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Scriptures: John 8:2-11 and Judges 16:22 & 25-30. Genesis 3:15, Luke 1″31-33.
This message is all about Restoration. Repent and Jesus will restore you. It was preached in Lanham, Maryland at The Power of the Highest International ministries. The Ark of the Covenant was brought and the Glory of God overtook the atmosphere.
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I AM THAT I AM PRAYER TABERNACLE MINISTRIES APOSTOLIC PROCLAMATIONS AND DECLARATIONS FOR 2013
1.I/ We will love God will all hearts,souls and minds.
Matthew 22;37 Jesus replied, ” `You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’*138 This is the first and greatest commandment
2.I/ We will love our neighbors as ourselves.
Matthew 22;39 A second is equally important: `Love your neighbor as yourself.’*2
40 All the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
3. I/ We will put God first in everything we do or say in Jesus’ name.
Matthew 6:33 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well
4. I / We will proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ in love to our Family,(children,spouse,siblings,parents,grandparents, in laws,cousins,etc)
4b. I / We will proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ in love to our neighbors,co workers,friends,associates,colleagues,prisons,hospitals, and in our towns etc.
4c. I /We will proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ in love to our cities,states,countries and globally.
Acts 1:8 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Mark 16: 15 15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation
5. I /We will spend an hour or more daily to study the Bible(the Word of God)
Jos 1:8 KJV This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
Psa 1:1-6 KJV Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. 4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. 5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
Psa 119:11 KJV Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
Hos 4:6 KJV My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
Mat 22:29 KJV Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.
Joh 5:39 KJV Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
Act 6:4 KJV But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.
Act 17:11 KJV These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
Eph 4:14 KJV That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
Col 2:6-8 KJV 6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: 7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. 8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
Col 3:16 KJV Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
2Ti 2:15 KJV Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
2Ti 3:15 KJV And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
Heb 4:12 KJV For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
1Pe 2:1-2 KJV Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
1Pe 3:15 KJV But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:.
6. I / We will spend time in prayer daily,(praying God’s will ) to the Lord in Jesus name.
Luke 18:1 “… men ought always to pray, and not to faint.”
Luke 21:36 “Watch ye therefore, and pray always …”
Acts 6:4 “But we will give ourselves continually to prayer …”
Ephesians 6:18, 19 “Praying always …”
Colossians 1:3 “… praying always for you.”
Colossians 4:2 “Continue in prayer, and watch …”
1 Thessalonians 1:2 “always”
1 Thessalonians 5:17 “without ceasing”
2 Timothy 1:3 “… without ceasing …”
7. I/ We will praise the Lord daily in Jesus’ name.
“With all my heart, I will praise the LORD.
Let all who are helpless, listen and be glad.”
Psalm 34:2 (CEV)
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;”
1 Peter 2:9 (KJV)
“I will praise the LORD God with a song and a thankful heart.”
Psalm 69:30 (CEV)
“You have rescued me! I will celebrate and shout,
singing praises to you with all my heart.”
Psalm 71:23 (CEV)
“Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the LORD from the heavens: praise him in the heights. Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts.
Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light.
Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens.”
Psalm 148:1-4 (NIV)
Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand”
Psalm 149:6 (KJV)
“Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth: both young men, and maidens; old men, and children: let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven. He also exalteth the horn of his people, the praise of all his saints; even of the children of Israel, a people near unto him. Praise ye the LORD. Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth: both young men, and maidens; old men, and children: let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven.”
Psalm 148:11-13 (KJV)
“By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.”
Hebrews 13:15 (KJV)
“Let all that I am praise the LORD; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me.”
Psalm 103:1-2 (NLT)
“Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.
Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord,
always giving thanks to God the Father for everything,
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Ephesians 5:19 (NIV)
“Praise ye the LORD. Praise, O ye servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD. Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time forth and for evermore. From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD’s name is to be praised. The LORD is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens.”
Psalm 113:1-4 (KJV)
“Praise ye the LORD. I will praise the LORD with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation. The works of the LORD are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein. His work is honourable and glorious: and his righteousness endureth for ever. He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the LORD is gracious and full of compassion.”
Psalm 111:1-4 (KJV
“I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.”
Psalm 34:1-3 (KJV)
8. I / We will spent quality time to worship the Lord daily in Jesus’ name.
All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee; they shall sing to thy name. Selah. (Psalms 66:4 KJV)
O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also. The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land. O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker. For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.
To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work. Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest. (Psalms 95 KJV)
But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:23-24 KJV)
Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest. (Revelation 15:4 KJV)
And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. (Luke 4:6-8 KJV)
Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up? Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up. (Daniel 3:14-18 KJV)
9. I /We will be obedient to God daily by His grace in Jesus’ name.
Exodus 19:5 Now therefore, if you will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then you shall be a peculiar treasure to me above all people: for all the earth is mine:
Deuteronomy 11:1 Therefore you shall love the LORD your God, and keep his charge, and his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments, always.
Psalms 119:10 With my whole heart have I sought you: O let me not wander from your commandments.
Matthew 7:21 Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven.
John 14:21 He that has my commandments, and keeps them, he it is that loves me: and he that loves me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
John 15:9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you: continue you in my love.
Romans 1:5 By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:
Romans 2:13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
2 Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
Ephesians 6:6 Not with eye-service, as men pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;
Philemon 1:21 Having confidence in your obedience I wrote to you, knowing that you will also do more than I say.
1 John 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
2 John 1:6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.
Revelation 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
10. I/ We will allow the Holy Spirit to be our guide and companion always
.John 14:15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[c] in you
John 15; 26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.
John 16 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”
1. Prayer for revelation of Jesus’ beauty and the Bride’s destiny unto transforming our heart.
“…the Father of glory, may give to you the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us.” (Ephesians 1:17-19)
2. Prayer for the release of supernatural strength in the heart unto experiencing God’s emotions.
“…that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height– to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:16-19)
3. Prayer for God’s love to abound in our heart resulting in discernment and righteousness.
“And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:9-11)
4. Prayer to know God’s will, to be fruitful in ministry and strengthened by intimacy with God.
“We…do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may have a walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.” (Colossians 1:9-12)
5. Prayer for unity within the church across a city.
“Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus.” (Romans 15:5-7)
6. Prayer to be filled with supernatural joy, peace and hope.
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)
7. Prayer for Israel to be saved through Jesus.
“My heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.” (Romans 10:1)
8. Prayer to be enriched with the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit leading unto righteousness.
“I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge, even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 1:4-8)
9. Prayer for the release of apostolic ministry and to abound in love and holiness.
“…we rejoice for your sake before our God, night and day praying exceedingly that we may see your face and perfect what is lacking in your faith? Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way to you. And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all…so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.” (1 Thessalonians 3:9-13)
10. Prayer to be equipped and prepared to receive the fullness of God’s destiny for the church.
“Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power, that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thessalonians. 1:11-12)
11. Prayer for the Word to increase by the release of Holy Spirit power.
“Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you, and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one. And we have confidence in the Lord concerning you, both that you do and will do the things we command you. Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 3:1-5)
12. Prayer for impartation of Holy Spirit boldness through the release of signs and wonders.
“…they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: ‘Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea… The kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against His Christ. For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.’ And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.” (Acts 4:24-31)
Winter Bible Study: The Book of Joshua
Book of Joshua is the sixth book in the Bible, and covers the period from the death of Moses to the Conquest of the Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua.The book is named after its chief character Joshua, Moses’ successor. Joshua’s name means “the Lord is Salvation.” Centuries later Jesus was given the same name. Another form of the name is Hoshea, the name of one of the prophets whose prophecy is found in the book of Hosea.
Be Very Courageous!
Studies on Faith in Joshua
Lesson 1 – God’s promises and commission by
Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
Be Strong and Very Courageous
Joshua is now the leader and feels the whole weight of responsibility upon him. But Joshua’s leadership doesn’t begin here.
Who is the only person besides Adam and Eve to have no earthly parents? Why, Joshua, of course. He is constantly referred to as Joshua, son of Nun. (It’s a joke folks! I can hear groans all over the Web.)
He is a member of the one of the largest tribes in Israel, the tribe of Ephriam, and quickly rises to prominence. His name originally is, “Hoshea” (“salvation”) but Moses renames him “Joshua,” which means “Yahweh saves” (Numbers 13:16).
Joshua is doubtless a leader in his tribe as God lead the people out of Egypt when Joshua is about 40. When the Amalakites attack the Israelites at Rephidim, before the people reach Mt. Sinai, Moses calls on Joshua as the military field commander to organize an army to repel them.
“The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, ‘Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.’
“So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up — one on one side, one on the other — so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.” (Exodus 17:8-13).
After that we see him as Moses’ aide or “servant.” He accompanies Moses up the mountain to receive the Ten Commandments (Exodus 24:13). When Moses talks to God in the Tent of Meeting, Joshua is there, too. “The LORD would speak to Moses face to face,” the Scripture records, “as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent” (Exodus 33:11).
We catch a little of his youthful zeal when God’s Spirit falls on a couple of Israel’s elders in the camp. “A young man ran and told Moses, ‘Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.’ Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses’ aide since youth, spoke up and said, ‘Moses, my lord, stop them!’” But Moses restrains him. “Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the LORD’S people were prophets and that the LORD would put his Spirit on them!” (Numbers 11:26-29).
When representatives of the Twelve Tribes are chosen to spy out the land, Joshua (leader of the prominent tribe of Ephriam) is chosen along with Caleb (leader of the other most prominent tribe of Judah). Though ten of the spies gave a bad report, Joshua and Caleb display their faith in addressing the people: “If the LORD is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid of them” (Numbers 14:8-9).
Finally it comes time for Moses to choose a successor.
“So the LORD said to Moses, ‘Take Joshua son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him. Have him stand before Eleazar the priest and the entire assembly and commission him in their presence. Give him some of your authority so the whole Israelite community will obey him. He is to stand before Eleazar the priest, who will obtain decisions for him by inquiring of the Urim before the LORD. At his command he and the entire community of the Israelites will go out, and at his command they will come in.’
“Moses did as the LORD commanded him. He took Joshua and had him stand before Eleazar the priest and the whole assembly. Then he laid his hands on him and commissioned him, as the LORDinstructed through Moses” (Numbers 27:18-23).
Notice that the Spirit is already upon Joshua (vs. 18). What is new is the commission and authority to command.
Camped at Shittim
As we open the book of Joshua, the people of Israel are camped on the plains of Moab (Deuteronomy 34:8) at Shittim (which means “Acacia Trees,” Joshua 2:1), where they have been for months, about 7 miles east of the Jordan. This is the last camping place before the Israelites cross Jordan. At Shittim they:
- Commit immorality with Moabite and Midianite women (Numbers 25:1-9) at the instigation of Baalam.
- Are numbered in a census (Numbers 26:1-4)
- See Joshua invested with Moses’ authority (Numbers 27:18-23)
- Hear Moses recite the history of the people and the laws of God (most of which are contained in the book of Deuteronomy)
- Watch as Moses climbs to the top of Mt. Pisgah to see (but not enter) the Promised Land, and then die at the age of 120 (Deuteronomy 34:1-4)
- Bury Moses nearby in Moab (Deuteronomy 34:5-8)
Struggling with Fear and Responsibility
So long as Moses is alive, Joshua can serve under this great leader, awaiting his time. But as we open the book of Joshua, Moses is dead, and Joshua is the sole leader. The weight of the entire enterprise rests on his shoulders.
Have you ever felt fear? Have you ever been overcome with the magnitude of what you have to do, and wonder how you can ever do it? I think that’s what Joshua was feeling. But God’s words of command and encouragement met his need. I think they’ll help us, too.
Wherever You Set Your Foot (1:3-4)
I’ve always been fascinated by God’s promise in Joshua 1:3: “I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses.” God recalls to Joshua’s mind the general promise that Moses had announced to the whole people in Deuteronomy 11:24: “Every place where you set your foot will be yours: Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the Euphrates River to the western sea.”
What does this mean? It means that where Joshua and the people actually went, physically, God would give it to them. We see the promise fulfilled in Joshua where the people won battle after battle in campaigns in both the south and north of Palestine. Where they actually went, God gave them the land. But where they didn’t go, the Canaanites continued to hide out and harass them.
Caleb remembered this promise, too, when he got ready to attack the fortified city of Hebron at the age of 85: “So on that day Moses swore to me, ‘The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly’” (Joshua 14:9, citing Moses’ promise in Deuteronomy 1:36).
I think this principle also applies in other realms of our life. We want everything brought to us on a silver platter, but God tells us to go and claim it personally. We have to go out to get it, and then God will give it to us. Spiritually, we want to grow. How will we do that? Passively? No, by believing the promises of God and desiring to see their fulfillment in our own lives. That desire will help us press through in faith and prayer, and actually grow in the Lord. He will give it to us, but we need to find a way to actually follow him there.
God outlines the physical territory which he is giving to Israel — a huge land: “from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates — all the Hittite country — to the Great Sea on the west” (Joshua 1:4). In fact, during Joshua’s time they never set their foot on all this. Most was under Israel’s control by the time of David and Solomon, but then it was lost again through disobedience and unbelief.
There are great tracts of “land” God would give you that are now occupied by the enemy. They don’t belong to the enemy. They belong to you. God has given them to you. There’s a saying in legal circles: “Possession is 9/10ths of the law.” The enemy has “squatter’s rights,” but only that. When you — with God’s help — push the enemy off your inheritance, you can possess it, and experience its blessings. The book of Joshua can be a book of Conquest for you spiritually if you’ll let it be.
God never leaves, never forsakes us (1:5)
I suppose of all the promises in the Bible, this is one of the most precious: “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (1:5). We find it elsewhere in the Bible, too, in Deuteronomy 31:6 and Hebrews 13:5, for example.
One of the great prayers of the Bible centered on this issue. When the people of Israel rebel against God and worship a golden calf at the foot of Mt. Sinai, God has had enough: “Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey,” he says, “but I will not go with you, because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way” (Exodus 33:3). Moses’ response is eloquent:
“Then Moses said to him, ‘If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?’ And the LORD said to Moses, ‘I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.’” (Exodus 33:15-17)
None of us deserves God’s presence. All of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). But God has put our sins on Jesus and punished them there. He has filled us with his Spirit, and now abides with us. What a miracle! What grace!
We can sin, and God doesn’t leave us. He disciplines us, but doesn’t leave us. As I am writing this in mid September 1998, the Kenneth Starr report has just been delivered to Congress. Yesterday, President Clinton spoke to spiritual leaders meeting at a previously-scheduled prayer breakfast at the White House. “There is no fancy way to say I have sinned,” Clinton told them. “My spirit is broken,” he continued, citing David’s great prayer of repentance in Psalm 51. Bill Clinton has tried to follow Christ, and like all of us has failed at points. He tried to excuse it, denying to himself that what he was doing was really very wrong. He even denied it to the American people. But before we’re too hard on him, let’s remember how many times we’ve been in denial about our own weaknesses and sins, and have had to wait for God’s strong discipline before we were willing to turn.
This promise, “I will never leave you nor forsake you,” is a promise about God’s help, but also a promise about his discipline. Here, God meant it to encourage Joshua on this day that his leadership began.
Be strong and very courageous (1:6)
What is faith? When we understand that, we understand the key principle that underlies the book of Joshua and the whole of the Christian life. Very simply, it is believing that God will do what he says he will do. Paul puts it this way in Romans 4:20-22:
“Yet [Abraham] did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. This is why ‘it was credited to him as righteousness.’”
God gives Joshua a promise: “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Then immediately he gives him a command: “Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them” (Joshua 1:5-6).
Is faith just the believing the promise? Yes. But it is believing it enough that we are strong and courageous when problems come and the obstacles appear — and they always do.
Faith requires courage and strength, because only when we exercise courage and strength do we maintain our belief in any real way. If, at the first problem, we cave in and give up, we don’t have faith, we have unbelief.
We all struggle with this. None of us is immune. Joshua was filled with God’s Spirit, had worked alongside Moses, and had been on the mountain with God, and still needed this kind of encouragement.
One of the reasons you haven’t grown more in your walk with God is because of your fear. Fear of people, fear that people won’t approve, fear that you’ll fail, fear that you’ll make a fool out of yourself, fear that you aren’t strong enough, fear that God will let you down. Fear. This promise and command has your name on it: “I will never leave you or forsake you, (insert your name). Therefore be strong and very courageous!”
Meditate on the Word (1:7-9)
Thankfully, God doesn’t leave us to fend for ourselves as we try to take courage. He helps us. His instruction is:
- “Be careful to obey all the law…. Do not turn from it to the right or to the left” (1:7).
- “Do not let this Book of the Law depart out of your mouth” (1:8a).
- “Meditate it on day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it” (1:8b).
This is what will strengthen our faith and courage: attention to God’s word.
“Oh, how I love your law!” writes the Psalmist. “I meditate on it all day long. Your commands make me wiser than my enemies…. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” (Psalm 119:97, 105). The Word of God is not just “sweeter than honey” to us (vs. 103), it is also instructive. We learn wisdom from God as we meditate on His word.
What does it mean to meditate? Do we assume a lotus position and hum? Do we erase all thoughts from our mind and try to merge our thoughts with the Great Beyond? No. That sort of thing comes from Eastern religion. To meditate means to think about, mull over, ponder. This very kind of Bible study we’re engaged in involves us in the process of meditation. We have the text and a list of questions: What? Why? Where? Who? And so we read and think and try to understand. That is meditation.
Someone said that studying the Scripture was like “thinking God’s thoughts after him.” I like that. When we read the Word of God we are doing that, retracing in our minds what God is thinking. The more we do that, the more we begin to understand God and the way he thinks. The more we leave the mindset of our secular world-view, we are “transformed by the renewing of our mind” (Romans 12:2). With it comes faith, a confidence in God.
In a classic statement of the role of scripture in this, Paul writes, “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).
So God’s encouragement and exhortation to Joshua that day met his needs:
- Faith Assurance: “I will never leave you or forsake you” (1:5)
- Faith Exhortation: “Be strong and very courageous” (1:6,9)
- Faith Food: “Meditate on it day and night” (1:8)
God’s success formula (1:8b)
With these instructions come the keys to prosperity and success: “then you will be prosperous and successful” (1:8b).
I see bookstores full of books on “success.” You can buy tapes to reprogram your mind to think successful thoughts. And so on. And much of what they say is true. But it is not complete.
|The world says…||God says…|
|Trust in yourself||Trust in me. I will never leave you…. (1:5)|
|Boldly strive for your dream||Be strong and very courageous and step out to possess the land, because I will be with you (1:9)|
|Think good thoughts, positive thoughts||Meditate on God’s word (1:8a)|
|Then you will be prosperous and successful||Then you will be prosperous and successful (1:8b)|
Be aware of the differences. Faith in self will ultimately disappoint us. We are told not to do that in the Bible.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
The world says: be bold, strive for your dream, take risks. And these things are important. But our motivation for boldness is faith in God’s promises.
While positive thinking is essential to faith, it is not faith itself. It only opens they way to faith thoughts within us.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things” (Philippians 4:8)
Positive thinking is a partial truth, not a full truth. The full truth is that we should meditate on God’s word, not just motivational hype. Jesus said,
“If you hold to (Greek meno, continue in, abide in) my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32).
The world tempts us with the promise of prosperity and success without God. But the fact is, that whatever measure of prosperity and success we find without God will profit us nothing in the long run. Jesus tells us: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4 quoting Deuteronomy 8:3). He says, “You cannot serve God and Money” (Matthew 6:24). He says, “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26)
Moses cautions the people of Israel with God’s admonition: “You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today” (Deuteronomy 8:17-18).
So success is found in God only, not in a success formula divorced from God.
The order to advance (1:10-11)
Joshua has been encouraged by God. Now he begins to obey the command he has been given: to lead the people into the Promised Land. It is a small step he takes, ordering the officers to spread the word that they will break camp in three days. But he takes that first small step. That’s all he needs to do today: take today’s step. As he does this, day by day, God will lead him, and he will lead the people.
Notice, however, that this first step is generously flooded with faith. “Get your supplies ready,” he tells them. “Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here and go in and take possession of the land that the LORDyour God is giving you for your own” (1:11). He declares his faith to those who are with him on the journey, and so strengthens them, too.
Whom can you encourage today, as you take the next small step in your journey of faith?