ISRAEL: SECOND REPUBLIC … 66

​Lessons from the book of Joshua


Joshua 24:29 … after these things …

Any number of things could have killed Joshua: the many battles he fought in his youth under Moses and in his old age, the forty year trek in the desert that, at God’s instance, claimed the lives of all his contemporaries but Caleb, or his age plain and simple. However, Joshua did not die until after his task as the leader of the nation was complete.

The same was documented concerning David.

Act 13:36  For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers… 

Jesus said, 

John 10:17-18  Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.  No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. 

The Apostle Paul, although captive and in prison stated, after some thinking, that he would stay alive for the benefit of the church (Philippians 1:19-24) and he, indeed, did not die until he was sure his task was done.

2Timothy 4:6-7  For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished [my] course, I have kept the faith.

Even though his sentence was death by brutal beheading, that sentence was not carried out until Paul felt his task was done and he was ready.

I hold to these scripture that I cannot be killed and I will not die until my God-given life task is complete.

I must caution, though, that this is not a simple name it and claim it deal. To be able to live life with such a conviction and actually come to the point of physical death on your own terms is predicated upon knowing what course you have been given by the will and commandment of God and finishing it.

I make bold to make such a claim based on the word of God because, based on the word of God, I have found my life’s course. I have found God’s calling and purpose for my life and I am pursuing it with all my heart by the will of God. This is worth makes life worth living and death precious. 

Psalms 116:15  Precious [Heb: valuable, costly, excellent] in the sight of the LORD [is] the death of his saints. 

Exercise all diligence to find what God made you to accomplish and live your life for it; any other cause you fulfill amounts to nothing. If you live for nothing, you will die for nothing. Please, don’t die for nothing.

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ISRAEL: SECOND REPUBLIC … 65

LESSONS FROM THE BOOK OF JOSHUA

Joshua 24:26 – 27 – The Sword in the Stone

… Joshua wrote the words and set up a large stone …

The large stone had no information on it to let passers-by know why it was where it was. It was merely a silent witness to an event. However, to those who were present at the event or have been told about it, the stone meant a lot yet it still said nothing. It was present at an event whose story it was incapable of relating. The other player, the document, had all the information to the letter but was kept out of sight. If no one mentioned the script, it would lay quiet in storage but to make sure it was not forgotten, the large stone was left to stand and point to seekers that there was more truth for those who would go for it. The stone was purposeless without the script and the script was invisible without the stone. The script was kept out of sight but remained authoritatively final about everything, while the stone remained in plain sight providing rock solid evidence of what was invisible. The script and the stone: Two point documentation. 

By two witnesses or three, a matter is established as fact. (Matthew 18:16)

This is the testament of the empty tomb and the stone that was rolled away. There is a large stone standing to the side of that empty tomb that is a silent witness to an earth shaking event but it lacks the power of speech and cannot tell all the many pilgrims who throng it what it saw and how come it stands where it does. But it was there as it watched The Ultimate Script, the final authority on all that ever was and is and is to come, The Word Himself, rise from death and walk away. 

Funny thing is that stone cannot tell where The Word went. It didn’t witness the events after the tomb. But, thanks be to God, there were other stones there that morning who saw that the tomb was empty, and they saw the master again and again for forty days and they saw Him rise into the heavens. One of them happens to be named Stone (Peter, in case you didn’t know, means stone) but that’s not what made him suitable as a pointer to where Jesus is, it is the power to become witnesses that came on him and all the others that transformed them all into living stones with the power of speech and signs and wonders to boldly testify of the state and plans of The Living Word. 

I am beginning to think it was not for fun that he was surnamed Stone, and I suspect our humorous God did it deliberately, and it is interesting that it was Peter who thus wrote:

1Pe 2:3-5  If so be ye have tasted [and can testify] that the Lord [is] gracious. To whom coming, [as unto] a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, [and] precious,  Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 

1Pe 2:9  But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 

We also today walking around as living stones have a purpose for being out in the open and visible for all to see. 

2Corinthians 3:2-3  Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: [Forasmuch as ye are] manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. 

But unlike the stone Joshua raised or the one at the empty tomb, we have the power of speech and so much more.

Act 1:8  But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me.

So, even God used the two point documentation of the Script and the stones in keeping his love and salvation through Jesus ever available for those who seek Him. 

It makes sense then that as a leader, two point documentation of our intentions, actions and as well as the reactions of our team be documented no matter how many persons were present to hear what you said, time will gradually fade it down till the message is lost. I guess that’s why photos are taken at the signing of major documents such as treaties and alliances and so on. The aim is to keep a clear message and record available for those who would come later so they would know what happened. Like someone said, if you blink in the dark, you know what you’re doing but no one else does. Let there be light!

ISRAEL: SECOND REPUBLIC … 64

​LESSONS FROM THE BOOK OF JOSHUA

Joshua 24:16 – 24 … and the people said…



The thought comes to mind of the importance of feedback. Hearing what the people say is hearing what they understand. It is easy to give a one sided speech of personal conviction and assume the audience understood it and adopted it as their own.

I read somewhere (can’t remember) that the thoughts are the final frontier of privacy. Until people speak, you never can tell what they have in their minds.

As a leader, telling people what to do based on what you believe is important but there is no way to gauge their response or how much they’ve bought into your vision for the group until you have the opportunity to hear what they have to say about what you said. Asking for a response is one way to go but evoking a response was the tactic Joshua employed. He made his stand known and dropped the rest at their feet … they had to respond and by responding, they not only spoke what was on their minds but they took ownership of their relationship with God.

A few other examples come to mind of such interactions.

Matthew 27:24-25  When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but [that] rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed [his] hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye [to it]. Then answered all the people, and said, His blood [be] on us, and on our children. 
Acts 2:36-37  Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard [this], they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men [and] brethren, what shall we do? 
In the former, the people, amongst whom were the priests of the day, took ownership of crucifying Jesus and thus fulfilled scriptures in willingly sacrificing the lamb of God for the sins of the Jews first. In the former, the same crowd of people of the same town willingly repented of sin and accepted Jesus as their savior and took the salvation gospel with them to the various places in the world from whence they had come.

It was when they spoke up that Pilate knew there was no chance of saving Jesus and it was when they spoke up that Peter knew they were ready to be saved. Before now, I have always asked, “Do you understand?” I think I will make a habit of following up with “What do you understand?” … when I have the privildge to do so anyway, because many times, it may not be feasible without wrecking the program. But perhaps, creating a channel for feedback that people can always use is one practical way forward.

ISRAEL: SECOND REPUBLIC … 63

​LESSONS FROM THE BOOK OF JOSHUA
Joshua 24:15 … as for me and my house … 

Joshua’s most popular saying revealed his strength and, at the same time, his flaw. He knew all he was and ever achieved was a product of serving God but he could not persuade all of Israel to follow God, only his own house.

One of my pastors said to me, “When left to themselves, people don’t get better, they get worse”. And I am sure you will agree that you have never studied books as much as when you had an exam to pass even when you knew you would never need the course content once you graduated.

The bible puts it this way, 

Where there is no vision, the people decay: but he that keepeth the Lawe, is blessed. (Geneva Bible)  

 A nation without God’s guidance is a nation without order. Happy are those who keep God’s law! (Good News Bible)

Without guidance from God law and order disappear, but God blesses everyone who obeys his Law. (Contemporary English Version)

Nothing keeps people in order and in check like a common goal or vision and the only thing I know that keeps people united more than a common goal is a common enemy. And once that common objective is fulfilled or removed and everyone left to himself, people don’t evolve, they devolve and every apparent alliance breaks down and some of the members even turn on themselves. Some of the changes happening in our world point to this as a fact.

So, rather than lay down the law for his people to stick to the Lord like Moses had done to him, Joshua left everyone to choose for themselves and guess what happened. 

Judges 17:6  In those days [there was] no king in Israel, [but] every man did [that which was] right in his own eyes. 

What was left after Joshua died was chaos. The fact that the people experienced first-hand victories, which showed the superiority of the God of Israel over the sacked gods of the conquered nations (vs 15b) did not have the effect in keeping the loyalty of the people with the Lord like Joshua thought it would; after all, seeing is believing, right? I mean, who doubts what he has seen with his own eyes. But in spite of all the facts, the people turned away every chance they got.

When you have a chance to lead any team, bear in mind that your personal example is not enough to indicate what you have in mind. Actions do speak louder than words but they are more prone to misinterpretation. Take the time to bind them together with a clear and compelling vision. That way, even when you’re not looking, at least a good number of them would keep the team moving in the right direction.

It takes more than personal integrity to lead any group of people, whether they are a small corporate team or a giant nation.
Joshua 24: 31, Judges 2:7-13

ISRAEL: SECOND REPUBLIC … PT 62

Lessons from the Book of Joshua

Joshua 24:13 … multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac … 

Okay, as I was saying before I got sidetracked by a side note, I never saw this before but thank God I see it now and more importantly, thank God for the lesson I learned from it.
I, perhaps you too, used to think that because the manifestation of the promises of God was Isaac first then the vast nation of Israel, occupation of the promised land and, even further, the numberless children of faith … I used to think that was the order in which God made the promises to Abraham and that they manifested for us to see in that order because that was the order in which the Patriarch believed and thus received them; but boy, that is sooo incorrect … so incorrect. Believe me, I had to read through the journey of Abraham’s faith again to be sure.

Here is the correct sequence of things. 

Genesis 12:3b … in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. 

This refers to Jesus Christ who was born through Abraham’s bloodline and by whom, through faith, all families of the earth are saved and connected back to eternal life. Abraham must have believed God because he moved at God’s invitation.

Next, 

Genesis 13:15 For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. 

God promised Abraham the land he was then looking at and Abraham must have believed because, once again, he moved through the land at God’s invitation.

Then, 

Genesis 15:4 … he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. 

Both Abraham and Sarah concluded that it referred only to Abraham having a child and so they made their own move which, not surprisingly, yielded quick results. Our way always seems quicker because we always have to wait on the Lord with faith and patience for His own promises to deliver in His own way. 

So, God cleared things up, washed Abraham’s eyes with a second touch when he said, 

Genesis 17:16  And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be [a mother] of nations; kings of people shall be of her. 

Genesis 17:17 Then Abraham fell upon hisface, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall [a child] be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? 
This was the first time some components of the promises God had been making dawned on Abraham because he fell down laughing. We often give Sarah a tough rap for laughing but Abraham fell over in laughter. 
Anyway, later God showed up and washed Sarah’s eyes a second time with his promise and she laughed because it was the first time she considered it was still possible.

Genesis 18:12  Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have [sexual] pleasure, my lord being old also? And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? 

Well, she and her husband eventually got along with God’s program within a space ofthree months. I say three months because a year from that day, Isaac was born.

So that was the sequence of promises made and promises believed. However, in the sequence of manifestation of those promises was in the opposite order. Isaac was born, then his people multiplied, then they occupied the land and now, all the nations of the earth have been blessed through the spiritual seed, Jesus Christ, and the number of Christians alive on earth and in heaven is as the sands that cover the earth.

The lessons I have thus learnt include the following:

First lesson: Once one has believed, truly believed God’s promise and word over a particular thing, it has come into reality already at that same moment, even if it is not yet visible. The fact that God respects the flow and process of time doesn’t mean the receiver has not believed God. 

The invisibility of a thing does not take away from its reality except for those who do not have the first of the six senses we have called faith and quite often, even those who do live by faith may not see this invisible thing because they were not involved in that transaction with God that the primary receiver was. Therefore, no one can believe God for you like you; stop waiting for a faith club to determine what you can or cannot receive from God. And on the other hand, don’t try to claim to be in faith like someone else is when you have not received the word that that person has received. You can’t copy faith. 

Second lesson: I have often said that doubt is impossible without faith. If we know what faith truly is, then we would realize how true that statement is. Faith is born once a man has believed what God said, as we have seen in the foregoing; we know that now. Well, I also know that it is the typical way of the devil to come with a doubt sowing concept after a faith growing word has been received. 

See, if I may share on the devil briefly, I have to point out that that Satan is not an originator or creator of anything; nothing ever starts with him; he is merely a twister, corrupter and thief of what already existed. Quite often, he steps in close to the beginning of the origin of a thing and corrupts it so that with the passage of a little time, one is persuaded by history that things have always been that particular way. But only God knows how things were in the beginning. That’s why Jesus could say “In the beginning, it was not so.” (Matthew 9:18b). 

For example, the devil tempted Eve based on what she had previously heard and received as an instruction from God. Prior to receiving that instruction, there was no temptation. In the same way, it was after the declaration, by God, that Jesus was His much beloved son that Satan came around to ask Jesus to “turn these stones to bread if you are the sonof God”. 

So, every time we receive a word from God, Satan comes around to harass us and most times we don’t realize what he is after. His coming is always … always after we have received a word and his objective is to either snatch up that word before we understand it (steal), cause us to get offended over the stand the word makes us take (kill) or render it unproductive by many and varied distractions (destroy). Please read the Parable Of The Sower in Mark 4:14-20 and you will see that every negative thing that happened came after the incidence of the word and came specifically against the heart that the word was sown in. He cannot come against the word and survive, he knows that but he can come against us for the sake of the word. Why does he do this? 

1Timothy 1:18-19  This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck

It is because that very specific word we received, the Rhema, is what we needed at that particular time to conquer the difficult situation he would rather we remain in. His aim is for us to drop that weapon so he can knock us out. But if we hold on to that same word, we will, with it, knock him out.
Now, back to Abraham. If we apply what we have just discussed, we will see that the reason some of Abraham’s problems arose was that he started believing God. Once he did, he got tempted.  Examples?

Genesis 12:7-10  And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him. And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, [having] Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD.  And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the south.  And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine [was] grievous in the land. 

How come there was famine only in the land God promised to give to Abram?
Genesis 15:3-6 And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.  And, behold, the word of the LORD [came] unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.  And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.  And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness. 

And what happened next?Genesis 16:2-4  And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife. And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes. 

The point is faith attracts doubt because the devil must come to try that faith; you can’t have a test of faith unless there is a faith to be tested. The fact that you are going through a hard time right now on the way to your promised land does not mean you have no faith; you’re simply being tested. If however, you examined yourself to see whether you’re still in the faith and you found out that you’ve exchanged the faith from God for the doubt from the devil, then thepresence of the doubt proves there once was faith; make the switch. You can get back to the faith building Rhema again … like you first believed, and if you’re having problems finding that faith again, get back to where you got that Rhema from – the presence of God.

Third lesson: God always helps our journey of faith with tokens of the covenant He has made with us in the form of some promise manifestly fulfilled. We refer to them as testimonies of God’s faithfulness and such testimonies seriously came in handy for Sarah. (Hebrews 11:11)

The birth of Isaac was a token ahead of the coming multiplied seed who would inherit the land, birth the savior and bless the earth.

Looking at it all, God set the big picture before his man, Abraham … a grand view of a grand scheme of a pursuit that was more than life long – a sort of long term goal. But then, he followed up with things that would benefit the man directly and then his immediate descendants – a sort of short and intermediate term set of goals. This way, while the man worked to fulfill the grand design, he didn’t forget what was in it for him personally and anytime his focus drifted to focusing on his personal benefit, it didn’t hurt the big picture because his personal benefit was part and parcel of the big picture and fulfilling his personal dreams assured him that the big picture was as real to God as his own dreams of having a son was real to him.

So, whether in terms of nation building or leading a smaller group of people, the lesson for you, and I, is that you learn how to set your big picture of the grand design and vision before the people from the onset. But then you must realize that it is equally important to make your people see what’s in the big picture for them; help them see that their big dreams are integral to the grand design and, that way, they can get to work either from the point of view of fulfilling a grand design while they fulfill their hopes along the way or they draw their motivation from pursuing their own goals within the larger design realizing that as their goals get met, the grand design is being fulfilled at the same time. 

Very importantly too, make sure you generate results along the way to serve as tokens of promises yet to be fulfilled to maintain the confidence of your people in the existing arrangement.

And if you happen to be a team member, find how your personal goals in life help drive the corporate objective or the other way around and you will never lack drive and job fulfillment.

ISRAEL: SECOND REPUBLIC … PT 61

Lessons from the Book of Joshua

​Joshua 24:13 … multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac … Prelude

This study of the book of Joshua has been really humbling for me; you’d think because you’ve read the whole bible a few times you know it all but then you read it again and you think, “How come I missed this before now?” I have said a few times that the eyes cannot see what the mind does not recognize. I believe that the more we study the word of God, the more of it we understand and the more we understand the more we see when we study through the next time around. It’s like the previous time washes your eyes to see clearer to see better next time you come through. This is part of what the bible means by renewing of the mind and the washing of water by the word.

Interesting … a particular miracle of Jesus comes to mind of a certain blind man whom Jesus healed. This particular one needed to be touched a second time because after the first time, he was seeing men as trees. Things got cleared up after the second touch. 

Sometimes, we think we understand things completely only to find that, if we sincerely assess ourselves, our understanding might have been incomplete. The unfortunate part of this is that we often go about pushing our assumptions as beliefs to be relied on without question and sadder yet is that someone who looks up to us would accept our partially clear view as the visions of God.

As I write this, I remember a portion of a hymn I used to sing along with others in primary school days on the assembly ground:
Day by day, dear Lord, 

                For these three things I pray:

To see thee more clearly,

Love thee more dearly,

Follow thee more nearly,

Day by day.
I think we all, teachers and students alike, would do well to emulate the Christians in Berea, in the days of the Apostle Paul, who went to do their own word to study, to establish as doctrine for personal daily application or to refute as errors, the things they heard Paul teach.

1Thessalonians 5:21  Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 

Furthermore, those of us who are seen to be teachers should always endeavour to establish what we put out there is based on the scriptures and scriptures alone. It’s so much easier to just take on public opinions and think of a way to biblically justify or counter them. Ensuring that the interpretation of scriptures by scriptures is what leads us to whatever insight we have gained is the way to keep our sight clear. 

1Timothy 4:13-16 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee. 

Wow! This was meant to be a side note or like an introduction to what I was to document today but it has evolved into a full length note of its own. It’s a “PS” that’s not so “PS” anymore. I’ll have to save what I meant to write on the specific verse for later.

ISRAEL: SECOND REPUBLIC … PT 60

Lessons from the Book of Joshua

Joshua 24: … your father … 

In his final documented speech to the nation, Joshua as God’s spokesman, retraced the steps of the nation and not just that of the current generation. He went all the way to Terah and then to Abraham, the one to whom the promise was made and told the story all the way to the present. 

This impacts me in a number of ways.

First, by doing so, he made his particular audience realize that they were part of a legacy of the faith of their father Abraham and that the promises they saw fulfilled weren’t just made to them but were actually a product of a covenant with someone long dead and buried… but one very much alive. 

This gives a sense of grandeur to the whole deal of settling in the land of promise. It makes them realize that this is more than just finally escaping the desert alive rather it is a culmination of legacy. It made them feel they were a priviledged people for being part of something that great.

Secondly, it highlights the fact that whether we are alive on the earth to see it or not, God is faithful to keep his promises. There they were, finally in a land they’d heard of all their lives and grew up looking forward to claiming and it’s quite easy to think it was merely the dogged determination and the ambition of the people that was finding fulfillment. But in truth, this was the fulfillment of a promise that was at least 600 years old.

So my take home is that every time I seek to motivate people to move forward, I should take the time to help them look backwards to that which gave birth to all of the current activities so they would realize that they were part of something great … something great that is based on someone who’s great and can be counted on to keep His promises.

1Thessaloninas 5:24  Faithful [is] he that calleth you, who also will do [it].