Joshua 1-24 - The Bible from 30,000 Feet - Skip Heitzig - Flight JOS01
The Bible from 30,000 feet, soaring through the scripture from Genesis to Revelation.
We have looked at Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. We have covered the first five books of Moses. Now, quick recap. Genesis is the book of beginnings. It's the beginning of the heavens and the earth, the beginning of mankind. It's also the beginning of a nation through Abram-- Abraham.
The nation of Israel is isolated in that book as the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. That's Genesis. Exodus is a book of deliverance. The book opens up with bondage in Egypt. And just like the nation of Israel was mediated through the lineage of Abraham, the deliverance of Israel is mediated through the leadership of Moses. They are delivered out of Egypt on their way to the Promised Land.
When we get to the book of Leviticus, it's a book of worship. It's how do I approach God? That issue is answered in the book. I approach God only through a blood sacrifice. God is holy, and a sacrifice must be made so that an approach can be made. When we get to the book of Numbers, it's a book of wandering-- wandering because they did not keep all the commandments that God had previously given in the law. So it's their failure to believe, thus they're wandering in the wilderness.
Get to the book of Deuteronomy, which we covered last time. It's a book of repetition. God repeats what He already said in some of the earlier books of Moses. He does it through Moses to a brand new generation. The young ones need to hear this stuff. And so Moses gives three farewell speeches on the plains of Moab overlooking the Jordan, overlooking Jericho in the distance, which leads us now to the book of Joshua.
Joshua is a bridge. It's a bridge between the previous four books-- Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy-- and the next seven books. What do I mean by a bridge? Those previous four books are Israel outside the land. The next seven books are Israel inside the land.
So this is the bridge between the nation being out of the land and inside the land. God promised them a long time before this that He would bring them into what he called the Promised Land. Not that it's a perfect lush environment, but it's the land God promised them. It was what He had for them. And God is the author and the finisher of our faith.
What God promises, God will do. I love that about God. I love that God's love is stubborn love. God says, I'm going to do this. And they weren't up to the task. They weren't up to the faith to believe that God would do it, but God did it anyway. So we come to Joshua, and Joshua can easily be divided.
I love how these books just sort of naturally fall into place. The first portion of the book of Joshua-- chapters 1 through 5-- is Israel entering the land. Entering the land, chapters 1 through 5. Chapters 6 through 12 is the nation conquering the land. And then the last portion, chapters 13 through 24, the nation is distributing the land among the 12 tribes.
Now, just to recap again, the entire generation that left Egypt is dead except their kids. This is now a new generation that has come of age. And there's only two people that are left from the previous generation that has died. We know their names well by now. That is Joshua, the author of this book, and his buddy Caleb, who we'll see in this book. We're just going to touch on a few things. This is a 24 chapter book. We're doing it in a single hour.
Now, anytime you come up to a book that happens to have as its name the same name as our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we take note. Joshua is the anglicized version of the Hebrew word Yeshua, which happened to be Jesus' name. He was known as Yeshya ben Yosef-- Jesus the son of Joseph, Jesus of Nazareth. It was a common name. Most kids named Yeshua or Joshua were named after this Joshua. But before the evening is over, I want to touch just a little bit-- as we close, especially-- on how there are similarities between the two.
So we begin at beginning in chapter 1 verse 1, the entering of the land of Canaan. Now, Josephus-- remember that name? He was a historian. Flavius Josephus wrote the Antiquities of the Jews. He was sort of a contemporary of Jesus. He wrote that Joshua was born in Egypt as a slave, and when he was 80 years of age, he was conscripted by Moses at the command of God as the successor. And he followed Moses and he became his aide or assistant.
We'll see that in the text. You might want to call it an intern. Jog your memory a little bit. Up to this point, Joshua has been like the general of Israel's army. Back in Exodus, the 17th chapter, it was General Joshua who led the charge when they had a battle against the Amalekites. Moses got Joshua to be the leader of that, to get the army and to attack those who were attacking them.
Now, some believe that Joshua was an officer in the Egyptian Army before the exodus. Maybe, maybe not. What's interesting about that, it's possible, because there are Egyptian texts that have lists of soldiers with Semitic names. And Joshua being Jewish-- a Semite-- would have a Semitic name. Obviously, he does. And archaeologists have found Egyptian soldiers with a Semitic name. So perhaps that fits the account.
Joshua chapter 1 verse 1. After the death of Moses, the servant of the Lord, it came to pass that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of-- what's his name? Nun. I always have to say that, because I know Catholics weren't in the Old Testament, that I just want to really underscore, otherwise some is going to read that and go, uh-oh, son of a nun? That's not good. So it's son of Nun. That's the Hebrew pronunciation.
Moses' assistant-- or intern or aide-- saying, Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people to the land which I am giving to them, the children of Israel. Typically when somebody died. It was a 30 day mourning period. That's the funeral. That's a public mourning. And that time has passed, and it's now time to move on.
Moses, this great man of God, this leader who is bigger than life. He was legendary. He saw miracles of God. He's dead. And I love how practical God is. Moses is dead, get going. Here's a good lesson for us. Nothing of God dies when the man of God dies. God has someone else up His sleeve. When the man or woman of God dies, God does not. In fact, new vistas open up. And it happens with Joshua.
Verse 3, every place the sole of your foot will tread on I have given to you, as I said to Moses. Go down to verse 6. Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Verse 8, this book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you-- Joshua, you-- shall meditate in a day and night that you may observe to do to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
Something internal, something external was commanded. Internal, be of good courage. External, stay in the word. I'm giving you a land. Remember the commandments. Pass those on. Live them. Be a man of courage. Be a man of the word. Now, they're entering the land of Canaan. Why is it called Canaan? Because a group called Canaanites live there. That's all.
A bunch of different groups. And the amalgam of that groups is given the title the Canaanites. Now, the land of Canaan I believe is a representation of something else for the modern believer. How are we to apply the book of Joshua, an Old Testament book, to our lives?
What does Canaan represent? Well, that's a good question. I'm glad you asked it. Historically, traditionally, people have interpreted the land of Canaan and crossing over the Jordan River into the promised land as the Christian dying and going to heaven. So the River Jordan is like death. Once you get to the other side, you're now in heaven, the Promised Land.
And some hymns reflect that. For instance, you're familiar with "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot." The lyrics are, when I look over Jordan, coming for to carry me home, I see a band of angels coming after me. (SINGING) Coming for to carry me home.
That's a hymn-- sorry about that-- it represents in that hymn Jordan as dying and going to heaven. There's a problem with that. If the Promised Land, the land of Canaan, represents heaven, you better be looking forward to a fight. Because once they get to the other side, there are battles after battle after battle that they face in taking that land. Rather than looking at it that way, I think it's best to see it as the victorious life now.
Because the Christian experience is not a playground. It is a battleground. And the spirit-filled life would be more representative of the land of Canaan than dying and going to heaven. It's the experience that God wants you to have now. He doesn't want you to be wandering around. He wants you to hold onto His promise and experience, just like they experienced, a second baptism.
The first baptism, they went through the Red Sea. Paul calls that a baptism. The second time they went through a body of water-- another kind of a baptism-- was the Jordan River. And now they're in the Promised Land. They're enjoying a spirit-filled life. Even though there will be battles, victory is assured them.
Joshua chapter 2, it begins, now Joshua, the son of Nun-- very good, class-- sent out two men from Acacia Grove to spy secretly, saying, go view the land, especially Jericho. So they went out and came to the house of a harlot named Rahab and lodged there.
Now, the rest of the chapter shows her hiding these two spies on a rooftop, covering them up so nobody could find them. Interesting that Joshua sends two spies. Why only two? Because Moses had sent 12. Well, Joshua would know that 10 proved to be worthless, right? Only he and Caleb-- those were the two spies that saw the land and said, we can take it. Let's go for it.
The other 10 didn't believe God. So Joshua was saying, I don't need those 10. Let's just get two, because Deuteronomy said by the mouth of two witnesses every word will be established. So rather than going by tradition, he goes by the word, and sends in two spies.
Now, they go to Rahab's house. Interesting thing about Rahab, she's a harlot. Most of us know that-- a woman of ill repute, a woman of the evening. But she ends up showing up in the genealogical record of the Lord Jesus Christ in the New Testament. She's also found in Hebrews 11 in what we call the Hall of Faith. Hebrews 11 says by faith, the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe when she had received the spies with peace.
When I was in high school-- I still have my senior high school annual. And if I go to the back of the annual, there are several categories-- most scholastic, most spirited, most athletic, best dressed, most likely to succeed. Remember those categories? They were in my annual. I was in none of those categories. I didn't make any of them.
That's what we do in human circles. We have those kind of categories. In God's annual, He has another category-- most unlikely to succeed. I'm in that category. I made that one. God has chosen the foolish things of this world, the Rahabs, the yous and the mes, and decides, I can do something great through those people if they submit their lives to Me.
Well, she's in Jericho, and she tells the spies that everybody in Jericho has heard about your God, heard about the Red Sea, heard how you defeated those two kings Og and Sihon. We know all about you. And she said, I want you to know that our hearts melted within us when we heard the reports.
She gives a very different report than the 10 spies gave years before when they went to spy out the land. And they said, we are grasshoppers in our sight, grasshoppers in their sight. And their hearts-- the spies hearts-- melted within them for fear. Come to find out, God put the fear of the Children of Israel in the Canaanites' hearts. Now they find out the whole truth.
Rahab was the only one who makes a confession of faith in the city of Jericho. She says, your God-- she says to the two spies-- is the Lord God. And she makes a special request in this chapter to spare her life and the life of her family. She makes a deal with these two spies. I'm going to spare your life. I'm not going to rat on you. I'm not going to tell people that you came in tonight and that I hid you. And I'm going to let you escape. But the deal is, you've got to spare my life when you take the city.
So verse 17 of chapter 2, so the men said to her, we will be blameless of this oath of yours which you have made us swear, unless when we come into the land, you bind this line of scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you bring your father, your mother, your brothers, and all your father's household into your own home.
So here's the picture. Jericho is a walled city. Rahab's house was no doubt on the edge on the wall. She would let down a scarlet rope out of her window-- a red rope. When they were marching around the city, that one home could be designated. They could see that scarlet cord going down, and that was the house to be spared.
It was marked. And what this reminds me is in the exodus at the Passover, there were homes that were marked, and you had to mark them with scarlet, right? Blood on the lintils and the door post. And you had to remain inside the house, and the death angel would pass over them.
Joshua chapter 3, we come to the crossing of the Jordan, the border from the East and the West. Now, the priests were to go first, and they would carry the Ark of the Covenant. Some of you who were here earlier saw our little model of the Ark of the Covenant march up here on stage and go down. It was a box. And it was a box that was approximately 45 inches long by 27 inches wide by 27 inches tall, roughly.
Had a gold lid inside. There were three items-- the tablets of the law, a pot of manna as a remembrance of God's provision, and Aaron's rod that budded miraculously. Those three items that spoke of their past history were in the Ark. The priests in crossing the Jordan were to carry the Ark on their shoulders and go first. It was the symbol that God was with them. Remember, God promised, My presence will go with you.
So they would go first and they would march across the Jordan. Verse 14 of chapter 3, so it was when the people set out from the camp to cross over the Jordan, with the priests bearing the Ark of the Covenant before the people, and those who bore the Ark came to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests who bore the Ark dipped in the edge of the water.
And then notice the parenthetical statement. For the Jordan overflows all its banks during the whole time of harvest. That water was not going to budge until the priest did what with their feet? They got to get their feet wet. They had to dip their feet in the water, then it opened up. You will not see many of God's promises until you get your feet wet-- till you take the promise and just say, I'm going for it.
I believe it. I'm just going to walk forward, and I'm hoping this baby will open. If not, [GLUGGING]. But it did. They had to get their feet wet. And if you and I don't do that, we're not going to see very much. So verse 16, the waters which came down from upstream stood still and rose in a heap very far away at Adam. Adam is identified in modern terms by a little area called Tel ed-Damiyeh.
Not that I expect you to remember that, but that is a real place that archeologists believe is this place of Adam. The city that is beside Zaretan. Now you understand. So the waters that went down into the sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea-- that is the Dead Sea-- failed and were cut off, and the people crossed over opposite Jericho.
Now, over the years, people have tried to come up with natural explanations of this event. And they say, well, back in the year 1267, there was an earthquake. And there was, it's on record. And the banks of the Jordan River went into the river and stopped the flow of the Jordan River for 10 hours.
Then they'll point to something that happened in 1929, and same thing. Earthquake happened in the same area. And it stopped up the river for 21 hours. So those are natural phenomenon. It has happened before. However, none of those examples happened at what the Bible says happened here. What happened here was at flood season. It's very, very different.
So the timing was exact. The waters heaped up, which is not a natural phenomenon. The bottom dried up. Then they crossed over. Then the waters filled in where they were before. Now, most of the year, the Jordan River is about 100 feet wide in this area-- at least before all the farming that siphoned the water in more recent time-- about 100 feet wide.
At flood stage, it's about a mile wide. So it's not like those earthquakes that put some of the banks and kept the water from flowing. It's a little bit different. And when I find things like this in the Bible, rather than thinking, I have to find a natural explanation, I'm really OK with God just pulling off a supernatural miracle, so that the children of Israel don't go, oh coincidence, there's an earthquake today. Isn't that cool?
They're walking through going, this is God. This is God. Because at the exact time the toes of the priests hit the water, foom, those waters opened up. Another quick note. Fast forward to the New Testament. There's a guy down at the New Testament times just before Jesus shows up. At that area, same area of the Jordan River, named J the B. That's my nickname for John the Baptist.
J the B is baptizing. It says in John chapter 1 verse 28, these things-- John's baptism-- were done in Bethabara. Do you remember that word in your New Testament? These things-- John the Baptist baptizing-- were done in Bethabara beyond the Jordan where John was baptizing. Bethabara means the house or the place of passage.
So John was baptizing where the Children of Israel once crossed 1,500 years earlier. And John said something very interesting to the people who were coming to be baptized, especially the religious people. He said, don't begin to think within yourselves that we have Abraham as our Father. In other words, we think we're OK because we have Jewish blood.
He continues, for God is able to raise up of these stones children to Abraham. Now, I've been in that area. There are a lot of stones in Israel. But interestingly, down by the Jordan River, it's dirt. There's not a lot of stones in that area. But he refers to these stones. I don't know what exactly he was referring to, but I'm going to suggest that we find out perhaps in the next chapter, chapter 4 and 5.
They're instructed to take 12 stones out of the Jordan River and pile them up as a memorial for generations to come. Chapter 4 verse 19, the people came up from the Jordan on the 10th day of the first month, and they camped in Gilgal on the East border of Jericho. So they've made it across the Jordan River. They're now in the land of Canaan.
They go to a place called Gilgal. Gilgal is a Hebrew word that means circle. A lot of scholars believe it was once a pagan worship site. So they kind of move in and reclaim it and redeem it, and they set up HQ there. That's their base camp. That's their beachhead. So by a miracle of God and leadership of Joshua, over two million people have crossed that Jordan River on dry land, and they're now in the Promised Land.
Chapter 5, the story continues. But they're not ready for the battle yet. They're not ready to take the land. There's something that they failed to do and needs to happen. It's called consecration. Consecration must precede conquest. If you're going to win the battle, make sure your heart is right before God. Consecration must precede conquest.
And what they neglected to do is circumcise their male children the entire time they were in the wilderness and celebrate the Passover. So they do that in this chapter. Chapter 5 verse 4, and this is the reason why Joshua circumcised them-- all the people who came out of Egypt who were males, all the men of war, had died in the wilderness on the way, after they came out of Egypt. For all the people who came out had been circumcised, but all the people born in the wilderness on the way as they came out of Egypt had not been circumcised.
Now, circumcision without elaborating on it-- because I think you know what that is-- it was a covenant symbol that God first gave to Abraham. It was an outward symbol of an inward covenant that they made with God. In fact, always it was to mean a spiritual operation more than just a physical operation.
In Deuteronomy chapter 10, Moses says, circumcised the foreskin of your heart and be stiff-necked no longer. Of course, the children of Israel turned out to be stiff-necked a lot longer. They disobeyed. They refused to live by the spirit and they live by the flesh. And the idea of circumcision is, just as you cut away the flesh, cut away living for the flesh and live by and for the spirit.
Now, it's interesting that he said don't be stiff-necked any longer. In Acts chapter 7, Stephen will say to the Jews of his day, you stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. So the circumcision meant far more than just an outward symbol of a covenant. It meant live in this spirit, live for the Lord, and cut away fleshly desires.
Interesting note in verse 12 of chapter 5-- something stopped. Notice what it is. Then the manna ceased. On the day after they had eaten the produce of the land, the children of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate the food of the land of Canaan this year.
I bet they were stoked to be done with the manna. Even though manna was cool and it sustained them and it at all the vitamins necessary for refueling and for keeping them those 40 years, they'd had it for a long time. They had a miraculous provision of manna. They had the cloud cover and the fiery pillar by night. All of these were visible evidences of God's presence.
Now it stopped. And I think there's a lesson there. As long as the manna was on the ground-- and the cloud, the pillar, all that stuff was there-- they could live by sight. They would go when the cloud went and when that pillary fire went. And every day they got up, there it is again, manna. Let's cook it up. Every day, there it is again. Cook it up. It was always there. Now it's not there.
Because they're graduating to a life of faith. Likewise, we live by faith and not by sight. That's the Christian life. So sometimes, the provision ends. And when it ends, we go, oh no, God, what are you doing? Wait for it. Keep walking. Get those feet wet. Just keep moving ahead. Something will happen. God will show up.
Chapter 5 verse 13, it came to pass when Joshua was by Jericho-- this is still part of this consecration-- that he lifted up his eyes and he looked. And behold, a Man-- notice this capital M in your Bible. At least it is in mine. Is it capital M? OK, that's a little clue, then, for you. A Man-- capital M-- stood opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand.
Joshua went to Him and said, are you for us or for our adversaries? That's a good question. It's a fair question. Has His sword out. Are you friend or foe? Because if you're a friend, you shouldn't be here. If you're a foe, my sword's about to teach you a lesson. That's how this is going. So he says, are you for us or for our adversaries?
The answer comes back very interestingly. So He said, no. What kind of an answer is that? Are you for us or for them? No. In other words, wrong question. Your question is, am I on your side? This man is saying, the real question is, are you on My side? He said no. But as the Commander of the army of the Lord, I have now come.
And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped Him and said, what does my Lord say to His servant? Then the Commander of the Lord's army said to Joshua, take your sandal off your foot, for the place that you stand is holy. And Joshua did so.
Something happened or he saw something or felt something or noticed something that convinced Joshua that this was no mortal soldier. This was no human being. Because he addresses Him as Lord. Very similar to Abram in the plains of Mamre when three visitors came and one identified Himself-- one of these men-- as the Lord. Very similar to Jacob wrestling with the angel at Penuel.
And he wrestled with this Man, it says, through the night. And the Man identified Himself as the Lord. Very similar to the voice at the burning bush who speaks as the Lord. So Joshua figures that out. Like, the burning bush, takes his sandals off, and he worships before the Commander of the Lord's army.
So Joshua was the commander of Israel's army. But now he goes, OK, so You outrank me. I'm not number one, You're number one. I'm number two. I hope I'm on Your side, and he worships Him. Public victories are the results of private visits. What will get you through the trials that you face that seem excruciating-- these battles that seem insurmountable-- are private times with the Lord.
Stay at it. Keep your quiet times every morning or whenever you have them-- whether it's at noon or evening-- have them, those private visits with the Lord. And so he bows and he worships. And therein lay his strength. And there's the strength of this battle coming up.
When I was in Scotland years ago, I remember going to Edinburgh and visiting where John Knox lived and preached. And there's a little recording there. It talks about Mary Queen of Scots. Remember her? She was the queen of Scotland. And John Knox would often preach against her. And she went on record as saying that-- she said (SCOTTISH ACCENT) I fear the prayers of John Knox more than all the assembled armies of Europe. Isn't that a great statement? I fear his prayers more than all the armies of Europe, because she knew when this man prayed, his private visits meant public victories.
Now we come to the second section of the book of Joshua chapters 6 through 12. Chapter 6 verse 1, now Jericho was securely shut up because of the Children of Israel. None went out, none came in. And the Lord said to Joshua, see, I have given Jericho into your hand, its King, and all the mighty men of valor.
Now, if I'm Joshua and I hear this, I'm going to think, no, I don't see, right? Because what I see is a city securely shut up. I'm in the Promised Land. You said we're going to have this land. But I don't see it opened up and ready to be given to me. I see a city tightly closed off, because the armies are outside of it.
And so God said see? I've given you the land. I'm going, no I don't see it. And I'm bringing this up because this is how it seems sometimes. God gives us a promise, and yet everything just seems closed up. Doesn't seem like it's working. And I know God made this, promise but where's the provision right now? I don't see it.
OK, so that's how Joshua is. The land has been promised but, he doesn't see it right away. What he sees is a closed off city. Verse 3, you shall march around the city, all you men of war. You shall go all around the city once. This you shall do for six days.
I imagine the first day marching around the city. So I'm in Jericho. I'm watching this. I'm watching them go around the city. I'm scared, because there's a large army. And they're marching around the city. They're casing out the joint. I'm probably terrified the first day. Oh no, oh no. Remember, their hearts were melting within them.
Then the second day-- by the third day, I'm thinking-- so day one and two, they just kind of walked. So it's day three, they're probably just going to walk. So I'm out there looking. I'm feeling very confident now on day three. There they are, so what? I don't care. Yeah, hi. How are you?
Until the seventh day. By the seventh day, I'm probably laughing at them. I'm mocking at them. Because they're not making any overtures to attack the city that I live in. Now, verse 4-- did I cover verse 3? Verse 4. And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of ram's horns before the Ark.
So picture the process. Guys blown horns, carrying that gold box, army's behind them. But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times. And the priests shall blow the trumpets. OK, I'll get back to the people in Jericho in just a minute. But God has them march around the city how many days total? Total, seven days. One time for six days, seven times on the seventh day. Seven days they're marching around the city.
One of those days had to be the Sabbath. God said, the Sabbath is holy. Keep the Sabbath holy. God now commands them to march around seven straight days. Why would God do that? Because God has that prerogative, first of all. He's God. And it illustrates something Jesus said in the New Testament about the Sabbath. He said, the Sabbath was made for man. Man was not made for the Sabbath.
So here, God puts on hiatus or pause for this battle that seventh day rest and tells them to march around it. Now again, insight into God's ways. First Corinthians 1 I've quoted many times-- hundreds, thousands of times from this pulpit-- or table, whichever. God has chosen the foolish things of this world to confound the wise.
What could be more foolish than an army marching around the city six times then seven more times on that seventh day, doing absolutely nothing? First day they feel terrified, third day they feel confident, seventh day they're laughing and mocking at the children of Israel.
Let's draw a parallel. To the world, you look foolish. To the uninformed, the worldly person, they look at the Christian, they look at your values, they look at what you believe in, that seems so stupid, so foolish, so naive, so dumbed down. And you keep this in mind next time you are standing up to a worldly person mocking you for what you believe. And when they mock you and they tell you how foolish you are, just remember, it's only the first day.
Or maybe it's just the third day. But the seventh day's coming. And when that comes-- when that judgment day hits-- you're going to be standing strong and tall. And I'm glad five of you think that's a good thing. The rest of you need to get a move on here. Now we get into chapter 7 and we have a stark contrast. It's like we're reading a completely different book.
It's totally different, chapter 7, from the previous chapters. In chapter 6, they march around the city. In chapter 7, they run like scared kids. Because they're a little bit overconfident, having taken the city of Jericho. They come up with a smaller city, the city of Ai. A-I. Remember how the flight attendants would say ai? That's this city. Ai.
So Ai was a small town. Jericho had fallen. The Children of Israel or feeling really good about themselves. They're flush from the victory. And they now come to the little town of Ai feeling very overconfident. We don't need to do anything here. We don't need to talk to God about it. We just need do this in an afternoon-- a quick mop up. They get defeated in Ai.
You are not most vulnerable when you are down and out. You are most vulnerable when you are up and in-- when you have success and you feel really good about who you are. That's when you're most vulnerable. Children of Israel felt really good about Jericho, saying, man, we did good.
Well actually, you did nothing. You tooted your own horn a whole bunch of times. But those walls didn't come down because, well, I blew my horn really well. It was a miracle of God. So you did absolutely nothing, and you should be depending on the Lord.
Well, what happened here? Not only were they overconfident, but there's a guy named Achan-- name means trouble-- who saw Babylonian garments, some silver, some gold. Stole it, brought it to his tent. Nobody knew about it. God knew about it. Microphone's always on with God. Camera's always rolling with God. God saw it.
Joshua gets wind of it. He gets eliminated along with his family, and 36 total die because of this. He is taken out and he is eliminated. Achan's sin affected other people. Our sin affects other people. You cannot sin without having that hurt others around you. That's the thing about sin. It's my life. It's my body. It's going to affect others.
And so it is in the church. When one Christian heart grows cold, the temperature of others around you gets diminished just a bit. So that's why we need to be encouraging each other and holding each other accountable. Remember Jonah when he sinned? He didn't just experience the consequence alone. There were people in that boat who experienced the storm along with him. And those unbelieving soldiers and sailors are saying, how do we get this storm to stop? Jonah said, throw me overboard.
But they were affected by his sin. So it was with Achan in this chapter. Chapter 8, Joshua builds an altar. And I'm taking you to the end of the chapter. They finally defeat Ai, because they pray about it, they talk to God about it. And they build an altar. They go to the central portion of the land, Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim.
If you remember in previous studies, Moses told them to do that once they get into the land. And Joshua takes and copies-- get this-- he copies the whole Pentateuch-- the first five books of Moses. He copies them by hand and then he reads them out loud. Look at verse 35 chapter 8. There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded which Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel, with the women, the little ones, and the strangers who were living among them.
This is not the Bible from 30,000 feet. He was going through the Bible from three feet. He read-- this was a long church service. As Moses read-- all those books of Moses that we just covered at 30,000, he read them all word for word to them. Now, Joshua chapter 9 gives us his strategy.
What happens is Israel enters the land right around the midpoint geographical. They take Jericho and Ai, which is right in the central portion of the land across from the plains of Moab, thus dividing the land North and South. Now they're in the middle. There's a wedge between North and South. Now they can begin a Southern campaign and then a Northern campaign.
So the strategy is divide and conquer. South of them just a few miles away were a group called the Gibeonites, and this chapter talks about them. If they would have done a little due diligence and again prayed to the Lord, they wouldn't have been hoodwinked. But the Gibeonites were about seven to 10 miles away. That's where they lived.
But they dressed up in these rags, and they looked really like they were travelers from a distant land. And they came up to Joshua and they went, hey man, we've been traveling a long time from a far away country. So Joshua and the children of Israel make a pact with them. God said, don't make any pacts with the people of the land. They make a pact because they're fooled.
In chapter 8 verse 14, it says the men of Israel-- here's the problem-- did not ask counsel of the Lord. Please make a note of that. Sometimes our failure is merely praying about it. When we pray about things, God gives us discernment about things. And I love people in the body of Christ that have the gift of discernment.
It's hard to have that gift, because you see certain things, you feel certain things, you're aware of certain things that nobody else is. But had they prayed, they would have saved themselves a boatload of trouble. So they make a deal with the Gibeonites. The Gibeonites become woodcutters and water carriers in the tabernacle. Chapters 10, especially the end, all the way to chapter 12 is a summary of the conquest of the land South and North and a list of the kings that were defeated.
In this chapter, the Northern kings form a coalition together, and they attack Joshua and the Children of Israel. The Children of Israel win. By the way, just got to throw this in. There's a city that's mentioned here in this coalition called Hazor. If you go to Israel today, you're driving North from the Sea of Galilee. You see this little hill and it's the city of Hazor.
Well, I had not been there for years until this last tour. I said to my tour guide, look, I know the day's really packed, but we've got to go see Hazor. So we went. And for people who had been to Israel before, this was the first. It was a first for me in 10 or 15 years.
But if you go to Hazor today and you open the book of Joshua where it says that Joshua and the Children of Israel did not burn any of the cities in the Northern coalition except for one, they burned Hazor to the ground. You can see in the soil remains-- archaeological soil-- to this day the ashes from the fires that were lit by Joshua and the Children of Israel in the conquest. Plain as day right before you. It's a marvel of a miracle that you can see thousands of years removed even to this day.
Look at chapter 11 verse 23. There's a summary verse of all of this conquest. So Joshua took the whole land according to all that the Lord had said to Moses, and Joshua gave it as an inheritance to Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. Then the land rested from war.
So can you see? This is the Promised Land. And yet the smoke of war is everywhere in the Promised Land. Once again, the Christian life is not a playground. It is a battleground. Suit up. Wear the armor of the spirit. Don't be surprised by that. Some people I meet are spiritual pacifists. And I'm not getting down on pacifists per se, though I could. But I won't right now.
But there are spiritual pacifists. They just don't like the idea of spiritual warfare. Well, then if you don't fight, you will fall. You have to realize that once you come to Christ, great, you're on your way to heaven. Great, you're bearing fruit for the Lord. Because of that, you're a target. And the battles will come your way.
I want you to not be alarmed by that. I want you to take a little pride in that. I want you to think, really? Satan is mad at me? I'm glad. In fact, I'm honored. I love the fact that I can do things that Satan hates. I can tick him off. I'm going to think of all sorts of ways I can do that.
Charles Hadden Spurgeon said, there is something comforting in the thought that the devil is an adversary. I would sooner have him as an adversary than as a friend. I love the fact that Satan hates my guts, because I hate his. Because he's doing everything he can to stop the work of God. And if getting into the battle and making him angry is part of it, oh, I'll think of all sorts of ways.
Now, let's come to the last part of this battlefield of a book, and that is chapters 13 through 24, the distribution of the land. Chapter 13 verse 1, now Joshua was old, advanced in years. And the Lord said to him, you are old, advanced in years, and there remains very much land to be possessed.
This is the land that yet remains of all the territory of the Philistines and all that of the Geshurites. Verses 3 through 6, God lists from South to North of these lands not yet taken. Verse 7, now therefore, divide this land as an inheritance to the nine tribes and half the tribe of Manasseh. Don't you love God's honesty? Hey old man, you're old. But you can't quit yet. Not time to give up and go to a retirement home yet. There still is stuff to do. There remains land to be taken.
I love that. Getting old scares a lot of people. Josh was just getting started, and God reminds him, not done yet. In Joshua chapter 14, it's the day everyone has waited. For 40 years, they have waited for this day. This day's payday. Chapter 14 is the beginning of the divvying up by tribe of the land of Canaan, as it will be done in the next several chapters.
We won't look at them. It's tribe by tribe. They cast lots. Chapter 14 verse 1, these are the areas which the Children of Israel inherited in the land of Canaan, which Eleazar the priest, Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the fathers of the tribes of the Children of Israel distributed as an inheritance to them. Their inheritance was by lot, as the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses.
Go down to verse 6. Then the children of Judah came to Joshua in Gilgal. And Caleb-- that's his buddy. It's that other goods spy years ago. Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite came to him. Said to him, you know the word which the Lord said to Moses the man of God concerning you and me in Kadesh Barnea. I was 40 years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh Barnea to spy out the land. And I brought back word to him as was in my heart.
Nevertheless, my brethren who went up with me made the heart of this people melt, but I wholly followed the Lord. That's his testimony. It's not a bragimony, it's a testimony. I wholly follow-- I believe what God said. So Moses swore on that day, saying surely the land where your foot has trodden shall be your inheritance and your children's forever, because you have wholly followed the Lord my God.
Now behold, the Lord has kept me alive, as he said, these 45 years, ever since the Lord spoke this word to Moses while Israel wandered in the wilderness. And now, here I am this day, 85 years old. I love a guy who is not ashamed of his age. I'm 85 years old. So what, he says.
You know what's funny? Age is a funny thing. I seldom meet somebody who goes, I love the age I'm at. I meet young people who go, man, I can't wait till I'm just a little older. Then I meet people a little older who say, man, I wish I was young again. And it's funny, isn't it, we monitor age?
At first, well, how old is your baby? 8 and 1/2 months. 14.25 months. And then we go from months to half years 4 and 1/2. And then we go by whole years. Then we go by decades. Oh, he's in his 30s, 40s. And then there comes a point you just don't ask. It's just nebulous.
He goes, I'm 85 years old. He goes over his nation's history. He starts talking about the good old days. And I'm sure some of the younger people are rolling their eyes going, oh, here he goes again. I've heard these stories before. But the point is, here's a man who stayed faithful in the daily grind year after year, generation after generation, for 40 years.
I'm just going to tell you, the hardest thing is staying faithful over the long haul. Pray that God will keep you to the end faithful over the long haul. Verse 11, he says, he's 85. He's 85. Listen to what he says-- 85-year-old guy saying-- yet I am as strong this day as on the day Moses sent me. Really? OK. Just as my strength was then, so my strength for war both going out and for coming in.
How could he say that? Because his strength was in the Lord. God hadn't changed. He figured God can still do what He once did. Now therefore, give me this mountain-- love this verse-- of which the Lord spoke in that day. For you heard that the Anakim were there and the cities were great and fortified. It may be that the Lord will be with me and I shall be able to drive them out as the Lord said.
Here's a guy-- you just can't stop Caleb. He's sort of like Jaws 2. Remember when Jaws 1 came out, just frightened everybody. Then it's like, just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, and its Jaws 2. So it's like the Canaanites. Just when you thought it was safe to live in the land of Canaan, he's back. It's Caleb 2, 85 and still alive. Love this guy. Here's a man not stuck in the past.
He didn't say, oh man, remember Josh, the good old days? That was then, this is now. I find people do this a lot in Christian movements. They look back to some past peak. Oh, do you remember in 19-whatever when God did this and that? Do you remember the Jesus movement? Bro, wasn't it so cool? The Jesus movement, man, in the '70s. Dude, word up, Jesus is still moving in 2018 and beyond. He hasn't gone anywhere.
So he's ready to rock and roll. Next several chapters, the land is apportioned by tribe. Chapter 18, they moved their headquarters from Gilgal-- the little place on the side of the Jordan River by Jericho-- and they move it for geographic and military reasons to a more central, elevated location, the place called Shiloh.
Verse 1, chapter 18, the whole congregation of the Children of Israel assembled together at Shiloh, set up the tabernacle of meeting there. I'm pausing, because I'm going to tell you something in a moment. They set up the tabernacle in Shiloh there. And the land was subdued before them. This is the first permanent placement of the tabernacle in the land of Canaan, and it will stay there at Shiloh for the next 369 years.
That becomes HQ. That's central, and that is Shiloh. Chapter 23 and 24, we'll finish up Joshua's final message. Chapter 23 probably spoken to leaders, chapter 24 to the whole group. Verse 2 of chapter 23, Joshua called all of Israel elders, their heads, their judges, their officers, said to them, I'm old, advanced in age.
Maybe never said that before, but God told him. So he figured, OK, it's got to be the truth. I'm old. You have seen all that the Lord your God has done to all these nations because of you, for the Lord your God is He who has fought for you. See, I have divided to you by lot these nations that remain to be an inheritance for your tribes from the Jordan, with all the nations that I have cut off as far as the Great Sea westward.
Verse 14, behold, this day I'm going the way of all the earth. And you know in your hearts and in all your souls that not one thing has failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spoke concerning you. All have come to pass. Not one word of them has failed.
To me, one of the most significant statements in the Old Testament. To me, it shows that Joshua believed in what we call the verbal and plenary inspiration of the scripture-- that the words themselves are inspired and all of them are inspired. It's not, well, there's concepts and allegories. This is the word, all the words. All of them are inspired by God.
Chapter 24 verse 14. Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and truth, and put away the gods which your father served on the other side of the river-- that is the Nile River-- and in Egypt. Serve the Lord. And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourself this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your father served that were on the other side of the river, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house-- say it together, all of us-- we will serve the Lord. Do you mean that? Let's do that. We will serve the Lord.
Now, I had more to say on this verse, but time's up. So I'm going to finish at verse 26 down to verse 28. Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God. He took a large stone, set it up there under the oak that was by the sanctuary of the Lord. Joshua said to all the people, behold, this stone shall be a witness to us. For it has heard all the words of the Lord which He spoke to us. It shall therefore be a witness to you lest you deny your God.
So Joshua let the people depart each to his own inheritance. Then Joshua kicks the bucket. He dies. He and Eleazar die. And that ends the book. I said, though, this is a book that has Jesus' name on it. Moses did not enter the land. The Children of Israel did not enter the land under Moses. The children of Israel entered the land under Jesus-- Joshua.
The law couldn't help them inherit the land that Moses gave, because the land was a gift that God gave to them by grace. So Joshua, the namesake of Jesus, brought them as a free gift of grace into the land of Canaan. I just want you to keep something in mind and I want you to remember this when we get to the book of Revelation. See, big smile. Trusting in your brains to be able to do that.
The book of Revelation turns out to be the book of Joshua on steroids. What do I mean? Here we have a conquest of Canaan. Book of Revelation, we have the conquest of the Earth. In the book of Joshua, he sends out two witnesses. In Revelation, there are two witnesses that God sends to the earth. In the book of Joshua, there are seven days of trumpet blowing. In the book of Revelation, there are seven trumpet judgments that are on the earth.
In the book of Joshua, there's an Old Testament alliance, a Northern alliance of kings that fights against the children of Israel. We see a coalition amassing themselves on Jerusalem in the end of days. Revelation 13, it's headed by the Antichrist. Also a coalition.
That ends the book. I'm going to stop here. We're three minutes over time. But I have something I want to show you. It's going to be brought out right now. You see these things right here? You know what these are? What are they? This is manna, baby. This here is manna.
You say, what you mean, manna? Well, I've always found it interesting how the Bible describes manna. It's described in Exodus as tasting like wafers made with honey. Not only that, but in the book of Numbers, it says it's like pastry prepared with oil. Now, come on, does that not sound like a Krispy Kreme donut?
Have you never seen a Krispy Kreme? They have the sign that says hot now. I wonder when the manna fell on the ground and the sun hit it, oh, just-- so the manna ceased when they entered the promised land. This is the last time we're going to be talking about manna for a long time. So on the way out, I just don't have a few-- oh, I almost dropped the manna. On the way out, we've got manna for you. We have massive amounts of Krispy Kreme donuts.
Because I believe in your health. Let's all stand up.
We hope you enjoyed this message from Skip Heitzig of Calvary Church. For more resources, visit calvarynm.church. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from the Bible from 30,000 Feet.