2077- TAKING THE LAND
Today we move along in our overview of the bible- and we get to the fulfillment of one of the promises God made to Abraham.
The taking of the promised land- Canaan.
We see the story in the book of Joshua- the people have spent 40 years in the wilderness- and they arrive at the river Jordan- getting ready to pass over into the land.
An interesting ‘door’ opens- God once gain does a miracle- like the parting of the Red sea.
The priests who were carrying the Ark of the covenant [This in itself deserves an entire post- the Ark and the meaning of the Tabernacle of Moses- but I have covered it lots in the past so I decided to skip it] step into the Jordan river- the water stops flowing- and the people pass over.
After the people pass thru- the priests come up out of the river- and the water flows again.
Now- the first city they take is Jericho- they send 2 spies into the city- a prostitute named Rahab hides the spies- and they make a deal with her.
When they come back later to take the city- she and those in her house will be spared.
In Hebrews 11 Rahab is considered a ‘hero’ of the faith- she is part of the genealogy of Christ himself- and yet was a harlot.
God’s mercy is great.
The Israelites march around the city for seven days- on the 7th day they march around the city 7 times- blow the trumpets and shout- the walls fall and they take the city with ease.
The next city is small- Ai- so they send about 3 thousand troops to take it- they fail miserably.
Joshua faces his first real test- he falls to the ground and says ‘why did you let this happen- we should have stayed on the other side of Jordan’ [sounds like the Israelites when they said ‘we should have stayed in Egypt’].
God tells Joshua that they failed to take Ai because there was ‘sin in the camp’.
When they took Jericho- they had to ‘dedicate’ the booty to God- they were not supposed to take any treasure for themselves.
But Achan- one of the men- broke the rule and hid some stuff in his tent.
So- they ‘stone’ Achan- and the take Ai.
Eventually they take city by city- I like the imagery of the Ark preceding the territorial taking of the land.
When the children of Israel were in the wilderness 40 years- the Tabernacle of Moses and the Ark were the central part of the mobile community.
The tribes camped around the Ark- when God said ‘time to move’ they ‘un-pitched’ the tent- and off they went.
This is a type of Christ [he is the Word of God- the Ark was a box that held the Word of God- the 10 commandments- it was a type of Gods glory in the midst of the camp].
So- as the people take the Promise Land- this Ark plays a vital role- they are taking the land for the glory of God.
Jesus was the living Ark- and the 12 disciples- like the 12 tribes ‘gathered around the Ark’- see?
The name Joshua means ‘The Lord saves- gives victory’.
The Greek translation is Jesus.
Joshua was a type/symbol of Christ- who brings us into the Promised Land- presence of God.
He is the leader of the Lords army.
Right when Joshua was entering the land- he saw a commander with a sword.
He asks ‘who are you- are you for us or for our enemies’.
The angel answers ‘neither- but as commander of the Lords army I have now come’.
What message did he tell Joshua?
‘Take off your shoes- for the place where you are now standing is Holy Ground’.
In chapter 20 we read about the cities of refuge- these were cities dedicated for the safety of those who killed a person unintentionally.
The person who committed the murder would flee to the city- he would take refuge from the avenger of blood [the relative of the one killed] and he would abide in the city- until the death of the high priest.
Then he would be allowed to go back to his own city- and live as a free man.
I like this- it is a type of Christ and how we find refuge in him.
We are all guilty [whether we know it or not- unintentionally] of the death of Christ.
He died for the sins of the whole world.
But- because of God’s grace- he has made provision for us- the church [people of God- community of God] is like a city of refuge.
We can ‘flee’ to this city- and find safety.
Jesus is called our high priest in the New Testament.
Because of the death of our high priest- we can now go out from the city of refuge [the church is a pace of safety but we are ambassadors of Christ- there comes a time when we are to move out of the safety- confines- of the city of refuge] and enter into the true inheritance we have in God.
In chapter 24 Joshua gives a good overview of what we have been teaching on these last few weeks.
He recounts the promise of God to Abraham- that he would multiply his seed [kids] and give him a land.
Joshua reminds the people that God did indeed fulfill this promise.
Thru out the book the most repeated exhortation to Joshua [and the people] is to be brave- don’t fear- have courage.
They are told- time and again- to obey the word/law of God.
If they are to finish the mission that God has given them- they must put away their false idols.
I hesitate to add his last part- but I think I will.
These last few months [year?] I have had good friends- good people- who though they have overcome substance abuse [like me] yet- they have mentioned that thru the working of the 12 step program- the part that deals with- well- sex.
That they were taught that when you do the sex inventory [if that’s what it’s called?] that God has given us a conscience [true] and that therefore whatever your conscience leads you to do- is permitted.
Sort of along the lines of ‘whatever is not of faith is sin’- Romans.
Now- this is not the first time this has come up and when my friends share this with me [one- who is living in what the bible refers to as adultery] I tell them that in this area- you need to obey what God says [not what ‘your conscience’ has told you!]
This is one aspect of the 12 step program- that frankly- can kill you [or send a person to hell- if I may be so open].
Now- scripture teaches that adultery [any sex outside of the God ordained plan- marriage] is right under the sin of murder.
That is- it is not a small thing.
Most of the friends I know- who are free from a substance yet have lots of problems in life- they simply don’t see this act- sleeping- sex- etc. as wrong.
Ok- my purpose is not to preach to everyone who is in AA/NA- but this has come up more than once-
One time I was with a friend- whose life is in disarray- in my view- because of this very thing.
He has asked my advice- I even copied one of the posts I did for him- called AA and the sex issue.
As I sat in his living room- as he was struggling with what to do [many relationship problems with the person he is living with- someone who struggles herself with drug abuse- a nice girl- but relapses a lot].
I noticed he had one of the AA books open- and he had the page underlined that said something to the effect of what I mentioned above- that you develop your own view on sex- and what your conscience says- because it is God given- that’s what’s ok.
Look- as someone who has made many mistakes [sins] yes- I’m not judging here- but I will say that this is simply not correct.
I have had more than one occasion- this last year- where I said to girls I’m working with ‘I don’t cheat- I don’t sleep around’.
And I haven’t.
A big part of ‘taking the land’ is walking in obedience to God.
In the book of Joshua God gave them the land- but they were warned- time and again- to walk in the laws of God.
And this issue- sex- adultery- is at the top of the list.
So- I got side tracked to tell you this- but I think it’s a major problem.
Ok- Jesus is our Joshua- he leads us into the Promised Land- and he is the Captain of our Salvation- who was made perfect thru suffering [Hebrews].
If we- in our own lives- want to fulfill the will of God- we need to remember what the commander of the Lords army told Joshua when he met him
‘Take off your shoes- for the place where you stand is Holy ground’.
None of us is perfect- God has declared us righteous- holy- because of the death and resurrection of Christ.
Over time- this becomes lived out in our lives- we do indeed ‘sin less’- this is a big part of fulfilling the will of God in our lives.
I’ll end with a verse from chapter 1 of Joshua ‘this law of the Lord shall not depart out of your mouth- but you shall mediate on it day and night- that you may be careful to do all that is written in it- that you may be prosperous and have good success’.
Note- in Deuteronomy 7:22 we read an interesting thing- as a matter of fact read the whole chapter- these are instructions from Moses to the people about the taking of the Promised Land.
But Moses tells them ‘when you do take the land- God will not let you take it all at once- because then the wild beasts will overrun the land- but you will take a little at a time’.
I like this- in our lives God works progressively- I don’t intend to put a guilt trip on you [especially about the sex thing!]
But- over time- this issue is a big one- and I don’t think we can get around it.
Let God work in you – a little at a time- don’t expect to ‘take all the land’ at once.
It’s progressive- but over time- as you overcome- you will see that obeying God- in all areas- is the real key to success.
Joshua 1:1 Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' minister, saying,Joshua 1:2 Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.
Joshua 1:6 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.
Joshua 1:7 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 withersoever thou goest.
Joshua 1:8 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.
Joshua 2:1 And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot's house, named Rahab, and lodged there.
Joshua 3:1 And Joshua rose early in the morning; and they removed from Shittim, and came to Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over.
Joshua 3:2 And it came to pass after three days, that the officers went through the host;
Joshua 3:3 And they commanded the people, saying, When ye see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place, and go after it.
Joshua 3:4 Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure: come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore.
Joshua 3:5 And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the LORD will do wonders among you.
Joshua 3:6 And Joshua spake unto the priests, saying, Take up the ark of the covenant, and pass over before the people. And they took up the ark of the covenant, and went before the people.
Joshua 3:11 Behold, the ark of the covenant of the LORD of all the earth passeth over before you into Jordan.
Joshua 3:12 Now therefore take you twelve men out of the tribes of Israel, out of every tribe a man.
Joshua 3:13 And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the LORD, the LORD of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon an heap.
Joshua 5:10 And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho.
Joshua 5:Joshua 11: And they did eat of the old corn of the land on the morrow after the passover, unleavened cakes, and parched corn in the selfsame day.
Joshua 5:12 And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.
Joshua 5:13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?
Joshua 5:14 And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my Lord unto his servant?
Joshua 5:15 And the captain of the LORD's host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.
Joshua 6:2 And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour.
Joshua 6:3 And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days.
Joshua 6:4 And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams' horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets.
Joshua 6:5 And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.
Joshua 6:6 And Joshua the son of Nun called the priests, and said unto them, Take up the ark of the covenant, and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark of the LORD.
Joshua 6:7 And he said unto the people, Pass on, and compass the city, and let him that is armed pass on before the ark of the LORD.
Joshua 6:17 And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the LORD: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent.
Joshua 20:1 The LORD also spake unto Joshua, saying,
Joshua 20:2 Speak to the children of Israel, saying, Appoint out for you cities of refuge, whereof I spake unto you by the hand of Moses:
Joshua 20:3 That the slayer that killeth any person unawares and unwittingly may flee thither: and they shall be your refuge from the avenger of blood.
Joshua 20:4 And when he that doth flee unto one of those cities shall stand at the entering of the gate of the city, and shall declare his cause in the ears of the elders of that city, they shall take him into the city unto them, and give him a place, that he may dwell among them.
Joshua 20:5 And if the avenger of blood pursue after him, then they shall not deliver the slayer up into his hand; because he smote his neighbour unwittingly, and hated him not beforetime.
Joshua 20:6 And he shall dwell in that city, until he stand before the congregation for judgment, and until the death of the high priest that shall be in those days: then shall the slayer return, and come unto his own city, and unto his own house, unto the city from whence he fled.
Joshua 21:43 And the LORD gave unto Israel all the land which he sware to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein.
Joshua 21:44 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.
Joshua 21:45 There failed not ought of any good thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.
Joshua 23:9 For the LORD hath driven out from before you great nations and strong: but as for you, no man hath been able to stand before you unto this day.
Joshua 24:2 And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods.
Joshua 24:3 And I took your father Abraham from the other side of the flood, and led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac.
Joshua 24:4 And I gave unto Isaac Jacob and Esau: and I gave unto Esau mount Seir, to possess it; but Jacob and his children went down into Egypt.
Joshua 24:5 I sent Moses also and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt, according to that which I did among them: and afterward I brought you out.
Joshua 24:6 And I brought your fathers out of Egypt: and ye came unto the sea; and the Egyptians pursued after your fathers with chariots and horsemen unto the Red sea.
Joshua 24:7 And when they cried unto the LORD, he put darkness between you and the Egyptians, and brought the sea upon them, and covered them; and your eyes have seen what I have done in Egypt: and ye dwelt in the wilderness a long season.
Joshua 24:8 And I brought you into the land of the Amorites, which dwelt on the other side Jordan; and they fought with you: and I gave them into your hand, that ye might possess their land; and I destroyed them from before you.
Joshua 24:14 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.
Joshua 24:15 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.
Deuteronomy 7:22 And the LORD thy God will put out those nations before thee by little and little: thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee.
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