Posts Tagged ‘joshua’

“Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us. Do not fear them.” Numbers 14:9

breadRemember Joshua?

To him, the giants of life were more than obstacles to overcome, they were nourishment for spiritual growth. That narrow path we walk is not a place free of trials and hardship, but rather a place of refinement where adversities are but fuel for our sanctification.

Truly our giants are bread for us!

And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger ; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst . John 6:35

Of course it was Jesus who said that He is the bread of life — we are sustained eternally when we feed on Him and His word. It could also be rightly said that when our lives are submitted to Christ, we are positioned to be nourished by everything that comes down the pike, be it good or evil. The adage is true: in Jesus everything is either a bless’n or a lesson.

But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Genesis 50:20

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But one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead… Philippians 3:13

In chapter 13 of the Book of Numbers, twelve spies were sent to spy-out the Promised Land and were ordered to bring back a report. Two men brought back a favorable report and ten men turned in a negative one. Now as quick as you can (and without looking in your Bible), name the ten men who brought back a negative report.

You Can’t

You can’t do it, can you. Nobody I know can, but rest assured they’re all recorded in the Bible. Funny how the only names we remember are Joshua and Caleb.  The fact that we know theirs and not the others is in itself a witness to what Paul is declaring here in his letter to the Philippians: focus on the positive and forget the negative.

Even Jesus reminds us in Luke 9:62:

“No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Jesus isn’t saying that those who dwell in the past or focus on the negative will not enter the kingdom of God, but is saying that we’re not fit. In other words, we are out of shape, and not in the best spiritual condition that we could be if we were looking and moving forward. This Spiritual weakness is the byproduct of dwelling upon the negative, while spiritual muscle is promoted as we move forward in Christ. Of course this verse also speaks to those who yearn for the sinful things they’ve left behind to follow Jesus. These folks are a selfish lot, double-minded and unstable in all their ways.

Where is Your Focus?

There is one good thing we can glean from the ten spies — they serve as an example of what not to do. Rather than moving in faith, they succumb to fear and the report they turned-in reflected their spiritual condition: they lost touch with their God of provision and promise. We can all relate to this condition, can’t we. The solution is found in confession and repentance: admitting to Jesus our failure(s) and turning again to Him and away from our offenses.  It’s not necessarily a matter of starting from scratch, but getting up where you have fallen and moving forward in the will of Christ Jesus.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

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Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

An Email, an Open Door and Disobedience

Less than forty eight hours after the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti, I received an email from my daughter’s principal at Calvary Christian School—he and others from the church were going to Haiti. They were looking for donations, not volunteers, but I figured it never hurts to ask—so feeling led by the Holy Spirit, I did.

He responded promptly and advised me that the decision was not his, but one of the elders from the church. He gave me the number and I quickly called. I was told I could go if I could get an airline ticket—he added that there was little chance of that happening because of the crisis—the airlines to the Dominican Republic (the only way into Haiti) were sold out. I hung up the phone and immediately began searching for a flight. Almost instantly I found a flight and saved it while I called him back.

“I have a flight!” I told him.

My First Mistake

As I told him my good news, I sensed in the tone of his voice that he rather I did not go. He didn’t say I couldn’t go, it was just the impression I received. Led by my emotions (and not the Spirit), I asked him what were his thoughts on my going. He convinced me to wait for one week when another team would be going. It pained me, but it seemed to make sense—I had essentially talked my way out of going.

After the longest week I ever endured, the news came that I could not be a part of the next team—it was going to be all medical and pastorial. It was then I was nearly certain I should not have bailed on the previous opportunity—God opened a door and I slammed it shut. I was then told I would be on the following week’s team. The only problem was that team-two came back with a negative report–apparently there were giants in the land.

I questioned their faith, but the Lord quickly convicted my heart, “Where is your faith David?” He asked.

Spiritually I struggled. Was God telling me to step-out in faith like the priests who placed the soles of their feet in the raging Jordan River before God heaped up its waters or was I to patiently wait on the Lord as the psalmist proclaimed. I discerned from the Lord I was to go to Haiti by faith, but alas, my counselors were advising me otherwise. Honestly, it was agonizing.

Another Door

From the very beginning of these events, a friend of mine gave me a name, an email, and phone number for a young, Christian, Haitian man living in Port Au Prince. It sat on my desk for 3 weeks before I called him. At first he too was hesitant, but I convinced him that I was responding to what the Lord had placed into my heart–all I asked of him was a safe place to lay my head at night. He indicated he was willing to provide this, so I ordered my non-refundable airline tickets.

A Hiccup

Twenty four hours before I was to leave for Haiti, I emailed, I telephoned, and I Facebooked my new Haitian friend with my flight and bus information. No response.

“Now what?” I asked of the Lord

And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you. Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Luke 12:29-32

I sensed the Lord was telling me now what He was telling me all along—to just go to Haiti as a willing vessel and He would provide all that I needed. This time I was determined to obey and in so doing would confirm one of two things: I was hearing the Lord speaking clearly to my heart ~or~ I was totally misinterpretating what I was hearing.

God Reveals Himself

“Lord, once in Haiti I will be completely powerless; I present myself to You to be used as You see fit,” was the prayer I repeated over and over on the plane to the DR. I continually looked over the comforting Bible verse my friend Ruth gave me an hour before I left for the airport:

Every place on which the sole of your foot treads shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the River Euphrates, even to the Western Sea, shall be your territory. No man shall be able to stand against you; the Lord your God will put the dread of you and the fear of you upon all the land where you tread, just as He has said to you Deuteronomy 11:24-25

I exited the plane in Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic and went to retrieve the 130 pounds of supplies I had brought along—friends had donated over $2,000 with which I was able to purchase twenty tents. These were stuffed into three duffle bags along with medical supplies and tooth brushes that were also donated. It was midnight in the DR and my plan was to sit in the airport till daylight and take a taxi to the bus for the ten hour trip to Port Au Prince. There was still no response from my Haitian-host-to-be.

The first thing the Lord provided was a free luggage cart. I loaded it up and went to find a seat. Outside of the luggage carousel area I sat in the fast-food dining area. I cradled my head in hands and was prepared to wait the six of seven hours until sun up. As I offered some praises to the Lord for bringing me safely this far, I was approached by a young lady.

“Do you need a ride?” the she asked.

It’s not what you think; this young lady was holding a YWAM sign and had been searching arrivals for the folks who had signed on to serve with that ministry. In reality, she initially thought I was one of those people. I explained to her that I wasn’t and was waiting for morning to take the bus. She said they had a bus packed and ready to go to Port Au Prince now—and I could go if I wanted to. Is our God amazing or what!

I loaded my gear onto the bus and we headed back to the YWAM base camp in Santo Domingo. As it turned out, the bus in question would not be going to Port Au Prince after all, but to St. Mark for a medical mission. Not to worry I was told, there were two men at the base camp who were going to Port Au Prince.

Sugi and Somi

The YWAM leader introduced me to my ride, “This is Sugi and Somi, and they’re going to Port Au Prince. They can take you where you are going.”

Both Sugi and Somi were Indonesian pastors living in California and Texas (respectively) and they were serving with a ministry called World Harvest. I told them about my situation and it was agreed that if I could not make contact with my host in Haiti, I could join forces with them to minister to the needs of the Haitian people.

The Lord was proving Himself over and over.

I tossed my supplies into their rented van and we set out for the ten hour journey to Port Au Prince. Sugi and Somi had made arrangements to stay with another ministry and we followed behind their bus. When we finally crossed the border, I discovered that my phone which was supposed to work in Haiti didn’t. I was now unable to make contact with my host. Sugi and Somi were stuck with me, but I see now this was the Lord’s plan all along—to just step out in faith and He would provide all my needs.

The Lord blessed me beyond what I or anyone deserves and in turn we were able to be blessing vessels for Him to the Haitian people. I had traveled to Haiti before and I confess on that trip I was scared, but this trip was different. I felt safe and secure in the loving arms of my gracious and merciful Father. Even when swarmed by masses of people trying to possess the water or food we were distributing, I always felt His protection around me.

Continually through this journey, the Lord demonstrated His faithfulness and I can tell you that I came away from Haiti feeling more blessed than the people we came to be a blessing too–I am always amazed by the Lord’s multi-tasking abilities. Everyone I met on this trip was of the same mind and opinion; Americans and Haitians alike. God is better than anyone deserves and we need to share that truth with everyone we know or meet.

Post Script

As a body of believers, we (I) need to be more sensitive to what the Lord through His Holy Spirit is trying to accomplish through our brothers and sisters in Christ. While it is true that common (worldly) sense dictates going to Haiti without much of a game plan is foolishness, it is only irrational if the Lord hasn’t directed you to do so. Sadly, in light of the Lord’s obvious and enduring hand upon the entire journey, I suspect there will likely be Christians who will still assert I should not have gone.

I cannot help but be reminded of the twelve spies Moses sent to spy out the Promised Land. Ten of them recorded a fearful report of giants in the land, but two of them, Joshua and Caleb, proclaimed these words…

Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us. Numbers 14:9

Every giant that the world lays before us has the potential to be spiritual nourishment to our bodies—these giants; any giants are akin to Wonder Bread for the Christian who is led by the Holy Spirit–they are our bread. Let me not be the one to quench the Holy Ghost in my spiritual walk or the walk of anyone else ever again, Amen.

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And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (And Israel said,) …“We also will serve the Lord, for He is our God.”…But Joshua said to the people, “You cannot serve the Lord…” Joshua 24:15, 18b, 19a

An Emotional High

Joshua is one hundred and ten years old and he is about to die, but before he does, he gives his farewell address to the nation of Israel—likely one of the most powerful speeches ever given in recorded history.

“…Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

I can almost hear the people cheering and countering back, “We will serve God!” over and over again.

What happens next is surprising. Joshua does not say, “That’s what I’m talking about people—give me an amen!” but rather stifles the crown with a stern admonishment.

“You cannot serve the Lord…”


Joshua knew that the worshiping of false idols was going on behind closed doors and that these Jews were merely emotionally pumped up by his commanding speech. He also knew that there eyes were blind to what they were doing and what they were now saying. Yes, they were fired up for the One true and Living God, but they secretly maintained idols falsely believing it was acceptable to the Lord.

How Could This Be

And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts, and put before them that which causes them to stumble into iniquity. Should I let Myself be inquired of at all by them? Therefore speak to them, and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Everyone of the house of Israel who sets up his idols in his heart, and puts before him what causes him to stumble into iniquity, and then comes to the prophet, I the Lord will answer him who comes, according to the multitude of his idols… Ezekiel 14:2-4

What the Lord spoke to Ezekiel (and apparently Joshua too), is that when a person harbors a false idol, He does not entertain their prayers. So while these people might have proclaimed, “But God has given me a peace about it,” the Lord is saying, “That’s not me talking, that’s their idol talking.

That Should Give Us Pause

When was the last time we said, “But God has given me a peace about what I watch on TV,’ or the ‘indulgence of alcohol,’ or ‘my sexual preferences,’ ” or whatever.

God is saying, “That is not Me. I would never give you a peace about those things.”

This is the error of Israel (in that day) and it is often our error today. It didn’t last very long, but nevertheless, Israel repented and put away their false idols. We must do the same.

Next time you utter, “God has given me a peace…” about something, consider who might be doing the talking.

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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…Then Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel: “Sun, stand still over Gibeon; And Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.” Joshua 10:8-9, 12

First Things First

Joshua made a mistake. In the last chapter, Israel, after being deceived by their enemy, made a covenant with the Gibeonites. Discovering the deception, Joshua put his mistake to work. Oh he kept his vow as the Lord requires every vow-maker to do, but he made his error his slave; the Gibeonites would forever be servants of the Tabernacle as fetchers of wood and water.

God recognized the mistake too, but He chose to honor Joshua’s commitment–blessings would rise form the ashes of a bad decision. What our Father did with Joshua and Israel, He does with us as well—we have the same assurance from God that our errors can work towards some good thing despite the fact that we might not see it initially.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

In the text today, Joshua provides for us a four-part outline illustrating dynamic Christian faith in action. His example awards us the four basic components of spirited faith; one that bestows honor, glory, and praise to the faith Giver.

He Believed

It really can’t get any less basic than that. God told Joshua, “Do not fear them, for I have delivered (the enemy) into your hand.” Joshua took God at His word. He heard the word and he believed the word he heard. Do you believe God’s word?

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17

He Gave His Best Effort

The passage does not imply that Joshua performed perfectly, but strongly suggests he worked as quickly and as efficiently as he could to do God’s will, “Marching all night,” until the first leg of the task was completed. God did not tell him to do that, Joshua chose to do that. The fact of the matter is that the work was finished, just like Christ’s work was finished on the cross. Remember, God said, “I have delivered,” the enemy. In willing obedience, Joshua took it upon himself to complete the mission as best he could.

Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. James 2:17

He Called on the Lord

Joshua takes nothing for granted, probably learning that lesson from his bitter defeat at Ai. We aren’t privy to their conversation, but the passage hints that they must have been discussing some pretty powerful stuff. Contextually speaking, we know that it would have been impossible for Joshua to do what was done without God’s direct support, authority, and power.

…Without Me you can do nothing. John 15:5b

He Acted Boldly

Joshua could not have made the proclamation he made if a) he did not believe, b), he had not been working out his faith, and c) wasn’t checking in with the Father periodically. The kind of boldness Joshua displayed can only be manifest when the first three elements of our faith are in place. That’s not to say a person can’t ever speak boldly, but without God’s power and authority, that person operates in his flesh alone.

It’s sad to say that many Christians, having accomplished the first three steps, arrive at this same place, but shy away from the opportunity to take the wonderful leap. Why? Plain and simple: fear—the very opposite of faith. While it is true we have the ability to put our faith on the shelf, we often forget that by that same faith we have the power of God to destroy trepidation. Our Lord is gracious and merciful and He will let us wallow in this condition if we so choose—our salvation is not in jeopardy. But then again, someone might say to you and I, “Why buy a car if you’re never going to drive it?”

…And for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel… Ephesians 6:19

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So those in ambush arose quickly out of their place; they ran as soon as he had stretched out his hand, and they entered the city and took it, and hurried to set the city on fire. And when the men of Ai looked behind them, they saw, and behold, the smoke of the city ascended to heaven. So they had no power to flee this way or that way, and the people who had fled to the wilderness turned back on the pursuers. Joshua 8:19-20

A Quick Recap

In Joshua chapter seven, Joshua acted carnally, grieving and quenching the Holy Spirit, when in his flesh, he went out against the people of Ai without consulting the Lord. As a result he was handed a bitter defeat. This time around (in chapter eight), Joshua is obedient to the Lord’s directives and is given a sweet victory. The reversal serves to remind us that when the Lord is grieved, He is not angry at us, but yearns to express His compassion towards us. Our God is the God of enumerable opportunity!

A Picture of Jesus

I wanted to camp on this particular passage because it illustrates for us [again] how Joshua is a picture [or type] of Jesus Christ—a prophetic glimpse of our Lord and Savior. The verse talks about the enemy, in this case the people of Ai, becoming powerless when they thought Joshua had been beaten down and defeated. As it turns out they were the conquered ones.

It reminds me of how satan and his demons were similarly immobilized; believing for a short moment they had defeated Jesus. However, their powerless condition and hopeless destiny were realized three days later when they discovered no grave could restrain our King. Like the people of Ai, the sensation of helplessness was warranted.

A Picture of Us

For a righteous man may fall seven times And rise again, But the wicked shall fall by calamity. Proverbs 24:16

It is a promise from God that in this life there will be tribulation. At the onset of these trials, the enemy and our detractors will look upon us and most assuredly delight in our sufferings. What they fail to realize is that these things serve to refine a believer, not defeat him. Predictably, witnessing us rise to our feet by the hand of Jesus causes them to crumple. It often seems as if the enemy has forgotten that their authority was stripped away two thousand years ago on Calvary. When we stand for Jesus our enemy calls to mind his helpless condition and relives his defeat. On the other hand if you want to make satan smile, stay down when you stumble.

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Then Joshua charged them at that time, saying, “Cursed be the man before the Lord who rises up and builds this city Jericho; he shall lay its foundation with his firstborn, and with his youngest he shall set up its gates.” Joshua 6:26

Our Father is in the demolition business; that is to say He takes pleasure in tearing down the corrupt walls in our lives. It’s one of the countless miracles God lovingly executes for His children. There are likely scores of individuals reading this who can testify how the Lord appeared with His divine wrecking ball after having made petitions to Him to raze an obstacle or eradicate an addiction. In that light, it stands to reason that it would be foolishness to rebuild that which the Lord has demolished, but yet we often do.

In the text today, God through Joshua gives us a warning, “Do this foolish thing and someone’s gonna die,” (paraphrase mine). And in case anyone thought God was kidding, He would later give us an example in First Kings through a man named Hiel.

In his days Hiel of Bethel built Jericho. He laid its foundation with Abiram his firstborn, and with his youngest son Segub he set up its gates, according to the word of the Lord, which He had spoken through Joshua the son of Nun. 1 Kings 16:34

Hiel dismissed God’s warning and as a result paid a hefty price. At this point let no man say this is a case of a loving God acting harshly, but rather [say] this is a case of an intelligent man acting recklessly. When we set out to rebuild that which the Lord has destroyed, someone or something is going to die.

It’s my own testimony (without exposing all the minutiae), that a long successful career was killed. Additionally, I have known many others who have lost family (both figuratively and literally) and in some cases, their own lives—all because they restored the walls that God had removed. I suspect that you can either relate or know someone who can.

God’s position is deadly serious—when He acts to eliminate a barrier, we would be best served to not re-establish it. Experience is without any doubt the best teacher, but our Father in Heaven would remind us that it doesn’t have to be our experience.

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And those twelve stones which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up in Gilgal. Then he spoke to the children of Israel, saying: “When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, ‘What are these stones?’ then you shall let your children know, saying, ‘Israel crossed over this Jordan on dry land’; 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, 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.” Joshua 4:20-24

The crossing of the Jordan River was a historical event for Israel, but more significantly it is a picture of a faithful footstep towards the Spirit-filled life. It is a divine illustration of being baptized in the Holy Spirit and receiving God’s power to do Godly service. Therefore, our Spirit-filled life is for His glory, not ours. If this is true (and it is), how can we tell if we have received this Holy Spirit anointing? Is it just about prophesying and speaking in tongues? I submit to you that those things are merely components of the true sign.

What it the True Sign?

It’s all in the stones. In the biblical account we see that the Lord mandated twelve stones be taken out of the riverbed as a memorial. Not one stone, but many linked together; not finished, but unrefined. And where did they come from—the extreme bottom. Hopefully you can plainly see that those river-rocks point to us; once at the bottom, but now pulled out and set aside for an abundant life in Christ Jesus and for Christ Jesus.

…You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:5

But Rocks Don’t Talk

These rocks do! Every time a child looked at them, their inquisitive minds would prompt them to ask, “Yo pops, what’s up with all those rocks,” to which dad would reply, “Let me tell you about that rock pile son.”

These stones of remembrance were contact points knit together for the purpose of triggering testimony. Is that not what the Spirit-filled church (aka: Body of Christ) is designed to be? Did God not divide turbulent waters to bring us upon solid ground where we might stand as living memorials to His greatness? He most certainly did!

So How Do You Know?

Sure, you’re saved, but how do you know if you have received this baptism of the Holy Spirit? I suggest that you ponder the fundamental elements of these four Bible passages:

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me… Acts 1:8

Do we speak in tongues, prophesy, or heal? That’s wonderful, but to whose glory do we do these things and for what purpose? Does all our steam go towards tooting the whistle or propelling the engine? If these things draw attention to us rather than Jesus, then chances we have a filling of another type.

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 1 Corinthians 13:1

Where is the love? We can do tremendous things in His name, but if we swap-out love for any other attitude, emotion, or passion, then our efforts are nothing more then annoyances. Frankly, where there is no love there is no sating of the Spirit.

“Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 1 Corinthians 11:24b

Do we operate in remembrance of Him or ourselves? Is our witness a brag-a-mony of our worldly exploits or a testimony of the One who saved us from our sin? Those who have been baptized in the Holy Spirit have the power to turn the spotlight off self and onto Jesus.

By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35

Here’s the bottom line on Spiritual baptism: are you a loving witness for Jesus Christ. That’s it in a nutshell. How do you become a loving witness baptized in the Holy Spirit? I would start by asking.

And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. John 14:13

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And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, that the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off, the waters that come down from upstream, and they shall stand as a heap.” So it was…that the waters which came down from upstream stood still, and rose in a heap very far away at Adam, the city that is beside Zaretan. Joshua 3:13 + 16

The Sermon You May Have Heard

Many a sermon has been written on Joshua 3:13, spotlighting the issue of stepping out in faith so that God’s power might be revealed. The doctrine is rightly supported upon the fact that the waters of the (then) mighty Jordan River were divinely split after the priests stepped into the torrent flood waters. It takes faith to act in such a manner and any teaching in that regard is certainly a valid one. Conversely, it stands to reason that to not plunk your sole (or soul) into the water is to be dry in the most spiritual sense of the word. If you are spiritually dry, you might further consider obediently diving into these uncharted waters.

Take notice that those who endorse the seeing-is-believing position typically don’t trust what they observe, but those who ascribe to the believing-is-seeing principle often get to witness that which they believe. Belief is made manifest in Holy Spirit-guided action and revelation is the byproduct of active faith.

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6

The Sermon You May Not Have Heard

I am intrigued by the understated significance of verse sixteen; the waters of the Jordan River were heaped up at a far away placed called Adam, beside the city called Zaretan. We know from the opening text that the Israelites stood on the shores of the Jordan River at Acacia Grove (aka Shittim). That puts Zaretan about nineteen miles upstream.

Why is that significant?

It’s meaningful because it clearly demonstrates how our Father in Heaven is working historically behind the scenes to make things happen in anticipation of our being obedient at a future time. So while it’s true God heaped up the waters as the priests dipped their tootsies in the water, it’s truer still that God acted beforehand having foreknowledge of their faithfulness. In other words, if that water was moving along at ten miles per hour, God stopped the river’s flow two hours before the first toe hit the water, but to those priests the miracle was seemingly instantaneous. The passage reminds us that while we may be fearful to step out in faith before the Lord provides a sign, that very signal may have already been given– it just hasn’t caught up to us yet. Turn away and it may never be seen.

God’s Timing is Perfect

In order for this miracle to be perfectly revealed, God’s timing and foreknowledge had to be faultless. What if the priests were faithless; what if by disobedience their timing was off? We can only imagine how the scenario would have played out—maybe the nation of Israel would have been turned back around to spend another forty years in the wilderness—we just don’t know. That alone should give every believer pause.

Has the Holy Spirit ever nudged you to do something and you delayed in doing it or chose to ignore Him completely?

“Go pray for that person,” God asks, but you linger.

“Sing that praise song I have laid on your heart,” He says, but you wait for someone else to start.

Speak to Me in that sacred tongue,” but you outright refuse.

Have you ever wondered about the miracle laying upstream; the one that was revealed to another because your timing was off or not at all because you emphatically rejected the urgings of the Holy Spirit? Please know that God still does miracles and consistently reveals them to those who walk by faith. If your walk is dry it’s likely because you have not dipped your feet in the stream.

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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. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses.” Joshua 1:2-3

It’s a Done-Deal

The Promised Land that God is referring to is approximately three hundred thousand square miles—a region about the size of Texas. God had effectively said this was a done-deal–it’s yours, just enter in and possess it. However, the most Israel has ever taken possession of was thirty-thousand square miles and that was during King Solomon’s reign. That’s about one tenth of what God desired to give them. The other ninety percent is still available.

What Does That Mean to Me?

The focus of today’s blog is not going to revolve around the territory modern-day Israel is due, but rather on how this passage is applicable to every Christian today. In other words, ‘What has God promised me and what, if anything, have I taken possession of?”

First Things First

We need to know that these Old Testament stories are much more then records of ancient history. They are in fact prophetic illustrations of that which would ultimately come in and through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Every single New Testament principle has an Old Testament picture that exemplifies it. So while the Book of Joshua is a precise account of Joshua taking Israel into the Promised Land, it most accurately depicts the born-again believer crossing over and taking possession of the Spirit-filled life. How do we know this to be true? Consider this passage from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians:

Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. Now these things became our examples… 1 Corinthians 10:1-7a

The word example in the text is ‘tupos’ in the Greek which is where we get our word type. Here Paul uses it to mean a person or thing prefiguring a future person or thing.

“Don’t be ignorant of these things,” Paul is saying, “these Old Testament stories are types of things which have come to be in Christ Jesus.

So it is true Israel was held captive in Egypt, but Egypt is a picture of our bondage to sin. Its true God raised-up Moses as a deliverer, but he was a picture (or type) of our Deliverer Jesus. Its true Israel crossed through the Red Sea, but it was an illustration of the outward sign of water baptism. And its true Israel received water from a rock in the desert, but that Rock is a picture of Jesus Christ and the living water only He can provide.

The Second Baptism

The Promised Land spoken of in the Old Testament is not a picture of Heaven, but the spirit-filled life available to every believer here on earth. Therefore, the crossing of the Jordan River into the Promised Land is a picture of becoming baptized in the Holy Spirit and receiving the Spirit-filled life that God has promised us. By His Spirit and for His pleasure, God has much for us. The question that remains is whether or not we have taken possession of these things for His honor, glory, and praise.

I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly John 10:10b

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