Monthly Archives: May 2016

Joshua’s Foreign Policy

In the book of Judges, 2-3 million people crossed over the Jordan to an area a little larger than New Jersey.  Two and a half of the 12 tribes had decided to stay on the east side of the Jordan as a place to settle, but they helped the other 9 and one half tribes to obtain access to the land that God had promised to them in Canaan.

Joshua was their leader to not only obtain settlement in the land that was inhabited by dangerous amoral ‘ites’, but also to apportion the land appropriately to each tribe. I had sort of skimmed through this book rather rapidly, but now am going back through it again because it really is more than an historical account.  The book of Joshua is about leadership, in the ‘truth’ sense of the Word.

The great thing about Joshua is that he really leaned on God.  The battle of Jericho is great example. Somebody should do a movie about every thing that lead up to the battle of Jericho and see how easily battles can be won when it is done God’s way. Whatever your thoughts on foreign policy, wouldn’t it be just great today, if people who call themselves leaders in world affairs, would understand Ephesians 6:12:

12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Joshua understood who the enemy was. He had no illusions about his own abilities, he knew where his strength and wisdom came from. Read through chapters 3-6 to get all the juicy details.

As they were crossing over the Jordan to approach Jericho, we read in chapter 5:1:

5 And it came to pass, when all the kings of the Amorites, which were on the side of Jordan westward, and all the kings of the Canaanites, which were by the sea, heard that the Lord had dried up the waters of Jordan from before the children of Israel, until we were passed over, that their heart melted, neither was there spirit in them any more, because of the children of Israel.

People had heard about this group of people ahead of time and how God was with them. Their reputation had preceded them and they sure didn’t want to mess with them.

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Seeds

Every time I hold a seed in my hand to plant, I am awed. Embodied in that small little kernel is incredible power that when treated right comes forth in such glory. We can see this with our very own eyes! My mind is drawn to the wonderful parable involving a sower recorded in Mark (and other places) when Jesus explains what the seed represents:

Mark 4:14 The sower soweth the word.3__#$!@%!#__thumbnail-2.aspxWe don’t have to guess what the seed represents because it is simply spelled out.  Seeds take time to grow. You don’t just put them in the ground and see them explode. They need light, watering and rich soil in order to grow and produce.

In Joshua 1:8, there is a remarkable verse:

Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate (1st use -hagah, see Psalm 1:2) therein day and night, that thou mayest observe (shamar) to do (asah) according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

The word ‘meditate’ in this verse means : to muse in the mind. It is like  the action of cultivation where the farmer turns the soil over for better growth and to get clumps out of the soil. The purpose of breaking up the clumps is to provide more nooks and crannies for water to seep into the seed. The result of cultivating is to get results and help release the powerful life in the seed.

Genesis 2:5 And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till (cultivate) the ground.
Genesis 2:15 And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it (cultivate) and to keep it (shamar).

After the word has been sown, it has to be kept by turning it over in our mind like the soil . There are seeds for weeds too. They compete for their own place in the sun. Have you ever had a negative thought presented to you and you couldn’t get it out of your mind?  Rip it out by the roots.The best way to get rid of it is to replace it with a good thought, a thought which carries the power of God’s word with it. We are bombarded all day long with negative thoughts.  It gives us plenty of opportunity to grow our spiritual muscles where the power can be released!

Joshua was the first of God’s leader to have the written word as a consult (Exodus 17:14). The word is the seed and God gives the juice. He is the spirit behind the word; He gives the word life. We are able to receive that life through Jesus Christ.

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The Lord Speaks Saying

Joshua was selected by God to take the Israelites into the land he promised them. Chapter 1 establishes Joshua and the chapter starts out with an interesting Chiasma. A Chiasma is a figure of speech that has an ABC…CBA pattern of thought.  There are a number of these throughout the Book of Joshua. The figure of speech places emphasis on a series of statements by accenting the middle pivot statements. The emphasis takes a student deeper into the Word.

1 Now after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord it came to pass, that the Lord spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying, 2 Moses my servant is dead; (Joshua 1:1,2a)

A = Death of Moses
B =  Moses the servant
C = the Lord spake unto Joshua C = saying
B = Moses my servant
A = Dead
The pivotal point is God talking to Joshua. This is where the emphasis is to be placed.  It is foundational to the Book of Joshua. God selected and informed Joshua.
This is a simple illustration of the beauty of the intricacies of the Word. God had locked thing deeply within the pages of this book. There is another Chiasma a couple of verses later. Here’s a hint:
the pivotal point is: “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt mediate therein day and night…..” (ABCDDBCA).

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Reality

Political correctness, capitalism, the superbowl, economics, the gold in Fort Knox, the paycheck, investments, the media, education- are these things real? Look at the newspaper today. Is this truth? Will it be true in tomorrow’s edition? Will the current promises of today’s politicians be the same as if and when they are elected? Welcome to reality. Let’ talk about what can really be believed.
As I get older, the more I see over and over the faithfulness of the creator and the creation. God is very real, more real than the entities listed above.  It is like looking up at the clear sky, beautiful and blue on a sunlit day. Then along comes the smog, exhaust smell and the hustle and bustle of the man-made productivity which can taint and hide God’s wonderful provisions. The reality is that despite whatever man does, God can provide anything through the smoke of human fallacy as we seek those things that are above.

25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 

26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 

30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 

33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added (prostithémi = put together for a purpose) unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Matthew 6:25-34

God put the earth in motion. It revolves in a 24 hour period. There is enough smog to handle in that time period, but there always is a patch of blue to watch grow bigger.

When we realize the love God has for us, we love Him back. When it is He whom we seek above all else there is no second, third or fourth thing to seek. It is actually very simple.

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Out of the Mouths of Babes

Out of the mouths of babes! Recently, as my granddaughter and I were reading a children’s Bible, we read about Jesus walking on water. She asked me if I knew why Peter sank into the water after walking a few steps on top of the water. She couldn’t wait for me to answer and blurted out: “He took his eyes off Jesus Christ!” I loved it! It wasn’t a pat recitation answer. She meant it!

The events leading up to this account are amazing. For Jesus, he had had a huge day. He had recently heard about the execution of his cousin John. People were following him everywhere he went. He taught and healed and fed 5000 people with 5 loaves of bread and two fishes.  His life manifested the miraculous, the compassion and love he had for God and for people. At the end of the day he must have been absolutely wiped out. He sent his disciples off in the boat and alone he went up to a mountain to pray.

The weather caused havoc with the disciples in the boat. Stormy winds and waves replaced the thoughts of the miraculous day and gave way to fear. God got Jesus to the scene on foot on top of the choppy sea. It must have been tremendously encouraging, exciting, reassuring and energizing. Imagine what was in Peter’s mind looking at Jesus manifesting such a huge example of the power of His Father. Jesus was encouraged too. Now that was explosive fellowship!

I love the Lord Jesus Christ and I love being with others others who share the same love.  A community of people who regard Jesus Christ as the head of the church is exciting to share. It is interesting when we spiritually start see the church that is built around us. We do not have to be blinded by the things of this crazy world.  Encouragement and focus on the things of God  which includes having relationships with those who don’t water down or dis God’s word, keeps us atop of life’s waters and away from looking down. It keeps us from sinking or trying to navigate choppy waters by ourselves.

Matthew 16.18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter (Petros – a stone), and upon this rock (Petra – huge mass of rock) I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

The expression ‘gates of hell’ is used only once in the Bible and biblical students disagree over what it means. Keeping it simple, I look at it as a doorway to all things destructive. I can think of many examples of gateways: television, media, education, politics, people, religion and all things that feed on our insecurities. These things are not necessarily evil, but they are doorways to our minds.  A mind that is focused on Jesus Christ as Lord belongs to the ‘church’. Jesus Christ is the chief cornerstone of the church. The cornerstone provides direction and the building of the church. An interesting note is that this is the first use of ‘church’ in the New Testament.

What does this all mean to each of us? When we see God work in our lives and when we pray for things that don’t immediately drop out of the sky, we keep bringing God’s word to our mind whenever one of these gates swings open to doubt. The apostles got a good taste of this in the boat. After seeing such amazing displays of God’s power that day, ‘weather gate’ just happened to pop up to shake up their re-joying over  the events while sailing across the sea under the stars. It opened another door and a greater power became visible as the solution because ‘greater is he that was with them than he that is in the world.’

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