ISRAEL: SECOND REPUBLIC …PT 45

Lessons from the book of Joshua

Double Checking

Joshua 3

Joshua 22: 13-14 – Double Checking

… to go to war … they spoke with them …

These guys were already set for war; they had gathered the troops and collected weapons, all they needed were the orders to march and they would go over and mow down the target. But for some reason, they chose to open the communications channel and try to dialogue. Thankfully, they were able to discover that there was no need to attack their own people; what they initially thought was treasonous turned out to be a covenant aimed at binding the two settlements of the one nation together.

Many times, we find ourselves at odds with other people and we declare war and launch our attack but make the mistake of not verifying that what we have been told was said and done with malicious intent against us is actually fact and not some misrepresentation based on the reporter’s misunderstanding of what he saw and heard.

Many times, when a person lays a complaint, it’s usually with so much passion that one could get swept away believing as fact what the complainant has presented. Hearing one side of the story should never be enough to draw a conclusion and pass judgment even if this one side is coming from someone you trust.

Proverbs 18:17 The first speech in a court case is always convincing- until the cross-examination starts! (MESSAGE)

 

I have found that if we take out time to find out “the what and the why” from the other person’s point of view, things can, more often than not, be resolved amicably and a stronger bond of understanding and trust can be forged.

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ISRAEL: SECOND REPUBLIC …PT 44

Lessons from the book of Joshua

The Church and The State

Joshua 3

Joshua 22: 13-14 – The Church and The State

… the priest … and with him ten rulers…

There was an obvious threat to the nation. The threat was a religious threat. But the leadership of the day sent both the religious delegate and the political delegates. The “church” and the “state” were one team, I think even one government.

It seems clear that when Christ shall return, He being God will be worshipped as God but he would also rule on the earth like any other political ruler. In His government, the church and state will be one.

If one were to connect the dot of Joshua’s government to Jesus’ government, I think it would have been one nice line of inter-dependence, interrelationship, and inter everything between the heart of people and their daily affairs.

But alas, in our quest for self-realization, we seem to always seek to remove the source of what we have. We forget our point of origin as we travel farther and farther into uncharted regions. We don’t know where we are going and we have disconnected from home.

When Israel demanded a king, it hurt the Prophet Samuel and God was displeased as well. Separating the influence of the church from the affairs of state was a mistake God didn’t want his people to make, not at that time and not in this time, but it seems for a long time coming, mankind has always been bent on removing God from society.

There is hope though, because there are those of us to whom The Lord God is both God and King; He owns our hearts and directs our affairs. We are the first fruit of the new creation, the samples of how things will be when the new heaven and earth are finally created and man is returned to where he was originally intended to be.

ISRAEL: SECOND REPUBLIC …PT 43

Lessons from the book of Joshua

Joshua 3

Joshua 22: 9 – Superset

… the land of their possession which they had obtained according to the word of the Lord by the hand of Moses.

The land of promise, of which they had heard spoken of since birth, was before them finally and it was a matter of laying claim to it and possessing it but it is obvious they still had to wait for the Lord to tell them who is to possess what. It wasn’t an arbitrary free-for-all grab what-you-can business. There was an order to the process and it was God’s order albeit it by the mouth of Moses, the prophet of God.

I can’t say why but this line of scripture reminds me of another

Philippians4:13  I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.

I think it’s because of some similarities in the two situations; I can do all things but I still have to wait for Christ because He’s the one who will provide the strength. So it’s not an arbitrary free-for-all grab what-you-can do-whatever-you-want affair, I still have to wait for marching orders on what exactly I am to do and it has to be God’s orders.

I think the first part of the thought indicates that nothing is impossible for me so that whatever task I am asked to perform will meet with a ready confidence in me that “I can do this” and the second part deals with the power source, the logic source and the ethics source. Meaning, I can do all things and I need God’s power to get it done but what’s the reason for doing this and should I do it at all right now?

An outrageous example is that I can’t create my own heaven and earth and my own Adam and Eve and become my own God, can I?

I can do all things but there is a limit to what I should do and a way that I must do it. This reminds me of universal set and subsets: there is a whole all-encompassing world of possibilities and opportunities out there, not all have been apportioned to me but, of course, if I am involved in combinations and intersections with God and other people of God, I will have access to it all.

That is how the nation of Israel possessed the land of promise … that is how the body of Christ can possess the world.

Interestingly, I don’t feel limited by this understanding but rather I feel guided and supported.

Mark 10:27, John 15: 5

ISRAEL: SECOND REPUBLIC …PT 42

Lessons from the book of Joshua

Joshua 22:5 – Love Works

Joshua 3

But take careful heed to do the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of
The Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to keep His commandments, to hold fast to Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul.

 

Joshua reminded the people of what was most important, to love the Lord.

But loving the Lord is not some vague notion or feeling; it translates into certain actions and philosophies. It means to do things His way, to do what He says, to be devoted to Him even in the heart.

Many times, we meet people who say they love God but when we look at their lives, it is tough to believe that they know what they are talking about. Granted, our relationship with God is not based on external actions or works and we are quick to point that out when challenged on occasions when our actions do not seem to conform to what is expected of one who claims to have a relationship with God but I can’t help notice the pattern in scriptures that our love for God always demands that we show it.

Matthew 7:20  Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

John 14:15  If ye love me, keep my commandments.

John 14:21  He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

Joh 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

For Paul to have confidently said “follow me as I follow Christ”, it must have meant there were physically visible things he was doing that could be emulated, unless we would want to suggest that the early church Apostle expected us to read his mind. If faith without corresponding action is dead, then love makes a similar demand of us.

 

John 15:10, 1 John 5:3, 1 John 4:19-21, 1 John 3:14, I Corinthians 11:1

ISRAEL: SECOND REPUBLIC … PT 41

Lessons from the book of Joshua

Joshua 22:5 – Re-empowering

Joshua 3

But take careful heed to do the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of
The Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to keep His commandments, to hold fast to Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul.

Interesting.

At this point, I don’t know for how long the people Joshua was addressing had been following their brethren around as a matter of commitment to the commandment of The Lord, risking life and limb to fight along their brothers in selfless service to see their brothers established in their ordained places of rest (22:2-3) but at the end of their service, here is Joshua reminding them to be committed to obeying the commandment of The Lord.

Quite often in talking with people, there are things we feel are unnecessary to mention especially when it is apparent that the person is already aware of them and is already doing them. Sometimes, however, it is merely an assumption that the person should know them. But whether our assumption is right or wrong, Joshua sets an example here to remind people, as the need arises, of what we know they already know.

Remind good people to continue to do good, remind husbands to love their wives, remind wives to respect their husbands, remind mothers to take care of their children, remind Christians to be light, remind saints to be holy. All these seem redundant but apparently “repetition is the law of lasting impression” is a steady rule of thumb for Joshua and other characters in the bible. I guess this is why we have things like constitutions and rule books in our society; to remind us of what we already know.

I’ve been tempted before to ignore a certain sermon once I heard the topic and got a drift of where the preacher was headed simply because I’d been there and done that but I learned with time that listening again means your heart is still open to further advancement even on a subject you’re already very familiar with. It also serves as a security in that it reminds you of what you may have forgotten cos nobody knows what he has forgotten until he is reminded of it.

“Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.”

 

“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.”

If knowledge is power, then I guess reminding myself of what I know, even if it seems like stating the obvious, is re-empowering myself.

When you get the chance to teach people, don’t assume they know what you know.

Philippians 3:1, 2 Peter 1:12-13, Jude 1:5, Hebrews 2:1

ISRAEL: SECOND REPUBLIC … PT 40

Lessons from the book of Joshua

Joshua 22:4 – When Credit Is Not Due

Joshua 3

…The Lord has given rest to your brethren…

 

“Are you serious right now, Joshua? Was it not we who left our families and property on the other side of the Jordan to come over here and fight alongside our brethren who gave them the rest? I didn’t see THE LOOOORD swing a sword even once…did you see The Lord in the battle, Joshua? ‘cos I sure didn’t see Him.”

 

That could have been someone’s reaction to that statement Joshua made that day. But there is no record that anyone did. In all of his farewell address to these people, Joshua didn’t thank them instead he acknowledged their obedience to the instruction or commandment of God to serve their brethren.

 

These guys risked life and limb and all they get is something like “The mission is over, get your share of the spoils and go home and don’t forget to honour the constitution.” It reminds me of “Well done, good and faithful servant”. There was no thank you.

 

Isn’t that insensitive? Isn’t that ingratitude?

 

Most times when we “serve” people, we expect them to thank us and when they don’t, we feel unappreciated. Many times, especially in church settings where everything is voluntary, in our service to God, we expect the church leadership to recognize our efforts, celebrate us, thank us and make us feel like they depend on us.

 

All that is nice and good for them to do. Leaders are taught to encourage their followers and appreciate their efforts. It’s only fair, and besides, it makes them more productive. But what happens when they don’t? And worse, what if they describe our devotion and commitment and the extra miles we have gone as “our job” and so it’s nothing special. And even worse yet, what if they ascribe our work to someone else and credit that person for it? Generally, we’ll blow a fuse!

 

But these guys leave us an example which is that they recognized that in all their service, it was God who was working through them. They probably realized that the victories they had were not because of their skills in battle but rather because God was with them. They didn’t feel they were owed a debt of gratitude, they were merely serving.

 

“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”

 

Many times, in the course of our business, this is a major cause of friction and stress. I challenge you to step up to this challenge and do your job, execute your tasks and carry out your duties from a point of view that you are being used by God to do those things, whether in church or not. See yourself as a tool in the hand of God for bringing rest to someone else and I am sure you will hear in your heart, “well done, good and faithful servant”. Job satisfaction will not be too far away.

 

Luke 17:7-10, Philippians 2:13-14

ISRAEL: SECOND REPUBLIC … PT 39

Joshua 21:45 – Bespoke

Joshua 3

…the good thing which The Lord had spoken

 

God always speaks a word of good. All He intends is good for us. He is always good and speaks nothing other than good.

 

God brought to pass all the good He had spoken. It is quite common for us to expect God to bring to pass the good which we have assumed. Some things are clearly already spoken in the scriptures which apply in general to everyone who believes the word of God however there are unique situations that require a unique and personal word to be spoken to us by God in order for us to know what to ask Him for, believe Him for and fully expect Him to bring to pass. It requires praying and sometimes fasting to get a clear picture of the particular good God wants to do to us in many situations but most of us don’t take the time to discern this. We would rather just claim the generic thing which may not even apply to our current circumstance.

Look at the example of Joshua in the process of sacking Jericho. It was in the place of prayer that he was able to capture the plan of God to procure victory. (see Joshua 5:13 – 6:5)

 

Another thing is that God brought to pass the word of good He spoke to Israel. He didn’t bring to pass, for Israel, the good He spoke to any other nation but only the good that He spoke to Israel. At times, we might hear of some great vision or dream that someone has and we are captivated but then we make the mistake of desiring the same thing thinking that if God could give someone such a cool dream, He would do the same for us.

 

God’s plans for each one of us vary as our identities vary. Take the time to find out God’s good and cool plan for your own life and then hold Him to it. He won’t fail.

ISRAEL: SECOND REPUBLIC … PT 38

Lessons from the book of Joshua

Joshua 21:11-12 – High Road Meets High Ground

Joshua 3

Hebron … Caleb

 

Caleb had conquered the mountain of Hebron when everyone else was afraid to go there and it became his prize but when the time came for the tribe of priests to be given portions, the people gave Hebron to the priests. Caleb did not object or protest; perhaps he was proud to give the best of what he had to the servants of God … perhaps.

 

But quite clearly, Hebron was a mountain and being a high ground, it was more defensible in war. (Joshua 14:6-15) It occurred to me then that God’s people gave God’s servants the best defense they had.

I think we, God’s people today, should learn to do the same.

ISRAEL: SECOND REPUBLIC … PT 37

Lessons from the book of Joshua

Joshua 21:1-3 – Sir! Yes Sir!

Joshua 3

…And the children of Israel gave unto the Levites out of their inheritance, at the commandment of the LORD …

The Levites were not allotted any portion of the Promised Land as a tribe like the other tribes were because that was what God instructed. Instead, God instructed that they receive their portion of the land “scattered in Israel” (Genesis 49: 5-7).

And then the time came for them to receive their portion but it was not automatically given to them. They had to ask for it, possibly demand for it, because it was their right. And it was given to them without protests for no other reason other than that it was as God had commanded.

Many believe today that tithes, offerings, sowing of financial seed, prophets offerings, and so on, are antiquated and the need for them are nullified by the coming of Jesus, the Christ.

I call to mind some scriptures. 1 Corinthians 9:1-14, Galatians 6: 6, Hebrews 7:8.

The fact that some use and abuse the “commandment of the Lord” to compel people to give to them does not make giving wrong, antiquated or invalid for the new testament saint. The motive behind the preaching could be wrong, but I can live above that and find the right motive to give and be blessed for doing as the Lord commands.

Philippians 1:18  What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.

 

If a “servant of God” decides to go rogue, that’s between him and his master. I will do as my master commands (Romans 14: 4a, 2 Corinthians 5: 9-10).