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Pocket Sized Thoughts – Joshua – Part 14

Israel has sinned …” (7:11)

Chapter 7 also teaches us how to deal with sin. We see Joshua’s initial reaction to the defeat at Ai. He is devastated and rightly falls before God in importunate prayer as to how they could possibly have gone wrong. God’s reaction is very straightforward. “Get up” he tells Joshua and in effect says “you are wasting your time praying; now is not the time for such things; the issue is far simpler.” Often, we can go round and round in our minds trying to analyse where things may have gone wrong. We pray and ask God for special words of knowledge, or a greater gift of discernment while all the time, the answer is far more simple. There was sin in the camp and it had to be destroyed; there was no negotiation in this as God gave then no other option. First, they sanctified themselves, then, by a process of elimination, Achan is filtered out as he is the guilty man. The evidence is laid before everyone as a witness (v.22). The punishment seems harsh to our minds but there must be no legacy, nor opportunity to sin in the same way again. The lesson is simple; we cling to old things, habits, sins, etc at our peril. There is only one remedy :- “Be separate says the Lord and do not touch the unclean thing; then I will receive you.” (2 Corinthians 6:17).

PRAYER :- “Lord, help me to simply and radically deal with all sin.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – Joshua – Part 13

Achan … took the accursed thing.” (7:1)

In chapter 6 verse 18, just prior to the destruction of Jericho, Joshua had given a very strict order that everyone was to keep themselves from the ‘accursed thing.’ What it was precisely, we are not told, but it was some form of idol, which God had appointed for total destruction. Because of it, the inhabitants of Jericho had become accursed and eventually destroyed; and the same would apply to any Israelite who took it. Success can be as much (and even more) a temptation to sin as defeat. Such was the case of Achan who secretly took the accursed thing for himself. He said that first he saw the accursed thing, then he coveted it which led to him taking it and hiding it (v.21). We must be so careful what we look at with our eyes. At first, no-one knew or was any the wiser for what Achan had done. But, such acts cannot be hidden for long. Defeat revealed it and it is very possible that God graciously, reluctantly allowed the defeat at Ai to bring to light as to what Achan had done. As long as the accursed thing was in the camp (even though hidden), there could be no further victory. The sin of one man affected the whole and only when really dealt with did victory come again.

PRAYER :- “Lord, keep my yes pure for You, so that no sinful thing finds its way into my life.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – Joshua – Part 12

Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive.” (6:25)

Hebrews 11:30 tells us that it was by faith that the walls of Jericho fell down. But where was this faith? No-one, not even Joshua stood up and proclaimed victory in the Lord’s Name. We get all kinds of inflated ideas about our own abilities, or our “own faith.” But the faith demonstrated on that day was a faith that was intimately linked to obedience. They fully obeyed the command to walk silently (apart from the trumpets and ram’s horns) around the city until the appointed time came for them to shout. The other thing to note was the continual bearing of the ark – God’s presence was ever-present in all their circulations of the city. Without Him and His presence they could have done nothing. And, there was another kind of faith demonstrated on that day, the saving faith of Rahab. She had received the spies and obediently hung out the scarlet thread from her window to signify where she was. One kind of faith destroyed; another kind saved. Thus, the multi-faceted aspects of faith are demonstrated, lest we get inflated ideas of how faith should work. May God teach us His ways as he did with Joshua – the Lord was with him and everyone knew it (v.27). Joshua’s warnings about re-building Jericho went unheeded (absence of faith) by Hiel, in the days of King Ahab, with the prophesied tragic consequences of the death of his sons (1 Kings 16:34). We are not to rebuild what God has destroyed.

PRAYER :- “Lord, thank you that You save as well as destroy, raise up as well as pull down.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – Joshua – Part 11

The wall fell down flat.” (6:20)

God had spoken the word that the city would be given into the hand of Joshua. The promise was absolutely guaranteed, but the nation of Israel still had their part to play; their response was obedience and faith. For six consecutive days they encircled the city once. The inhabitants of Jericho must have been mystified to see the whole nation, priests and soldiers among them, walk in silence around the city, then return to their camp, doing apparently nothing. The only sound was that of the trumpets and the ram’s horns. No human voice was heard. The temptation was to go ahead and do something …. anything but to wait and be silent. But that was what they had been commanded to do. On the seventh day, they walked around the city seven times, then on the seventh occasion, preceded by a long blast upon the trumpets, Joshua commanded the people to shout. When they shouted, the walls fell and the army rushed into Jericho and killed everyone except Rahab and her family. In prayer (whether together in prayer meetings, or alone), the temptation is to stir up excitement. Better to wait for that certain note of the Spirit from heaven because if the trumpet gives an unclear sound, none can prepare themselves for the true battle of intercession (1 Corinthians 14:8). But, if the right note of the Spirit is there, no weapon of the enemy can prosper and no resisting thing of the powers of darkness can withstand the power of God’s people when they truly pray in the Spirit. This occurred in Acts 4 when God turned threats of imprisonment into glorious liberty. May we learn these lessons and pray accordingly.

PRAYER :- “Lord, thank you that You can destroy the hardest of strongholds.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – Joshua – Part 10

As Captain of the Lord’s host, I am now come.” (5:14)

To really confirm their entrance into the new, promised land Jericho had to be defeated. As said before it was an impenetrable fortress – none went out and none could go in. To defeat it seemed impossible. As Joshua was considering this, a man appeared before him with his sword drawn in his hand. Thinking it was an enemy, Joshua challenged Him. The man revealed to Joshua who he was. To Moses as legislator, God appeared as the Lawgiver; to Joshua, as a soldier, God appeared as the Captain of the army. The Jericho’s we face are truly impossible; we cannot possibly hope to defeat them in our own power. We need a Captain, a leader of the Lord’s host, with all the angels of God at his beckon call. Such a man is Christ, who destroyed death by rising from the grave. He alone can destroy the impregnable citadels of our lives, causing the most ancient, well-established and thickest of walls to fall down so that not one stone remains upon another. Let us trust Him to do as He did to Jericho with every sin in our lives.

PRAYER :- “Lord, thank you that as my Captain, You conquer very enemy; I willingly follow.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – Joshua – Part 9

This day, I have rolled away the reproach [shame] …” (5:9)

Change is never easy. The manna that they had eaten for so long finally stopped as they began a different diet of the fruit of the land of Canaan. To ease the change, circumcision was performed on all the men who had been born during the wilderness years. It was the first act after entering the land. The old life of the flesh was being completely rolled away, such is the meaning of Gilgal. The legacy of the past, by circumcision, was being removed. Unfettered by the mistakes of the past generation, they were now free to move forward. We are now the circumcision who worship God in the Spirit and have no confidence in the flesh (Philippians 3:3). They were in a new land, a new experience as the old had been cut away. All these events wonderfully teach us of the power of a new life in Christ. All the shame of the past has been erased. The second act upon entering the land was to keep the feast of the Passover. The death of the lamb signified not just coming out of Egypt but entering the new promised land of Canaan. All this is possible for us because of the wonderful death of Christ.

PRAYER :- “Lord, thank you, that in Christ, You erase all the shame of the past.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – Joshua – Part 8

All may know … that the hand of the Lord is mighty.” (4:24)

To symbolise this passage of death into resurrection life, one man from each tribe was selected to carry a stone from the middle of where the river Jordan was to the side on which they now stood. This memorial of twelve stones was a constant reminder of God’s work of bringing the people to His desired destination. As the last of the people passed over, the priests carrying the ark could finally move and also enter the land. The Ark had done its work in ensuring a safe passage over. The waters of the river returned but the twelve stones remained; 12 stones going in and 12 different stones coming out. Thus, is the work of the Lord. He intends to bring us right through. Nothing is to be left on the other side. Our lives, like the stones are to be constant testimony to the power of God in translating us from one kingdom, a kingdom of pointless wandering, to another, a kingdom of glorious light (1 Peter 2:9) where God’s presence is continuous. Such lives are to speak to all the world that such change is entirely due to the mighty hand of God (v.24) and nothing to do with the effort and hand of man. Such a changed life also causes despair among or enemies as few other things do (5:1). Has the Spirit of God done these things in us?

PRAYER : “Lord, thank you that this new life in Christ is a result of Your mighty hand and not ours.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – Joshua – Part 7

“The priests … stood firm on dry ground.” (3:17)

The river Jordan was the final barrier between the nation of Israel and the promised land. Though, on account of the rains, it was in full flood, God still made a way through. As soon as the feet of the priests who carried the ark stepped down into the river, the waters further upstream ceased to flow. Unlike the Red Sea, there was no agency, like wind, employed, neither was there Moses’ rod; the ark and its correct, sanctified carrying by the priests was sufficient to stop the waters and allow the people to cross over on dry land. The priests carrying the ark stood still as the people crossed over. The waters stopped at a city called Adam. This is highly suggestive of all the sin that flowed down since Adam’s disobedience. It had finally been cancelled out allowing God’s people, people of faith in Christ, unhindered by sin to cross over and begin to possess their possessions and enjoy their full inheritance that God had prepared for them. It was a symbol of baptism as they passed from the old to the new. The river Jordan is often depicted as the symbol of death as we pass over from earth to heaven. Though there are elements of truth in that, it signifies a far greater death, as the old, pointless, fruitless, barren years of wandering come to an end and the new life of being in all of God’s promises in Christ Jesus really begins. Have we gone through this spiritual baptism of death followed by resurrection and new life?

PRAYER :- “Lord, in giving me a new inheritance, thank you that You cut off all my old, natural inheritance.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – Joshua – Part 6

“When you see the ark … go after it.” (3:3)

As Joshua contemplates the future, the focus of the nation is shifted to the ark. When the ark, which typifies the presence of God, moves, then the people were to arise and “go after it (v.3).” Years of waiting were now at an end. Though they were going a new way and into new territory, they were assured of the Lord’s presence in the form of the ark. As the ark began to move, the response of the people was to obey the command to sanctify themselves. God was about to do a great thing in causing the waters of the river Jordan to cease flowing. God, as it were in the form of the ark, was passing ahead of them. They were to follow, but they had to be a sanctified people who followed. Everything displeasing to the Lord had to be left on the further bank of the river; it could not come into the new inheritance. Everything had to be new. Nothing unclean could enter the land. Are we a sanctified people? Do we have such a clear vision of God’s presence that removing every questionable thing from our lives is not just a necessity but a delight? This work magnified Joshua in the sight of the people. Our wholehearted, sanctified response will magnify our heavenly Joshua, the Lord Jesus Christ.

PRAYER :- “Lord, keep my vision of You always clear so that I follow You without fear, or doubt.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – Joshua – Part 5

“The Lord has delivered all the land into our hands” (2:24)

One final word needs to be said about the two men who were sent as spies into the city of Jericho. Forty years previously, 12 spies were sent into the promised land. Only two brought back a good report. The other ten were full of despair, unbelief and discouragement which quickly spread to the entire nation. This time, it was very different. Despite their narrow escape (thanks to Rahab), the two men came back with a truly positive report, stating that fear was not in themselves but in the inhabitants of the land …. because of them! They were full of faith assured of victory that the Lord was about to give them. What had changed? The inhabitants were still the same; the giants were still there and the spies had had first-hand experience of the walled cities that seemed so impregnable and forbidding forty years ago. It was a new generation with a new leader. Faith breathed through the people as they were not depending just upon the law. God was speaking and His words were mixed with faith. Unbelief had been carried away and all things seemed possible. Thus it is with our heavenly Joshua, Jesus Christ; let us cling to Him and His words. If not, we will lapse back into legal servitude and sure defeat.

PRAYER :- “Lord, thank you that all Your promises are sure and steadfast.”