Archive for the ‘Joshua’ Category

Project 66 – Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua

Project Thus Far

I can’t even begin to tell you just how helpful this project has been.

I thought choosing the passages was the delightful part. But taking the time to ponder each one has been a very helpful way of captivating my thoughts. How often I found myself beginning an unhealthy imaginary dialgoue in my mind, and one of these 66 passages heroically interrupts, to deliver me.

Numbers – Joshua

Numbers 6:24-26 – A Prayer that Can be Used for Friends and Foes

“The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.”’
Amen.

What could ever ail a soul if the smile of Christ was evidential in a person’s life? Oh Lord, remove the clouds and let me gaze on Your face and be blessed with Your countenance. I’m compelled to copy a poem regarding “that look” from God:

HAST thou heard Him, seen Him, known Him?
Is not thine a captured heart?
Chief among ten thousand own Him,
Joyful choose the better part.

What has stripped the seeming beauty
From the idols of the earth?
Not a sense of right or duty,
But the sight of peerless worth.

Not the crushing of those idols,
With its bitter void and smart;
But the beaming of His beauty,
The unveiling of His heart.

‘Tis the look that melted Peter,
‘Tis the face that Stephen saw,
‘Tis the heart that wept with Mary,
Can alone from idols draw:

Draw and win and fill completely,
Till the cup o’erflow the brim;
What have we to do with idols
Who have companied with Him?

The Lord Bless You and Keep You

The Lord Bless You and Keep You

Moving on to Deuteronomy. What a nugget this verse is, and easy to memorize. Give it a try!

Deuteronomy 23:5 – Curses turned to Blessing

Nevertheless the LORD your God would not listen to Balaam, but the LORD your God turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the LORD your God loves you.

To get the context of this verse, Numbers 22 would have to be read. Basically, a guy named Balaam tried to wrong God’s people, though he really didn’t mean to or want to. He was once with Israel, but the enemy, Balak, offered him the fulfillment of his life-long dream. All he had to do was curse God’s people, the one with whom he had previous ties with. Read Numbers 22 for the whole scoop, but this verse in Deuteronomy kind of summarizes God’s view of that whole embarrassing scenario.

Joshua 1:9 – The Kind of Life God has for Us

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

Really, Joshua 1:1-9 is worth memorizing. It’s the same message over and over. Given to Joshua as God was asking him to do the very difficult, the unthinkable, the unbelievable. The rest of the book of Joshua is the fulfillment of God’s promise to Joshua and Joshua’s faithfulness to “be strong and of good courage” in the Lord. How could he not be dismayed? Because “the Lord your God is with you wherever you go!”

As you read through this blog, remember, only the black italics are inspired! The rest is just a reflection of those passages from where I am right now in life! What does the passages say to you?

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Possess Your Rightful Possessions

Let me see the hands of all the Christians who spend their days in grief and defeat because we have not taken steps to drive out the enemy from our rightful possession

We need to pray as did Jabez,

“Bless me indeed.”

Jabez was blessed in Judah, his father. It was written for him the Word of God. Jabez could put his finger on the very words of the blessing! He could even put his own name in the verse as if it read thus,

“This is the blessing of [Jabez]; and he said, ‘Hear, Lord, the voice of [Jabez] and bring him unto his people; let his hands be sufficient for him; and be Thou a help to him from his enemies” (Deut. 33:7).

Thus Jabez in Judah was blessed.

Blessed Indeed

Jabez wanted to be blessed indeed. What did it avail to have the words of his blessing in the Book of God while the Canaanite enemy held the valleys of Judah’s inheritance? What blessing was it when he had to stay on the grazing hills and see the entrenched Canaanite in his fruitful valleys (Judges 1:19)? Jabez longed to possess his possessions.

The title-deeds of Judah were given in Joshua 15. Here the valleys as well as the hills were given to Judah and his children. There was the valley of Achor (Joshua 15:7), the valley of the giants (Joshua 15:8) and the valley with the fourteen cities (Joshua 15:33-36). What a loss to Judah–and Jabez–to see the valleys occupied by the Canaanites!

So Jabez prayed to the God of Israel who had given the whole land to Abraham’s seed (Genesis 15:18). This is his prayer:

“Oh, that Thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast; and that Thine hand might be with me: and that Thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me.” (or, “that I might not cause pain.”)

Jabez wanted his coast enlarged, not to include what was his brethren’s, but to include what was his own and was still held by the enemy. Jabez wanted those valleys that were covered with grain, that he might shout for joy and sing (Psalm 65:13).

Jabez wanted his valleys that grew grapes like those of Eshcol.

Jabez wanted the valleys where grew the roses and the lilies that spoke of Him who is “the Rose of Sharon and the Lily of the valleys” (Song of Songs 2:1). Jabez prayed for his coast to be enlarged.

He Did Something About It

Jabez did not expect God to send an angel from heaven to drive out the Canaanite. Neither did he look for God to use his brethren to enlarge his coast. Jabez expected God to use him, for it was part of the blessing that

“his hands shall be sufficient for himself.”

So Jabez prayed that “Thine hand might be with me.” Jabez did not intend to pray and just sit still. As far as he was able, this son of Judah was ready to bring his prayer to pass. He girded on his armor to enter his valleys with God. Those valleys would be his when he set his feet upon them (Joshua 1:3). Jabez acted to bring his prayers to pass.

I heard fo a little girl who told her mother about her brother who had made cruel traps to catch God’s little sparrows. She said, “I have prayed to God that he won’t catch one, and I don’t believe he will.”

“How can you be sure?” asked her mother.”

“Well, I kicked the old traps all to pieces.” She did what she could to make her prayer effectual!

Jabez did the same. He looked at the record of his blessing and then looked to God and prayed a prayer of faith. Then he took action by buckling on his sword and counting on God to be with him. This is how God granted, and how Jabez obtained, the “blessing indeed” that he desired.

Like Jabez, we are blessed through the Prince of the house of Judah.

God “hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).

But if we would be blessed indeed we need to “put on the whole armor of God” (Ephesians 6:11). Like the enjoyment Jabez obtained from the fruit of the valleys, we shall enjoy the fruit os the Spirit in our lives only as we go in by faith and possess our possessions.

The enemy will dispute every foot of progress.

We need to be “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit…watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Ephesians 6:18).

The Need for Soul Exercise

The prayer of Jabez is very short. It can be prayed in fifteen seconds. But there was much exercise of soul going before it. When the whole soul of Jabez was stirred because of the presence of the Canaanite in the inheritance of the Lord of hosts, then he “called on the God of Israel.”

With his prayer went the needed action, and this man gained that victory that made him in a real way the possessor of his possessions.

May we not rest content with only being blessed in the purposes of God–may we go on to be “blessed indeed.”

If our lives are barren of the evidences of God’s Spirit, let us do something about it! If the valleys do not ring with shouting and song, let us “in the power of His might” drive the giants out!

The Valley of Achor was in Judah’s possessions. “Achor” means “trouble.” Israel is to sing there in a day to come (Hosea 2:15). Many of our greatest blessings come through the valley of trouble. Let us not allow the Canaanite to possess our valley of Achor.

We should know that “all things work together for good to them that love God” (Romans 8:28). In the end, Job’s “valley of Achor” was covered with grain and song.

The darkest hours of our lives can “work for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17). Many of us believers spend our days in grief and defeat because we have not taken steps to drive out the enemy from our rightful possessions. We need to pray the prayer of Jabez of old to be “blessed indeed.”

–Thanks to Leonard Sheldrake for this exhortation

In the time of Crisis

Off to a new trail! A few friends and I are going to study through the book of Joshua at a nice slow pace, which is more suitable for blogging than my Jehu-paced read through of the Bible in Chronological order (using the NIV Daily Bible: In Chronological Order Bible).

So a few scrambled ramblings on just the first chapter. Hopefully something more polished will be forthcoming in the next post!

1:1 After the Death of Moses

I’m struck by the awesomeness of the statement that

The Lord spoke to Joshua

The God of the universe, who with but a word, created the cosmos, bends down to converse with Joshua, a mere administrative assistant.

And He did it, just as the magnitude of the crisis settled on Joshua…

Moses, the servant of the Lord, had died

and the 2 million people then became his responsibility. Gulp! But it is encouraging to go through the Bible noting just how often the Lord shows up just when we are in the middle of a crisis.

As Isaiah 45:3 says, there are treasures to be found in the midst of the dark places. And the Lord speaking to you…that is a treasure, for sure!

1:2 Action

I don’t know if we are reading everything God said to Joshua, but just imagine if the Lord started His conversation

“Moses, My servant is dead.”

And if that wasn’t discouraging enough, He then goes on to say,

“Now…arise…go…you and ALL the people”

Starts off kind of discouraging and overwhelming really.

1) You’re alone and feeling directionless.

2) I need for you to take some action, and you cannot procrastinate this.

3) And you are responsible for all these people.

4) AND you are to motivate them to go into that land once described as “a land of giants, while we look like grasshoppers.”

No wonder the rest of the chapter the Lord spends His time assuring Joshua that he is strong and courageous. And that he is to be strong and courageous!

1:3 Weight is required!

EVERY place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses.

Notice that it is not, “every place the your eye sees” but rather every place that the sole of their foot tread upon. We have put all of our weight on God’s provisions. We can’t just give it lip service or eye service.

I’m challenged to think of it as God’s promises, or His word. I’ve got to do more than just read the word, or recite His promises. I need to put all my weight on it. My whole being. I need to rest wholly on His promises and walk fully in His path!

And what a provision that is! Notice that it doesn’t limit it at all. EVERY place. No exception. I wonder why I don’t go out and take more walks for the Lord and claim the land for my own based on this promise!

Well, there you have it! Three whooping verses! And really, I’m tempted to go on a little more about those verses!

1:1 Characters

Moses represents the law, and it is only when the law is dead, that The Lord is Salvation (Joshua/Jesus) can lead us into the Promised Land!

Joshua, who was born as Oshea (Salvation) had his name changed by Moses. Moses knew that the day would come for Joshua to lead them into the land. And it seems he knew the people would be inclined to idolize their leader and would mistaken Joshua himself as Salvation. So Moses renamed him so each time someone called for their leader or chanted his name, they would be reminded of the truth that it is The Lord who is our Salvation!

Joshua was content to play second fiddle to Moses.

The hardest instrument to play
Is second fiddle, so they say
And I believe this is so
I’ve tried, but haven’t mastered it though
It takes more grace than pen can tell
To play the second fiddle well.

Joshua is 80-90 years old. Probably banked on living out his life as an assistant. Don’t ever think you’re retired!

1:2-3 Am Giving and Have Given

Interesting how in 1:2 the Lord says “this land I am giving to them,”

while in 1:3 it says, every place that they tread upon “I have given you.”

Perhaps it is like Jesus who is are representative, has been given all power and authority into His hands. While it is up to us to go into the land and face the opposition to claim it as our own (by the power of God almighty)!

Gracious Lord, I’m so thankful You speak to us, even when there is not a crisis. That Jesus Christ can now be our trysting place. Thank you for the promises and Your word. I pray Father that I will put all my weight and trust in You and Your word. Open my heart Lord, and have Your way with it, during this time in Joshua together with some friends! Own us! Amen!