Love the LORD Your God

Shiloah Baptist Church

“Take good heed therefore unto yourselves, that ye love the LORD your God.”  Joshua 23:11 (KJB)

God desires that we love Him.  We show that love by hiding the word in our hearts that we not sin against Him (Psalm 119:11), and it becomes a part of our everyday lives.

The thought is often presented, or the question is asked about the Word of God whether it is applicable for Christian life and living in 2018.  For any of us the answer is, Yes!  Are we to live by Old Testament Law in 2018.  The answer to that is –  The people given the law could not  live and obey it completely.  Who are we to think that we can?  We are to hear, and live with love for God, and His word, and His laws will be dear to us.

We must understand that the law of God was…

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Trust

Shiloah Baptist Church

“There failed not ought of any good thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.”   Joshua 21:45  (KJB)

If there is any one thing the world needs today it is for substance, truth, integrity, and the fulfilling of words spoken.  Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one can come to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6), then, He went to the cross and died for us.

The very last phrase of our text above says, “All came to pass”.  Every word God had spoke through Moses had come to pass, just as He had said.

We can trust what God says because He has done all that He said, or it will be done in the not too distant future.  Some of the things He has said are, at this moment, being fulfilled.

“Not a…

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The Enemy and Us

Shiloah Baptist Church

“Yet the children of Manasseh could not drive out the inhabitants of those cities; but the Canaanites would dwell in that land. Yet it came to pass, when the children of Israel were waxen strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute; but did not utterly drive them out.”  Joshua 17:12-13

God’s command for Israel when they entered the Promised Land was to deal strongly with the enemy, and destroy the inhabitants of the land of Canaan.  We must understand these Canaanites were given, by God, over 400 years to repent and change their ways, yet they did not.

Now, we learn of tribes of Israel opening the door to the enemy of good and right because of their fear of iron chariots and horses; and due to their own weaknesses and lack of faith in God.  I do not mean to judge Israel.  I find in them the same weakness…

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Faith and Courage

Shiloah Baptist Church

Reading Joshua 13 – 15 for today…

“Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite unto this day, because that he wholly followed the LORD God of Israel.”  Joshua 14:14  (KJB)

How is it that Caleb “Wholly followed the LORD God of Israel”?  When you hear of Caleb in reading Scripture he is always the one who seeks to do the will of God, to be used by Him to accomplish God’s purposes, and fulfill God’s promises in his life.  He does not go after those easy things.

The courage and faith of Caleb was to seek out the most difficult and trust the LORD for victory.

Caleb was one of the two who in the first viewing of Canaan by the twelve spies, returned with trust in God and victory in his heart to take the land (Numbers 13-14).  Joshua was the other, and…

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The Day GOD Heard a Man

Shiloah Baptist Church

Reading Joshua 10 – 12 today…

“And the LORD said unto Joshua, Fear them not: for I have delivered them into thine hand; there shall not a man of them stand before thee.”  Joshua 10:8 (KJB)

No one will believe this story unless they believe there is God who made all things, and will believe the Scriptures of Genesis through the Revelation.  There are probably many scientific reasons, and maybe quite reasonable reasons for saying this cannot happen.  However, it did.  There are many things science, neither the mind of men can explain.  Let us trust God, and believe His word.

Five kingdoms decided to team up against the inhabitants of Gibeon.  They (Gibeon – see chapter 9) had made, though  through deceit, a treaty with Israel.

Because Israel had promised in the name of the LORD to have this treaty they would stand by Gibeon and protect them as…

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Deception

Shiloah Baptist Church

Reading Joshua 7 – 9 today…

“…And now, behold, we are in thine hand: as it seemeth good and right unto thee to do unto us, do.” Joshua 9:25 (KJB)

Please be sure you read all of chapter nine.

Part of the responsibility of the deception lay in the hands of the leaders of Israel.  A deception from a people of the land of Canaan, Hivites from Gibeon, plotted this deception to be at peace with Israel.

God’s word was for Israel to destroy all the inhabitants of the land.  So far doing this had been no problem for them.  Now, however, some Hivites from no too far away in the land had come with deception of living far away – out of Canaan – and sought peace with God’s people for fear of destruction.

What could these people of Israel, Joshua and the leaders of Israel, have done?  The…

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Who is This Man?

Shiloah Baptist Church

Reading Joshua 3 – 6 for today…

“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 5:15 (KJB)

Who is this Man?  I am certain that when Jesus Christ was born onto this planet, and in Israel many asked that question of Him.  I have no doubt in my mind who this Man who appeared to Joshua the night before their first battle in the Promised Land is.

Who is this Man?  He is called in the New King James Bible “The Commander of the LORD’S army”.  He says that of Himself.  Joshua worships Him, falling down at His feet, without receiving any rebuke or correction.

This was not an angelic being.  He was a Christophany, and appearance of the God Man.  He is in this experience with Joshua…

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Rahab’s Testimony

Shiloah Baptist Church

Reading today from Deuteronomy 33 – Joshua 2…

“And she said unto the men, ‘I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath. Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the LORD, since I have shewed you kindness, that ye will…

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Be Strong

Shiloah Baptist Church

Reading Deuteronomy 30 – 32 today…

“Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”  Deuteronomy 31:6 (KJB)

Thinking of Deut 31:6 we as Christians are called also to be strong and of good courage, and not to fear, but to always trust the Lord our GOD.  I always remind myself of three things when I am afraid, and fearful –

  1. Trust in God and do not fear (Psalm 56:3-4);
  2. When I am fearful and afraid I redirect my fear to God and fear nothing else (Proverbs 3:5-6); and
  3. I will remind myself of the phrase, “When you fear God you will fear nothing else”.

It is amazing what GOD can do when we redirect our fear and believe Him and His word.

There…

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Check Things Out – Pray

Making decisions involving others is not an easy task.  There are people out to take advantage of you, to get all they can get from you.  The Great and Awesome God who has made all things gave us a mind and heart to use, but we do need help at times.

I want to take  us today to an event in the life and leadership of Joshua and Israel after they had conquered Jericho, been defeated by Ai due to their sin, conquered Ai after dealing with the sin in their midst.

There was a tribe of people from Gibeon who were inhabitants of the land of Canaan, and tried to deceive Joshua into believing they were from a land outside of Canaan.

“Wherefore our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spake to us, saying, Take victuals with you for the journey, and go to meet them, and say unto them, We are your servants: therefore now make ye a league with us. This our bread we took hot for our provision out of our houses on the day we came forth to go unto you; but now, behold, it is dry, and it is mouldy: and these bottles of wine, which we filled, were new; and, behold, they be rent: and these our garments and our shoes are become old by reason of the very long journey. And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD.” Joshua 9:11-14 (KJV)

These Hivites had heard of the victories of Israel on the other side of Jordan; the defeating of Sihon and Og.  They were frightened for their lives, and practiced deceit to win their lives.  Not any different than many people today.  “Whatever it takes”  we will often do to save our own lives, and that of family.

The sentence of the verses above I want us to focus on is verse 14…

And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD.

Joshua and the leaders took their word, their food, as a gift of assurance that they were from outside Canaan.  Had they prayed, and asked the LORD’S counsel the outcome would have been much different.

These Gibeonites would eventually be found out; made servants for Israel; and would be a pain, sorrow, and thorn in the side of the people of God.

When it comes to dealing with others; making deals, promises, and such we ought always go to God in prayer first.  Prayer should not be the last resort; it should be the first thing we do when making decisions of life’s importance.

Jesus said…

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8

Pray.  Seek God’s counsel.  Always.

Jesus Through the Bible – Captain of the LORD’S Host

This begins new post on this theme.  I pray the Lord has spoken to your hearts of who Jesus is, and will continue to do so through the reading and study of the word of God.

“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? 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? 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 5:13-15 (KJV)

Joshua is uneasy, maybe even fearful of what is about to come with Jericho.  He has gone away from the camp, and thinking, praying, surveying with his eyes the vastness of the city when this Man appears to him.  Who is this Man?  Is He on the side of Joshua?  Is He on Israel’s side?

Look at His description.  The Man has a sword, not in its sheath, but drawn; ready for battle.  Joshua’s first thought was the reason for his question; “Are You for us, or for our adversaries?”  This Man’s answer was probably not a comforting answer.  He said, “No; but as Captain of the host of the LORD am I now come.”

Note Joshua’s action.  He fell on his face in worship.  He recognized the Lord.  There is evidence here that this was a Christophany of God appearing as a Man to a man.  It is called a pre-incarnate manifestation of Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son.

Joshua’s question was a legitimate question.  However, when it comes to the Lord we best be on His side; and not wonder whether He is on our side.  He is the defender of our faith.  He is the Warrior of righteousness, justice, love, mercy, and will not forgive the wicked who reject His word and/or His work.

Get on the LORD’S side today.  Trust the Lord Jesus.  He died on the cross for your sins; was buried carrying all your sin, shame, condemnation, guilt away; then He bodily arose from the grave, ascended to the Father; and is returning one day.  Call on His name and He will save you.

Day Two Hundred Seventy and Four

What do I want for Christmas?

I know that it is Easter Sunday for Christians around the world; however, I want to better understand the love, grace, mercy, and power of God through the cross, burial and resurrection of Jesus; and I want you to know that this same Jesus who was born in a manger came to die for the sins of the world, that He did, was buried, and He arose from the grave; and He is soon returning.  Make sure you are on His side.

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.” Joshua 24:15 (KJV)

“For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” John 3:17-19

 

Many Great Things Has God Done for His People

“And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods; for the LORD our God, He it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed: and the LORD drave out from before us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land: therefore will we also serve the LORD; for He is our God.” Joshua 24:16-18 (KJV)

Many great things has God done for His people Israel. Joshua, Caleb, and all the people of Israel who had came through the wilderness, had experienced the mighty hand of God; and they had received the Promise of God to their fathers. After they had received the promise how would they live?

That is a good question for followers of Christ in 2015. How will we now live? How will I now live?  Will we turn away from God? Will I turn away from God?  Will we continue to believe God and live for Him? Will I continue to believe God, and live for Him?  My answer to those questions is that; I will strive through the working of the Spirit of Christ Jesus to please the Father. I will not turn away from Him. I will live for Him. May my life be lived that others may see Christ in and through me. Yes I will live for God, His Son, and His word. There is no other God.

How about you?

What GOD Has Spoken GOD Will Do

And the LORD gave unto Israel all the land which He sware to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein. 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. There failed not ought of any good thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.” Joshua 21:43-45 (KJV)

For the follower of Jesus Christ today these verses serve to remind us that God fulfills His Word. No word He speaks ever goes unfulfilled, or undone. It may seem slow in coming at times, but it will come (Jeremiah 1:12; Matthew 24:35).

God had promised the land of Canaan to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He later told it to Moses who had led Israel out of Egypt; then spent 40 years getting Egypt out of Israel through the wilderness experience.

Remember God will fulfill every word He has spoken.

Children of Victory

“And the children of Joseph said, The hill is not enough for us: and all the Canaanites that dwell in the land of the valley have chariots of iron, both they who are of Bethshean and her towns, and they who are of the valley of Jezreel. And Joshua spake unto the house of Joseph, even to Ephraim and to Manasseh, saying, Thou art a great people, and hast great power: thou shalt not have one lot only: but the mountain shall be thine; for it is a wood, and thou shalt cut it down: and the outgoings of it shall be thine: for thou shalt drive out the Canaanites, though they have iron chariots, and though they be strong.” Joshua 17:16-18 (KJV)

Dividing the land was no easy task for the people of Israel. Some of the divisions of land remained unconquered, and it was up to the tribe inheriting the land to conquer it. Some of the inhabitants of Canaan were not driven out as God had commanded (vv. 12 – 13), but later came under tribute or a tax burden.

The Canaanites that lived in the valley they spoke of had great iron chariots; one of the most feared military vehicles of the day. The horses alone could trample, stomp and kill the enemy; and that does not even match what was on the wheels of the chariots. Whirling, spinning knife like blades slicing, killing, maiming anything that was too close.

Joshua’s message to to the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh was “You are a great people with great power. You shall have the mountain, and you will be able to drive out the Canaanites of the valley, even though they have chariots of iron.” Encouragement is powerful when the person receiving it takes it to heart.

For you and I today; we can see that for the Christian there is no enemy of God that cannot and will not be stopped and destroyed (Ephesians 6:10-18). We are a great and strong people. Not because of our own doing, but because of Jesus Christ and His cross. No enemy within or without can defeat us.

Occupy

“Now Joshua was old and stricken in years; and the LORD said unto him, Thou art old and stricken in years, and there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed.” Joshua 13:1 (KJV)

Joshua was probably near 100 years of age. Caleb was 85 years of age, yet said he was as strong as when they searched the land of Canaan forty years before (Joshua 14:7-12).

One of the things I see about this verse is that even though we age we ought never retire from the ministry of the LORD. The ministry to which Jehovah has called us through His Son; and that is possessing the possession He has given us. We all have enemies to conquer – in our personal lives. Be they run away emotions, fear, doubt, anger, family issues that tear us apart; and those we see in others. We need to help others too.

The other thing is to warn others who are on the wrong path of life of the life hereafter without Christ in their lives; and to tell them of the blessings of life with Christ now, and hereafter. We have been given a parable of illustration by Jesus to motivate us;

“A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.” Luke 19:13ff

That word “Occupy” means “Stay busy caring for My stuff until I come” and it does not matter how old you get.

“Joshua you are getting old; but your life is not over. You got years of ministry left. You have land to conquer. Get going. Get with it.” I can insert my name there. How about you?

Let’s begin with knowing Jesus, and being known by Him.

Not That the Sun Stood Still

“Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the LORD fought for Israel.” Joshua 10:12-14 (KJV)

This deals with a great miracle. This was a miracle of cosmic proportions. We are asked in Scripture “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” For the one who believes the Bible to be the Word of God we must say “Nothing is too hard for the LORD.” Nothing.

Yet there is something greater here than the sun standing still for about a whole day. “Something greater?” Yes!

Verse 14 for instance. The importance is not that the sun stood still; we ought not be so awed or wondering about that, but “…that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man”. As I read this I also thought of what Jesus told the disciples after they returned from their mission:

“And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through Thy name. And He said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:17-20

We are unworthy of approaching the Lord GOD, except through the Lord Jesus Christ.  Just as the Jehovah answered Joshua, and extended the day we ought to be in more awe that the Creator of all that is would even hear our prayer. Bless the name of the LORD.

Laying Ambush to Sin

“And the LORD said unto Joshua, Fear not, neither be thou dismayed: take all the people of war with thee, and arise, go up to Ai: see, I have given into thy hand the king of Ai, and his people, and his city, and his land: and thou shalt do to Ai and her king as thou didst unto Jericho and her king: only the spoil thereof, and the cattle thereof, shall ye take for a prey unto yourselves: lay thee an ambush for the city behind it.” Joshua 8:1-2 (KJV)

Sin had entered the camp of Israel through the disobedience of one, Achan, of the tribe of Judah. Joshua chapter 6 shows the great victory over Jericho, and chapter 7 the defeat of a smaller city due to one man’s sin.

We ought never think that our sin affects no one else. It does. No matter how much we think no one else will ever find out about it. God knows. Due to guilt, shame, and fear we will continually know and will cause separation from family and friends.

Following the revelation of Achan’s sin, the people dealing with the sin then, God speaks to Joshua reassuring him to “Fear not, neither be dismayed…” Now there would be victory over the small city of Ai.

Sin is dealt with by the Christian by going through the Son of God to the throne of God confessing our sin.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

We ambush sin by confronting it, cutting it out, and putting on the Lord Jesus Christ; not coddling, cherishing, and making love with it.

“Fear not” seek God’s face through the cross of Jesus.

The Man…

“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? 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? 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 5:13-15 (KJV)

Joshua had just led the children of Israel across the Jordan River on dry ground. The River had been stopped upstream by the Almighty hand and power of God. The conquest of the Promised Land was about to begin.

I am almost positive Joshua may have had some thoughts of his own inadequacies for the journey that lay ahead.

Note though who appears to him. A Man; but not just any man; dressed in military armor, and carrying a sword, drawn and in His hand. The drawn sword means that He was ready to fight and defend the people of God.

This Man can be none other than a Christophany – a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ. Notice how Joshua fell with his face to the earth, and worshipped. The Man allows it, receives it; and if it would have just been an angel he would have corrected the error.

Paul the apostle recognized a Man in heaven. In 1 Timothy 2:5,

“For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.”

O what an assurance of victory this would have been to Joshua. What an assurance the Christian can have knowing that we are victors through our Lord Jesus Christ; and that there is nothing this world and its evil can throw at us, that we cannot overcome through Him.

Wherever We Go

“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. 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 whithersoever thou goest. 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. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” Joshua 1:6-9 (KJV)

Moses was dead, and buried by God. No one knew the burial spot, nor does anyone know to this very day. Moses was not allowed to enter the Promised Land because in anger he struck the rock rather than speaking to it as God had spoken (Numbers 20:8-13).

Now Joshua by God’s decree and anointing is the leader to lead the children of Israel across the Jordan River into the Promised Land.

We all need encouragement from others at times. It is always great to get encouragement from the Lord’s commands; from the Lord’s word.

We see in the death of Moses what the Law could not do. It could not get them into the place of God’s promise. The name “Joshua” means “Jehovah is salvation”, and the name “Jesus” is the Greek name for Joshua. “Jesus” means “Jehovah is salvation”.

“For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:17

When Joshua led the children of Israel across the Jordan River into the Promised Land he was fulfilling the Law. When Jesus came he came to fulfill the Law (Matthew 5:17-18).

We have God’s promise through the death, burial and resurrection that we have nothing to fear, and that with Christ living in us He is with us wherever we go.

Condemning Law; Saving Grace

“And the LORD said unto Moses, Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay thine hand upon him; and set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation; and give him a charge in their sight. And thou shalt put some of thine honour upon him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient. And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask counsel for him after the judgment of Urim before the LORD: at his word shall they go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he, and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation. And Moses did as the LORD commanded him: and he took Joshua, and set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation: and he laid his hands upon him, and gave him a charge, as the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses.” Numbers 27:18-23 (KJV)

The verses preceding these tell us of Moses being commanded by God to go onto Mount Abarim from which he would look over into the Promised Land, and see the destination of the children of Israel. Moses would die there, because he had rebelled against the LORD and struck the rock rather than speaking to it (Numbers 20:7-11).

We can see in the reading of the books of the Law that the Law is unable to deliver. It teaches, it convicts, it provides not salvation, except in perfection of keeping it; which no one is able to do. So the Law condemns, and leaves with no hope. The apostle Paul says of the Law,

“Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” Galations 3:24-25

Moses represents the Law, because he is the Lawgiver. Joshua represents the salvation of the LORD which is by grace. Joshua would lead the children of Israel into the Promised Land. Joshua is the Hebrew name for Jesus which means “Jehovah is salvation”.

Jesus Christ is our Victor, not the Law.

…Thus Saith the LORD… 012214

“Up, sanctify the people, and say, ‘Sanctify yourselves against to morrow: for thus saith the LORD God of Israel, ‘There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you.’  In the morning therefore ye shall be brought according to your tribes: and it shall be, that the tribe which the LORD taketh shall come according to the families thereof; and the family which the LORD shall take shall come by households; and the household which the LORD shall take shall come man by man. And it shall be, that he that is taken with the accursed thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he hath: because he hath transgressed the covenant of the LORD, and because he hath wrought folly in Israel.”  Joshua 7:13-15

Day 16 – Me and My House

Reading the fourteen chapters I read today left me a little bit bewildered, because there is so much to think about when it comes to writing and what there is to post.  As I sat down to write I was not sure of what to post here at Fire and Hammer; and then I believe I saw the way this was to go.

My reading consisted of Joshua 23 – 24 and Judges 1 – 12.  In Joshua his life is coming to an end and he offers a challenge to the people he is leading;

“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.”  Joshua 24:15 (KJV)

I know, I know a very familiar verse to every Christian; at least it should be.  However, I think I see it a bit differently now after reading it this time.  I noticed that Joshua puts the responsibility of their obedience upon their shoulders.  I guess I knew that previously, but it seemed more pronounced today.  Hear the conversation between Joshua and the people,

“And Joshua said unto the people, ‘Ye cannot serve the LORD: for He is an holy God; He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.  If ye forsake the LORD, and serve strange gods, then He will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that He hath done you good.’  And the people said unto Joshua, ‘Nay; but we will serve the LORD.’  And Joshua said unto the people, ‘Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the LORD, to serve Him.’ And they said, ‘We are witnesses.’  ‘Now therefore put away, said he, ‘the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the LORD God of Israel.'”  vv. 19-23

God demands that His people be holy.  Joshua gave them the truth of God and His Word, and they said we will be responsible.  “We are willing to suffer the consequences of our disobedience when we do so”, “We are witnesses” of this.

We then enter the book of Judges, read of Joshua’s death, and how the people anger the LORD through their worship of foreign gods; which actually begins by departing from GOD.  Disobedience is the first step of departure from GOD;

“And the LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.” Judges 1:19

The chariots would have appeared to them to be like a military tank to a man on foot in today’s army.  Yet, I must ask, What of God and faith in Him?  Is that not how the walls of Jericho came tumbling down?  Is that not how the waters of the Red Sea parted?  What about the water from the Rock?  The Manna from heaven?  Then we read,

“And an angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, ‘I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you.   And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this?  Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you.” 2:1-3

So now, because of their absence of trust in the LORD, their departure from Him to other gods; GOD leaves the enemy in their midst to act as “thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you.”  We as Christians can sit back and judge them and ask these questions concerning their faith; but what about our own.  When it comes to holiness are there things in our hearts and lives that separate us from the blessing of God?

Our holiness is, of course, through the death, burial and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.  It is His holiness, His righteousness, in which we must rest; however, we too have a responsibility to obedience in “… faith which worketh by love.” (Galations 5:6).

Grow in faith and love toward Jesus Christ.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 15 – Prayer versus Prayerlessness

Let me get something straight.  Prayer is to the Creator of all that is through His Son Jesus Christ.  The prayers of the Old Testament which were answered by GOD were answered by looking forward to the cross in faith.  They believed God, and it was counted unto them for righteousness.

In the reading this morning I read Joshua 9 – 22.  There was deceit, fraud by the Gibeonites out of fear for their lives; and there was a failure to pray on the part of the Israelites.

“And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD.”  Joshua 9:14 (KJV)

The leaders of Israel looked and saw the food and drink the Gibeonites had with them, believed them to be a distant people, and made a covenant with them.  Had they prayed they might have avoided a lot of headaches later on.

We see an example of a man calling on the LORD; Joshua in particular and seeing one of the miracles of the Bible come to pass;

“Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, ‘Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon.’   And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.   And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the LORD fought for Israel.” Joshua 10:12-14

You will note that Joshua spoke to the LORD, and gave command for the sun to stand still.  Now from a human point of view that would be impossible; but our God is not limited to the possible.  He is the God of the impossible.  That is, afterall, because He is GOD.  This was due to one man whose heart was faithful in calling on the name of the LORD, and believed the GOD of the impossible made it possible.  Joshua, by the power of GOD spoke to the sun and moon to stop in their course through the universe, and provide a few more hours to accomplish the work that was before them; and God did it.

The we see a couple of times when there must have been a lack of prayer and faith.  When we are not given to the word of God and prayer; faith will be in short supply.  The enemy will be most difficult to overcome; and we will find ourselves accommodating them.

“As for the Jebusites the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the children of Judah could not drive them out: but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Judah at Jerusalem unto this day.” 15:63

and another time;

“Yet it came to pass, when the children of Israel were waxen strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute; but did not utterly drive them out.” 17:13

This is tied to the matter of obedience as well.  Had they been faithful in prayer, obedience to the commands of the LORD, they would have been faithful to driving out the inhabitants of the land, destroying the evil of the land.  In their disobedience they brought trouble into their camps.

There is a lesson here for the children of God today; the Christian, the follower of Christ.  Rid your hearts and lives of the evil.  Make no compromise with all that is vile and evil in your heart and life.  Be swift at the destruction of evil within.  Stay in prayer and the Word of God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 14 – Promised Land Entry

Many years before the LORD had promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that their descendents would inherit the land of Canaan as their possession.  I do not doubt that they must have had wonder, and questions as to how God would carry out this great event.  It was not for them to know the how; but to trust and believe that GOD would do it.

My reading this morning was from Deuteronomy 29 – Joshua 8.  Covering the time shortly before the death of Moses; and his preparing of the people for his death, encouragement to obey the laws of God or else be cursed by God.  The Word of God plays a very important part in the children of Israel’s lives (Deuteronomy 30:11-14).

Moses gave them a song before he went up on Mount Nebo, the top of Pisgah, was given the view of all the  Promised Land and there he died.  The song of Moses (32:1-43) is a song of the glory of the LORD, His power, His protection of His people, His deliverance and of Israel’s stubbornness.  We finally see Moses handing over the leadership to Joshua, before Moses goes to the mount.

We now get to the book of Joshua.

“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.   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 whithersoever thou goest.   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.   Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”  Joshua 1:6-9 (KJV)

Joshua must have been a bit overwhelmed by the task before Him.  He is now the leader of this mass of people who are called Israel; and they are to enter the land and destroy every idol, every people, removing all unholiness from the land; purifying it for the glory of the LORD.

Three times in these four verses GOD says to Joshua, “Be strong and of a good courage’, or “Be strong and very courageous’, and “Be strong and of a good courage”.  The LORD promises, “For the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”  Now who can fail with a word like that.

The victory over Jericho is certain and sure because of the LORD.  However, they go after a smaller city “‘Ai” and fail to conquer it.  There are some things I think can be seen for their failure at Ai.  First of all, it seems they thought they had the power;

“And they returned to Joshua, and said unto him, ‘Let not all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai; and make not all the people to labour thither; for they are but few.” 7:3

Another thing missing is their lack of seeking God’s approval, and lack of prayer.  It just could be that had they prayed the LORD would have revealed the sin of Achan earlier.  The reason I mention these things is because they seem to practice these things previous to their Jericho victory.  Joshua, the army of GOD and the people needed to know that it is God who gives the victory.

Christian, it is still God who gives the victory.  The victory over sin has been accomplished by the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross, His burial and His bodily resurrection.  Be strong and of a good courage Christian.  The LORD gives the victory  in the wilderness and in the Promised Land.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Scarlet Thread – Joshua Worships

The example given today is not a type, but in truth the very Son of God; which was yet to become flesh; as He speaks with Joshua after they have entered into the Promised Land.

“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?’  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?’   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 5:13-15 (KJV)

This was the evening before the LORD gives the children of  Israel Jericho as a victory.  Joshua has probably experienced some amount of anxiety.  This is his first battle with a city as the new leader of Israel.  He is evidently alone and the LORD appears to him.

We know it is the LORD because Joshua bows in worship to Him, and He accepts the worship.  If it had been only an angel the angel would have quickly had Joshua stand; as the angel did with John in the Revelation 19:10.

This “Man” is none other than a theophany or preincarnate appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

He refers to Himself as “Captain of the host of the LORD”.  He is the same one who will lead the armies in the final battle on that Lord’s day when all evil will be put away; and Jesus Christ shall reign forever and forever (Revelation 19:11-20:15).

When Joshua sees the LORD He has His sword drawn in His hand, ready for battle.  Joshua asks Him, “Are you for us, or our adversaries?”  The answer the LORD gives is not a yes I am for you, or I am for your enemy; it is rather, “I am Captain of the host of the LORD”.  Joshua submitted his will to the LORD’s will; and thus it should be for all who will be right with God.

It is not a matter of the LORD being on my side; it is however, a matter of me being on His side.  The prophet Amos asked the question, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?”  The answer to that question is NO!  If we are to be participants in the Scarlet Thread of redemption we must agree with God, His Word, His commandments, and His salvation.

Fall today at the feet of the only one worthy of our worship.  The only one who makes all things right with God.  The Son of God Jesus Christ who died on the cross, was buried carrying sin away, and rising again for our justification.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Joshua – 040311

Joshua can be seen as a christ like figure of the Old Testament.  Oshea son of Nun had his name changed to Joshua (Numbers 12:8, 16).  From “deliverer” to “Jehovah saves”.

Joshua, following the crossing of the Jordan River on dry ground, spending seven days marching around the city of Jericho – one time around for 6 days, and seven times around on the 7th day – and conquering the city has an encounter with the Lord Himself.

“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?’  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?  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 5:13-15 (KJV)

How can we know that this Man which Joshua encountered was God and not an angel?  One of the clearest things which stands out is that Joshua bowed in worship, and was not corrected.  Every time we find in Scripture a man bowing in worship to an angel we find the angel correcting the man (Revelation 22:8-9).  This Man did not correct Joshua.  Another is that when Joshua asked, “What saith my Lord unto His servant?” the Hebrew word for  “Lord” is “Adon” which is a name for our God.

Joshua has an amazing encounter with the Lord of hosts, Captain, Commander of the hosts of the LORD.  This should give us great cause for rejoicing.  Knowing that our Lord is leading the army of Heaven as we battle our adversary each and every day.  Our adversary is the devil, not our fellow man.

Follow Jesus.  Believe Him.  Trust Him and you will live with Him forever.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Becoming A Hero Of The Faith

Caleb is a hero of the Scriptures.  He is heroic in faith.  He is a champion of the Lord.  Wouldn’t it be great to be known by others as a champion of the LORD.  Let’s look at a time in Caleb’s life.  At this point they have reached a destination and battles have been fought and won, and some lost.

“Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite unto this day, because that he wholly followed the LORD God of Israel“  Joshua 14:14 (KJV).

Caleb was one of two who when they had returned from spying out the Promised Land, before they would enter it, who had the faith to enter after seeing that there was a hard war to be fought (READ Numbers chapter 13).  Because of his faith he and Joshua were the only people over the age of 20, at the time of the rebellion, that was allowed to enter and dwell in the Promised Land.

Now, we see Caleb being rewarded once again.  In verse 12 we find Caleb saying, “Give me this mountain”, and he said it knowing there were “Giants” in that mountain.  He thrived in the struggle.  His further statement was, “If so be the LORD will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the LORD said.”

O, how the one’s who follow Jesus Christ need this heart of faith.  To not be hindered by the barriers, and some of those are self imposed.  To not be loaded down with the baggage of fear and doubt.  How was it that Caleb could go and conquer?

“Because that he wholly followed the LORD God of Israel”.  Let’s be sure we wholly follow the Lord Jesus, Son of God, King of kings, and LORD of lords.  Through faith in Jesus Christ we can take that mountain that looks daunting at the moment.

-Tim A. Blankenship