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CLEAN OVER JORDAN

Reading: Joshua, Chapters 3-4:19

The host of Israel has removed from Shittim, and is now encamped on the banks of Jordan. The spies have returned with reassuring news that the nations of Canaan were smitten with fear through hearing what God had wrought for Israel. Joshua has accepted the victory in faith, saying, “Truly the Lord hath delivered into our hands all the Land, “ thus making it possible for God to intervene on his behalf.

We shall take as our divisions five phases which are found in the Scriptures under review.

1. THIS SIDE JORDAN, 1:15, COUNTING THE COST.

Though in sight of the Promised Land, a rapid torrent flowed between them and it, and before them lay difficulties sufficient to daunt the stoutest heart. It seems as though God gave them a three days’ pause to enable them to face the difficulties, count the cost, and act accordingly.

DIFFICULTIES TO FACE.

The first of these was Jordan’s impassible waters.

“Jordan overfloweth all its banks all the time of harvest.” 3:15

The river, swollen by Hermon’s snows, was swirling past their camp. Usually a sluggish stream, it had now become a turbulent torrent. How could they cross it? Could a more unsuitable and impossible time have been chosen? It was humanly impossible, just as impossible and hopeless as it seems to some listening to me tonight, that you should ever be delivered from the slavery of sin with which you have unsuccessfully battled for years. As you attended the Watch-night service yesterday, were you not afraid to make New Year resolutions because you knew it was hopeless? Thank God if tonight you find yourself on the banks of the turbulent, impassable Jordan, and like Israel, are shut up to God for deliverance.

The second difficulty was Jericho’s threatening battlements which they could already descry in the distance.

“And the people passed over right against Jericho.” 3:16
Jericho, with its white walls and palm trees, was the key to Canaan. It was so strongly fortified as to be almost impregnable. It guarded all the passes unto the interior of the Land. One can sympathise with Israel if they were fearful not only of Jordan’s waters, but also of what lay beyond.

As you tonight gaze longingly across Jordan upon the Promised Land, can you see some threatening Jericho already looking up before you? Does it seem impregnable? That Jericho is the strategic point of your future Christian life, and all hangs on your going up against it in faith. Is it the public confession of Christ which you have so long evaded? Is it some apology which the Holy Spirit has been impressing you to make? Is it some letter of reconciliation you know you should write? Is it some family feud which you should terminate, or some grudge you should relinquish? Is it some neglected duty or shirked service which you should perform? Is it some financial restitution you should make or debt you should pay? Whatever it is, if you are to know the joy of victory, it must be done.

You are tonight faced with two alternatives. You will either cross Jordan and capture Jericho, or you will inevitably return to the illegitimate wilderness experience? May I take it that you have all decided to cross Jordan?

INSTRUCTIONS TO FOLLOW.

The People were instructed to wait until they saw the priests bearing the Ark between them, before they removed from their tents. Between them and the Ark was to be a distance of 2000 cubits. They were now to have a new experience of divine guidance. Hitherto they had been supernaturally guided by the cloud and fire, but now they were to be guided by the Ark borne by their own kinsmen. In the Promised Land, supernatural manifestation give place to spiritual exercise. No clue or indication was given them as to how they would get across. To them it was to be matter of faith, not of sight.

The Priests were merely instructed to take up the Ark and pass over before the people. To Joshua alone was revealed God’s method of procedure.

SANCTIFICATION TO ACCOMPLISH.

“Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” 3:5.

“But,” you protest, “I thought it was God who sanctified us.” The word “sanctify” means primarily “to separate,” and there is a very real sense in which we must sanctify ourselves.

“Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” 2 Corinthians 7:1.

Is there any sin, any habit, any association, any indulgence, any friendship, any worldly amusement with which you are not prepared to break? Then you will pray in vain for victory and blessing, God’s tomorrow of wonders is dependent on our today of sanctification. We fix the time for the display of God’s power. The windows of heaven are always bolted on the manward side.

2. ON THE BRINK OF JORDAN, 3:8. THE STEP OF FAITH

When Israel came to the Red Sea, they found a path already made for them. All they had to do was to walk across. But not so at Jordan. There was no evidence whatever to sight. As we advance in the Christian life, God weans us from sight and shuts us up to faith.

Can you picture the white-robed band advancing until a thousand yards lie between them and the host which then follows? Can you see the priests bearing the golden Ark with its covering of blue reach the rushing waters and stand on the very brink? Can you imagine the Satanic suggestion which would doubtless be insinuated into their minds, “What if nothing happens when you step into the flood?” But at the first touch of their feet, the muddy waters fled, and the way to Canaan was opened.

What the Ark was to them—and very much more—the Lord Jesus is to us. When the feet of Jesus were dipped into the River of Death, its murky waters receded, so that we who are in Him can cross over on dry land. When He went into death, He carried the whole Church in Himself into death, but not until we personally claim by faith our share in that death and resurrection, can the Holy Spirit make it actual.

Between the longing believer and the Canaan experience there always flows a Jordan which must be crossed. With Israel it was a case, not of “growing over” but of “going over.” So we do not inevitably grow out of the Wilderness experience any more than Israel grew out of the Wilderness. It was the result of a step of faith.

to be continued

In Christ
Jeff


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3. IN THE MIDST OF JORDAN, 3:17, BURIED WITH CHRIST.

Now the priests, bearing their sacred burden are standing
“firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan.”

This symbolic action is replete with instructive lessons. Their descent into Jordan finds its counterpart in Romans 6:3,4.

“Are ye ignorant that all we who were baptized unto Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with Him through baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised form the dead…so we also might walk in newness of life.” (R.V.).

It is of the utmost importance that we distinguish the two aspects of Christ’s death—Substitution and identification.

A. SUBSTITUTION. How may I be saved from the penalty and guilt of sin? By believing Christ died FOR me. How do I know He died FOR me? Because I feel it? No! Because the Bible reveals it, and I rest on what it says. But this is only one aspect of His death.

B. IDENTIFICATION. How may I be delivered from the tyranny and dominion of sin? By believing that I died WITH Christ.

“But I do not feel that I died with Christ.” The same Bible which tells me Christ died for me, tells me that I died with Christ, and to be consistent I must believe both statements.

“Knowing this that our old man was crucified WITH Him, that the body of sin might be done away, that so we should no longer be in bondage to sin.” Romans 6:6 (R.V.).

When Christ died, He did not die alone. Your old unregenerate self, and mine, died with Him on Calvary. It is for us to believe this fact, and to act accordingly.

This is not an attainment of certain advanced Christians, but a fact true of all believers. It was not a crisis which took place at some point in Paul’s experience through something he did, and it is true of you whether you believe it or not.

So in substitution we see

The Savior on the Cross FOR the Sinner,

While in identification we see

The Sinner on the Cross WITH the Savior.

The reason for God identifying us with Christ in His death is not far to seek. No house can entertain two masters without conflict. Our old man is incurably wicked and will never abdicate in favor of Christ, hence God must deal drastically with the usurper. He passed the sentence of death on him, which sentence was executed at Calvary. And now to every soul seeking deliverance God says, “Your old man, the traitor within, the cause of all your trouble, was nailed to Christ’s cross. Act as if that were so.”

How does this operate in actual experience?

“Even so reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin but alive unto God in Jesus Christ.” Romans 6:11 (R.V.).

It becomes actual in my experience in response to my reckoning, and in this I have the aid of the Holy Spirit.

“But if by the Spirit ye put to death the deeds of the body ye shall live.” Romans 8:13 (R.V.).

Do you concur in God’s sentence on your old nature? You cross Jordan when you pronounce sentence on yourself, when you consent to die, when you hand over your old man to the Holy Spirit to execute in you the sentence of death. It is just here that “reckoning” comes in. It is my part to reckon. It is God’s part to make my reckoning good.

To “reckon” is not to IMAGINE something to be true which is not really true, but to count on something which is really true. It is not a poetical phrase, and has nothing whatever to do with the feelings. It is a word of mathematics, and means “to compute,” “to calculate.” It is an attitude of mind in which we count a thing to be true for reasons as sure as the mathematical law that two and two make four. Spiritually it means to count as true what the Bible says is true, whether I feel it or not. Our reckoning does not make our identification with Christ a fact—it is that already—but it does enable us to realize its power and blessing. “Reckon yourself to be dead indeed unto sin, “ and God will see to it that you will “no longer be in bondage to sin.”

But a dead man is not of much service to God. This aspect is purely negative. The priests did not remain “in the midst of Jordan.”


to be continued

In Christ
Jeff


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4. UP OUR OD JORDAN, 4:16. RISEN WITH CHRIST

When all Israel had passed “clean over,” the command came to the priests to ‘come up out of Jordan.” This, too, has its New Testament counterpart.

“For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection.” Romans 6:5 (R.V.).

Not only was I crucified and buried with Christ, but I was raised with Him too. It is deeply significant that death is never mentioned in connection with the believer apart from resurrection.

“Buried with Christ and raised with Him too, what is there left for me to do? Simply to cease from struggling and strife, simple to walk in newness of life. Glory be to God.”

“But how do I know that I was raised with Christ?” Here again I simply accept in faith the Scripture statement, and count on it being true in my case. From Calvary there flows a dual stream—a stream of death, breaking the power of sin over me, and a stream of life, enabling me to walk in newness of life.

Again I anticipate your objection that you feel neither dead to sin nor alive unto God, by stating that at this moment you are as much dead to sin and alive unto God as you ever will be. The Scripture does not say that sin is dead to you, for it is as active as ever, but id does clearly teach that as you “reckon yourself dead to sin and alive unto God, “ the Lord will make both facts actual in your experience.

There is involved here an act of the will, not a reaction of the emotions. Our Lord commanded the man with the withered arm to stretch it forth. He might well have demurred, saying that he did not feel the power to stretch it forth, but he “reckoned” on Christ’s good faith, and willed to stretch if forth. God’s enabling power came in between the acting of willing and the act of stretching forth his hand. So, then, apart from feeling, believe this to be true and “reckon yourself…alive unto God.” Act as if it were so, and it shall be so.

A striking illustration of this truth is found in Lincoln’s Emancipation Act by which America’s slaves were set free. The moment he signed his name to that momentous document, every slave was legally set free; but every slave was not immediately liberated experimentally. Before this took place several things must happen.

A. The slave must HEAR the glad news. Knowledge of his legal freedom was essential, not feelings.
B. He must BELIEVE the news.
C. He must RECKON on the news being true in his case.
D. He must REFUSE any longer to be a slave, and assert his freedom from his former master.
E. He could COUNT ON all the force of the USA legislature being behind him as he refused further bond-service.

Even so is it with the believer. Christ signed our Act of Emancipation in His own blood. It is for me to believe it, reckon on it being true in my case, refuse to be ground any longer under the heel of sin and Satan, and it thus claiming my freedom and saying “No” to sin, I can count on all the power of the Risen Christ being behind me.

No longer need I be powerless in service. “I am alive unto God” or responsive to God. Alive to prayer, alive to calls for service, alive for testimony and soul-winning.

to be continued,

In Christ
Jeff


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5. CLEAN OVER JORDAN, 3:17. NEWNESS OF LIFE.

Immediately the priests came “up out of Jordan,” the waters rolled back as cold and forbidding as ever—but “all the people were passed clean over Jordan.”

What DEFINITENESS! Jordan was the clear and definite boundary between the Wilderness and Canaan. There was no need to ask, “Am I over Jordan or not?” We know when we have crossed Jordan.

WHAT FINALITY? Between them and their old life lay Jordan’s swirling waters. They had crossed their Rubicon. They were shut in with their enemies. There was no possibility of retreat. When we enter the Canaan experience, we look back and see the river of Christ’s death flowing between us and the old life of sin.

WHAT NEWNESS! To Israel it was indeed a totally new kind of life. There was better food. The manna was replaced by fruit, milk, honey and corn. There was a better rest. No longer aimlessly wandering in the desert, they lived in their settled homes. They had a better song on their lips and in their heart. And they experienced more victory in their warfare. This is a picture of the “walk in newness of life.”

Tonight you stand trembling on the brink of Jordan. The Self-life is pleading hard to be spared. You have fully counted the cost and faced the difficulties, and the devil has been strongly urging you to postpone decision, but this must not be. The Ark has gone before into the dark waters of Jordan, but you must follow by an act of faith. To you the Lord is saying, “Do you believe that I can bring YOU clean over Jordan as I brought Israel? Do you fear to trust Me?”

What is your response going to be? Shall it not be, “Lord, I do not know HOW it is going to be done, but I believe Thy Word. Feeling or no feeling, token or no token, I now yield myself to Thee and trust Thee to bring me.

to be continued

In Christ
Jeff


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THE PERILS OF THE PROMISED LAND

Reading: Joshua, Chapters 5:13-15, 6; 7; 9

The outstanding characteristic of life in the Promised Land is Conflict, as the experience of Israel after crossing Jordan abundantly demonstrates. They knew very little about fighting until they came up against the inhabitants of the Land. True they had had skirmishes in the Wilderness, but now the conflict begins in grim earnest.

The Christian who imagines that life in the Promised Land is one of rest from temptation and conflict, has a great disillusionment awaiting him. There is not less temptation, but more strong and subtle temptation. There is not less conflict, but more constant conflict. The difference lies in the fact that in Canaan the battle is not fought under our own leadership, but under that of the Victorious Man with the drawn sword, Who has never suffered defeat. It is not rest FROM conflict, but rest IN conflict. In Canaan, Israel lost only one battle in seven years, and that was because of culpable disobedience and sin.

It must be remembered that Israel’s warfare was not directed against the Canaanites merely as men, but against the Satanic powers to which they yielded, and which were the objects of their worship. God commanded their extermination for two wise and sufficient reasons. First, they were incorrigible demon-worshippers, and were thus and abomination to Him. Secular history is sufficient to establish this fact without recourse to the divine record. For the sake of the human race they must be cut off lest all be drawn away into the same sin. Second, they were unspeakably immoral.

“Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things,” the Lord had commanded His people, “for in all these things the nations are defiled which I cast out before you. Therefore do I visit the iniquity thereof upon it.”

The extermination of the Canaanites, then, according to this passage, was an act of necessary moral surgery, as beneficent an act in the interests of the human race as is the excision of the cancer which will shortly deprive the sufferer of his life. God had a purpose of blessing for the whole human race through Israel, which would have been defeated had He allowed them to intermingle and intermarry with the morally corrupt and cruel Canaanites.

The Christian who has entered the Promised Land soon finds arrayed against him spiritual foes of which he knew nothing when living the carnal life.

“For we have to close in grapple not with human flesh and blood alone, but with Principalities, with Powers, with the Lords of Darkness whose present sway is world-wide, with the spirit-host of Wicked Beings that haunt the upper air. Therefore take up the God-given panoply…” Eph 6:12-13 (Way)

In Egypt, in type, the conflict was with the World.
Against Amalek, the conflict was with the Flesh.
With the Canaanites the conflict was with the Devil and his hosts.

We can settle it, then, that life in Canaan means a life of conflict.

Now let us learn what lessons the Holy Spirit has to teach us from four of Israel’s initial experiences in the Land.

to be continued

In Christ
Jeff


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1. THE INITIAL CONQUEST—OF JOSHUA, 5:13-15, BEWARE OF SELF-RELIANCE.

Joshua is alone under the very walls of Jericho. He has come out to reconnoiter, as any prudent General would do before he attempted to take a city. Suddenly he lifts up his eyes to behold standing over against him a man with a drawn sword. Who is the warrior, Canaanite or Israelite? He is neither enemy nor ally, but LEADER! Joshua finds himself in the presence of his Superior Officer to whom he yields his sword as he falls in the dust at His feet. He perceives that this is none other than the Lord Himself, and obediently enquires, “What saith my Lord unto His servant?”
Joshua hands over command; he is no longer Leader.

To change the lessons of this incident into New Testament language, in Canaan

Joshua received a new revelation of Christ as Lord and Master. He renounced his own plan of attack, realizing that there was no room in God’s plan for his merely human skill and ingenuity. Is this your attitude?

God’s self-revelation is always adapted to the circumstances we are in. Inexperienced Israel is about to embark on prolonged warfare. Then God reveals Himself as a Man of war. “As Captain….am I now come.” As then, so He does today.

He was Captain, not of Israel’s but of heaven’s hosts. Jericho fell, not before the might of Israel’s arms, but before the might of heaven’s hosts. Wherever there is a Jericho, there is a mighty Lord with His hosts, Whose presence assures victory.

The Captain assumed all responsibility, to Joshua’s great relief. He is willing to do the same for us. When we do not know the best way to attack our Jerichos, it is a tremendous strength to know that we have One on Whom we can lean for all needed wisdom and power.

Joshua had to learn that the Lord must conquer him, before He could conquer his foes through him.

“Force me to render up my sword, and I shall conqu’ror be.”

Immediately after this meeting we read:

“And the Lord said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the King thereof, and the mighty men of valour.” 6:2


to be continued
In Christ
Jeff


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As a side note, this sermon by David Wilkerson speaks in the same manner as Sanders and Murray.

https://www.sermonindex.net/modules/mydownloads/visit.php?lid=613

In Christ
Jeff


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2.THE INITIAL MENACE—OF JERICHO, Chapter 6. BEWARE OF SELF-EFFORT.

But although the Lord had given Jericho to Joshua, its walls were still intact, as grim and forbidding as ever! It remained for Israel to work out the principles of possession of which we spoke in an earlier address. They must first dispossess the enemy and then appropriate their land.

Now Jericho was the key to Canaan. From it radiated all the roads and passes through the country. Its capture was the first strategic necessity. With what a strange mixture of exhilaration and trepidation the young nation faced the prospect! There was no retreat, their bridges had been burned behind them when they elected to cross Jordan. It was now either victory or death. It is to their eternal credit that they stood up to the tremendous test of the new Captain’s seemingly absurd plan of campaign. They might well have been excused questioning its wisdom, but no, their surrender is complete and they yield implicit obedience. God’s plan of attack always does seem futile to carnal wisdom and expediency, but it is the only way which leads to success.

In their campaign against Jericho, five sidelights on this victory of faith are to be seen.

THE OBEDIENCE OF FAITH, vs. 14. To march round the city once a day for six day and then seven times on the seventh day imposed the greatest possible strain on their loyalty and obedience. The Holy Ghost is given “to them that obey Him.” Acts 5:32.

THE SILENCE OF FAITH, vs. 10. It must have had a strange effect on Jericho to watch this host of virile young men—for none were over sixty—marching round the city in absolute silence, voicing no challenge, flinging no taunt, making no complaint, but content to be “fools for Christ’s sake.” They could afford to be silent, for they were inwardly relying on the promise of their God.

THE PATIENCE OF FAITH, vs. 14. “So did they six days,” A tremendous test for young men itching to match their strength with that of their enemies. To do nothing and wait for God is far more difficult than to do something on our own initiative.

THE SHOUT OF FAITH, vs. 16. They shouted BEFORE the walls fell—not after. Their shout was only the outward expression of their inward faith. The shout was the expression of their appropriation, to which God responded so miraculously.

“Before the battle—lines are spread, Jesus saves me now’
Before the boasting foe is dead, Jesus saves me now.
I win the fight, though not began, I’ll trust and SHOUT still marching on,


Jesus saves me now.”

THE GLORYING OF FAITH, vs. 19. The silver, gold, brass, iron, was all to be consecrated to God and placed in His treasury. In other words, all the glory was to be God’s. The victory was so evidently the sovereign work of the Lord and His hosts, that neither Joshua nor the people could take aught of the glory.

When that Jericho in your nature or your circumstances, so deeply entrenched, so impregnable, falls before your shout of faith, see that you give the glory to the One to Whom it belongs.

BEWARE OF SELF-EFFORT

to be continued
In Christ
Jeff


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3.THE INITIAL REVERSE—AT AI. Chapter 7. BEWARE OF PRESUMPTION.

As previously stated, this was the only battle in which Israel suffered defeat in seven years, and it occurred close on the heals of their first great victory. This fact surely invests it with great significance for the believer only recently a resident of Canaan.

Ai, though apparently small and insignificant, was in reality second only to Jericho in its strategic importance. It guarded most of the passes into the interior of Canaan, and was therefore far from being as unimportant as it seemed. It was here, then, that they suffered their new and terrible experience of defeat in the Land, in an engagement in which thirty-six were killed, and the whole detachment ignominiously routed.

“Then defeat is possible to the Christian, even in the Promised Land! I thought is was all victory for me if I crossed Jordan.”

Yes, defeat is possible, but not necessary. Let us endeavour to discover to discover the causes underlying their defeat.

A. CAUSES OF THE DEFEAT

First of all there was Presumption, engendered by their recent signal success at Jericho. They under-estimated the foe, and decided to send only a few against the city instead of the whole army. They acted in carnal wisdom, sending spies ahead to determine the best method of attack, instead of consulting the Captain. Then, too, they acted as though THEY had captured Jericho.

Let us settle it once and for all, that there is no sin so small that we can defeat it ourselves. The hour when flushed with recent victory is the hour of greatest danger. Success in public is often followed by humiliating defeat in private, through this same sin of presumption.

Prayerlessness was also a contributory factor in the defeat. Not that Joshua did not pray, but he prayed at the wrong time—be prayed after, instead of before. If they had made the same preparations before Ai as before Jericho, how different the story would have been! If Joshua had consulted the Unseen Captain, He would soon have revealed to him the guilty mound in Achan’s tent. When Joshua falls on his face, the Lord says, “Get thee up—this is not the time to pray, for Israel hath sinned.” In other words, “It is you, not I, who must act.” Humiliation will not take the place of searching out evil. If we suffer defeat, the remedy is, not to fall on our faces in prayer, but to search out and judge the sin which caused the defeat.

But it was Purloining which was the actual occasion of the defeat—the outcome of covetousness on the part of Achan, and apparently, of his family who were privy to his action. His sin was willful, for due warning of the penalty had been given. It was secret, being known only to the members of his family. But he learned that with God there is no such thing as secret sin. He saw no connection whatever between the mound in his tent and the thirty-six corpses on the Ai road and the resultant demoralization of two million people. It was a sin in the devouted thing. Achan had joined with others in devoting all the spoil to God, but, like Ananias and Sapphira, he took it back from the altar. Is there anything, once placed on the altar which you have since withdrawn? In these solemn moments let me plead with you to restore it to where it rightfully belongs. His sin affected the whole camp. You cannot sin in secret without affecting others. Your individual sin affects and weakens the whole Church. Only one drop of poison injected into the little finger will kill every member of the body.

B. Correction of the Defeat
Thank God, there is no defeat we may suffer for which there is not abundant provision made for forgiveness and subsequent victory. Joshua searched out the sin and executed judgment on the offenders. He obeyed the Captain instead of following the carnal advice of the spies, by sending the whole host up against Ai. The result was a foregone conclusion—a sweeping victory. And more than that, they were permitted to take the spoil—the spoil in which Achan would have participated had he only been willing to wait a few hours. How tragic the results of endeavouring to snatch blessings from God before His time. Learn the Lessons of Ai and

BEWARE OF PRESUMPTION

to be continued

In Christ
Jeff


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5. THE INITIAL COMPROMISE—WITH GIBEON. Chapter 9. BEWARE OF SNARES

Once again Israel is flushed with the victory of Ai. With the onward victorious march of the invaders, however, the whole of the surrounding nations proclaimed a truce in their inter-tribal warfare, and united against their common foe. The Gibeonites (Hivites), however, were doubtful as to the wisdom of fighting against Israel, and decided to resort to strategy. So they sent ambassadors of peace, purporting to come from a far country. Their story certainly seemed consistent with their appearance—old sacks, old wine-bottles, old shoes, old garments and mouldy bread. The Israelites were suspicious at first—but then, the evidence was so strong! Here they made their tragic blunder

“And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the Lord.” V. 14

Satan is infinitely more dangerous in his wiles than in his open assaults. The Early Church flourished under the persecutions of Nero, but succumbed to the flatteries of Constantine.

“Beloved, believe not every spirit. Prove the spirits, whether they are of God.” 1 John 4:1.

“I fear, lest by any means, as the Serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:3.
In this case the story appeared so reasonable, their appearance was so in keeping, and their illusions to Jehovah were so reverent, that the Israelites believed the evidence of sight, and “asked not counsel at the mouth of the Lord, “ They trusted to their own discernment and good judgment. Fatal mistakes are so often perpetuated by the followers of Christ. You can never afford to forbear asking counsel of your Lord, for you are unequally matched against a subtle and cunning enemy. When your common-sense is most sure of a course of action, make doubly sure by consulting the Unseen Commander. Throw all the responsibility upon Him, and He will never misguide you.

To his dismay, in three days’ time Joshua discovered that these “citizens of a far country: were his next-door neighbors; but the discovery came too late, for he had already made a compact with them. Throughout the years which followed, the Gibeonites were a burden to Joshua and a curse to Israel, even as the Lord had forewarned them. Compromise always leads to trouble and discomfort.

And yet, in His abundant grace, “God turned the curse into a blessing,” as He so frequently does. The Gibeonites became “hewers of wood and drawers of water” to Israel, hewing wood for the burnt-offering and drawing water for the drink-offering, thus liberating many from these menial tasks to push the battle to the gates against the Canaanites. God frequently allows the natural consequences of our compromise to run their course, but at the same time makes them serve our spiritual and eternal welfare.

The lesson from the Compromise with Gibeon is, then, Beware of Snares. Be suspicious of appearance, WATCH and pray.

Such are some of the perils which beset Israel in their conquest of Canaan, from each of which we may learn invaluable lessons. Although many victories were gained, yet God’s ideal for them was never wholly realized, as the writer to the Hebrews makes plain in his comment of their experience under Joshua’s leadership;

“For if Joshua had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.” Hebrews 4:8,9

Israel perpetually fell just short of God’s full plan for them. Never once did they possess all the land He had given them. Never once was the year of jubilee, with its implications of absolute surrender to the sovereignty of their god and correct adjustment to their fellow-men, really observed. The “rest” which they experienced in the land was always temporary. The true rest, the “rest of faith” awaited the advent of the Heavenly Joshua who alone was qualified to say, “Come unto Me and I will give you rest.” Thank God, this rest of faith is no longer relegated to the future, but can, in response to our faith, be entered upon and enjoyed here and now.

“We which have believed do enter into rest. Let us therefore fear, lest a promise being left us of entering unto His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.” Hebrews 4:3,1




In Christ
Jeff


_________________
Jeff Marshalek

 2005/1/8 15:02Profile





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