Series: Taking the Kingdom
Sunday 11 June 2017- Kobus Swart
Gen. 6:13-6; (Gen. 7); Gen. 9:17-27; Deut. 24: 4, 7-12; Josh. 1:1-9; Josh. 2:1-2, 12-21; (Matt. 1:5); (Judges 1:9-10); (Jude 1:5); Luke 16:16; Josh. 6:21; Josh. 5:12-14; Josh. 7:1; (1 Cor. 12:26); Eph. 6:12; (Rev. 11:15); Dan. 10:12-13; (Josh. 7); 1 Cor. 11:29-30; Josh. 9; Josh. 13, 14, 15; Josh. 23:1-13, 16; Judges 21:25; 1 Cor. 10:11; Heb. 4:1-8; Gen. 2:3; Isa. 66:1-2; Heb. 4:12
Here are some earlier events that we must take into consideration as we look at the Israelites trying to possess the land of promise. In Genesis 6 we find that God was sorry that He had made man on the earth. He was grieved in heart. What was the reason for that? That the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose. Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.” The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown (Gen. 6:2-4). Giants were born. In Genesis 7 we see the flood. God decided to keep Noah and his family and wiped all the rest of humanity. Yet we are stuck with this verse The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward (vs. 4). We encounter them again in the book of Joshua in the mountains of Hebron. The sons of Anak, the Anakim were descendants of the Nephilim. In Genesis 9, after the flood has subsided it took them a while to get out of the ark. Then Noah started farming and he planted a vineyard. He drank the wine and became drunk and uncovered himself inside his tent. Ham saw the nakedness of his father and told his brothers. Shem and Japheth walked backwards and covered his naked body; they did not want to look at the nakedness of their father. This is more than just a naked man that they did not want to see. Ham did more than just “look” at his naked father. The reaction was dreadful! When Noah awoke from his wine, he knew what his youngest son had done to him. It was more than looking at his naked father. He son engaged his naked father in a horrible way. God honoured the two sons who respected their father even when he was naked (Gen. 9:19-27). Because of what Ham did, his son Canaan was put under a curse by Noah. The Canaanites who came from Ham were encountered again later in the land of promise. This is given as an introduction to the book of Joshua. (Deut. 24: 4, 7-12).
‘Joshua’ in the Greek is the same as ‘Jesus’; ‘Yahweh Shua’ meaning, ‘The Eternal God who saves’. Read the Old Testament through the eyes of the New Testament; see it through the eyes of the Spirit. Then God spoke to Joshua: “…Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel. Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses … be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left… Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Josh. 1:1- 9). God had spoken a word to Joshua and he told them to do according to everything that He commanded Moses.
They are now in what is known as the land of promise, also known as the “land of milk and honey”. Joshua sent spies secretly to view the land (Josh. 2:1-2). The king heard about it and wanted to kill them. In the meantime, Rahab, a woman who lived on the wall of Jericho, hid the men, then let them down by a rope through the window so they would not be caught (Josh. 2:15-21). When they finally took over Jericho they saw the red piece of rope, and she and her family were saved. Rahab and what she did is important because her name appears in the genealogy of Jesus (Matt. 1:5). By this act a woman found her way into the Royal Seed line by this deed. This shows the grace of God. There are many ways in which to apply this in our time that we are living.
They then miraculously crossed the Jordan on dry land into the land of promise and then began to encounter the Canaanites – including the Sidonians, Hittites, Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites, the Hivites, Arkites and all the like! The land of milk and honey! Joshua had this generation who had not been circumcised, so in in Joshua chapter 5, they were circumcised. Then the.. manna ceased on the day after they had eaten some of the produce of the land, so that the sons of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate some of the yield of the land of Canaan during that year (Joshua 5:12). This is a significant transition. For forty years they were provided with manna and quail from heaven every day – a miraculous provision. They had been spoiled by the miraculous provision. In the land of promise, they found that the manna ceased on that day! Today there are many Christians who in some way or another have been spoiled by the miraculous provision of God in their lives in different realms and dimensions.
The moment God seems to close the tap as far as everything being easy-going, suddenly it seems to dry up, then you moan and groan. Your prayer life becomes a complaining kind of prayer, “Why am I not getting what I need? My God, why are you not providing for me?” But Israel was in training. They still had the promise Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you. This is one of the most complicated things to understand with the natural mind. We find ourselves in a constant battle of faith. “Does God really love me?” Can you imagine what Israel must have felt? The manna ceased! They thought this was the land of milk and honey! “I am a kingdom kid! I am walking with God as a son in His kingdom! What is going on?” When you talk Canaan, it is a type of the kingdom of God – that has to be taken! The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John; since that time the gospel of the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it (Luke 16:16). We have to want it; you have to force your way into the kingdom of God!
Then followed a very important lesson Joshua had to learn: Now it came about when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand, and Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us or for our adversaries?” God had to deal with a wrong mindset. Have you ever asked that question when you look at a situation? Sometimes it looks like God is on the side of our adversaries. Joshua was asking a typical sectarian question. The answer came in the reply. He said, “No; rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the Lord” (Josh. 5:13-14). He is actually saying, “I am the Captain of the host. You make your choice. You chose who your Lord is!” This is very important, take this to heart.
Then they were defeated by the next town – Ai. They could not conquer this town and there was a reason for it. One person took things he should not have taken (Josh. 7:1). God blamed Israel, but in the meantime, it was one man who sinned: Achan. Why did God not just expose Achan and punish him? There is a lesson for us in this day. God looks at the corporate! If one man sins, it affects the whole body (1 Cor. 12:26). We must discern the Body. Look wider. We are sitting with the problem of the Church of God in the world. God can say the Church had sinned when it is the problem of one or two. For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. For this reason, many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep (1 Cor. 11:29-30). We do not discern the body of Christ rightly.
When we talk about the land of promise, the kingdom of God – who are our enemies in this day? Who are the present-day Canaanites? Our enemies are principalities and powers in heavenly places (Eph. 6:12). We are not fighting flesh and blood. What is our challenge as we take this land of promise? What is our promise from God? The kingdoms of this world (all the ‘ites”) must become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ (Rev. 11:15). This is our challenge. People hope that the Lord can rapture us out and let the devil take over. That is just the opposite of what God wants. We must pray “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10). That is our mandate. This is the land of promise that God has given and promised us!
How do we do this? The prince of this world will only be defeated by a united Church in every geopolitical sphere. It is important for the various congregations to find each other and model a family. How will the principalities over the Helderberg be brought down? It will be done through a united Church! The devil and his demons will only be displaced by the revealing of the sons of God as a royal priesthood, a holy nation. There is a challenge awaiting the sons of God. This is called spiritual warfare. This is why intercession is so important. Do you know what happens when we truly pray, when you are really an intercessor? You are activating an angelic warfare in the heavens (Dan. 10:12-13). Daniel was fasting and praying and then an angel appeared to Him. We must take it to heart. From the first day we prayed in the spirit the answer was released. Unless we keep on in intercession, it will be delayed. Daniel waited twenty-one days to see a response to his prayer because of the prince of Persia. There is a demonic principality over every region in the world. There are principalities ruling over every nation of the earth, over every geographical sphere. Unless the Church comes together and stands together in true intercession (not religious prayers) then we will awaken and activate our guardian angels. There are angels, they are called ministering spirits that come to our aid (Heb. 1:13-14). The way to activate the angels God has assigned to us is through intercession. They will dislodge the principality that rules over that sphere. Otherwise, we are not going to take our land of promise.
Joshua began dividing the country between the tribes. Things began to go wrong. In Joshua 14 and 15 we find the story of Caleb. He insisted on getting the portion of Hebron and it was given to him. He is a type of the overcomer.
In Joshua’s farewell address they were told if they were sympathetic to the enemy, sympathetic to his devices, they would be trapped in it. Terrible warning! (Josh. 23:1-13, 16).
Chaos broke loose because the sons of Joshua did not obey the instructions of Moses. Which kind of chaos? In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes (Judges 21:25). That is what we call democracy. The biggest failure of Joshua was that he did not leave a spiritual son with the same grace and obedience. Moses trained Joshua, Joshua followed Moses and in the end, Joshua inherited the commissioning from God.
What is the overall lesson in all of this history? Now, these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come (1 Cor. 10:11). We are living in end of the ages, so we must learn from these examples. There remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God (Heb. 4:1-8). We have Hebrew 4 because Joshua did not give them rest. They had rest at intervals but it was not the final rest. God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it because, in it, He rested from all His work (Gen. 2:3). It is not talking about a twenty-four hour day; it is not talking about Saturday. God sanctified it and blessed it because, in it, He rested. That rest is a people; He set aside and sanctified a people in which He could rest. Thus says the Lord, “Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest? … “But to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word” (Isa. 66:1-2).That is where God will find rest.
I want to bless you to take time in the book of Joshua. Absorb it because there is a deep lesson for us from this history. God gave instructions to destroy the enemies and not to form covenants with them; not to compromise, because wherever the soles of our feet tread, He has given us the land. They missed that because of disobedience. God wants to see the Church and He wants to see sonship in the Church that can take possession of what was given to us by God, by His word. The kingdoms of this world cannot continue the way they are continuing. We cannot pray the same old prayers. We have to co-operate with God now. Our intercession must be in line with God’s heart. I pray that I will always tremble and fear and respect the Word of God! I release that same desire in your hearts!
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Heb. 4:12). It is the Word that is living and powerful that will do it! I pray to God that the Holy Spirit will fill in the details.