH OF THE WORLD BEEN ROLLED AWAY FROM YOUR LIFE?

Flint Knives for CircumcisionCircumcision is a sign of separation unto God. It is an interesting and impressive thing that the new generation which had arisen in the wilderness had never been circumcised. The parents had neglected this command of God, and those parents had all died in the wilderness. This means that they had ignored the spiritual law of heart separation unto God, so what arises is this: there is no entering into the inheritance without a circumcised heart. The heart has to be wholly and utterly for the Lord. If that is not true, sooner or later there is going to be a tragedy in the Christian life.

Now the children of Israel camped in Gilgal, and kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight on the plains of Jericho. And they ate of the produce of the land on the day after the Passover, unleavened bread and parched grain, on the very same day. Then the manna ceased on the day after they had eaten the produce of the land; and the children of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate the food of the land of Canaan that year. And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand.

What would you think if you saw a man, who was a prince of the royal household and therefore an heir to all that that household inherited, in prison, with his clothes in rags, his food being doled out to him from time to time, never able to choose anything for himself, and without money or home of his own? What would you say? ‘What a shame!’ That would be a reproach to a prince, would it not? It would be a great shame upon such a person! Yet these children of a prince with God were in Egypt like that. No, princes ought never to be in a position like that! That was the reproach of Egypt, the shame of the whole situation. It is called the house of bondage, and no prince ought to be in that. As Christians we are children of the King. When we choose to be like the world, we are dressing as a pauper, clothed in filth. We are a shame to the Gospel of the King. There is only one way we can roll away the reproach of the world…

The Cross Must Come Before the Battle

Victory Belongs to the CrucifiedWe must realize that salvation means we are crucified with Christ. We must embrace the Cross-Life, the exchanged life, the life of Galatians 2:20. The life I am now living is not my own, but Christ is living through me!

The Israelites are now clean over Jordan, their hearts are circumcised, and now they are wholly for the Lord. They are totally following the Captian of the Hosts, led by Joshua, a type of the Holy Spirit. The reproach and the shame of the past are rolled away. They have encountered the Cross represented by the River Jordan!

What a glorious thing to have the reproach and shame of our past life all rolled away! Why are you not shouting ‘Hallelujah’? I think it is because you are listening to the word but are not having the spirit – or perhaps I should say that you are taking the word seriously. But our rightful place, dear friends, is where all the reproach of the past is rolled away. That is the place of the heirs of the inheritance.

THE CROSS AND THE INHERITANCE

This is the deeper, and inward meaning of the Cross, because the New Testament teaches us that the Cross is the place of spiritual circumcision. And this just says one great thing: only truly crucified Christians, and only a truly crucified Church can meet the enemy in the coming battle with any hope of victory. This entering into our inheritance is something which is withstood by all the principalities and powers. All these evil powers in the universe are set against one thing, that is, God having a people for Himself to whom He is going to give the Kingdom, when the kingdoms of the world become the kingdom of our God and His Christ. All the spiritual forces are so against that, they will fight to keep the people from coming out to the Lord, and if they cannot do that, they will work to keep them from going on. And if they cannot prevent them from going on, they will not give up the battle.

WHO ARE YOU FOLLOWING?

The Captain of the Lord's ArmyAnd Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “Are You for us or for our adversaries?” So He said, “No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?” Then the Commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.” And Joshua did so.

He is in that which stands wholly for God and with a people who are wholly the Lord’s and while they in holiness of life and purpose are all wholly for God, in that thing or that people He is Captain, and so we come under His Sovereign Headship, but there must come into this nothing of Man. The Holy Spirit is not going to recognise the flesh, and says, “No, I am not with a company of people as a people, but am only in and in control of that which is wholly the Lord’s.”

THE ISSUE IS NOT OF RECEIVING HELP FROM GOD, GOD WANTS US TO ACCEPT HIS TOTAL LEADERSHIP. THERE CAN NOT EVEN BE A SUBORDINATE ROLE. IT IS NOT GOD WITH ME, OR GOD NEEDS ME. IT IS GOD ALONE. I DO AS HE SAYS AND FOLLOW NO OTHERS.

The peril is that having begun in the Spirit, you might turn aside to make some compromise with Amalek, because of the hardness of the way, the greatness of the cost, by reason of the conflict and forgetting God’s word – “utterly destroy Amalek” (1 Samuel 15:3). “Walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit” (Rom. 8:4).

ARE YOU READY TO START FEASTING?

Veggie Tales Promised LandNow the children of Israel camped in Gilgal, and kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight on the plains of Jericho. And they ate of the produce of the land on the day after the Passover, unleavened bread and parched grain, on the very same day. Then the manna ceased on the day after they had eaten the produce of the land; and the children of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate the food of the land of Canaan that year. The Veggie Tales expressed what was happening in a little song called “The Promised Land”

Percy: We didn’t have a lot of fun in the desert We didn’t have a lot of fun in the sand

Tom: But saddle up your cow

Percy: And fall behind us now

All: Because we’re goin’ to the Promised Land!

Jimmy: For years I’ve eat nothing but manna A dish that is filling, but bland

Jerry: But now we’re on our way

Pa Grape: I’ll have a cheese souffle

All: Because we’re goin’ to the Promised Land! And in the Promised Land, it’s gonna be so grand We’ll have our fill from the grill, As much as we can stand It’ll be so great, oh we can hardly wait ‘Cause we’re goin’ to the Promised Land!

Scooter: The dining was lousy with Moses But we’ll be feasting with Josh in command!

Jimmy: I’d like a taco, please And some pintos and cheese

All: Because we’re goin’ to the Promised Land! And in the Promised Land, it’s gonna be so grand! We’ll have our fill from the grill, As much as we can stand! It’ll be so great, oh we can hardly wait ‘Cause we’re goin’ to the Promised Land! And in the Promised Land, it’s gonna be so grand! We’ll have our fill from the grill, As much as we can stand! It’ll be so great

Jimmy: With waffles on my plate!

All: ‘Cause we’re goin’ to the Promised Land!

Pa Grape: I hear it’s flowing with milk and honey

Jimmy: Sounds sticky!

All: ‘Cause we’re goin’ to the Promised Land! Yeah, we’re goin’ to the Promised Land! ‘Cause we’re goin’ to the Promised Land!—–

That may be a trite little ditty but there’s quite an element of truth in it.  Because if we are going to claim the promised land of Canaan we’re gonna have to change our diet and start feeding on God’s Word.  It’s a feast God has set before us but we go all week without it, acting like we’re not really hungry.  This feast will produce what God is seeking: the Lord is after getting us inwardly resting in HIMSELF. Unrest, anxiety, is ever the ground of defeat. Uncertainty about the Lord brings weakness and defeat; the Lord sets great value on BELIEVING GOD – faith in GOD. But that Faith comes by Feasting on the Word of God!

VICTORY

Canaan Land of Milk and HoneyCanaan pictures the victorious Christian life.  It means you are no longer a slave to habits and sinful thinking and ways of life.  Not perfect, but in the midst of a major make over!  It’s a place of joy, not necessarily happiness at all times.  But walking with God and trusting Him in all things, not like some Christians who walk around looking like they were baptized in pickle juice! Sure, we all have rivers of difficulty in our way.  But don’t let those rivers keep you from your land of opportunity.  You know in your heart God has more for you in life, and you are right!

What’s your river?  Doubt?  Fear?  Discouragement?  Distraction?  God commands you to cross that river and good news:  He’ll make a way!

  • Got any rivers that seem uncross able?
  • Got any mountains you can’t tunnel through?
  • God specializes in things thought impossible
  • And He knows a thousand ways to make a way for you!

The Man in Glory

There’s a Man in Glory Whose Life is for me–Triumphant and free. He’s wise and He’s loving, Tender is He; And His Life in Glory, My life must be. There’s a Man in the Glory Whose Life is for me, He overcame Satan; From bondage He’s free. In life He is reigning, Kingly is He;And His Life in the Glory My life must be. There’s a Man in Glory Whose Life is for me, In Him is no sorrow; No weakness has He. He’s strong and in vigor; Buoyant is He; And His Life in the Glory; My life may be. There’s a Man in Glory Whose Life is for me, His peace is abiding; Patient is He. He’s joyful and radiant, Expecting to see His Life in Glory Lived out in me.

The Man of GloryAre You Ready to Step Out? Ready to Join the Man of Glory? Are You Ready to Stack Stones Worth Remembering?

Stones of money, career, house, car will not last. You won’t be rotting in your grave before your relatives will be fighting over them. What Eternal Stones of Glory will you leave your family? Do You have anything eternal in your life that your children will want to know about?Ready to Step Out and Stack Stones

Is your Life built upon the Rock, this Man of Glory? Are you following the Captain? Then take off your shoes, take off the flesh, take off all your worldly things, for you are standing on HOLY GROUND! God is seeking men and women willing to take that first step of faith, to die to self and step in the raging water. God is seeking those who desire to Stack Stones that will stand for all Eternity!


Joshu Lets Go Across the JordanIt is time to cross the Jordan River.

Reminds me of a couple of gals at their 40th High School Reunion. This was the first time they had seen each other in 40 years. The one gal asked the other, “You were always so organized in school, Did you manage to live a well planned life?” “Yes,” said her friend. “My first marriage was to a millionaire; my second marriage was to an actor; my third marriage was to a preacher; and now I’m married to an undertaker.” Her friend asked, “What do those marriages have to do with a well planned life?”

“One for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, and four to go.”

Well, it’s time to go. Let’s look at Joshua one this morning and we will find three important things from God’s Word:Challenge Confidence Conduct

  1. T he Challenge God Presents
  2. The Confidence God Provides
  3. The Conduct God Presumes

The Challenge God Presents

1:1 After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, it came to pass that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, saying: 2 “Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them–the children of Israel.

Crossing the River JordanIt is time to go through the Jordan River. The Israelites could not build a bridge. They could not go around. They had to go through the Jordan. The reason is because the Jordan River represents death. As we learned last week the entire purpose of the wilderness wanderings was to teach them that they had to put off the old man, the old flesh, and live by the power of God. Joshua in particular had to align himself with the Captain of the Hosts, He had to die to what he thought was best, and follow what God wanted to do. In that respect Joshua represents a man who has joined himself with the power of the Holy Spirit.

Challenge God Presents

Now it was time for the entire nation of Israel to claim the inheritance God was giving them. In order to do so they must die to the flesh, and their fleshly desires, and live according to God and His Word.

The Jordan River always represents Death in the Bible.

  • It feeds into the dead sea.
  • Lot spied the Jordan Valley and thought it was a Valley of Life. But actually it was the way of death.
  • (There is a way which seems right to man, but the ways thereof are the ways of death)
  • Elisha had to cross over the Jordan to get Elijah’s power
  • Elisha told Naaman to go to the Jordan and dip himself seven times in order to be cleansed of the Leprosy.
  • The axe head fell into the Jordan River and Elisha made it float with the tree.
  • John the Baptist baptized those who brought forth works meet for repentance in the Jordan.
  • Jesus was baptized in the Jordan.
  • Baptism is a picture of death to self and rising to new life.

In order to live in the promised land, in order to enter into God’s rest, in order to be born again and put on the new man, we all must cross over the Jordan River. We must die to self and sin and what we want and then rise to walk in newness of life, in the Power of the Holy Spirit.

Victory over the FleshThe challenge that God presents is that this inheritance, this rest can only be claimed by dying to the flesh, dying to what you want, and by living in the power of the Holy Spirit! The Jordan is a picture of the Cross. You always have to die by passing through Jordan to get to Canaan. The only way to be born again is to experience the Cross. When you are willing to die, then you are in the place where God raise you up and use you.

Joshua Is The Man United With The Holy Spirit

Joshua a man united with the Holy SpiritYou Must Be Willing to Die to the Flesh in order for God to Raise You Up and Use You to Claim the Inheritance.

  • Romans 8:8-9 “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you.
  • Romans 13:14 “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.”
  • 1 Corinthians 15:50 “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.”

The Mark of a Christian: No Confidence in the FleshNo Confidence in the Flesh

  • Philippians 3:3 “For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh”
  • James 4:10 “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.”
  • “When all the nation were clean passed over Jordan” God Spoke (Joshua 4:1)

The Confidence God Provides

Confidence God ProvidesWhen God presents a challenge to us, a challenge to die to what we want, and to live in His power, He always gives us the confidence of a promised victory! God provides us three-fold ammunition to assure us of victory:Promises, Presence, Past Performance

God’s Promises

  • Verse 2 I am going to give this land to you.
  • Verse 3 I will give you every place where you set your foot.
  • Verse 5 No one will be able to stand up against you.
  • Verse 6 You will lead these people to inherit the land.

The outcome was promised. They would be victorious over the enemy. They would claim the land that God had given them for an inheritance. No matter how long it took and no matter how many casualties were sustained the outcome was guaranteed – God promised. The full extent  of the inheritance was not realized until David and Solomon. But in God’s mind it had already been secured. God had promised this to Abraham (Gen 12) God had promised this to Moses (Deut 34:4) There was going to be no repetition of what happened at Kadesh Barnea (Num 13) Joshua 14:9 (ESV) And Moses swore on that day, saying, ‘Surely the land on which your foot has trodden shall be an inheritance for you and your children forever, because you have wholly followed the Lord my God.’ 1 Kings 8:56 (NKJV) “Blessed be the Lord, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised. There has not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised through His servant Moses.

In God, Joshua Can’t Fail, Because GOD CAN’T FAIL..

God Can't FailGod has given us a mission that can’t fail because he won’t. God had already given them the land; it was their responsibility now to step out by faith and claim it. Revelation 11:15 “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever.” You Have An Inheritance That Is SURE. All that we need is in Christ. We are seated with Him and Blessed in Him in the heavenlies. We have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ. He has made us to be more than conquerors. He is the author and perfector of our faith. What more do you need to know that you can live a victorious, joyful life, regardless of the circumstances.

You Have No Enemies That Can Defeat You.

No one can stand against you if you are claiming Christ’s Inheritance. We normally think of Satan when we think of enemies. Or maybe terrorists with masks and bombs. But for most of us the enemies that can defeat us are friends, family, gossip, money problems, discouragement, sickness, disease, circumstances. These are the enemies we encounter everyday. The saddest thing in God’s mind is a Christian who has let their heart be overcome by hatred for a fellow Christian or family member, or overcome with discouragement because of a financial setback, or become depressed because of a sickness or even the loss of a loved one. I guarantee you that even though most everyone in this church claims that Christ lives in your heart by faith, that there are some here who are living in defeat because of some situation that has defeated you either emotionally, physically, or psychologically. If Jesus Christ is in your heart, there is no such thing as living a defeated life. He reigns over every situation.

The only way to claim this confidence that God wants us to live in is by seeing Him who is invisible. There are rooms in our lives that we tend to block Jesus out of. We don’t let the Holy Spirit in. He stands at the door of that room and knocks. He says let me come in and show you the victory I have for your life. In 2 Corinthians 1:19-20 (NIV) we are told: For the Son of God, Jesus Christ…in him it has always been “Yes.” For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.” The promises of God are completed in Jesus Christ. He is the YES to all God has promised. When we live our lives in Jesus Christ, we are the AMEN to God’s promises. Our testimony shouts to the folks around us “AMEN to Jesus Christ!”

“O God, you promised, and I believe in your promise.  Please do what you have promised.”  That is praying according to the will of God.

God’s Presence

God's PresenceJoshua 1:5 “I will not leave you nor forsake you.” What a promise God gave to Joshua! “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you or forsake you” (Josh 1:5, NIV). God had given a similar promise to Jacob (Gen. 28:15), and Moses had repeated God’s promise to Joshua (Deut. 31:1-8). God has given this promise to His people today! The Gospel of Matthew opens with “Emmanuel…God with us” (1:23) and closes with Jesus saying, “Lo, I am with you always” (28:20 NKJV).

The writer of Hebrews 13:5 quotes Joshua 1:5 and applies it further. Hebrews 13:5-6 (NKJV) Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” to Christians today: “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (NKJV).

Covetousness and Confidence in God’s Presence

Jesus cant come where there is covetousnessHe relates confidence in God’s presence to lack of covetousness or fondness for money. Christians have come a long way since that moment when Joshua led the people across the Jordan. Our confidence is too often in our money our possessions. If you want God’s presence in your life, you confidence must be in Him alone. Many Christians have a real fondness for their possessions, their money. They watch it all the time. Here God was bringing Israel into a place where money was not going to do the job. It was an impossible task. God offered Joshua the promise of His presence, and in so doing, there can be no confidence in anything else!

Romans 8:31 says if God be for us, who can be against us? But if we be not for God, why should He battle for us. In fact, if our confidence is in our money, God says He will vomit us from His presence

Revelations 3:17 mentions this Laodicean church. The people were saying: ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. When our confidence is in our money, our things, when that is what we delight in, God withdraws from us, or at very best lies grieving in a basement closet of our life. We think we are blessed, but God says Here, Look in My Mirror-you are wretched, inwardly miserable, poor, blind and naked. Here, God was promising His presence to a scared insecure band of runaway slaves. They had nothing in which to be confident. All the Gold the Egyptians gave them was useless in the fight against the Giants of Canaan.

JESUS is with us NOW! But We Can Shut Him out of our Lives

That is the promise of Jesus to us that many of us ignore – And ignoring it is not so much a sin as it is sad. At the end of the letters to the churches in Revelation 3:20 (NLT) “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. Even though we are Christians, and the Holy Spirit indwells us, IT IS POSSIBLE TO SHUT JESUS OUT OF YOUR LIFE, AND NOT FEAST WITH HIM ON HIS WORD. We must repent of our fleshly confidence in our wealth and things and talents. These things make us indifferent to the Cause of Jesus Christ. Repent and open the door!

God’s Past Performance

Joshua 1:5 – Just  as I was with Moses, so  I will be with you.

Gods past performanceJoshua knew the history of God’s faithfulness to his people. He had heard how God had steadfastly worked in Abraham’s, Isaac’s, Jacob’s and Joseph’s lives.  He had heard the stories over and over again of God’s protection, God’s provision and God’s power on behalf of his people. As a very young man he had witnessed the miracles of the plagues in Egypt, the saving of the first-born Israelites from the angel of death, the miraculous crossing of the Red Sea, and the manna from the skies. God had proven himself faithful.

“Living victoriously is not your responsibility – it’s your response to God’s  ability!”

Those stories and countless others like them are our stories too. Yes you can be cynical and say that the good things of life are just coincidental. But if you believe in God and believe that he sent his Son Jesus for us, then it is illogical not to accept that “every good and perfect gift is from above” as James said it, and not to take courage that the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joshua is the same God who is faithful to me today.

Confidence in God comes from trust in His promises, His Presence and His Past performance.

God Gives Us The Challenge To Claim Something He Has Secured, God Gives Us The Confidence Of Victory Based Upon Unbeatable Ammunition, God Assumes We Will Abide By His Rules.

The Conduct that God Presumes

Joshua 1:6-9 (KJV) Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

Before God could fulfill His promises, however, Joshua had to exercise faith and “be strong and of good courage” (1:6).

Promises of God no pillowTHE PROMISES ARE NOT A PILLOW BUT A PROD

Divine sovereignty is not a substitute for human responsibility. God’s sovereign Word is an encouragement to God’s servants to believe God and obey His commands.

As Charles Spurgeon put it, Joshua “was not to use the promise as a couch upon which his indolence might luxuriate, but as a girdle wherewith to gird up his loins for future activity” (Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, vol. 14, p. 97).

Real trust involves action – God says if you trust me you will obey me.

  • Be Strong & Of Good Courage
  • Focus On Your Responsibility (You Affect The Others Inheritance)
  • Be Strong & Very Courageous.
  • Build Your Life Around The Word And Instructions Of God
  • Be Purposeful Obedience Will Bring GOOD Success.
  • He Mentioned It Twice – Emphasizing Keeping It In Your Mouth.
  • Be Strong And Of A Good Courage; Be Not Afraid, Neither Be Thou Dismayed
  • I Am With You Always.

God says if you are going to live a worthwhile life, if you are going to accomplish the mission I have given you then this is what you must do – know and obey my Word, make it YOUR LIFE!

Covenant RelationshipOUR COVENANT RELATIONSHIP

God was reminding Joshua of the foundational strategy of living a worthwhile life – live an intimate relationship with God in his Word. God doesn’t give Joshua military instructions at this point. Wouldn’t that have been what you would have wanted? God give me the military intelligence I need on the armies we must fight, give me the battle plan, give me the names of the men I should put in charge. But God says if you want success in your mission, here is what I am telling you to do – meditate on my Word so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.

Meditate on God’s Word.

  • When are we going to learn that there is LIFE in this Word. There is Healing Power in this word. You want strong bones – meditate on the Word. You want a Strong Heart – meditate on the Word. You want to know how to Battle enemies – meditate on the Word.
  • It’s one thing to say to a leader, “Be strong! Be very courageous!” and quite something else to enable him to do it. Joshua’s strength and courage would come from meditating on the Word of God, believing its promises, and obeying its precepts.
  • It isn’t enough to have the Bible on your coffee table or in your car or next to you at church. Take time to read it daily and make it a part of his inner person by meditating on it (Ps. 1:2);. The Hebrew word translated “meditate” means “to mutter.” It was the practice of the Jews to read Scripture aloud (Acts 8:26-40) and talk about it to themselves and to one another (Deut. 6:6-9). This explains why God warned Joshua that the Book of the Law was not to depart out of his mouth (Josh. 1:8).

“If you don’t talk to your Bible, your Bible isn’t likely to talk to you!”

The Word is Like the Covenant Feast

Word is our covenant feastThe modern ideal is individualism, self-interest, and self-centeredness. We glory in the philosophy that says, “I will do what I want to do, when and how I want to do it, and I don’t care what anyone else thinks.” But the moment we are converted, such life must come to an end, for as Christians we are called to live in covenant relationship with God and with each other. A covenant is an agreement between two or more persons; therefore, covenant life is community life, and a covenant person will seek, not his own interest, but that of the entire community. So a husband will look after the interests of his wife; parents will look after the interests of their children; and a believer in Christ will look after the interest of the whole community of believers of which he is a part.

Many who enter into a covenant-based life fail to live up to their promises and commitments to others. They become self-seekers instead. But the Bible detests such people. Instead, it praises those who keep their oaths even when it hurts (Psalm 15:4). Take, for example, Joshua’s agreement with the Gibeonites (Joshua 9). As inhabitants of Canaan, the Gibeonites were slated to be destroyed by the Israelites. But they deceived Joshua and the leaders into making a covenant of peace with them, and Joshua kept that covenant, even though it hurt him. Jesus Christ calls us all to live a covenant life, putting the interests of God and our fellow believers before our own.

WHERE ARE YOU IN YOUR JOURNEY?

Where Are You ChristianEach of us is on our own spiritual journey that will ultimately end in either Rest and Reward, or Punishment and Pain. I wish it were that easy. Good and Bad, Life or Death, Heaven or Hell, Black or White. But life is far from easy. In this life on earth we are usually in one of four places:

  • In Egypt, still in slavery to sin, and you need to be saved.
  • In the wilderness, redeemed, but going nowhere other than in circles.  Time of testing, dealing with the flesh, a time where the Holy Spirit is dealing with fleshly habits that keep you wandering. Been saved for years but you still aren’t really digging into your Bible, still not really praying, still not tithing consistently, still not making commitments to be faithful and to serve.  Been saved for years but never led a soul to Christ!  You’re not much closer to God than you were the day you got saved.
    • After leaving Egypt, the Israelites wandered in the wilderness for forty years due to their own unbelief and rebellion. An entire generation murmured against the covenant God had made with them and, as a result, they died in the desert. They did not enter into their inheritance of rest because of their disobedience.
  • In Canaan, excited, growing, having the joy of the Lord.  They’re not a wilderness wanderer, but a giant conqueror! You struggle with enemies, with the flesh, but you are in the Word, living your life and home in Jesus Christ. You are feasting on the Covenant Feast – the Word.
    • Enjoying Covenant Relationship
    • Marriage Relationship as the Bride of Christ
  • An “EASTSIDER” living on the dead side of Jordan. You are saved, but in the world, living for the flesh, for what you think is right. Occasionally you eat some of the milk and honey from the Lord. You cattle are well fed. You probably have money. But your family is falling apart, there is sin at the door. Satan is having a heyday stealing your inheritance.

Heb 4:1 Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. 2 For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. 3 For we who have believed do enter that rest.

Now the second generation were east of the Jordan River, ready to enter the land. They had already defeated Sihon king of Heshbon and Og king of Bashan (Deuteronomy 1:4), thus gaining possession of the territories of these two Amorite kings on the east side of the Jordan River, stretching from the Arnon River in the south to Mount Hermon in the north, beyond the Sea of Galilee. They controlled hundreds of cities of the Amorites, including such fertile lands as Bashan and Gilead. The Bible speaks about “the cows of Bashan,” meaning cows that are healthy and well-fed because of the fertile land. Numbers 32:1 and Deuteronomy 3:19 tell us that the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh possessed large numbers of livestock. So they approached Moses and the other leaders with this request: “Please do not make us cross the Jordan, but let us possess these fertile lands on the east side of Jordan” (Numbers 32:5). In this request, we can see their sinful rejection of the covenant obligations of community life. They were rejecting God’s plan and not living by faith. They were placing their own interests and that of their cattle over the interests of all the other tribes.

lot chooses Jordan ValleyJUST LIKE LOT: many centuries before. Genesis 13:10-11 tells us that “Lot looked up and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt . . . So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan.” Lot made his choice based on one reason – he owned many cattle. Lot based his decision on sight, not on faith.

Like Lot, these two and a half tribes were making their decision based, not on faith, but on selfish, material interests. They were refusing to cross over the Jordan, to die to their self and selfish wants. Jesus once warned his followers, “The pagans run after all these things” (Matthew 6:32). “These things” there means money, or material possessions. Pagans live for money, making decisions based on the possibility of making more money.

Moses was mad at their request. In anger he called them a “brood of sinners” (Numbers 32:14) and asked, “Shall your brothers go to war while you sit here?” (v. 6).

You see, they were not thinking about being brothers and part of the twelve-tribe community. They were only thinking about themselves. They did not want to cross the mighty Jordan to endanger themselves by fighting wars against the Canaanites. They wanted to enjoy the good life while the others fought on their behalf. In effect, they were saying, “Let the others cross the Jordan and fight the wars of the Lord. We just want to rest and take care of our livestock. We are sick and tired of wandering. We have no more stomach for battles.”

Just as these tribes rejected covenant community life in favor of a self-centered life, so there are believers who confess Jesus as Lord and take upon themselves covenant responsibilities, only to reject them. They refuse to cross over the Jordan, to die to self, to the flesh.

They Repented and Agreed to Fight

Numbers 32:16-19 tells us that these two and a half tribes repented of their sins and renewed their covenant. They entered into an agreement with Moses, Joshua, Eleazar, and other leaders which included these three promises:

  1. Their armed men would cross over the Jordan with their brothers;
  2. They would go ahead of everybody else as the vanguard to face the greatest danger of fighting; and
  3. They would not return to their homes until every Israelite had received his inheritance.

IN OUR COVENANT RELATIONSHIP, GOD KEEPS HIS PROMISES!

Yes, when God makes a promise, we can rely on it, for God is not a man that he should lie, nor does he ever change. “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ’Yes’ in Christ’” (2 Corinthians 1:20). He promised rest to all the tribes and he would keep that promise. But would the tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh fulfill what they had promised?

Consequences to not crossing the Jordan

Although these tribes ultimately repented, there were some consequences to their decision to obtain land on the east of the Jordan. The wives and children they left behind were deprived of the privilege of witnessing divine miracles – the parting of the Jordan River, the destruction of the walls of Jericho, and the many battles fought and won. And in later years, due to their great distance from the temple, these tribes came more and more under pagan influence, and were the first to go into captivity.

We Must Agree to Obey & Join the Battle

  • This is exactly what we mean when we say, “Jesus is Lord.” We are telling the greater Joshua: “Whatever you command, we will do, and wherever you send, we will go. If we do not do it, put us to death.” That is covenant language. Joshua was so pleased with these people that he gave them this certification in Joshua 22:2: “You have done all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded, and you have obeyed me in everything I commanded.”

Some people live under the mistaken notion that Jesus said, “A new commandment I give you: Love yourself.” But is that what he said? No, he said, “Love one another” (John 13:34). That is covenant life. In fact, Jesus said we must love one another “as I have loved you.” We do not even have the right to love the way we want to love. How did Jesus love us? By dying on the cross for our sins! Therefore, we too must lay down our lives for our brothers. This is serious community life. I hope we will not say, “Who is that person? I don’t have anything to do with him!” No, you have everything to do with that person because he has been saved by Christ and brought into the family of God. Jesus then said, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (v. 35).

East-siders’ settle for less than God’s best.  They may have marched the football all the way down the field, but they allow the devil’s goal line stand to keep them out.  With the promised land in sight, they give up and are shut down, just inches away from victory!

It’s easy for Christians to get into a ‘comfort zone’, and never reach the ‘end zone.’  They’re better off than they were in Egypt or the wilderness, and that’s good enough for them.  God’s best for their life is just a step away, but they don’t take that step, and cross the Jordan River.

“I may not be on fire for God but I’m not exactly living in sin, either!”

Ready to Join the Battle

The peril is that having begun in the Spirit, you might turn aside to make some compromise with Amalek, because of the hardness of the way, the greatness of the cost, by reason of the conflict and forgetting God’s word – “utterly destroy Amalek” (1 Samuel 15:3). “Walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit” (Rom. 8:4).

We settle for a peaceful coexistence with the flesh. God says to destroy Amalek.

People, it’s time to Roll. It’s time to Go.

Hebrews 6:1 (NLT) So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God.