The Lord Who Takes

…The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away;
blessed be the Name of the Lord.

(Job 1:21)

“Many say that the Lord indeed gives; but they say that it is not right to say that the Lord takes away. This is a raging controversy among preachers, who are having trouble just accepting the Word… They say that the Lord does give; but only the Devil takes away. They say (in accordance with the scriptures) that the Devil has come to steal, kill, and destroy; but my bible doesn’t say that he WOULD do it – it says that he CAME to do it – and if you don’t have a Shepherd, then he will indeed do it. But when THE LORD is your Shepherd, then the Devil can come to do whatever he wants, but he’s got to get permission to touch you. He can’t just walk up to me and take my life: my life is not in the hand of Satan – don’t give him that power. If we gave him that power, all of us here would be dead by nightfall. He’s not going to let a host of believers like this live if he has death in his hand. But I read in my scripture that JESUS said ‘I hold the keys of death, Hell, and the grave’!
The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away!

“…We get so used to hearing, ‘The Lord gave.’ We get so used to, ‘Morning by morning new mercies we see.’ We get so used to having all that our hearts desire, until all that we can get to is, ‘The Lord gave.’
Maybe there really are those who can say, ‘Everything I’ve asked for, God has given to me’ – and if that’s true in your experience, keep on living; because I am witness that there is some more to this verse. For it says ‘The LORD’ – same God – ‘taketh away’! We get so used to, ‘The Lord gives,’ that we take it for granted; and so when the Lord takes away, we pitch a temper-tantrum. And the sign of Christian maturity is that when the Lord gives, we say, ‘BLESSED! BLESSED! BLESSED!’ But when He takes away, when He breaks your heart, when He doesn’t give you what you asked for, you still say, ‘BLESSED! BLESSED! BLESSED!’

– E.V. Hill, preaching at his wife’s funeral

 

In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.
(Job 1:22)

Job was not rebuked for ‘blaming God’ (since that is not what he did by saying this) – but he was rather rebuked for afterward self-righteously defending himself against his foolish friends’ accusations. He started well in blessing the Lord, but slid quickly into pitying himself, to which God essentially replied, “Who do you think you are to complain? Am I not the Almighty?”

When God takes, He IS giving: He is giving us into His own hands to shape us into the image of the Son, who Himself prayed on our behalf, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but YOURS be done.” And let this mind be in you which also was in Christ Jesus! As the scripture says, the desires of our hearts will be granted when we delight in HIM! Do we so delight in HIS will that we count it all JOY when we meet trials? The word of Elijah to king Ahab, “there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word,” came from a man so given over to the will of God that he could confidently speak even from his own heart; for his heart had become the GOD’S very own. We shall not truly appreciate the heights of God’s mountain until we have been tested in the valley. Let us therefore feast at the table which He has laid before us in the presence of our enemy, if that is where it is currently set for us. “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and HE will exalt you” (James 4:10)

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith – more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire – may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen Him, you love him. Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
(1 Peter 1:6-9)

God’s Law – Part 3: The Law of Liberty

There are three “laws” that are scripturally useful to understand at this point. The most important is simply God’s Law, which is the eternal Law of the Love of His very being, even the Word of Christ which was from the beginning. This is Light, for He IS Light; and the same defines His agape love, since He also IS that Love.

The other two “laws” can be thought of as animating powers at work in a man, either in opposition to or in fulfillment of that Law of God’s Eternal Word.The first of these two is the “law” of sin in the flesh which leads to death; the second is the “law” of God’s Life by the Spirit which is Life and peace (Rom 8:2). The one leads to bondage and death because it is of Satanic origin and human power, the other leads to liberty and Life in God because it is the power of God, indeed the very substance of His gospel’s victory. The one is the mystery of iniquity (lawlessness) at work in a person, the other is the mystery of Godliness at work in a person. The former is that by which the Law of God’s Word can only be transgressed; the latter is that by which the righteousness of God’s Law is revealed and fulfilled in whomever it is at work (Rom 1:16-17, 8:4). For the Law of God is the blessing of liberty to those within whom it works by the Spirit; but it is the curse of bondage to those who try to work within it by the arm of the flesh.

But if you are led of the Spirit, you are not under law.
(Galatians 5:18)

The law which we are no longer under is the former revelation of God’s Law that seemed to require the flesh to work according to the letter; whereas in Christ Jesus the flesh is crucified and the Spirit gives Life according to our faith! For that former and limited revelation of His Word from Mount Sinai was a schoolmaster upon the stubborn to bring us to Christ; Whose gospel, at one time being hidden, is now being revealed to His saints, that His righteous requirement might be fulfilled in and through them by the power of His resurrection Life in the Spirit, rather than by their own power in the corrupt flesh. Our liberty in Him is liberty from the law of sin and death, now being made slaves to righteousness by the Law of the Spirit of Life at work in us…“to fulfill the Word of God, the mystery having been hidden from the ages and from the generations, but now revealed to His saints……which is Christ IN YOU, the hope of glory…” (Colossians 1:25-27)

Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is LIBERTY.

(2 Corinthians 3:17)

Liberty is found in the labors of the Holy Spirit when by faith we put aside our own labors of the arm of the flesh, as in the flesh dwells no good thing, but it is deceitful even to itself. The man who has died with Christ is raised to the newness of Life in the Spirit, and finds the command of the Lord no longer heavy; but even finds His yoke easy and His burden light! For the man who has died and dies daily is the man who can happily say, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live – yet not I, but Christ lives in me – and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live BY THE FAITH OF THE SON OF GOD, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” (Gal 2:20)

If in Christ we are crucified to this world and the world to us, then in Him we also have overcome the world! We may still live in this body of flesh, but we no longer live after the flesh. For it is not even our own faith by which we live, but HIS faith! For Paul also wrote of the righteous requirement of God’s Law being fulfilled in him, “not having a righteousness of the law (that is, after the flesh), but through the THE FAITH OF CHRIST, having the righteousness of God on faith…” (Php 3:9)
These are the words of a dead man who lives in the liberty of another One being at work in him unto righteousness. This is the experience of one both born and borne of the Spirit of the Living God. He now savors the Word of God and delights to keep His commands, for he sees that they are for his own good in knowing his new Master. He finds that to be a bondservant of Christ is true liberty! For the FAITH of Christ is the law of liberty by which we overcome the curse of this world – even in this life – by the power of the Spirit.

Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works?
Nay: but by the law of faith.
(Romans 3:27)

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world:
and this is the victory that overcomes the world,
even our faith.
(1 John 5:4)

OUR faith –  our faith overcomes the world because it is HIS faith that has become our very own. We live by the faith OF the Son of God!

For by grace you are saved, through faith, and this not of yourselves;
it is the gift of God; not of works, that not anyone should boast..
(Ephesians 2:8-9)

The gift which we have not of ourselves nor by works, is the faith of Christ! And now, having this gift of His faith, we may work out with fear and trembling the salvation which God Himself is working IN us to will and to do according to His good pleasure; perfecting holiness in the fear of God, “obtaining the END of your faith, the salvation of your soul…” (1Pet 1:9)

…for we are HIS workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works,
which God before prepared that we should walk in them.
(Ephesians 2:10)

And to walk in this law of faith was always the intention of God for His people, of whom the prophets foretold, “And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My judgments and do them.” (Ezk 36:27) Even under the old covenant, God’s heart was already set on those who perceived the true heart of His Law which was hidden but now revealed in Christ for all who might believe; hence the the praise of Abraham’s faith, Moses’ close friendship with God, and the purity of David’s heart, who was a type of Christ. For even to those ones, it was (to a degree) made plain to them by faith that they themselves were also “Christ’s letter… not having been inscribed by ink, but by the Spirit of the living God, not in tablets of stone, but in fleshly tablets of the heart.” (2Cor 3:3)

But of those who did not perceive the true Word, it says,
But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their hearts.
But when one turns to the Lord
(Jesus), the veil is removed.
(2 Corinthians 3:14-16)

For the ordinances of the Law by which they once were bound because of the flesh were truly a shadow of things to come, “but the substance is of Christ,” said Paul (Col 2:17). Therefore, “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Heb 11:1) “Substance” and “evidence” speak not of a concept or teaching or doctrine, but of the living and fruitful reality of Christ in us. For by faith we hear the blood of Jesus Christ speaking better things than the blood of Abel, which cried out from the ground for vengeance; but the blood of Christ rather speaks, “Comfort ye, comfort ye My people… Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned…” (Isa 40:1-2) The writer of Hebrews saw the imperfect men of old through the blood because of their faith, and therefore spoke nothing of their widely known shortcomings (Hebrews 11).
And we, knowing that we likewise have peace with God by faith in His blood, may also boldly approach His throne of grace, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, to find strength in Him to DO the Word. For “all the promises of God are yes and amen IN HIM”!

Because if anyone is a hearer of the Word, and not a doer, this one is like a man studying his natural face in a mirror; for he studied himself, and has gone away, and immediately he forgot of what kind he was.
But the one looking into the perfect law of liberty, and continuing in it,
this one not having become a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work,
this one will be blessed in his doing.
(James 1:23-25)

Studying one’s natural face and looking into the perfect law of liberty are two opposite things – that is why the one man only hears but the other man is able to do what he hears. The man who beholds only his natural self will remain beholden to his natural self; but the one who in faith beholds the provisions of Christ Jesus is able to step unashamed by the same faith into the obedience of Christ, who strengthens him to do all things, knowing that he was cleansed of his former sins and will never be forsaken if his heart is truly set on God.

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with Godliness, and Godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.
For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind,
having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.
(2 Peter 1:5-9)

For by His faith made ours, we also reckon ourselves dead to sin and alive to God through Jesus Christ. By faith we render ourselves slaves to the mind of Christ and no longer to the mind of the flesh; and by His renewing of our minds we find ever-increasing liberty; for therein we begin to truly know Him, and He is subsequently being revealed IN us by the divine nature of the Spirit! For if faith is the sight by which we walk, it ushers us in to live beyond the veil that has been torn, to dwell in the holy of holies beholding the Lord Himself, by whose very near presence we are changed into His likeness…

And we all, with unveiled face seeing the glory of the Lord as in a mirror,
are transformed into the same image from glory to glory,
even as from the Lord, the Spirit.
(2 Corinthians 3:18)

The working faith of which James famously speaks is the faith of Christ at work in a man who reckons himself dead to sin and alive to God in Him; thereby being at liberty to obey God in the newness of the Spirit of life despite the temptation to raise up the old man again and again. Faith is the victory of the gospel because it is the means by which we extend ourselves into the realm of HIS power. True faith steps into that which only the Spirit of God Himself could enable! Those walking by faith discover that the Law of God IS liberty because it is being fulfilled IN them as they walk in the surety of the faith of Christ, Whose faith steps out upon the promise of God’s perfect will.

Now, the righteousness being revealed in us is revealed from faith to faith: meaning that when today‘s obedience is complete, tomorrow‘s provision is obtainable. If I do not have faith today to withstand the voice of the adversary accusing and tempting me in my own mind, how will I have pure faith tomorrow to raise the dead? But we learn to walk in the very faith of the Son of God by enduring the suffering of trials and temptations; just as He also learned obedience through the suffering which He Himself endured. For what faith overcomes the world except faith which has been tried as through fire?

You by the power of God are guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been put to grief in various trials, that the proof of your faith, which is more precious than gold that perishes even though it is tested by fire, may be found to result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ – whom not having known you love; in whom, though now you don’t see him, yet believing, you rejoice greatly with joy unspeakable and full of glory – receiving the result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
(1 Peter 1:5-9)

For in the faith of Christ we also have a shield against every fiery dart of the enemy’s accusation and intimidation, every whisper and imagination preventing the knowing of He who dwells in us. Many of us have been so trained by the spirit of man’s religion to wallow in condemnation as though it were pious, rather than to enter in and dwell in His tabernacle forever, where confident faith is met by His every provision to overcome all things. The mind of the flesh is so accustomed to dwelling in darkness that it fears the Light; and if we listen to its voice we remain tormented in fear, hardly touching the outer court – when truly Christ has made provision for us to inquire of His temple, even where His blood has sprinkled the mercy seat, the place where the Father’s glory dwells. For the blood of Jesus speaks authoritatively against every voice that seeks to prevent its work of drawing us near to Him, “wiping out the handwriting in ordinances which was against us; and He has taken it out of the way, nailing it to the cross; having stripped the principalities and the powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” (Col 2:14-15) And God will not forsake what work He has begun; so that our greater victory is obtained by faith working with patience; just as Abraham, who, “after he had patiently endured, obtained the promise.” (Heb 6:15)

For men indeed swear by a greater one, and in every dispute of theirs the oath is final for confirmation. In this way God, being determined to show more abundantly to the heirs of the promise the immutability of his counsel, interposed with an oath; that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we may have a strong encouragement, who have fled for refuge to take hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and entering into that which is within the veil (the holy of holies); where as a forerunner Jesus entered for us, having become a high priest forever…
(Hebrews 6:16-20)

It is pride which leads to a lack of confidence in His ability to keep us walking upon unknown waters: the false humility of shrinking back for preservation is pride; and by this we in fact forsake our true preservation. “…But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed…” (Heb 10:39) Therefore, by faith we also continually humble ourselves and stoop under the yoke of Christ, allowing Him to take our burden and give us His. But until His yoke and burden are upon us, they appear tiresome and heavy to the carnal mind – just as the darkness hates the Light, and the flesh supposes to know better than the very Spirit of God. “For the mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace; because the mind of the flesh is enmity towards God; for it is not subject to the law of God, for neither can it be.” (Rom 8:7-8) But if we humble ourselves, we find that it is the Lord Himself who renews our strength: to lift us up on wings as eagles, to run and not grow weary, to walk and not grow faint! True and pure faith begins and remains in the meekness of Christ, “who, existing in the form of God, didn’t consider equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself, becoming obedient to death, yes, the death of the cross. Therefore God also highly exalted Him, and gave to Him the Name which is above every name…” (Php 2:5-9)

This is the Lord whom we behold; for what we meditate upon in our hearts and minds, we inevitably follow after. The Devil beheld only himself, and so exchanged the glory of God (which he once had dwelt in) for a glory of his own selfish desire. And now, with the whole world lying under his dominion, he is the enslaver of every heart and mind not yet made a bondslave to Christ. Faith is not possible for the Devil: for now he walks by his own sight in ever-increasing darkness. The humility of true faith is the great stumbling block to those in spiritual pride. The liberty of a man to continually walk in the presence of God and fulfill His Word will be in proportion to that man’s ability to continually die and eventually fade into the role of being a spectator of God’s mighty work in him. The great strongholds of selfish ambition and vain conceit cannot remain standing should God have us as vessels for honorable use in His house.

This is why it is written:
You ask, and don’t receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it for your pleasures. You adulterers and adulteresses, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who lives in us yearns jealously”?
But he gives more grace.
Therefore it says, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
Be subject therefore to God. But resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament, mourn, and weep.
Let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to gloom.
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and HE will exalt you.

(James 4:3-10)

The liberty of the Spirit found by the humble boldness of faith is the realm where the vexation of spiritual youth is cast aside for the soundness and assurance of obedient steps taken in trusting gladness. It is the place of discovering that the narrow path we tread becomes as though it were a wide place by the Spirit so that our feet no longer need slip. By the trial and exercise of our faith, the fear of the unknown fades into the earnest apprehending of that for which we ourselves were apprehended of God. And in finding ever-increasing delight in the rule and reign of our Almighty King, our heart becomes as a reflection of His own, so that His desires within us might be granted; since nothing begotten of HIS desire is impossible to the one believing!

And the desire of those in whom He dwells is the fulfilling of His Word in them for His glory. Therefore as dead men, and consequently free, we may ask of Him with the eyes of our heart being enlightened by the Spirit, and with boldness and humility of faith worthy of His empowerment, that He might fulfill the Law of the new covenant of HIS love within us:

I run in the path of Your commandments, for You have set my heart free.
Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes. I will keep them to the end.
Give me understanding, and I will keep Your law.
Yes, I will obey it with my whole heart.
Direct me in the path of Your commandments, for I delight in them.
Turn my heart toward Your statutes, not toward selfish gain.
Turn my eyes away from looking at worthless things. Revive me in Your ways.
Fulfill Your promise to Your servant, that You may be feared.

(Psalm 119:32-38)

– Brendan

Joshua 6 – Part 1: The Kingdom Unsealed

And Jericho was closed, and was shut in from the face of the sons of Israel;
no one going out, and no one coming in.
And Jehovah said to Joshua, “See I have given Jericho and its king,
and mighty warriors, into your hand.”
(Joshua 6:1-2)

The strongholds of our spiritual enemy are as seals which must be broken that the kingdom of God might be opened to those whom He is calling: both His found and His yet lost. The picture here is of things which will at last appear in fullness when all of creation’s expectant groaning is at last answered upon the manifestation of the Sons of God. “For when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” The seeing of Jesus produces a work of being conformed to His image: a holy union in His body which is hastened by its members building itself up in His love, so that He might at last appear to harvest the full-grown fruit of the travail of His soul. I see the battle instructions given to Joshua for the destruction of Jericho having great parallels to the coming of God’s kingdom in the Revelation delivered to John. I see seven seals being opened to the undoing of the devil’s works as God’s people follow the Captain of the Lord’s host round about outside its formidable walls; and I see seven trumpets signaling the destruction of the kingdom of this present world for the ushering in of the Christ’s rule and reign. For we know that there is only One Man in whom the battle is won, even the Captain of the Lord’s host (Joshua ch 5).

And one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep.
Behold, the Lion being of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, overcame
so as to open the scroll, and to loose its seven seals.”
(Revelation 5:5)

Yes, He is worthy! He holds the keys of hell and death, for He was the Lamb who was slain and was raised an indestructible Life, that through death He might cause to cease the one having the power of death, that is, the devil… (Heb 2:14)
…For this the Son of God was revealed: that He undo the works of the devil. (1Jn 3:8)

We have seen up to this point in Joshua that all of the fruits of the kingdom of God are brought forth in a people who walk obediently by faith. So it is the Lord who fights for us, and the degree to which we partake of His victory is in proportion to our surrender to His will for every facet of its outworking. Obedience ushers us into the flow of what God Himself is doing. Jesus has overcome the world and judged its ruler; therefore let us be found abiding in He who overcame, and He abiding in us. “Greater is HE that is IN YOU, than he (the devil) that is in the world.” (1Jn 4:4) The divine nature of which we are to partake is not only for tomorrow, but for today; for TODAY we are called to enter into His REST, which is the end of our fleshy laboring and a submitting to the Spirit’s labor, so that what Jesus has declared finished on His part may become manifest in the body of His people for the showing forth of His wisdom before all the principalities and powers.

“And you shall go around the city, all the men of battle, going around the city once;
so you shall do six days.”
(Joshua 6:3)

“And YOU shall go…” – It is not with natural eyes that they saw their Captain march before them; rather, these people walked, stood, and shouted in faith, for they were convinced that His Word not only was, but in fact IS Truth. Likewise, we also are responsible for what measure of His finished work we allow into our lives and into His body through obedient faith. The warfare we wage cannot be comprehended by the natural mind, as it is spiritual; yet none shall walk by anything except the natural mind unless they have begun to wage war by actually putting aside the self-life for obedience to the will of God. For there is no power provided where there is no active faith required. The armory of the Lord is for those whose who actually require armor because they are engaged in warfare, and not as mere victims of the darkness. The belt, the breastplate, the shoes, the shield, the helmet, and the sword are for actual use in our wrestle against principalities and powers – not to be adored in a display case of apathy. Defeat is not an option in the kingdom of God; for the Lord Himself will return wearing a robe dipped in the blood of His enemies, and He will identify His army by those whose armor is dipped in the same. May our garments of righteousness be kept white and our armor bloody! Or does not the scripture say of those who are even young in the faith, “I write to you, young men, because you HAVE overcome the evil one”? And the spirit of antichrist, the very spirit of this age, is overcome by the “little children” (1Jn 4:4)!

For the rest, my brothers, be made powerful in the LORD and in the might of HIS strength. Put on all the armor of God, for you to be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil; because we are not wrestling against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world’s rulers, of the darkness of this age against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenlies. Because of this, take up all of the armor of God that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having worked out all things, to stand.
Then stand firm, having girded your loins about with truth and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod the feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Above all, taking up the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the darts of the evil one, having been made fiery. Also, take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.
(Ephesians 6:10-17, LITV)

The implements of our warfare as listed in Ephesians 6 should not be considered a thing for the so-called “advanced” christian, for they are the very foundational aspects of our daily walk! The basics of what ought to be normal for every child of God – and by extension for His people as a whole – is described in this scripture as the things by which our enemy is resisted and overcome. Where victory over the works of the enemy is not seen, we are not truly walking in all of these things: the belt of Truth which holds all things together, the breastplate of righteousness for the guarding of our hearts, the shoes of the readiness of the gospel of peace for the reaping of what HE has already sown (Joshua 2, John 4), the shield of faith for the quenching of the enemy’s intimidations, the helmet of salvation which is to have the mind of Christ, and the sword of the Spirit which is the living word of God.

And having this armory, we have no excuse not to fulfill the sufferings of our warfare, which we must endure should we be found as a bride without spot or blemish before Him in the end. There is no testimony in a people through whom the blood of the Lamb does not flow freely unto purification, nor whose armor is not bathed in the blood of the enemy. The testimony of Jesus, the first overcomer, is to become the very testimony of His body and its members; for the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy, since His appearing was prophetic of His body the church, and His eternal Life now dwells in them so that they may grow into the fullness of the measure of His stature. “And they overcame him (the devil) because of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of THEIR testimony. And they did not love their soul even until death.” (Rev 12:11) It is in joyous and freeing surrender to our Captain’s Lordship that the people of God quite literally walk circles around the enemy, for it becomes “NOT I, BUT CHRIST LIVES IN ME.” For if we become simply His vessels to be animated by His power as a conduit of His Light and Life, every step around Jericho contains the thunder of HIS feet to the weakening of its walls.

“…going around the city once; so you shall do six days.” – I am convinced that this account is also a prophecy of the warfare of His true body in the last days; and that with each pass around Jericho walking in His footsteps, a seal is broken. For our Lord is returning when He sees a HOLY bride who has ravished His heart in the pursuit of HIM at all costs, a living sacrifice purged by the fire of the Father’s heart. The breaking of the first four seals provoke the enemy to bring forth earthly tribulations through conquest, war, scarcity, and pestilence; the fifth seal breaks by the prayers of the martyrs being remembered in heaven for the avenging of their blood – and their blood shall indeed be avenged of this world; and the sixth seal is to the bringing of that very vengeance by God upon the earth-dwellers who are offended by the Lamb and persecute His own – but He has sealed the faithful (Rev 6-7). For with each pass around Jericho they are completing their obedience in the pulling down of strongholds through Him so that He may at last usher in His kingdom, in which they are finally made ready to rule and reign with Him, to revenge the disobedience of Jericho. “See, I have given Jericho and its king, mighty warriors, into your hand.” (v2) For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty THROUGH GOD to the pulling down of strongholds); casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; and having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when YOUR obedience is fulfilled.
(2 Corinthians 10:4-6)

“And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of ram’s horns before the ark.
And on the seventh day you shall go around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets. And it shall be, when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the ram’s horn, all the people shall shout with a great shout. And the wall of the city shall fall down flat; and the people shall go up, each man in front of him.”
(Joshua 6:4-5)

The breaking of the seventh seal is to a silence in heaven (Rev 8:1): it is selah for the cry of the contrite and humble, and the promise of continued rest in God for the faithful who endure, who are making their calling and election sure. For on that seventh day of rest they compassed the city seven times; and such labor on the seventh day was made possible and was indeed seen as righteous because it was wrought in God, for the people had entered into the land of rest, the very labors of the Spirit: for the Lord Himself IS our rest, and even our brother if we are lead by His Spirit (Rom 8:11-14). And during that silence in heaven, all the prayers of the saints are offered before God, and in that prayer is a shout – the voice and thunder of many waters by which the Lord Himself shakes all things (Micah 7-15-17). Now, in the book of Joshua we see the people shout when they hear the seventh trumpet; whereas in the Revelation given to John, the trumpets sound after the seventh seal is opened. This is because the account of John is the revelation OF Jesus which God showed HIM, so that it speaks from heaven’s perspective beyond time; whereas the account of Joshua is of His people and speaks from their perspective within time. The Lord’s faithful on earth hear the trumpets even before they sound, being quickened by His Spirit that they may hasten the Day of the Lord. For He has saved the best wine until last, by which the six earthen vessels become as ONE seventh vessel, being filled with all the fullness of HIM, ready for the Day of His marriage supper. For that Day shall break when the Spirit AND the bride say in unison, “Come.”

And the seventh angel trumpeted. And there were great voices in Heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of the world became our Lord’s, even of His Christ;
and He shall reign forever and ever.”
(Revelation 11:15)

– Brendan

Joshua 4: Setting In Stone

And it happened, when all the nation had completely crossed over the Jordan, Jehovah spoke to Joshua, saying, “Take twelve men for you out of the people, one man of each tribe. And charge them, saying, ‘Take twelve stones from this place, from the middle of the Jordan, from the place where the feet of the priests were fixed. And you shall carry them over with you and lay them down in the lodging place which you stay in it tonight.'” And Joshua called to the twelve men whom he had readied from the sons of Israel, one man out of each tribe.
And Joshua said to them, “Cross over before the ark of Jehovah your God to the middle of the Jordan, and each man of you lift up one stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Israel, that this shall be a sign among you, when your children ask hereafter, saying, ‘What are these stones to you?’ You shall say to them, ‘Because the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of Jehovah, as it crossed over into the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off.’ And these stones are for a memorial to the sons of Israel all the days.”

(Joshua 4:1-7)

The placing of these stones of memorial was for the continual reminder of the wonders which God had done among His people so far. There is much good in meditating upon that which God has done in order to help us remain walking in wisdom and obedience regarding that which God continues to do. Not that we measure where we now stand by where we have once been, and so deceive ourselves; but rather that by seeing His works for what they truly are according to His word, we may continue striving toward the greater glory, of which and to which those wonders were meant to inform us and point us.

It is a sad reality in our day that many who have at one time seen the hand of God truly move did not consider and meditate on what He was truly intending to accomplish; and have since fallen into all kinds of foolishness, even specifically denying the very things which God was calling them to walk in. Many who once saw the need for the people of God to repent and weep for their idolatry and worldliness are now found saying that all is well; many who once walked in a humble submission to the Holy Spirit have become puffed up in the carnal “wisdom” of man’s various doctrines; many whom God was calling away from the spiritual falsehood of man’s “church” have since settled back in; many who for a time experienced true freedom by God’s power from the former lusts of the flesh have since become consumed in them again; many who were becoming bold and fearless in prayer and in the declaration of the gospel for lost souls have shrunk back and become impotent; and the list could go on. These are the fruits of a once zealous people who have conceded to the will of the enemy to fall back into the world from which they had once been turning.

But the Apostle Paul spoke of the results of life in the Spirit amidst all adversity:

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 8:37-39)

The only thing missing in Paul’s list is  former things. It is clear enough that “things present” and “things to come” cannot separate those who walk in the Spirit from the love of God; however, those who fall away from that walk are those returning to the former things, even as those who fell in the wilderness, and one of whom we read later (Joshua 7).

What these stones of memorial speak to us may be summed up in these two statements: on the one hand they promise, “the One having begun a good work in you will finish it until the day of Jesus Christ;” but on the other hand they also warn the one looking back toward Sodom and Egypt with a coveting heart, “Remember Lot’s wife.”

So if we have been brought over into the land where His rest is found, let us not linger by the river’s edge looking back and coveting the corruption in which we once lived before the crossing, nor travel back to cross it again into the world where there is nothing but spiritual death upon death awaiting us. Instead, having meditated upon the Word of our new life, let us be found “looking to the Author and Finisher of our faith, Jesus, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right of the throne of God.” So let us consider these stones a hopeful promise for the faithful and a warning sign at which the backsliding may repent; an altar of mercy upon which we may offer ourselves to God so that His fire may fall and purge our impurities rather than destroy us.

“Take twelve stones… from the place where the feet of the priests were fixed.”
Again we see mentioned (as in chapter 3) the feet of the priests in the waters; and here the stones of memorial are to be taken from exactly where their feet were planted. So even the stones themselves become a type of those redeemed by passing through the waters through the way that Jesus as our priest has made: the living stones who also are being made after HIS likeness into “a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Pet 2:5)

And how appropriate that there are twelve stones; since the New Jerusalem, the bride of our King, is founded upon twelve foundations, upon which its gates are guarded by twelve pillars inscribed with the names of the twelve apostles (Rev 21). So these twelve stones at Gilgal by the Jordan may be seen as that spiritual foundation of Christ which is to be continually built upon until the very end, since after these stones are placed, the children begin the inheriting of the kingdom.
[Paul spoke of this “building” founded upon Jesus Christ in specific reference to the collection of believers in a locality; warning the people of God at Corinth to take care not only of what the foundation is, but even afterwards what is built 
upon it, lest they lose much reward in the coming kingdom by building upon it that which proceeds from carnality rather than from God Himself (1Cor 3:10-15).]
For the altar with which God is pleased, and upon which His fire will truly fall, is made of twelve stones that no man has profaned with the working of their own devices 
(Ex 20:25, 1Ki 18:30-31)and the true spiritual life of God, of which we partake in Jesus Christ, is twelve-fold over abundant (Mt 14, Mk 6, Jn 6).

This is all to say that, since we have such a sure foundation upon which we may trust Him to build His kingdom, such a sure way, by which having entered we may remain in His presence and inherit the promises, such a holy altar of mercy upon which to offer ourselves and so become pure vessels tried by His fire, ready for honourable use, and such a rich promise in the reward of partaking of HIM – what then, other than blatant stubbornness in unbelief, should keep those who come to His land from resting in His labors and conquering therein?

So if anyone has fallen back, let them fall no further back than these stones, these pillars, this foundation; and let the one who hears the merciful voice of the Lord’s promise and warning be found repairing that altar which has been neglected, drenching it with such tears of repentance that only the fire of God from the altar before His heavenly throne will suffice to engulf it. And this is the great need of our day in the house of God, which temple we are, the temple made of those same living stones that are meant to become the finished New Jerusalem, which is the spotless bride of the King (Rev 21).

So we see that the children of Israel were to lodge among these stones placed at Gilgal, finding some rest and assurance among them so they would be prepared for the inheriting of the kingdom.

In that day Jehovah made Joshua great in the sight of all Israel. And they feared him all the days of his life, even as they feared Moses. And Jehovah spoke to Joshua, saying, “Order the priests who carry the ark of the testimony, that they rise out of the Jordan.” And Joshua commanded the priests, saying, “Rise out of the Jordan.” And it happened when the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of Jehovah had come up out of the midst of the Jordan, and the soles of the feet of the priests had been lifted to the dry land, the waters of the Jordan returned to their place, and flowed over all its banks, as before. And the people came up out of the Jordan on the tenth of the first month, and camped in Gilgal, in the east border of Jericho.
(Joshua 4:14-19)

– Brendan


Joshua 3 – Part 2: Receive Power

“Behold, the ark of the covenant of Jehovah of all the earth shall pass over before you into the Jordan. And now, take for yourselves twelve men out of the tribes of Israel, one man for each tribe. And it shall be, when the soles of the feet of the priests bearing the ark of Jehovah, Lord of all the earth, come to rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off, the waters which come down from above. And they shall stand in one heap.”
(Joshua 3:11-13)

Just as the ark of the Lord went before the people to open the new and living way before them, so our Great Priest has passed through the veil, tasting death as a man but raised to life as the maker of our peace with God; that we might also have access to cross over into the fullness fellowship with God even as the Father is one with the Son.

And by the faith of these priests, God moved to cut off the waters which ran into the Dead Sea; the sea representing the true results of the power of sin unconquered, a power which had to literally be cut off from even flowing if the people would ever be found abiding in His rest. Although their fathers had at one time been passed over by God’s wrath on account of the Blood of the Lamb (Ex 12), and although they also passed through a type of the baptism of repentance out from Egypt; yet most of those backslid, keeping themselves from ever entering the land to walk in the fullness of the newness of Life. But now this new generation was given the opportunity to walk in that which their fathers had never reached because of unbelief. What mercy! And may God have such mercy upon us now, we who have such great need in this dark day; a day in which few now remain who have not floundered and collapsed in the wilderness, not having passed through the Jordan into His rest, the place of His power for the fulfilling of all righteousness. And He has surely prepared this rest for His faithful people; having gone over before them and being prepared to seal the way behind them. So today, let the grace of God not be in vain for us as it was for those who fell in the wilderness, who remained under the power of sin in the flesh and so died in their sins. But upon entering into the place of resting in the labors of the Spirit, the earnest cry of those passing through wilderness is answered: “My soul clings to the dust; give me LIFE according to Your Word.” (Ps 119:25)

And it happened, as the people pulled up stakes from their tents to cross over the Jordan, and as the priests bore the ark of the covenant before the people, and as those bearing the ark came into the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the edge of the waters (and the Jordan was full, over all its banks all the days of harvest); that the waters stood still, those coming down from above rose up into a heap, very far above the city Adam, which is beside Zaretan; and those going down by the sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. And the people passed over opposite to Jericho. And the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of Jehovah stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan. And all Israel crossed over on dry ground until all the nation had completely passed over the Jordan.
(Joshua 3:14-17)

“…the people pulled up stakes…”
In this we see the sincerity of faith in their actions: that when the word came to remove their dwelling from the hard soil of the wilderness, they were willing and able. This is the attitude of faith: it waits upon the command of God and acts in obedience according to the foreknowledge that He will perform what He has promised to the faithful. So let us be in such a place of surrender, forsaking all else but that for which we hope in the will of God. “For we are saved in hope…” True surrender to His will is an act of such hope, by which we may live rejoicing in the hope of the glory of God; who is able to keep us walking in the holy Life of His Son by the same Spirit which raised Him from the dead. “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son; how much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His Life.” (Rom 5:10)

“…and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the edge of the waters…”
Just as these dipped their feet in the channel flowing with that which leads to stagnancy and death, likewise Jesus as our merciful mediator stepped into the likeness of sinful flesh and by the grace of God tasted death for every man. For, “Since the children have partaken of flesh and blood, in like manner He Himself also shared the same things, that through death He might cause to cease the one having the power of death, that is, the devil… …becoming like His brothers, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the things respecting God, in order to make propitiation for the sins of His people.” (Heb ch 2)

“…the waters stood still, those coming down from above rose up into a heap, very far above the city Adam, which is beside Zaretan; and those going down by the sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off…”
Here we see the flow of sin in the flesh, which leads to death, being cut short, even as far back as Adam. In this we see how God, “sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh…”That is to say in essence: He who partook of our weaknesses yet remained without blemish thereby had all authority beyond doubt or accusation to rebuke and overcome for every man the very power of sin itself! He was the fulfillment of which Adam was only a partial type (Rom 5:14): since He partook of His bride’s weakness so that in the suffering of the Righteous One, those who fell short might pass through death unto Life in He who overcame all things. Therefore, having cut off the power of sin by setting foot in its channel, He has given us this new and living way into the most holy place where we may now dwell – that is, through His flesh (Col 1:22, Heb 10:20).

“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall many be MADE RIGHTEOUS.”
(Romans 5:19)

The gospel is not the lowering of God’s standard of righteousness: it is rather His power unto salvation for those believing, by which His righteousness may be revealed in those who walk by faith in Him. A gospel with no power to transform a man is a gospel worthy to be ashamed of, since by such a message no one has truly beheld the righteousness of the living God! (Rom 1:16-17) Those who hold to such a gospel are truly vowing to the Lord with neither a “yay” nor a “nay,” but rather with only a “maybe;” and so we see that this “cometh of evil.” It is therefore a lukewarm gospel, making those who live proudly in its allowance for continual sin ready to be vomited out of the Lord’s mouth.
“…but you will receive power, the Holy Spirit having come upon you; and you will be witnesses of Me.” (Acts 1:8) – Being a true witness to the power of Christ requires that His power be clearly at work in us. We will only be His witnesses to the degree that we allow HIS power to be operative in us. Does your walk bear the fruit of one having received power? You are not a witness to the power of His blood while you wallow in condemnation; you are not a witness to His freedom while you are still bound.

“If Christ is in you, then although your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.
But if the SPIRIT of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, then He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life even to your mortal bodies through His Spirit dwelling in you.”

(Romans 8:10-11)

So we can have the Word of Christ dwelling in us in some measure; but apart from a direct work of power by His Spirit, we simply remain in a deep struggle between the two natures: our own regenerated spirit having been made alive by the conviction of His righteousness, yet our body-life remaining continually subject to the manifestations of sin in the flesh. This cycle is not meant to continue, but rather to dwindle and die – hence the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Our own strength is insufficient to power the new creature because it is in fact counter-productive to the work of the Spirit. The best intentions of our own efforts still amount to nothing but works of the flesh; and we do not have to live in those any longer.

Such is the confidence we have through Christ towards God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the SPIRIT. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives Life.
(2 Corinthians 3:4-6)

The trade of our own power for God’s power, and the trade of our own life for God’s Life, is the trade of deeds which amount to filthy rags for deeds which are manifest as having been wrought in God. When we are operating out of any power except God’s power we are placing ourselves back under the law of the letter rather than the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus. Our growth from children into manifest sons of God is accomplished only through the very Life of the Spirit of God operating through those who are dead to self. It is one thing to be sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise – it is another to be led in the Father’s will through His power.

So, then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to flesh, for if you live according to flesh, you are going to die.
But if by the Spirit you put to death the practices of the body, you will live.
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
(Romans 8:12-14)

For just as one cannot be a Christian without the seal of the Spirit of God and the implantation of the Word; likewise, one cannot continue growing deeply in fellowship with God through that Word without the baptism of the Holy Spirit, with whom we are to be continually filled. We cannot run effectively for long on yesterday’s power for today’s work. God forbid that the scripture should be speaking of the Holy Spirit when it says, “He came unto His own, but His own did not receive Him.” – yet I fear that such is often the case. But the righteous requirement of God is so high beyond anything we can imagine that it will be not be fulfilled in us except God Himself be allowed to show up in power. Let this be our humble posture in sincere faith, which is the substance of those things hoped for, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us!

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
For what the law could not do, being weak through the flesh; God has done, sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemning sin in the flesh: so that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
(Romans 8:1-4)

This is the power to remain in His rest and to commune with Him in His temple always, even the holy of holies, even on earth as it is in heaven.

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust.”
(Psalm 91:1-2)

I will abide in Thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of Thy wings.
Selah.
(Psalm 61:4)

Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
(Romans 15:13)

– Brendan

Joshua 3 – Part 1: Consecrate Yourselves

And Joshua rose up early in the morning. And they pulled up stakes from Shittim and came to the Jordan, he and all the sons of Israel. And they stayed there before they crossed over. And it happened, at the end of three days, the officers passed into the midst of the camp.
And they commanded the people, saying, “When you see the ark of the covenant of Jehovah your God, and the priests, and the Levites bearing it, then you shall pull up stakes from your place and shall go after it. Only, keep a distance between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure. You shall not come near it, so that you may know the way in which you are to go. For you have not crossed over this way yesterday and the day before.”
And Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow Jehovah will do wonders among you.”
(Joshua 3:1-5)

The disciples had been with Jesus and seen many works of power through His hand, they had received from Him the teaching of the mystery of the kingdom, and they had just been commanded to “go therefore into all the world;” but they had need of a vital thing if they would succeed: a new Baptism, which only the Son of God having all things under His feet could baptize them with – and this they could not invoke by the flesh, but were to set themselves apart in humility for it. And just as the disciples had need to wait in Jerusalem, here the children of Israel “stayed there (by the Jordan) before they crossed over.” They needed to wait upon God, who orders everything according to HIS wisdom. To wait upon the Lord is to settle for no other method than HIS anointing.

“The one not entering through the door into the sheepfold, but going up by another way, that one is a thief and a plunderer.” And so we see in our own day the spiritual falsehood of those who lead many astray under the anointing of a different spirit: sowing to the earthly, fleshly, and demonic to the reaping of much destruction. These are the ones who “savor not the things that are of God, but rather those that are of men.” Although Peter sought for Jesus a more carnally glorious way than through death, Jesus had a death to die and suffering to endure in order to bring many sons to glory. And we, therefore, as the ones becoming those sons, must take care that we are always passing over in Him through death which is the way of true deliverance, the narrow way of the cross. For those who enter the banquet not wearing the clean garments found only at the cross will be thrown from the King’s banquet into outer darkness; and those who have soiled their garments or traded them back for the old garments of earthly mixture (which in God’s eye is nakedness), are counted unworthy to walk with He who is able to blot their names out of the book of life.

“But when the King came in to look at the guests, He saw there a man who had no wedding garment. And He said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the King said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.”
(Matthew 22:11-14)

“Then remember how you received and heard, and keep, and repent. If, then, you do not watch, I will come upon you like a thief and you will not at all know what hour I come upon you. You also have a few names in Sardis which did not defile their robes, and they shall walk with Me in white because they are worthy. The one overcoming, THIS one shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not at all blot his name out of the Book of Life; and I will acknowledge his name before My Father, and before His angels.”
(Revelation 3:3-5)

“Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is the one watching and KEEPING his garments, that he does not walk naked, and they may see his shame.”
(Revelation 16:15)

Now this new generation of Israelites had come to edge of the wilderness, having passed beyond where their fathers had fallen; yet they still required their own experience of crossing over, having need of entering into His rest. It is not enough that they should look upon and admire the promise from far away. The works of inheriting the kingdom begin upon entering into His rest; where we may find rest from our labors and walk from faith to faith in the labors of the Holy Spirit. It is by HIS power that our life can become a revelation of God’s righteousness, a life after His own design, in which “the righteous demand of the Law might be fulfilled in us, those walking not according to flesh, but according to Spirit.” (Rom 8:4) The baptism of repentance is meant to be one of the death of the old man so that we might be raised to the newness of this true life in the Spirit!

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him.
John would have prevented Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”
But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us TO FULFILL ALL RIGHTEOUSNESS.” Then he consented. And when Jesus was baptized, immediately He went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on Him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
(Matthew 3:13-17)

“But the ones waiting for Jehovah shall renew power; they shall go up with wings as the eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not be faint!” (Isa 40:31) The wind upon which the sons of God will mount as eagles is that of the Holy Spirit, who “breathes where He desires, and you hear His voice; but you do not know from where He comes, and where He goes; so is everyone having been generated from the Spirit.” (Jn 3:8)… “Because everything having been generated of God overcomes the world” (1 Jn 5:4)… So let us also, having seen and heard the pattern of things in His teaching, likewise come before the river Jordan; consecrating ourselves for usefulness in the hands of He who desires to lead His people in the true form of that life in the Spirit in which Jesus Himself walked, and so be given the power to ever more become the sons of God.

“Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow Jehovah will do wonders among you.”
To consecrate something is to separate or set it apart for a specific use, to surrender all of its possible functions to one purpose or to the disposal of one master. A separation must be made from the former things for the children to move into the coming things. The degree to which we do not cast aside every weight and the entanglements of sin is the degree to which we find the Spirit of God unable to lead us further into the land. The dove which Noah sent from the ark would not place its clean feet for very long on the decaying rafts of filth that the ravens were happy to feed upon; but it always returned to the same dry abode until it could find another. How appropriate I find it therefore, that the children will cross over Jordan into His rest upon dry ground – this is the way of the Spirit! He will remain in power upon those who give themselves over to His purposes according to the call of His voice.

The time just before this crossing was surely a time for the testing of the people’s trust, just as it was for those who crossed the Red Sea in dismay, and afterwards fell in the disobedience of unbelief still coveting this present world, the riches of Egypt. But these children were now to cross into the land of rest having hope beforehand, trusting in the Faithful One who was very present to lead them. Those who throw themselves obediently upon His gracious provision by faith are those who will be found walking by the Spirit; since they know that they desperately need His hand to move should anything He requires of them ever be truly accomplished. And if we have been made a kingdom of priests, even the very temple of the living God (and we have), then we each also carry with us the ark of the covenant – the implanted Word within it, and the seat of His glory upon it: so that His glory in us might become manifest through us as we learn to walk after the Spirit of Christ, whose blood was sprinkled upon it to consecrate this dwelling place of God (Lev 16:14-15). For the implanted Word is a Seed which requires the constant input of the living waters of the Holy Spirit so that it might grow into a great tree. By this the presence of the Lord in His people’s midst will be made known.

And Joshua spoke to the priests, saying, “Take up the ark of the covenant and go before the people.” And they took up the ark of the covenant and went before the people. And Jehovah said to Joshua, “This day I will begin to make you great in the eyes of all Israel, so that they shall know that as I was with Moses, so I am with you.”
(Joshua 3:6-7)

– Brendan

Joshua 2: The Harvest Is Plentiful

And Joshua the son of Nun sent two men secretly from Shittim as spies, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” And they went and came into the house of a prostitute whose name was Rahab and lodged there. And it was told to the king of Jericho, “Behold, men of Israel have come here tonight to search out the land.” Then the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, “Bring out the men who have come to you, who entered your house, for they have come to search out all the land.”
But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. And she said, “True, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. And when the gate was about to be closed at dark, the men went out. I do not know where the men went. Pursue them quickly, for you will overtake them.” But she had brought them up to the roof and hid them with the stalks of flax that she had laid in order on the roof. So the men pursued after them on the way to the Jordan as far as the fords. And the gate was shut as soon as the pursuers had gone out.
(Joshua 2:1-7)

Here we see in a prostitute far more fear of the Lord than is commonly observed in most who profess to be servants of the Almighty. The faith of one single unlikely soul who came to fear God more than men contributed greatly to the demise of this great enemy stronghold. Such are the fruits ready for harvest that can be found preceding those who walk boldly in faith towards God, and humbly in faith’s obedience to His yet unconquered land of promise. This shows us the wonderful provision of God if we will follow His desire to inherit the promised land: that in the most unexpected and perfect ways, He will clear the path which He sets before our feet; having ordained that even a few from among the enemy’s opposing walls should have the hard soil of their hearts already broken up for the receiving of He whose Spirit has gone before us. We ourselves should seek to walk in such a witness in the Spirit.

Before the men lay down, she came up to them on the roof and said to the men, “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you.
For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you devoted to destruction. And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the Lord your God, He is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath.”
(Joshua 2:8-11)

Her fear of the Lord was responded to in faith: which faith she worked by receiving the spies, whose appearance spelled a certain end to the life she had known among her people. Yet she even took them in as messengers of God’s mercy to her, which they indeed were. Here we see a sincere faith working in a lost one: receiving the gift unto salvation rather than turning those over to death whose very presence yielded the conviction of sin, righteousness, and judgement.
“By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish with those disobeying, having received the spies with peace.” (Heb 11:31)
And her faith was of great magnitude even at the beginning! She approached this grace with such boldness even so as to request the same mercy for her entire house!

“Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that, as I have dealt kindly with you, you also will deal kindly with my father’s house, and give me a sure sign that you will save alive my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.”
(Joshua 2:12-13)

By such faith the promises will be inherited, even equally for those who must yet be grafted into the vine as Rahab had need. So let those who have already been called out of Egypt as the true sons in Jesus Christ also come just as boldly before the throne of grace as Rahab did: not holding back like cowering dogs, fearing to eat even the crumbs under the table; but rather by faith becoming as rightful heirs in Him, partaking of the children’s bread! (Mt 15:22-28) And the children’s bread is not only that which we receive, but also that which we become for others to partake of, that through our witness they may taste and see that the Lord is good. And His table was feasted at here by two parties: first by Rahab, who, having heard of God’s work through His people, responded in faith by receiving mercy; and secondly by those sent, whose faith was inspired for the greater forthcoming works when they saw the table which the Lord had prepared before them in the presence of their enemies.

“Behold, when we come into the land, you shall tie this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and you shall gather into your house your father and mother, your brothers, and all your father’s household. Then if anyone goes out of the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we shall be guiltless. But if a hand is laid on anyone who is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head.”
(Joshua 2:18)

Notice that the same window through which the spies were delivered from the enemy’s city was the same window in which was the sign of Rahab’s Passover. The means by which Rahab is passed over by wrath is the same merciful means by which the existing children of God are continually delivered from the hands of the enemy – it was the same means for both those of some experience with God and those with virtually none. The Way of deliverance does not change with maturity, it only becomes more clearly seen. Our relation to the blood of Christ is not meant to be made absent or change with maturity, but rather to deepen. The rest into which we are called is the dwelling place of the glory of the Father, into whose domain we were drawn near by the blood of Christ, by whose Spirit we now have access to dwell with the Father always. It is in this place where the enemy remains vanquished and liberty is known by the children of God.

…Then the two men returned. They came down from the hills and passed over and came to Joshua the son of Nun, and they told him all that had happened to them. And they said to Joshua, “Truly the LORD has given all the land into our hands. And also, all the inhabitants of the land melt away because of us.”
(Joshua 2:23-24)

This is a glimpse of the possible fruit of walking in God’s rest: wherein we rest from our own labors and enter into the inner working of the finished labors of another – Jesus Christ – whose Spirit works in us to will and to do according to the good pleasure of God.

“I sent you to reap what you have not labored over. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”
(John 4:38)

– Brendan