Joshua 10-13, Overcoming the Enemy
Coexistence with the nations of Canaan was expressly forbidden by God. But before Israel could possess the land they must dispossess the Canaanites and that meant conflict. "I will hand over to you the people who live in the land and you will drive them out before you" (Ex. 23:31) was God's promise.
Failure to dispossess them would involve Israel in endless trouble, as they found out in the following years. "If you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land, those you allow to remain will become barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides. They will give you trouble in the land where you will live" (Num. 33:55).
After the Gibeonites deceived Joshua and the Israelites they returned to their city of Gibeon that is when the five kings of the Amorites decided to make an object lesson of the Gibeonites and to attack them. Joshua was summoned to defend the Gibeonites. This was the day the sun stood still at Joshua's command. Can you imagine Joshua openly placing his faith in God's intervention before all the watching Israelites and Canaanites? He had a very close intimate relationship with god to ask Him publicly for such a dramatic miracle! And God did make the sun stand still until Joshua and the Israelites completed the job of defeating the five kings.
If this miracle of nature bothers you listen to what God asked Job. "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me if you have understanding?" or Psalms 135:6, "Whatever the Lord pleases He does in heaven and on earth, in the seas and in all the deeps". Habakkuk 3:11 records this miracle also.
Joshua 11-13, The difference between Inheritance and Possession
- The first part of Joshua: Entering the Promised Land (Josh. 1-5)
- The second part of Joshua: Actual conquest of various areas of Canaan (Josh. 6-12). Joshua 11:15 "Just as the Lord had commanded Moses his servant, so Moses commanded Joshua, and so Joshua did; he left nothing undone of all that the Lord had commanded Moses." Then in Joshua 11;23 "Joshua gave the Land for an inheritance to Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. Thus the land had rest from war."
- The third part of Joshua: (Josh. 13) begins by the Lord saying to Joshua, "You are old and advanced in years, and very much of the land remains to be possessed." This sounds like a contradiction from Joshua 11:3. There is no contradiction when we understand the difference between what is meant by "inheritance" and "possessing the land". In Joshua 1:3 God said "Every place that the sole of your feet shall tread upon I have given it to you." God gave Israel the land for an inheritance, and it was divided among the tribes as outlined. But each tribe had to go in and possess the land individually to enjoy its benefits. Joshua conquered the kings and subdued the rulers, his campaign took 5-6 years. Then each tribe had to possess every mile of the land given them.
There is a difference between Inheritance and possession.
- Inheritance is that which God provides for us, His promises and His provision.
- Possession is when we take what God offers us and appropriate it for ourselves.
Possession versus Coexistence
Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh settled on the east side of the Jordan and never did drive out the Canaanites - they coexisted with them. As a result, they never possessed the land, in fact, they succumbed to the Canaanite culture and idolatry and were the first to be swept away by the Assyrians never to be heard of again.
In Joshua 18:2-3 seven tribes had not yet taken possession of their inheritance. Joshua rebuked them, "How long will you put off entering to take possession of the land which the Lord, the God of you fathers, has given you?
Finally, in Joshua 21:43-45 Israel possessed and lived in the land God promised to give to Abraham so many hundreds of years earlier.
- He gave all their enemies into their hands.
- He gave them rest on every side
- "Not one of the good promises which the Lord had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass."
Back in Deuteronomy 11:26-29 Moses had instructed the Israelites to read the blessings and curses at Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal respectively, and Joshua had done precisely as Moses commanded (Joshua 8:30-35). (Mount Ebal = nothing grows; Mount Gerizim = full of trees). It was a very solemn occasion with the ark of the covenant, the elders, judges, officers and priests. Joshua read all the words of the Law before all the assembly of Israel with the women and the little ones and the strangers who were living among them. This is the first altar built in Israel to acknowledge God's blessing; it depended on their obedience to Him. As Moses had reiterated over and over again. "For if you are careful to keep all this commandment which I am commanding you to do it; to love the Lord you God, to walk in all His ways and hold fast to Him" (Deut. 11;13,22; 10:12).
Moses declared in his last speech, "This command which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach" (Deut. 30:11). I.e. read Deut. 30:15-20 - love the Lord your God and obey Him.
The children of Israel were to live as God's people and they promised to do so, in order that all nations would see how God's people lived and were blessed by Him. This would be a "light of salvation to the Gentiles" so they would come to God and follow Him also.
What lessons does this narrative in Joshua illustrate?
- Egypt symbolizes the world system. We are bought out of our slavery to sin by Christ's death on the cross, and brought into new life by His power.
- The wilderness symbolizes our early walk with God's provision and the goal of entering into the Promised Land. Refusal to enter leads to wandering through life without enjoying and living in God's blessings and rest. The defeated self-centered Christian life.
- Entering and possessing the Promised Land symbolizes the useful, productive life of victory. Enjoying God's promises and His rest, we appropriate our riches in Christ and live in the fullness of the Spirit.
Understanding these principles of appropriation is one of the vital secrets of the victorious Christian life: experiencing our riches in Christ. Unbelief is the reason we do not appropriate Christ's power and riches, we do not keep focused on our position truths and live by faith.
The epistle to the Ephesians is one of the best new testament books to explain to us how to :
- possess our possessions; Ephesians 1-3
- appropriate the riches we have in Christ; Ephesians 1-3
- learn to live up to the fullness of Christ; Ephesians 3:16-19; 4: 13-15
- be filled with the Spirit; Ephesians 5:18.
To reproduce the "fullness of Christ" in us is the work of the Holy Spirit. His ability to conform us to Christ is in proportion to the freedom given Him to do it. The Spirit-filled Christian is the one who is most like the Lord Jesus; they are the one who experiences the abundant life.
3 Evidences Result from Walking in the Fullness of the Holy Spirit
- We realize and experience Christ's abiding presence as we build an intimate relationship with Him, John 14,16.
- He reproduces Christ's very life in us, Romans 8:29.
- The supernatural power of Christ is manifested in our lives and ministry, Ephesians 3:18-23.
Walking in the Fullness of the Spirit
God has made provision by the two gifts of His Son and His Spirit, now we must make the decision whether we will possess our riches or not. He Himself set this boundary: our right to will, God has done His part now we must do your part. He will be limited in the giving of the fullness of His Spirit by one thing only - the room given to Him to fill - to be Spirit-filled requires our active glad cooperation with God.
Three truths that are clearly laid out in II Corinthians 6:19-20 should convince us to stop being stubborn and fearful about giving control of our entire life over to Christ. They are as follows:
- the Holy Spirit who is in you whom you have from God; He has already made His home in my body
- "you are not your own" - to try and retain control is contradictory and stubborn - I gave my life to Christ when I accepted eternal life from Him
- "you have been bought with a price" - redeemed with the precious blood of Christ at such cost.
My response should be the joyous response of love to His Love recognizing the right of Christ's claim upon my life and His desire to use me. My goal should be yielding my life entirely totally to Him as Lord of every area.
I. Let's define Yielding - Surrender - Consecration
Possessing Our Riches
It is the definite, voluntary transference of the undivided possession, control and use of my whole being; spirit, soul and body from self to Christ, to whom it rightfully belongs by creation and by purchase.
J.H. McConkey - "Consecration does not confer ownership, it presumes it. It is not in order to be His but because we are His, that we yield up our lives. It is purchase that gives title; delivery simply gives possession." Christ has the right to command us to yield. But His way is to motivate by love rather than to conquer by force (II Cor 5;14). "We love Him because He first loved us" (I John 4:19). "How shall he not when Christ freely give us all things" (Rom 8:32).
Now let's try to understand "how to yield". Salvation and sanctification from beginning to end is through God's pure GRACE. It is Christ's love that desires to become Lord of every part of our life, but unless His love is met by our reciprocal love attitude the yielding is marked by the stubbornness and fearfulness of our flesh, our "body of sin". There are, as we walk, constant revelations from the Spirit of portions of my life still held by "self" as its own possession - we need to yield instantly to Him any unyielded area or thing. So we see that yielding - surrender - is a crisis decision of love that develops into a process of building a love relationship.
II. The Role of Faith
Is it possible for one to be yielded and still not filled with the Spirit? Yes, because you may have yielded and yet not appropriated the fullness of the Spirit. Faith is the complement of Grace.
- From God it is all Grace - it is always perfectly clear and available.
- From our side it is all of faith, and how imperfect is our faith.
- Our faith must make experiential what grace has made possible.
- Romans 5;2 "introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand"
- Philippians 3:9 Saved by faith
- Acts 26:18 Sanctified by faith
- Hebrews 6:12 Inherit God's promises by faith
- Acts 1:8 Power of the Holy Spirit
Christ's severest rebukes were for unbelief in His disciples, "O you of little faith". On the other hand, the Centurion's faith brought His greatest commendation, "I have not found such great faith, no, not in Israel." God always responds to our empty hands of faith. He would be untrue to the very essence of His nature, which is love, and to the very heart of His work, which is grace, if He failed even once to respond to our faith, regardless of how weak it is.
We need to place our faith in the facts of salvation - we call them position truths, (e.g. Eph 1-3). When we place our faith in these eternal blessings, and keep on believing them the Holy Spirit's presence and leading becomes experiential. As I trust Him, He fills me; as I moment by moment believe, the Spirit's fullness becomes more and more real. There is no such thing as a once-for-all fullness; it is a continuous appropriation of a continuous supply from the Holy Spirit.
III. Our part in Remaining Spirit-filled
In response to surrender and faith we are filled with the Holy Spirit. As we are emptied of self, He fills. But many of us can attest that we do not remain filled. To be consistently filled, surrender and faith must become an attitude; i.e. they must be combined with obedience.
Obedience is just surrender and faith stretched over our lifetime: the step (crisis) in lengthened into a lifetime walk (process). In Ephesians 4-6, Paul deals with our daily walk. The permanence of our walking in the fullness of the Spirit is dependent on our obedience to God's will - our loving obedience in a daily, hourly, moment-by-moment walk.
The life of obedience is not unreasonable or impossible, God provides for our work through His Word and the power of the Holy Spirit.
I Peter 1:22 "obey the truth through the Spirit"
Galatians 5:16 "walk in the Spirit"
The Spirit will do the walking in the Christian - our responsibility is total dependence on Him. And each step taken in obedience makes the next step easier. As we walk in the Spirit our confidence in His power to guide and to guard us deepens and our reliance upon Him grows.
Ruth Paxson quoted Dr. Alex Smellie who wrote of Evan Hopkins, "He was a sermon incarnate. The sunshine of Christ with whom he spent his days and nights played on his soul and articulated his speech; it was sunshine not merely visible but audible." Evan Hopkins wrote the Law of Liberty, Ruth Paxson wrote Life on the Highest Plane. They both walked in the fullness of the Spirit and truly shed Christ's life through their life and ministry.
- So Great Salvation. The Spirit-filled life.
- The Complete Green Letters, Miles Stanford. Keep Looking Down!
- Life on the Highest Plane. Believer Remaining Spirit-filled. Ruth Paxton.
- Life on the Highest Plane. Christ Our Lord. Ruth Paxton.
- The Release of the Spirit. Recognizing "the Thing in Hand". Watchman Nee.
- The Law of Liberty. Filled with the Holy Ghost.
- Life on the Highest Plane. Relationships of Spiritual Man.
- Life on the Highest Plane. Life on the Highest Plane.
January 1999 - Assignment #4
Overcoming the Enemy, Joshua 10-13
Walking in the Spirit, Ephesians 4-5:21
The error of over-confidence - doing the Lord's work in the flesh. How do you differentiate the qualities of a natural, well-intentioned leader from a spiritually mature one? (Fill in chart using Bible characters to illustrate the qualities). Read O. Chambers and Every Virtue We Possess.
Study the following articles on Walking in the Spirit:
- Law of Liberty, Evan Hopkins
- So Great Salvation - (7 pages of Kewsick men describing the Spirit-filled life: Bishop Handley Moule, W. H. Aldin, Andrew Murray, J. Oswald Sanders, Dr. J. Stuart Holden, J. Edler Cummings, G.H.C. MacGregor )
- Write out the spiritual approach you want to implement in your own life as you walk in the fullness of the Spirit.
- The Sin of Prayerlessness, Andrew Murray
- Life on the Highest Plane, Ruth Paxson
- Salvation from the Power of Sin, Lewis Sperry Chafer
- The Ground of Growth, Miles Stanford