| The Tragedy of Kadesh-Barnea|
The thought came to start this thread based on a post Brother Robert posted in the doctrinal discussion on being filled with the Holy Spirit.
Br. Robert wrote:
Having said all that to ask this: Would you consider the time being under a tutor (the Law) to be akin to the time in which a parent raises a child to adulthood? My relationship with my earthly father was much different as a child compared to now; as I am sure will be the case with my children as they become adults. There has to be something quite profound in the working of God by the addition of the law. I would love to be able to have the relationship with my children that my father and I now have- but that is impossible because I must train and discipline them. They are simply not in a place of maturity to be able to handle such a friendship yet, without being filled with all manor of contempt. The roles are such that the process of maturity is too fragile at this atage of their lives to befriend at a level that I would like- but in time it will be so. How does all this play out in our relationship with God as He chastens us and yet we are pressing to be His friend?
These words are from a book I read about 4 years ago.
Christ Indwelling and Enthroned by J. Oswald Sanders
THE TRAGEDY OF KADESH-BARNEA
Reading: Numbers 13:26-14:34
The history of Israel is typical history. Without doubt the most instructive and helpful of all typical incidents of the Old Testament is the record of the journeyings of Gods people from Egypt into Canaan. It is brimful of illuminating parallels with the experience of a believer in his progression from the natural state, through the carnal to the spiritual plane. See 1 Corinthians 2:14, 15, 3:1
That this was the intention of the Inspiring Spirit, is plain from both the writings of St. Paul, and that of the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews. Listen to Paul as he deduces spiritual lessons from the incident:
Now these things were our examples (or figures) to the intent that we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted
Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples (or types): and they are written for our admonition. 1 Corinthians 10:6, 11.
Thus twice over Paul assures us that more than a historical narrative is in view.
Similarly, the writer to the Hebrews cites their exodus from Egypt and entrance into Canaans rest as a type of the entrance of the believer upon the rest of faith.
But with whom was He grieved forty years?
And to whom sware He that they should not enter into His rest but to them that believed not?
Let us therefore fear, lest
any man fall after the same example of unbelief. Hebrews 3:17-19, 4:1,11
Having satisfied ourselves that we have Scriptural warrant for thus spiritualizing this memorable trek, let us profit by its lessons.
1. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF CANAAN.
God gave Abram the Land of Promise almost immediately after calling him to leave home and kindred. Genesis 13:15. Although he never possessed more of it than would make a sepulcher, it became his in reality from the moment of the gift. Yet five hundred years elapsed before God was able to bring his descendants to the place where they could possess their possessions.
By signs and wonders He had led them out of Egypt, through the Red Sea, and into the wilderness of Shur whence they journeyed to Kadesh-Barnea, one of the gateways to Canaan. At last they are actually within sight of their desired haven.
Both hymnology and general usage have conspired to convey the impression that the River Jordan represents physical death, and Canaan, the blessedness of heaven. This is true, perhaps, but only in a very secondary sense. The primary significance of Canaan, is not heaven but life in the heavenlies, while still living on earth. This is the teaching of Ephesians, the N.T. counterpart of the Book of Joshua. Not heaven, but a suburb of heaven. It stands for a victorious type of Christian experience possible here and now, when the believer exchanges the defeat of the Wilderness life for the joy and rest and fruitfulness of the Canaan life.
more to come.
| 2004/10/30 11:12||Profile|
| Re: The Tragedy of Kadesh-Barnea|
That Canaan CANNOT represent heaven is clear. There is no sin in heaven. There was in Canaan. There are no battles to fight in heaven. Canaan was one prolonged battle. There will be no defeats in heaven. They suffered defeats in Canaan. Believers commit no sin in not entering heaven at once. But upon reaching Kadesh, Israel committed one long sin in refusing to enter the land.
Canaan, then, in N.T. language, stands for a change in Christian experience as definite and clear as that which transformed the motley crowd of slaves into a victorious army.
How alluring should the prospect have seemed to this homeless and hapless people! A God-given land, flowing with milk and honey. Consider what possession of Canaan would mean to them. They would enjoy:
Liberty for Oppression. Who but a slave can appreciate the full meaning of liberty? And what must Canaan have meant in prospect to this nation of slaves? Such is the promise to the believer enslaved by sin.
Sin shall not have dominion over you
Being then made free from sin,
Rest for Wandering. At long last, a home of their own. No more aimless wandering over the glaring sands. Sweet rest in the homeland. So for the believer:
There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God
We which have believed do enter into rest. Hebrews 4:3, 9.
Possession for Promise. The promise to Abraham, unfulfilled for centuries was now within reach of fulfillment. In Canaan in response to the faith of the believer, promises are turned into facts, and doctrine into experience. According to his faith it is unto him.
Variety for Monotony. In His grace God never suffered Israel to suffer want, even in the wilderness. Never once did the manna cease or the waters failbut the monotony of the fare caused them to murmur and lust after Egypts delicacies. Our soul loatheth this light bread. But life in the wilderness cannot compare with that of Canaan for variety and abundancemilk and honey, old corn and grapes. What abundance characterizes the experience of the believer who lives in Canaan. Everything is in the superlative degree.
Lovethat passeth knowledge.
Joy--unspeakable and full of glory.
Peacethat passeth all understanding.
Such was the alluring prospect.
2. THE LEGITIMATE WILDERNESS EXPERIENCE.
Here let me correct another popular misconception. It is common in some Christian circles to speak of our experience on earth as a wilderness experience. This is true in a sense, but the statement needs to be greatly qualified. Compared with our future experience in heaven with Christ, life here is indeed as a wilderness, but that is not the teaching of our type, for Canaan is not heaven. We must, too, distinguish between a wilderness experience which is legitimate, and one which is not.
For Israel, the journey from the Red Sea to Kadesh-Barnea was legitimate and proper. And finds its counterpart in the experience of the young convert. Redeemed and delivered from the slavery of Satan, the young Christian has yet to learn who to walk through life with its bitter experiencesas at Marahand its sweet experiencesas at Elimand how to rely on God for daily supplies for the maintenance of the spiritual life. It is an infinitely better experience than that of Egypt, but comes far short of the delights of Canaan.
The nation was born, but it was as yet in a state of spiritual infancynot yet fit for the exacting warfare of Canaan. The hardships of the wilderness would supply this fitness. They fed on bread from heaven, but sometimes longed for a return to Egypts dainties. The joyous song of deliverance was on their lips at the Red Sea, but ere long it died and the sound of complaining was heard. They leaned too heavily on human props. When Moses masterful presence was removed for a short time, they worshipped the golden calf. They were extremely susceptible to the influence of the worldly mix multitudeto their censure, opinions and desires. In short, they were carnalliving on a diet of milk instead of strong meat.
Can any of my readers see in the description a picture of their own lives?"
to be continued
| 2004/10/30 12:14||Profile|
3. THE KADESH-BARNEA CRISIS.
As the Land of Promise comes into view, one would naturally expect that in their eagerness to be the first to set foot on the sacred soil, the whole company would stampede. But no! They seemed as loth to enter Canaan as the majority of Christians are to embark on the life more abundant.
Instead of marching straight into the land, relying on God to make good His promises, they resorted to the carnal expedient of sending ahead spies to report on the prospects. What need had they of spies? Had they not Gods oft repeated promise on which to rest? Had they not the cloudy Pillar to guide by day and night?
For forty days the spies searched the land and returned laden with samples of its luscious fruit. All were agreed that the land flowed with milk and honey, but there the agreement ended. Let us set in contrast the MAJORITY REPORT, presented by the Timorous Ten, the men of reason, and the MINORITY REPORT presented by the Trustful Two, the men of faith:
Ten: We are not able. Num. 13:31
Two: We are well able. 13:30
Ten: It is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof. 13:32
Two: They are bread for us. 14:9
Ten: Cities are walled and very great. 13:28
Two: Their defense is departed from them. 14:9
Ten: We were as grasshoppers in our sight. 13:33
Two: Neither fear ye the people. 14:9
Ten: We are no able to go up against the people. 13:31
Two: Let us go up at once and possess it. 13:30
What a startling contrasts! The majority looked at the enemy through the magnifying glass of unbelief. The minority looked at God through the magnifying glass of faith. The majority impeached Gods Wordas though He were a man who would lie. They impeached Gods poweras though seven nations would tax His strength. They impeached Gods goodnessas though He were working for their destruction. How short is the memory of unbelief, and how defective its eyesight.
Immediately upon the circulation of this report, panic broke out among the people. Unbelief is unbelievably contagious. Instead of shouts of joyous anticipation, the voice of weeping rent the air the whole night long. They wished they had never left Egypt.
Would God we had died in Egypt or in this wilderness
Let us make a captain and let us return to Egypt, 14:2-4.
Such was their determination not to enter the Land, that only the appearance of the aweful Shekinah glory in the midst of the Camp, prevented them from stoning the faithful Caleb and Joshua who were making one last pathetic appeal to their faith.
Is there a modern parallel to the attitude and action of the spies? Indeed there is. You will always find many ready to discourage you from going up to possess the Land. They will raise the bugbear of Sinless perfection. They will assure you there is no such thing as a life of victory over known sin, for they have never experienced it. They will strenuously maintain that the Sermon on the Mount is for people living in a future ageGod does not expect it of us hereforgetting that God has only one standard for the Christian, and that is Christ, the living embodiment of the Sermon on the Mount. They will so press the truth that we received everything at conversion as to imply that we have it all in experience. Instead of available for our appropriation. They will endeavour to scare you for the teaching concerning the Spirit-filled life. They will argue that sanctification is by elapse of timegrowing in graceinstead of by faith. Acts 26:18. (We have yet to be convinced that every old person is living a sanctified life.) By questionable exegesis and wresting of the Scripture, they will prove that victory over sin is a mirage when you take to them for explanation such texts as:
Sin shall not have dominion over you.
Thanks be unto God which ALWAYS leadeth us in triumph in Christ Jesus.
What a solemn responsibility rests on those who, like the spies, bring a slander on the land, 14:36, simply because they themselves have failed to enter in because of unbelief and prejudice.
to be continued
| 2004/10/31 10:04||Profile|
4. THE ILLEGITIMATE WILDERNESS EXPERIENCE.
I stated earlier that there was a legitimate and an illegitimate Wilderness experience. The former experience lost its propriety for Israel from the moment they turned back at Kadesh-Barnea. From that time onward theirs was a sinful and rebellious experience. They would not enter in, and God ratified their decision by turning them back into the wilderness. In their rebellion they said:
Wherefore hath the Lord brought us unto this land to fall by the sword that our wives and our children should be a prey? 14:3
According to their fears it was unto them. Hear the sentence God pronounced on them for their unbelief:
Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness
but your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised. And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years
After the number of the days in which ye searched the land
each day for a year. 14:29-33.
Of all that company, Caleb and Joshua alone of those over twenty years of age, tasted of the joys of Canaan. The remainder all fell in the wilderness, a silent testimony to the sinfulness of unbelief.
Have you come to Kadesh-Barnea to-night? What are you going to do? Press forward into the Goodly Land, or turn back into the Wilderness? If you decide on the latter coursewhich I pray you may notlet me warn you from Israels history of the experience to which you are doomed. Dr. Scofield has pointed out to the following characteristics of the sinful Wilderness experience.
RESTLESSNESS. They had no settled abidingplace. One day camped beside a beautiful oasis, the next they were traversing the burning sands. The Wilderness Christian is harassed by anxiety and tormented by fears, and is generally very uncomfortable to live with. There are no restful Christians in the Wilderness.
DISCONTENT. They constantly murmured against God or His chosen leaders. When God gave them bread from heaven, they craved flesh from Egypt and wished they could again breathe its congenial atmosphere. The Wilderness Christian is occupied with his own troubles rather than with fighting Gods battles. There are no really contented Christians in the Wilderness.
FRUITLESSNESS. It is true Israel fought and won battles in the wilderness, but it did not advantage them anything, for they did not gain any territory thereby. They merely gained the right to pass through the enemys territory. At the end of forty years marching and fighting they were as poor and landless as when they began. The battles of the Wilderness Christian are battles of rebellion rather than of conquest. There are no fruitful Christians in the Wilderness.
NEGATIVE. Their main virtue was that they were not doing Egyptian things, although secretly they longed to do them. There was nothing positive or aggressive about their lives. Many Wilderness Christians do not go to pictures, dances, theaters, do not drink, smoke or swear, but having said that about them you have said all. You look in vain for the aggressiveness of a spiritual warrior. There are no positive Christians in the Wilderness.
VACILLATION. They alternated between the two borders of Egypt or Canaan. When with worldly people, Wilderness Christians would delight to join in their worldly pursuits were it not for what other would say. Occasionally, when away from home or observation, they will guiltily make a secret excursion into Egypt. At a special mission or Camp they journey across to the Canaan border, and long to enter in, but they always shrink back at the thought of the cost. One day they enjoy sweet Communion, and the next doubt their salvation. There are no stable Christians in the Wilderness.
Sometimes I catch sweet glimpses of His face. But that is all.
Sometimes He speaks a passing word of peace. But that is all.
Sometimes I think I hear His loving voice upon me call.
Such is the life of a Christian in the Wilderness. Is this what you desire as your experience? Do you not long for a better experience? You do not long to obtain it half as much as God long to bestow it.
To-night you stand at the parting of the ways. The Spirit of God is seeking to allure you from the disheartening life of carnality and self-pleasing which has characterized you for so long, into a life of victory and power. Are you going to respond to His call, or will you from tonight be turned back by God into the waste howling wilderness? Will you persist in turning back to the fighting and failure, longing and lusting of the wilderness?
Listen to the solemn words of the Holy Spirit spoken in this connection:
Today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your heart as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness; when your fathers tempted me
So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.
Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God. Heb. 4:7-12
They had their last chanceand missed it! Their carcases fell in the wilderness. Never again were they granted the opportunity of entering Canaan. It is not my prerogative to say that this will be the last chance some here present will ever be given of entering into Canaan, but if I were in your place, I would fear to say, Tomorrow, when the Holy Ghost says, Today.
to be continued,
tomorrow we will hear from Andrew Murray on this topic
| 2004/11/1 10:32||Profile|
Galatians chapter 3
"22 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. "
Look to what Andrew Murray writes about the law and Christ in the life of the believer.
THE HOLIEST OF ALL by Andrew Murray
Chapter 2, The Son-More than the Prophets.
Hebrews 1:1-2, God, having of old time spoken unto the fathers in the prophets by divers portions and in divers manners, hath at the end of these days spoken unto us in his Son.
We all know that there are two Testamentsthe Old and the New. These represent two dispensations, two modes of worship, two sorts of religions, two ways in which God has intercourse with man, and man draw nigh to God. The one was provisional, preparatory, and intended to pass away. What is gave and wrought was not meant to satisfy, but only to awaken the expectation of something better that was to come. The other was the fulfillment of what had been promised, and destined to last for ever, because it was itself a complete revelation of an everlasting redemption, of a salvation in the power of an endless life.
In both Old and New Testament it was God who spake. The prophets in the Old, and the Son in the New, were equally Gods messengers. God spake in the prophets no less truly than in the Son. But in the Old everything was external and through the mediation of men. God Himself could not yet enter and take possession of man and dwell in him. In the New all is more directly and immediately divinein an inward power and reality and life, of which the Old had only the shadow and hope. The Son, who is God, brings us into the very presence of God.
And wherefore was it that God did not, could not, from the very beginning, reveal Himself in the Son? What need was there of these two ways of worshipping and serving Him? The answer is twofoldIf man were indeed intelligently and voluntarily to appropriate Gods love and redemption, he needed to be prepared for it. He needed first of all to know his own utter impotence and hopeless wretchedness. And so his heart had to be wakened up in true desire and expectancy to welcome and value what God had to give.
When God speaks to us in Christ it is as the Father awelling in the Son. The words that I say unto you, I speak not from Myself, but the Father abideth in Me doeth the works. Just as Gods speaking in Christ was an inward thing. So God can still speak to us in no other way. The external words of Christ, just like the words of the prophets, are to prepare us for, and point us to that inner speaking in the heart by the Holy Spirit, which alone is life and power. This is Gods true speaking in His Son.
It is of the utmost consequence for our spiritual life that we should rightly understand these two stages in Gods dealing with man. In two ways, not in one; not in more than two; in two ways has God spoken."
to be continued
| 2004/11/2 10:34||Profile|
They indicate what, in substance, is Gods way with every Christian. There is, after his conversion, a time of preparation and testing, to see whether he willingly and heartily sacrifices all for the full blessing. If in this stage he perseveres in earnest effort and striving, he will be brought to learn the two lessons the Old Testament was meant to teach. He will become more deeply conscious of his own impotence, and the strong desire will be wakened after a better life, to be found in the full revelation of Christ as able to save completely. When these two lessons are learnedthe lesson of despair of self and hope in God alonethe soul is prepared, if it will yield itself in faith to the leading of the Holy Spirit, to enter truly into the New Testament life within the veil, in the very Holiest of All, as it is set forth in this Epistle.
Where Christians, through defective instruction, or through neglect and sloth, do not understand Gods way for leading them on unto perfection, the Christian life will always remain full of feebleness and failure. It was thus with the Hebrew Christians. They belonged to the New Testament, but their life was anything but the exhibition of the power and joy Christ came to reveal. They were far behind what many of the Old Testament saints had been; and the reason was thisthey knew not the heavenly character of the redemption Christ had brought. They knew not the heavenly place in which He ministers, nor the heavenly blessing He dispenses, nor the heavenly power in which He secures our enjoyment of these blessings. They knew not the difference between the prophets and the Son; what is means that God has now spoken to us in His Son. The one object of the Epistle is to set before us the heavenly priesthood of Christ and the heavenly life to which He in His divine power gives us access. It is this gives the Epistle its inestimable value of all time, that it teaches us the way out of the elementary stage of the Christian life to that of full and perfect access to God.
Let us grasp and hold firmly the difference between the two stages. In the one, the action of man is more prominent; God speaks in the prophets. In the other, the divine presence and power are more fully revealed; God speaks in the Son, who bears and brings the very life of God, and brings us into living contact with God Himself. In the one, it is the human words that occupy and influence and help us to seek God; in the other, the divine indwelling Word reveals its power within. In the one, it is multiplicity of thoughts and truths, of ordinances and efforts; in the other, the simplicity and the unity of the one Son of God, and faith in Him alone."
I will now go back to the previous book written by Sanders.
to be continued
| 2004/11/3 11:38||Profile|
POSSESSING OUR POSSESSIONS
They came to the gates of Canaan, but they never entered in; they came to the very threshold but they perished in their sin.
The thirty-eight years of wilderness wandering since Israel turned back in unbelief at Kadesh-Barnea are now at an end, and once again, in Gods grace, the nation is on the very threshold of the Promised Land. Their camp was pitched on the East side of the River Jordan, ready to pass over into their long-promised inheritance. But among the assembled host was not one male over sixty years of agethe faithful Joshua and Caleb alone exceptedall had fallen in the wilderness, a silent but solemn warning to all who despise the goodly Land. Even Moses and Aaron whose lives had been spent in the most self-sacrificial service for the nation were excluded from the Land because they had failed to honour God before the people. Let those in a position of God-appointed spiritual leadership learn from this that it is no small thing for a leader to dishonor God in the eyes of the people.
Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan.
What a strange sequence! Where lies the connection between the two clauses? Moses, whose very name is synonymous with the Lawmans best unaided endeavourscould never lead Israel into Canaan, even as mans blest unaided efforts can never lead Israel into a life of blessing, rest and victory. Our heavenly Joshua alone can lead us there. The Canaan experience is not realized until, through the disillusioning experiences of the Wilderness, we are brought to despair of attaining holiness through self-effort.
And is there not still another lesson here? Gods purpose and plans are not dependent on any single human instrument, however gifted and wise. He buries His workmen, but His work goes on unaffected. Moses dies, but God takes up Joshua, one man, not the committee of seventy who aided Moses in his administration. When some human leaders die, it seems as though they can never be replaced, but time soon proves that no man is indispensable.
1. THE PROMISE OF PROVISION
Israel had an unimpeachable title to the Land of Canaan, a title that no conveyancer would care to dispute. It became theirs by deed of gift. The memorandum of transfer is found in Genesis 15:18, Unto thy seed have I given the Land. The extent of the territory transferred is clearly defined, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates. The Donor is fully entitled to make the gift, for in the previous chapter, 14:18, He reveals Himself as Possessor of heaven and earth. The Psalmist tells us that the legal consideration for the transfer is, because I had a favour unto them, or in our language, in consideration of natural love and affection.
Note that the promise was not, I will give, but, I have given. It became theirs legally the moment God uttered the promise, but it became theirs experimentally only when they personally possessed it. It is of the utmost importance for Christians to realize that many spiritual blessings are legally theirs by gift from God which become theirs in experience only when they personally appropriate them. This vital truth will come in for fuller treatment later.
to be continued
| 2004/11/4 11:09||Profile|
2. THE PREPARATION FOR POSSESSION
Consider the tremendous odds against which Israel must fight. Recent archaeological discoveries have demonstrated that the Hittites were a great and cultured people sufficiently powerful to rival Assyria or Egypt. It
was surely absurd presumption for this untrained horde of slaves to think that they could dispossess and untrained horde of slaves to think that they could dispossess and exterminate such highly-organized nations. There must be necessity be preparation for such a conquest.
Joshua himself must be prepared and encouraged before he is equipped for the conflict and conquest of Canaan. His preparation had both a divine and a human side. On the divine side there was first of all the Assurance of Divine Enduement.
There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life. V.5.
How inadequate must Joshua have felt for the stupendous task he faced, especially as he was following in the steps of the greatest man in the history of the then known world. What inward tremblings would be his. But what calm assurance filled his soul as the Almighty whispered this promise of a divine enduement adequate for the task into the inmost recesses of his spiritan enduement similar to that received by Moses at the outset of his work.
Then there came the Promise of the Divine Presence.
As I was with Moses, so I will be with thee. Vs 5
In this promise lay the secret of Joshuas subsequent amazing courage. When God ordains our service, He also empowers it, and failure is impossible, for He is morally pledged to see us through.
Again there was an Affirmation of the Divine Faithfulness.
I will not fail thee nor forsake thee. V. 5
Strengthened by the presence of the God to Whom nothing was impossible, and Who had pledged Himself to see him through to the very end, the prospect would not seem so formidable to Joshua.
Faith, might faith the promise sees,
And looks to God alone;
Laughs at impossibilities,
And cries, It shall be done!
On the human side Joshua was four times Enjoined to be Strong and Courageous.
Be strong and of a good courage, for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land. V 6
These qualities are the sine qua non of the soldier about to engage in aggressive warfare, and God places on Joshua himself the onus of being strong and courageous. This was his responsibility, not Gods. But is it not a hollow mockery to tell a man conscious of his weakness and filled with fear, not to be afraid? Is it not like telling a neurasthenic patient not to worry? How can he be strong and very courageous? Because the Mighty-God is with him, and will neither fail nor forsake him. He must rest on Gods plighted word. Courage that does not rest on the consciousness of Gods presence and faithfulness is presumption rather than courage. Many of us, like Uzziah, become too strong for God. He was marvelously helped until he was strong, but when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his own destruction. 2 Chron. 26:15-16, and the mighty monarch became a loathsome leper. Joshuas strength and courage were derived, not self-generated. They were the product of conscious weakness and constant dependence.
Be strong implied that he felt weak.
Be of good courage implied that he felt afraid.
Be not dismayed implied that he was dismayed.
God said to him in effect, Moses is dead, but I am not, therefore, you can be strong and of good courage. God delights to use those who are consciously weak.
Then he was Commanded to Mediate on the Word.
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate therein day and night
for then shalt thou make they way prosperous and then thou shalt have good success. Vs 8-9
The written Word of God was henceforth to be his hand-book, his manual of instruction in warfare. Obedience to it would constitute the secret of his success. This, not the might of his sword, was Joshuas only equipment, even as it was Christs in His conflict in the Wilderness. If he did not literally soak himself in the Word, his strength and courage would ooze out of his fingertips when he came to meet the foe. In it he was to find his marching-orders, the science of warfare and the plan of his campaign.
Had Joshua lived in our day, he would not, like so many professing Christians today, have saturated himself in magazines and tasty novels, but in the Word of God, of which he then had only a very small portion. Is this what you are doing? The recruit must master his weapons long before he reaches the front lines. Neglect of meditationhard thinking, not dreamy reverieon the Word of God, is the most fruitful source of lost spiritual blessing and anaemic spiritual life. Note that from Eph. 5:18 and Col. 3:16 we learn that the same results follow in Christian character and relationships, from being filled with the Spirit, and being filled with the Word. You will remain filled with the Spirit only so long as you remain filled with the Word.
Lastly, he was Urged to Obedience to that Word in its every detail.
That thou mayest observe to do according to all the law. Vs. 7,9
This injunction is of no less importance than the previous two, for disobedience to light received, effectually prevents the reception of further light. The Holy Ghost is given to them that obey Him. Disobedience leaves the devil in possession of a vantageground from which he can carry out all his fell designs.
On the part of the people, too, there must be preparation for crossing into the Land.
Prepare you victuals; for within three days ye shall pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land. Vs, 11
In three days the manna would cease, and the nation would have new fare to live uponthe corn of the Land. The food which satisfied you when living in the Wilderness will be inadequate to support your spiritual life in the conflict of Canaan. You will require larger and more frequent meals from the Word, constantly expanding conceptions of your glorious Lord to maintain your growing life. In the Wilderness their food was prepared for them. Now they are about to enter Canaan, they must learn to prepare their own. Herein lies the difference between the carnal and the spiritual Christian. The former, is dependent on human teachers to give him pre-digested food. The latter may be shut away from all human fellowship and yet will maintain his spiritual glow, because he can prepare his own victuals. The soldier on campaign is self-contained and carries his own rations with him.
Have you defined to yourself your reason for coming to this Camp? To sing hymns and choruses? To hear the stirring addresses? Or did you come after a year of exacting service to prepare for yourself victuals for the 1938 campaign? Unless you learn how to prepare your own vituals you will backslide into the old rut. A soldier who does not know how to look after his food and his feet will soon find himself back in Blightyan invalid in the spiritual Casualty Ward. Dig into the Word of God every day and first thing in the day. Feed your soul on the great truths of Scripture, its warnings, reproofs, promises, and above all its glorious Christ.
to be continued
| 2004/11/5 10:23||Profile|
3. THE PRINCIPLES OF POSSESSION.
There are in this chapter, either expressed or implied, three principles upon which Israel must possess the Land, each of which has its counterpart in the life of the believer.
DISPOSSESSION. Before they could possess the cities and houses of Canaan, they must dispossess their present inhabitants.
And ye shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land and dwell therein. Numbers 33:53.
Failure to dispossess the enemy would, they were warned, inevitably bring discomfort and defeat.
If ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land
they shall be pricks in your eyes and thorns in your side and shall vex you in the land. Numbers 33:55
Are you conscious that there resides in your heart the equivalent of the seven wicked nations of Canaan? Pride, jealousy, impurity, dishonesty, untruth, ill-temper, unbelief, covetousness and a host of other evil things? These must be dispossessed, driven out.
But, I hear you despairingly cry, that is just what I cannot do. I have struggled and wept and prayed all to no avail. In fact they seem even more firmly entrenched than ever. How can I dispossess them?
You cannot, but GOD CAN. Listen to His Word.
And the Lord said unto Moses, I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, the Hittite, etc. Ex. 33:1-25
Twas most impossible of all
that here in me sins reign shall cease.
Yet shall it be? I know it shall!
Jesus I trust Thy faithfulness;
The thing impossible shall be,
All things are possible to me.
Let HIM drive them out for you. Trust Him to fulfill His promise! So, then, they possessed only what they gained by dispossession.
The second principle was APPROPRIATION. I believe this to be one of the most important principles and secrets of the Christian life. Thousands of drab lives have been transformed simply through exercising the power of appropriation.
Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, THAT have I given unto you. Vs. 3
The whole land was given, but every square foot had to be personally possessed. The cities were already there, but they must enter them. The houses were already built, but they must inhabit them. They had to take possession of the land by walking over it foot by foot. So is it with the broad land of Gods promises. He has already given us every spiritual blessingor as it really is, every blessing of the Spirit.
Who hath blessed you with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies in Christ. Eph. 1:3
His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness. 2 Peter 1:3
There is nothing necessary for a life of holiness and victory which God has not given to us through our own union with His Son. But unless we put the foot of our faith upon these blessings, they may just as well not have been given us.
William Penn, from whom the State of Pennsylvania takes its name, so ingratiated himself with the Red Indians that they gave him all the land he could walk around in a day. He rose early and walked swiftly all day till after dusk. When he returned to the camp, the Redskins quizzically said, Pale-face has had a very long walk today. Would to God that more of us would similarly honor the good faith of our God. Put your foot on one of His plighted blessings and say, That is mine! God will be as good as your faith. Only the promises we appropriate are ours practically. No amount of power in God, or grace in our provision can make up for lack of faith on your part.
The third principle is PROGRESSION. They were not required to possess the whole land at once.
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. Deut. 7:22.
The promise was only for one step at a time. They started from the position of assured victory and were to go on from victory to victory.
Each departing day should see more territory brought under the sway and dominion of our Master. And until the very end there will remain unexplored territory and unappropriated treasure. You are not expected to attain overnight to the degree of holiness exemplified by George Muller. The crisis of sanctification is followed by a never-ceasing process. God does expect that you shall be more holy each day. You can be holy up to the full light God has given you.
to be continued
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4. THE PERILS OF POSSESSION.
It was one of the tragedies of Israels history, that even in the golden days of David and Solomon much of the land still remained unpossessed.
There were two perils to which they succumbed.
PARTIAL POSSESSION. Joshua led them in many battles until the power of the nations of Canaan was effectually broken, but ever and anon in the record of the conquests we hear the melancholy refrain:
There remaineth yet very much land to be possessed.
Nevertheless they did not drive them out.
The children of Judah could not drive them out.
The Canaanites would dwell in the land.
Israel made a disastrous mistake in allowing them to remain. Had God not promised to drive them out? Their failure was a failure of faith.
Say to the sins which have enchained you for so long, Begone! Thou hast no right here! Thou shalt no longer have dominion over me! And you will find behind your words all the power of the Risen Christ.
How sad that Israel was content with the narrow bounds of Canaan and did not completely conquer even that. So has it been with many of us. Our charter has been much wider than our actual wealth. We receive pardon and rest content with that instead of pressing on to enjoy sonship and co-heirship with Christ. We enjoy justification but fail to press on to an experience of consecration and sanctification. Let us not be content with only part of our spiritual inheritance.
NON-POSSESSION was the other peril to which two and a half tribes succumbed, Reuben, Gad, and half Manasseh fell even further short of the divine ideal. They merely made an excursion into Canaan, and then returned to the land they had selected for themselves on the other side of Jordan. See verses 12-15. Campaigning in Canaan was too strenuous for them! They rested content just short of Canaan. Near, but not in it. They pressed Moses to grant them this delectable pastoral land, and he acceded to their request.
Is it necessary for me to make an application? Many travel such a long way towards Canaan. They come to the very borders of the Land, but the demands of absolute surrender and absolute obedience are too stringent for them. Life and warfare in Canaan involve too much renunciation and self-denial, they are not prepared to make a clean break from the strong fascination of the world. They are under the blood, they have passed through the Wildernessbut they do not press right in.
How many here present find in Reuben and Gad their own counterparts? You have looked into the Promised Land. You have seen and even sampled the fruit brought back by the spies. You have made occasional excursions and had hallowed experiences in the Land which Wildernessdwellers have never known, and yet you are not prepared to go the whole way with God and tread the way of the Cross. You have gone such a long way, are you going to miss Gods full blessing for the sake of the tinsel of the world? You have gone a long way and have been willing to part with glaring sins, how about the little foxes that spoil the fruitfulness of the vine? The devil is always ready to say at meetings such as these, You are all right. You have gone far enough. Settle here. If you press on into the Land, God will take advantage of you and ask you to do hard things. You will have to say Good-bye to the joys of life. And thus he slanders the God who manifested His marvelous love on Calvarys Cross. The devil was a liar from the beginning. Do not allow him to cheat you of your inheritance.
In closing, let me give a solemn warning from the history of these border-dwellers. They were the first of the tribes to fall beneath the invasions of Assyria, and were swept into a captivity from which they never returned. God did not compel them to enter into the Land, nor does He force His blessings upon us. He gave them their request, but sent leanness into their souls. Such will be the experience of those who choose to become border-dwellers. Then, too, they were a source of trouble to Israel ever after. They became like two separate nations, having different dialects and constant disagreements. You can always tell a border-dwellerhe is a stranger to the dialect of Canaan. It is a foreign language to him. Being carnal, he will always be at variance with the spiritual believer.
Who were their descendants? The Gadarenes who besought Christ to depart out of their coasts. If you are vacillating, counting the cost of crossing Jordanour subject of tomorrow nightbe warned by the experience of the two and a half tribes, lest you find yourself drawn back into the captivity of your old sins, and dishonoring and denying the Christ you now profess to love. Let us pray.
to be continued
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