The promise

flowers-209144_640Joshua 17:4: They approached Eleazar the priest and Joshua the son of Nun and the leaders and said, “The LORD commanded Moses to give us an inheritance along with our brothers.” So according to the mouth of the LORD he gave them an inheritance among the brothers of their father. (ESV)

The daughters of Zelophehad, five of them not only remembered the word of the Lord but demanded that it materializes.

Because it was the word of God to them that everyone was aware of, there was no argument when the time came from the leader Joshua.

The women did not come with their own opinion, not with their own agenda, but they presented the word of God and they had it delivered. They did not try to take what they wanted by force, they did not try to convince anyone, they did not seek for favour, as far as they were concerned because God said it; that settled it.

What they experienced was the glory of God, the manifestation of the word of God to them, to meet them at the point of their need. Jesus told Martha: if you will believe, you will see the glory of God (John 11:40).

Who she was supposed to believe was standing before her, that is Jesus the resurrection and the life. The daughters of Zelophehad believed the word of God, when it comes to their possession and they got it.

They were fixated on obtaining the promise and according to the word of God that takes faith and patience. They were willing to wait it out, allowing the fullness of time to come for them to take possession of the promised.

The bible says that on mount Zion there shall be deliverance and the house of Jacob shall possess their possession (Obadiah 1:17). Possessing your possession (getting what God as appointed for you) is part of the expression of the glory of God in our lives. The bible says that the earth will be filled with the glory of God as the waters cover the sea and that includes possessing our possession (Habakkuk 2:14). As it is written: the lines are fallen unto us in pleasant places; ye I have a godly heritage (Psalm 16:6).

But before the daughters of Zelophehad could get what was theirs, they asked. God said we should come with our strong reasoning (Isaiah 41:21). God did not make us unending. He made us with desires. Jesus said: when we pray we should believe we receive as we ask whatever we desire (Mark 11:22-24).

God is not a killjoy, he is the one described in the bible as giving you everything freely to enjoy (1Timothy 6:17). Jesus asked some people: what do you want me to do for you (Matthew 20:32-34)?

God wants to have a conversation with you about what you need, what you want. Moses asked different things from God. He asked that God will forgive the children of Israel when they sinned (Deuteronomy 10:10); he asked for the presence of God to be with the people as they moved through the wilderness. He said: if your presence will not go with us, do not take us from here (Numbers 33:15). That was a man who knew what he wanted and demanded for it.

There was the widow in the parable of Jesus who continued to make demand of the judge, until he yielded (Luke 18:1-8). Jesus expected the same importunity in prayer from us, saying, when the Son of man comes will he find faith on the earth? That faith is associated with fervent prayer; unrelenting prayer in the pursuit of the fulfilment of a desire from God, to get what is rightfully ours. A promise that is made must be enforced and that is done through prayer.

God is committed to his promise. His promise is backed by with his power. He said no word he releases returns to him void (Isaiah 55:11). God has said that the earth will be filled his glory (Habakkuk 2:14). God sent his word to you and that becomes healing in our lives (Psalm 107:20). He said that he will heal us and give us an abundance of peace (Jeremiah 33:6).

When the word of God goes forth, his power goes forth. So his promises are not empty notions. The word of God was the tool in the creation of the world (Genesis 1:1-3). The bible says that by faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God (Hebrews 11:3).

The word of God releases light. The bible says that the reasons we have such great promises is so that we might become partakers of the divine nature (2Peter 1:4). Therefore the promises have creative power, to create us in the shape that we should be in.

Jesus promised to make Peter a fisher of men, and the word was packed with enough power to create the reality that it presents (Mark 1:17). That was exactly what happened after some time.

The word is a window into the thoughts of God, into the plan of God, it is the channel to becoming all we can be in God; it is the light that empowers us to walk in the glory of God. That is why with the precious promises we are connected with the purpose and power of God, we are guided aright, and when we take the right action according to that word, we will get the result for the glory of God.

The word of God shapes us rightly, it gives us a sense of direction, and the bible says that without vision the people will perish, the word of God gives us direction, gives us the reason for living. It is the window to who we are to who God is, to who we should become, to the very presence of God. The bible says that the truth is meant to guide us to the very presence of God (Psalm 43:3). We would not know God except in the context of his word.

The word of God helps us to maintain our balance in a changing world, when we set our eyes on it. The bible says that the book of the law shall not depart from our mouth but we should meditate on it day and night, and the result in unquestionable success and effectiveness. That was God’s word to Joshua as he was about to embark on a new season in his life (Joshua 1:8).

Total conquest

sword-790815_640Joshua 11:21: And Joshua came at that time and cut off the Anakim from the hill country, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab, and from all the hill country of Judah, and from all the hill country of Israel. Joshua devoted them to destruction with their cities. (ESV)

Joshua moved with swiftness and the nations were falling before him in packs. It was the Promised Land, the people were prepared, they had a charge from God, and there was no going back. They moved forward by the word of God. They did not allow fear to hold them back. They had no other option but to follow the word of God, to move forward and take the Promised Land, there was no going back, no backing down.

Their history was a big lesson on why not to reject the word of God. After about two years that God after coming from Egypt, God wanted them to start taking over the land. But after twelve spies were sent to bring a report of the Promised Land, and ten brought an evil report, Israel chose to agree with the evil report of the fearful spies and chose to rebel against the will of God (Numbers 13-14).

God wanted them to go into the Promised Land in fulfilment of his word to their father Abraham, but they had other ideas.

Eventually, the promise of God will come to pass but in another generation. God decided that set of people would not follow God willingly, he was going to allow them to pine away in the wilderness as they wander and die there.

And the children who are under twenty years at that time eventually inherited the Promised Land. Those who rejected the word of God wasted away in the wilderness.

The wilderness represents the place of limitation, and that generation allowed their latent fear to limit their vision and motion, and they died not fulfilling their ultimate potential.

But the Joshua generation was ready. They were not suffering from slavery hangover, not suffering from the fear of the unknown, they were in awe of the word of God knowing what happened to those who chose a different path than the one God outlines.

They refused to consider their own limitation, fully believing that since God was with them, no one can be against them. They stood firm in the face of opposition. They did not consider their lack of experience, their limited preparedness.

They had their eyes on the word of God and following the leadership of Joshua they piled victory upon victory. The fear of them filled the heart of the people all around. After they parted the river Jordan to move into the Promised Land, the people knew that this group of Israelites were unique, they had the power of God backing them up.

To mount a formidable resistance against them, their opposition set out to hire those who will curse them or they combine themselves together or shut the walls of the city against them, but in the end, Israel gained total conquest because they exhibited total trust in God.

They pressed on regardless of the size and ferocity of the opposition. They believed that greater is the one who is with him than he who is with their enemies. Their God has no limitation. Our God has no limitation. The bible says that in the beginning God created the heaven on the earth (Genesis 1:1-3). That gives the picture of the kind of God that we are talking about, not one limited in power, by time or in wisdom; and because of that he is able to give total conquest.

Limitless power

The children of Israel would not have the hope of having total conquest if they did not depend on the power of God.

But in the conquering of the land of Ai, the bible noted that they did not ask God to lead them, and seeing the town as smaller than Jericho which they recently conquered, Joshua sent a few men there (Joshua 7).

The result was damning! They were routed before the enemy, and were later told that they were defeated because God withdrew himself from the nation of Israel, because in the conquest of Jericho, someone committed a sin, against to God’s instruction.

Victory for them was not by military might but by the power of God. This was brought poignantly home in a story of the battle of the children of Israel against a certain enemy nation where Moses was asked to lift up a staff. When his hand grew weak and it fell down, and his hand was up they were winning (Exodus 17:1-14). The rod of Moses represented the power of God, and in that we see how what is done in secret impacts on what happens in the public. Jesus said that when we pray in secret, God will reward us openly (Matthew 6:6).

Not limited by time

Just as God is not limited in ability, he is not limited in time. Peter said it this way: a day with the Lord is like a thousand years and a thousand years like a day (2Peter 3:8). He created time. When God chose to become man, he chose to be limited by time and space, or maybe not. He told Nathanael that already knew him even though they had not met before.

Not limited in wisdom

The whole world runs on the wisdom of God. The changing season, the rotation of the earth, the balance of the gases in the atmosphere, the changing weather, the rising and falling of the sun, all manifest the wisdom of God. The bible says that the heaven declares the glory of the Lord (Psalm 19). The created are the handiwork of God and they manifest his wisdom.

Conclusion

The Joshua generation mostly kept in step with God. The connected with all powerful God, they were able to overcome the opposition, no matter how big and how subtle.

Elevation

life-863462_640Joshua 4:14: On that day the LORD exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel, and they stood in awe of him just as they had stood in awe of Moses, all the days of his life. (ESV)

Joshua did not attempt to elevate himself in the sight of the others. He waited for God to elevate him. But did he really have a choice but to humble himself for God to elevate him in view of the fact that Moses the one from whom he took over as the leader of Israel had such gigantic reputation and it was not easy to follow in his act.

In the first chapter of the book of Joshua, it was plain for all to see that it was not easy for Joshua to take over from Moses after his death. Not only did God say he needed to be courageous but the men of Israel repeatedly told him that he should be bold to take the necessary steps, that they were with him, and that they will deal seriously with anyone who acts otherwise.

Joshua did not try to make himself seem important in the eyes of the people, and that gives God the “space” to elevate him in the eyes of the people. The bible says that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). The devil is an example in this. He sought to elevate himself above God and the result was a crunching total demotion (Isaiah 14:12-16).

The same can be said for Adam and Eve. They were tempted to disobey God with the lure that eating the forbidden fruit will lead to an elevation of their wisdom. It was not to be. What they thought will to lead them to wisdom in the pursuant of their self-will, lead to their destruction (Genesis 3).

Real elevation by God may not be so interpreted by men. Men judge according to appearance, but God judges the heart (1Samuel 16:7).

It was the acts of God through the life of Joshua and Moses that lead to their elevation in the eyes of the people. And in the case of Moses he was so great that God needed to hide the place of his death and bury him himself. He died, but his burial place was not known, he was one of a kind (Deuteronomy 34:1-6).

When God was talking about him, he said that to other prophets he manifests in dreams, but with Moses he speaks face to face with God as friends (Numbers 12:5-10). Moses was the one who “singlehandedly” brought the children of Israel from Egypt.

So you can imagine how Joshua would feel trying to fill the shoes of such a great man. But he was different from Moses, having a different role from his. Moses did not lead the people into the Promised Land because of his temperament through he brought them from Egypt, but Joshua was meant to accomplish that. And while Moses parted the Red Sea and had the army of Egypt drown in the same, in the elevation of Joshua before the children of Israel, God caused him to do something for the River Jordan to be parted and the children of Israel to pass through it.

Man was created and put on an elevated stage, but he was brought down by sin in a thunderous crash. But he was not allowed to stay there as Jesus came to bear the punishment of sin and free men to go back to their place of elevation.

God, when he was about to make man, said: let us make man in our own image and let him have dominion on the birds of the air, the beasts on the ground and the fishes in the sea (Genesis 1:26-28). He was supposed to be the law on the earth.

He had a purposeful relationship with God and another human, he had the possession of the Garden of Eden, a well-watered and landscaped paradise.

But when he chose to rebel against the word of God he fell from grace. There can be no claim to the experience of grace if we do not ardently embrace and follow of the word of God, which is called the word of grace (Acts 20:32).

With Jesus coming thousands of years after the sin in the Garden of Eden, we have another opportunity to get it right, to embrace the Word of God. Jesus is the embodiment of the word of God. God spoke about Jesus from heaven in the hearing of both Peter and John (while in a supernatural appearance, Moses and Elijah stood with Jesus on a mount): this is my beloved son hear him (Matthew 17:5). His rank is higher that Moses and Elijah, both of whom existed because of him (Colossians 1:16).

To truly hear is to allow our steps to be guided by what we have heard, it is to respond in faith to the word of God by acting based on it.

God wants humanity to hear Jesus, act based on the reality that he represents, the reality of the possibility of the reset in man’s relationship with God that went downhill since the mishap in the Garden of Eden.

We went down by rejecting the word, now we will come up by embracing the word, Jesus. Jesus is the Word who is God and the God who is the Word, he is the full communication of the father and he needs to be received (Hebrews 1:1-3).

A man prayed in the bible: send forth your truth which will guide me to your tabernacle (Psalm 43:3). Remember that with the sin the Garden of Eden, man was chased from the place where he had a close relationship with God, and now God has sent his son, he has sent the Word, and when we follow him, he leads us back to the presence of God, to an experience of God, to becoming partakers of the divine nature as we once were (2Peter 1:4).

We are made new creatures (2Corinthians 5:17), and are elevated to the heavenly places, the place of light as God moves us from the darkness that humanity was plunged into as we rejected the light of his presence (Colossians 1:13). In Jesus all was not lost, all was restored and more.

Contributions and connection with God

sport-climbing-25258_640Numbers 18:8: Then the LORD spoke to Aaron, “Behold, I have given you charge of the contributions made to me, all the consecrated things of the people of Israel. I have given them to you as a portion and to your sons as a perpetual due.  

The children of Israel were supposed to deal with God in faith, connecting with the unseen God with seen things, connecting with the eternal God with their used of limited time. We contribute our substance, our time in devotion to God on the earth and it is converted to heavenly rewards.

When you go to another country, you cannot spend the currency of the old place in the new place, it needs to be converted, but the one who has worked hard in one country and earned a lot will have more to convert when he and his friends who did not work so hard travel to the new country.

Heaven is a new country where what we did on earth will be converted to spiritual rewards. Paul was very convinced of this and said that God crowns ready for those who love his appearing (2Timothy 4:6-8). He spoke of the prize of the high calling of God which is not on this earth (Philippians 3:9-14), he spoke of winning the prize at the end of a race (1Corinthians 9:24).

We need to strive for the prize of the high calling of God. In letters written to churches and recorded in the book or Revelation, there was something that each church were supposed to overcome and at the end of the day when Jesus comes back they will be amply rewarded (Revelation 2-3).

Paul contributed greatly for the work of God. And he was happy to leave the earth after sometimes assured that he was going to the place of reward. Jesus, talking about reward at the end of time said that a man left town and gave his servants different amounts of money to work with, those who worked hard were rewarded, while the one who decided to hide what he was given was published, when the master came back (Matthew 25:14-30). Jesus will not be gone forever, he is coming back to give to everyone according to their work (Revelation 22:12).

There is the time of ultimate reward. Paul said that we will all stand before the judgement seat of Christ to gain the reward of what we have done in the flesh (2Corinthians 5:10). Being here on earth should count for spiritual rewards.

When it comes to reward, the ultimate is faith, hope and love (1Corinthians 13:13). Faith is private in devotion to God, Hope is future, in anticipation of his coming and what we keep from because of that and love is for other, in activities we embark on to benefit others. These three determine our reward.

With faith we connect with God (Luke 18:1, 8), with hope firmly in us, we set our eyes not on the temporary things on earth but on the things of heaven (Colossians 3:1-3), where Christ is seated; on the eternal things and are not distracted by the things of the earth. That is why we embrace righteousness not because it is popular but because we live as one pleasing God in heaven (1John 3:1-3). And when it comes to love, what is what our work should be directed by, and the bible says that if it is not love, it is nothing (1Corinthians 13).

What is given in the course of God in time, space and energy in what is physical is translated into something greater bigger, something spiritual. To gain great spiritual rewards, Paul Told timothy to tell those who are rich in this world to not trust in uncertain riches but put their trust in God and be great givers, because giving on the earth translates to something greater in the realm of God (1Timothy 6:17-19).

Heaven is closer than you think. There are angels all around us, and God is watching us. Even though we do not see them, we can connect with them.

For example, the bible says the angels hearken to the word of God (Psalm 103:20), therefore if you put the word of God in your mouth, as you say it, you set angels in motion to carry things out on your behalf. And God said that he elevates his word above his name (Psalm 138:2), and Jesus said that his words are spirits and life, so when we speak the word of God though it carries natural energy, it also carries spiritual energy.

Not only that, when we pray we set things in motion in the realm of the spirit as Daniel’s experience showed (Daniel 9-10).

He was praying and fasting and twice in response to his prayer effort God sent angels. And on one of the two occasions, for 21 days, an evil angel stopped the good angel from delivering his message. And as Daniel continued in prayer, another good angel was dispatched to help the first, and the initial angel sent was able to gain passage to deliver the divine message to Daniel.

Jesus said when we pray in the secret God will reward us openly (Matthew 6:6). Prayer gets God going. Jesus said that men ought always to pray and not to faint (Luke 18:1). When we spend time with God we get rewarded with his presence. God said: you will seek me and you will find me when you seek me with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:13). In prayer, we pay a special attention to God so that he can pay a special attention to us. We ask and it is given to us.

Our material giving also gets things going in the spirit. Jesus said when we give it will be given to us, good measure pressed down shaken together will men pour into our bosom (Luke 6:38).

When we give to God, which is to his course on earth, it is like a sweet-smelling odour going up to God in heaven (Philippians 4:10-18).

When Noah offered sacrifices after the flood which ravaged the earth, the bible said that God smelled the offering and promised to never destroy the world with a flood (Genesis 8:20-22). Noah connected with God on behalf of humanity with that offering, and God connected back with that promise and said that as long as the earth remains, seed-time and harvest will not cease.

video: Humility

Humility is three things:  obedience, service, prayer

2Chronicles 12:5-7

2Ch 12:5 And Shemaiah the prophet came to Rehoboam and the leaders of Judah who had gathered to Jerusalem from the face of Shishak. And he said to them, So says Jehovah, You have forsaken Me; and I also have forsaken you in the hand of Shishak.
2Ch 12:6 And the leaders of Israel and the king were humbled. And they said, Jehovah is righteous.
2Ch 12:7 And when Jehovah saw that they were humbled, the Word of Jehovah came to Shemaiah, saying, They have been humbled. I will not destroy them, and I will give to them a little deliverance. And I will not pour out My fury on Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak.  (ESV)

Video: Builder

Every building is built by someone, but the one who builds everything is God.

2Chronicles 8:1-6 (ESV)

2Ch 8:1 At the end of twenty years, in which Solomon had built the house of the LORD and his own house,
2Ch 8:2 Solomon rebuilt the cities that Hiram had given to him, and settled the people of Israel in them.
2Ch 8:3 And Solomon went to Hamath-zobah and took it.
2Ch 8:4 He built Tadmor in the wilderness and all the store cities that he built in Hamath.
2Ch 8:5 He also built Upper Beth-horon and Lower Beth-horon, fortified cities with walls, gates, and bars,
2Ch 8:6 and Baalath, and all the store cities that Solomon had and all the cities for his chariots and the cities for his horsemen, and whatever Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem, in Lebanon, and in all the land of his dominion.

Video: God with man

Solomon asked a question in the Old Testament that was answered in the New? He asked: will God dwell with man?

2Chronicles 6:14-18

2Ch 6:14 and said, “O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven or on earth, keeping covenant and showing steadfast love to your servants who walk before you with all their heart,
2Ch 6:15 who have kept with your servant David my father what you declared to him. You spoke with your mouth, and with your hand have fulfilled it this day.
2Ch 6:16 Now therefore, O LORD, God of Israel, keep for your servant David my father what you have promised him, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man to sit before me on the throne of Israel, if only your sons pay close attention to their way, to walk in my law as you have walked before me.’
2Ch 6:17 Now therefore, O LORD, God of Israel, let your word be confirmed, which you have spoken to your servant David.
2Ch 6:18 “But will God indeed dwell with man on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, how much less this house that I have built! (ESV)