Series: Finished Works; Prayer
Sun am 1 July 2012 – Kobus Swart
Josh. 1:1-8; (Rev. 21:7); (Heb. 2:10); (Josh. 5:12–14); (Josh. 14:10-15); (Num. 13:33); (Judges 17:6);
(Heb. 4:8); (Ps. 24:1); (Rom. 8:26, 29); (2 Pet. 1:3-4); (Eccl. 3:11); Eph. 1:5
We’ve grown up with a certain concept of prayer. We may have moved on but still need a mind shift about prayer. God will hear the sincere prayers of anyone in any posture, but a lot of that posturing was just a religious exercise. You and I must become prayer expressed; we must become a walking prayer. The best definition of prayer is to engage the Spirit of God, and that you can do without ceasing. Wherever you are your spirit can be connected to God and prayer then becomes a two-way street. God hears your prayers and sometimes even your groaning, your aches and pains are translated by the Holy Spirit and He turns it into a prayer, with groanings too deep for words (Rom. 8:26). The Holy Spirit takes it, translates it and puts it before the throne. Prayer has almost become wishful thinking for many but there is a shift taking place now. What does it mean when the Bible says pray without ceasing? How can you do that at work? Before you even ask, God knows what you need, but the Bible says, “Ask and keep on asking.” Why do I even pray if He knows? By praying I align myself with the answer, that is why we must ask with thanksgiving. The answer is not what God does, but who God is.
We are in (perhaps the final phase of) the overlapping of two seasons. The old season is coming to an end, but long before the old season has come to an end a new season has started. Could this be the last transition into our land of promise? The land of promise in the book of Joshua was a piece of geography called Canaan, but it has a deep spiritual significance for us today. God is not restoring a piece of land in the Middle-East for the Christians to be like those who go to a ‘Mecca’ once a year. It was a type and shadow of what is coming today. Our land of promise is not ‘up there’. Where is our land of promise? This place we call earth! How will the new heaven and the new earth come to pass? The renewal takes place first in this piece of earth, this clay pot – you and me. “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on this earth” and through us it will spread throughout the world. This earth belongs to the Lord and the fullness thereof, the world and all that live in it (Ps. 24:1).
In the book of Joshua, when they crossed the Jordan, they circumcised the whole new generation. The manna ceased the day they had their first meal from the produce of the land and the miraculous provision stopped. Many Christians only want to live by means of miraculous provision. They want the signs and wonders to keep them sustained in their walk with God. Signs and wonders become an everyday experience in the land of promise. So, the manna ceased and the so-called ‘land of milk and honey’ was found to be full of squatters; giants, Canaanites, Amalekites – the Nephilim family who were positioned there before Israel arrived! They took possession in anticipation of God’s people who were coming.
Joshua was trained and raised by Moses; he was like his shadow. He was in the tent of meeting where Moses spent a lot of time. In fact, many times when Moses would leave the tent of meeting Joshua would stay behind. [What a picture of a son; a kindred spirit like that of Timothy to Paul.] So by the time Moses was taken, the commissioning came to Joshua, and God reminded him about the words He had spoken to Moses (Josh. 1:7, 13). God did not change His strategy or his plan; it was all an outflow of a Word that had come to Moses in the wilderness.
Then comes a very important Word from God to Joshua: Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses (Josh. 1:3). That means we have to take a new view on how we receive from God. What is miraculous and what is just a natural outflow or unfolding? They didn’t wait for something to fall (like manna), they had to take possession. There is something required of the Church of the overcomer. In all seven epistles to the seven churches in the book of Revelation it ends with “to him who overcomes”. In fact I have a feeling that most if not all the promises in the book of Revelation were spoken to the overcomer (See also Rev. 21:7). I want to speak to you prophetically as overcomers. Overcomers have a major challenge at hand as they move forward in this transition; as the old age phases out and the new age takes momentum. There is a challenge for the Church now to take possession, to walk out the unfolding plan of God and not wait for some sign in the heaven (although we know that the sovereign Lord can interrupt what we do any time!), but to be the unfolding sign or plan of God in the earth. There is a still small voice that says “Move forward, take steps by faith.” Those words are not for the individual, but for the corporate. We cannot allow stagnancy or passivity to set in; we have to be a people in motion. The enemy will do anything and everything to distract us from that commissioning. Our mandate is to walk the promise; to take possession.
How will we see the Kingdoms of this world become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ? How will we see a renewal, a new heaven and earth come into being? God is waiting for us and He has made full provision for us to be equipped to do it. The future is now busy unfolding in us. The voice is no longer behind us, it is inside of us. As long as we have wilderness mentality as Israel had for forty years, we will wait for something to drop from the sky; we will long for the flesh pots of Egypt and attack our leaders asking, “Why have you brought us here?” The wilderness mind-set plagues the Church of Jesus Christ worldwide because they passively wait for something miraculous to happen. That season is phasing out. You are the miracle and you must flesh out this future because our future arrived in Jesus Christ two thousand years ago. He came in the fullness of times. From that time the “sun” stood still; no more types and shadows; He was the fulfilment. You and I are the sons that must come to glory. He came to bring many sons to glory (Heb. 2:10).
Then Joshua had to learn another lesson! When Joshua faced the man with the drawn sword the first question out of his mouth is the old sectarian question that we so often have in our own hearts: “Lord, are you for us or for them?” The answer simply boiled down to the following “No, I am not for you or for them. YOU CHOOSE! I have come to be the Captain of the host of the Lord” (Josh. 5:12-14). You and I must make the choice if we will follow Him who is the Captain, the Lord of Hosts. It is important to make that decision because there are Canaanites waiting and they have to be destroyed; it is not their property.
Then follows the voice of a real overcomer: Caleb came to Joshua and said, “Give me and my sons Mt Hebron”. That is where the sons of the Anakim lived, the Nephilim family. The name of that place previously was Kiriath-arba, and Arba was the tallest of the giants (Josh. 14:10-15). Remember how the spies felt like grasshoppers because they were literally dealing with giants (Num. 13:33). In this season we no longer fight against flesh and blood. It is the Caleb company that must emerge from the Church and will be assigned and given the mandate to bring down the giants in the spirit realm (Ephes 3:10). The commissioning was to clean out the land. God promised that if they cleaned out the land they would go into REST. We are the most creative when we are in rest – living in the now, in the present, in the presence of the timeless One!
Joshua failed in his commissioning. When he was old there was much land still to be possessed (Josh. 13:1). Perhaps his biggest mistake was that he failed to raise a successor, a son or sons. The book of Judges follows the book of Joshua; it was the consequence of Joshua not having raised a successor. There was chaos because everybody did was right in his own sight (Judges 17:6).
Joshua did not bring the people into rest. It remains for the people of God to enter into their Sabbath rest (Heb. 4:8-9). This is the challenge to anybody in the five-fold ministry that carries an authentic divine grace; they must see this as their destiny to bring God’s people into their rest. Rest will not come unless the enemy is cleaned out of the land. Our war must be based upon the finished works of Jesus. He has done it all; He has made an open display of satan. The accuser of the brethren should never succeed in accusing you and me. He has no leg to stand on, the platform is removed; the certificate of debt has been cancelled. Why do we complain when things go wrong? We read that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28). The plan of God in allowing us to bump our head is to make sure that all things work together to bring us in line with this new humanity of which Christ is the first born. God has given us all things pertaining to life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3-4). He has put eternity in the heart of every person (Eccl. 3:11). Eternity does not start when you die, eternal life has already started, it is in us and we awakened and connected to it through the born again experience. When you die it is just another transition. How long are we going to live the old Adamic history? For as long as we live that we will not taste the finished works victories. All the benefits and blessings will avoid us as long as we are stuck in the old Adamic realities of life.
God is going to show us that his ultimate resting place is in the corporate Son.