Tag Archives: Joshua

85 Years Young

What a beautiful illustration of faith in Joshua 14:12! The Israelites have been in all out war trying to get the land God has promised them. Now Joshua is letting the tribes take the land allotted to them and here is Caleb going to Joshua. Remember when we were younger and we went and scouted out the land for Moses. We saw all those Giants. They were everywhere.(Numbers 13) But we told Moses, We can do it. God won’t let us fail. Then them other guys said no we can’t. We will be killed. Moses told us, you can have that land. the rest of you will never step foot on it.(Deuteronomy 1:35-36)

Joshua I’m 85 years old. I still feel like a forty year old man. Give me the land of the giants. I know there are some still hiding in the mountains and caves , but I have God and I was promised that land. (some may take note here that Caleb says assuming the Lord is with me[NET translation] and say he has doubts. This is not what is going on Caleb knows if he has been obedient to God, God will live up to that promise. Caleb also realizes that no man is righteous{ Romans 3:10} and there are times he has stumbled, hopefully he is right with God and can take that land.)

Can you imagine at 85 years old going and taking on an army of giants just with your immediate family. We often think of the faith David had to have to approach Goliath as a young man, but here is an old man going to a place where he knows many giants will lay in wait to ambush him. That is faith. God promised God will give.


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The Miracle From Afar

Joshua 3 is an interesting chapter in that it is such an amazing miracle. The Jordan river is overflowing the banks. The priests carrying the ark walk towards it and as soon as there feet touch the water it stops flowing.(Joshua 3:15-17) They walk into the middle of the river and stand as everyone passes by. This is amazing by itself but for everything there is a cause and effect.

In Joshua 3:16 the older translations say the water “rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam” (KJV). The newer translations say “rose up in a heap very far away, at Adam” (ESV) I’m going with the newer translations here, so let’s look real close at what happened. The priest step in the water and it builds up in a huge mound. God is performing a miracle for the Israelites.

Let’s go to the city of Adam and think through this though. You are a citizen of Adam and you have heard rumors of the Israelites and their God. Supposedly God has given them all this land on the other side of the Jordan. You know as a riverside resident that they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Then one day you go out to the river and see the most amazing thing. It is higher than normal and it’s no longer flowing and it’s as if it hit an invisible wall. You walk around and look and the water just stops. you stare downriver and there is nothing in sight. Then some kids (I say kids simply because they are always the nosiest and first to see what is going on.) come running up and tell you the Israelites are crossing the river. They have priest with this huge box just standing there as they go across.

You think, “Wow, there God truly is delivering them!” This story plays out everyday in the lives of Christians who believe in an all powerful God that can do anything. The Christians witness God’s miracle and the non Christians get to see the results of that miracle. For example Elevation Church is doing a series called storytellers. they had there praise band do a concert where between songs they would get up and do their testimony. Wade Joye (starts at 27 minutes) talked about his twin girls and how one was born with a bleeding brain. The doctors told them the girl would never walk, probably never be out of diapers and even said that she wasn’t going to make it and they should take her off life support. The girl is now two years old and walking.

The family saw the miracle happen. The doctors saw the family’s faith and the results of that faith. That can sometimes be the most powerful witness we can give.


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Only Be Strong and Courageous

Last week I read through the book of Joshua and so many things jumped out at me. I’m going to start today with Joshua 1 and the secret of success. This is as close as you will see me get to a Joel Osteen Gospel.

Upon Moses death God speaks to Joshua and gives him command of his people and tells him what it will take to be successful. I listened to a sermon on this passage once and the preacher pointed out several things in this passage that we can apply to our lives to be successful. I see one that all the others are based on. Joshua 1:6 “Be strong and courageous”, Joshua 1:7 “Only be strong and courageous”, Joshua 1:9 “Be strong and courageous”, and Joshua 1:18 “Only be strong and courageous.”

Who is saying that was two things? When God repeats Himself it means listen up. Normally God stops at three times, yet here He repeats Himself four times. that means listen up and pay close attention this is very important.

Before telling Joshua to be strong and courageous in verse 6, God tells Joshua that He will never leave or forsake Him. In verses 7 and 8 God reminds Joshua to obey the law, but immediately goes back to letting Him know that Joshua is doing what He willed and that He is with Him. The final command to be strong and courageous comes after Joshua has commanded his men and they repeat to Him what God has told him.

God is making sure Joshua understands that he is in His will and doing things for God. He can’t fail. This stands true for us to day just as it did for Joshua. If we are in God’s will and doing what He has called us to do we can’t fail. Success is guaranteed. That is not to say there won’t be times when we feel like things are not going as they should, it’s just saying that it will work out in the end.

look at Joshua 7:6. Joshua has had thirty six men killed in an attack that God ordered. He is doing what he was supposed to do yet God allowed him to fail. Joshua falls to his knees and prays why, Lord, why?

We will have times in our lives when we are trying to do what God wants and it seems we are failing and the task is impossible but God has told us be strong and courageous because He will not fail or forsake us. Let us always put our trust and hope in Jesus and we will succeed.


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Why Study?

For the past couple of months, I’ve wanted to write about why we should study the bible. I started by searching the bible to see what it says. It says a lot. That’s why it took a couple of months to see what it said. There are many Christians who have never read the bible. They hear the preacher give his sermon. They go to Sunday School, but they have never sat down and let God talk to them through His Word. The first reason we should read the bible is because God actually tells us to. (Deuteronomy 31:10-11) “…at the end of seven years … you shall read this law before them in their hearing.” So right there we have the word of God saying read me. He even gives us a time frame. Why does God want us to read His Word? So His children that do not know His Word will learn to fear the Lord. (Deuteronomy 31:13) Seven years, Sixty-six books, that’s not even a book a month. Any one can do that. What else does it say about reading the bible? In Joshua 1:8 God tells Joshua to keep this book of the law on your lips; meditate on it day and night. Meditate that goes beyond just reading. That means stop and think about what I’m saying. Let’s look at some of the promises god makes if we will study His Word. He told Joshua it would make him Prosperous and Successful. (Joshua 1:8) We can find the promise of blessings. Blessed is the one who reads aloud. (Revelation 1:3) Blessed are those who delight and meditate. (Psalm 1:1-2) It will help keep your way pure. (Psalm119:9) It will be our Counselor. (Psalm 119:24) The bible will give you advice that will never fail! We will live long. (Deuteronomy 6:2). The list could go on and on.

Let’s say you’ve tried to read the bible and it is just too confusing. Let’s look at Acts 8:26-10 An Ethiopian official was sitting in his chariot trying to read Isaiah 53:7-8, when Phillip asked if he understood what he was reading. The man replied “How can I unless someone explains it to me?”(Acts 8:30-31) While Phillip might not be nearby when we are studying, the Holy Spirit is. All you have to do is pray and ask God for understanding. (John 14:26) Let’s go back to Psalm 119:18 “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law” (Psalm 119:26-27) “…teach me your decrees. Cause me to understand the way of your precepts, that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds.”

We have seen that God says we should read the bible. We see why we should study the bible. We know how to get understanding. Now let’s look at what it says about God’s word. (2 Samuel 22:31) “As for God his way is perfect; the Lord’s word is flawless…” (Psalm 33:4) “For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does.” (Psalm 119:103) “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:105) “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” (Psalm 119:130) “The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” (Job 23:12) “…I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.”

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Matthew 24:35

I want to include some links to some study aids and give a few ideas for studying. First and foremost to get anything out of the bible you must pray and ask for understanding. If you have never had God show you something in the bible it will amaze you when he unlocks a secret. Before you try a study bible or a commentary read the bible all the way through. In an average regular print bible you can do that in about 3 months reading around 10 pages a day. 2 pages a day can be done in a year. If you travel a lot get a bible on CD. I have seen several different versions with different people reading them. Find one that you will actually be able to listen to for hours at a time. I personally like the version with Johnny Cash’s voice. It’s New Testament only. The Word of Promise is a New Testament NKJV done as a radio drama. It has several well known actors and actresses reading the parts plus sound effects in the background. It’s awesome.

Start looking at the cross references once you have read the bible all the way through. Many bibles have these in them. It will point you to similar verses, which will help interpret stuff. Make notes in your bible or keep a notebook with you when you listen to a sermon. Afterward read the verse and study your notes.

Bibles

. Go to the International Bible Society or Bible Gateway and compare the different translations until you find one you like and can understand. I use about five translations when I’m studying. The different translation of some words can completely change the way you see something. If you like gadgets Olive Tree bible software has downloadable bibles for most phones and Ipods.

Software

There are several bible study programs out there. I like Esword. It’s a free download. It has several bibles and commentaries available. Many of them are free and the rest are at very reasonable prices. It has a built in word processor for doing studies and a tool for making your own commentaries. I use it to do many of my studies and to prepare the lessons for my class.

Other resources

Sermons are a great way to get interpretations. Most of the well known preachers have sermons on their websites. Many small churches are starting to put sermons on their websites. Many times you can find a great pastor by just searching Churches. One Place Now has several Sermons and so does Sermon Audio. Vernon McGee’s Thru the Bible site has the five year radio program available as mp3s. In my opinion this is an excellent verse by verse bible audio commentary. John Mac Arthur on his Grace to You website has sermon transcripts these are a great helps to study the bible.

Now don’t let commentaries and sermons stop you from reading the bible. You still need to devote time to reading in addition to your study time. I also don’t recommend letting commentaries stop you from letting God help you interpret the bible.

Again do not let anything take the place of bible reading.


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Where Do We Stand?

I noticed that the movie The Golden Compass is out on DVD now. I’ve decided to post a letter I put in our church newsletter in February to remind everyone about this movie.
While we are on the subject of movies I want to mention that there is a movie out now that questions why scientist are punished when they question Darwin’s theory of evolution. It’s called Expelled.
Back in November I wrote a letter to the Jackson Sun encouraging Christians to avoid watching The Golden Compass. This is a movie based on the first book in a series by an atheist who said his purpose was to kill God in the minds of children. As expected the atheist in the community had fun insulting me, but what surprised me was a reply by a Christian.
In his letter he stated that he goes to movies for entertainment and as a Christian he was not offended by the content of this movie and that with God on our side we had nothing to worry about.
Since then I have heard that reply several times. All of them referring to ignoring sin. Okay I realize the Bible says “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31 Had the author of that letter read a little further he would have seen Romans 12:9Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” The Lord expects us as Christians to lead an example that will bring others to Him. We as Christians should stand against what is evil and not be afraid of being persecuted. In the end we will all be judged. I make enough mistakes I’ll have to account for. I don’t want to be held accountable for not standing against a movie that could possibly send thousands of children to Hell.
I realize in this day and age nearly every movie has questionable material in it. I’m not saying we should stop watching any movie that has violence, language or other issues. But we should stand against a movie whose author proudly proclaims his purpose was to bring children to atheism.
And my last argument against ignoring sin because God is on our side is based on a story from the book of Joshua chapter 7 about Achan’s sin. Most probably know this is the story where after several successful battles, the nation of Israel was chased from Ai by the Amorites for the sin of one person. In verse twelve the Lord says “I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to sin.”
God is only with us, if we are truly with Him.
MSW

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