Christ

Our Only and Secure Inheritance {Joshua 12-19}

10:30 PM



God speaks to an old Joshua about the land remaining to be possessed (Jos 13:1). His time and his ministry as leader was almost ending, and God gave him the final instructions regarding the remaining land to be conquered and how it was to be divided as an inheritance among the nine tribes and the half-tribe of Manasseh.” (13:7) Joshua was a faithful servant and even in an advanced age, God still instructs him about a job that needs to be done. This makes me realize how much have I, or have I not conquered as a Christian… and sadly I must confess there is still so much to be done!  No matter how much we have served in our Christian lives, there still remains much to do!!

Verses 13:8-32 describe the portion of land divided among Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh.  It was the land of king Sihon of the Amorites and king Og of Bashan.
We find something unique in verses 13:14 and 13:33:

“ 33 But to the tribe of Levi, Moses did not give an inheritance; the Lord, the God of Israel, is their inheritance, as He told them.”

Yes, the Levites had no land for an inheritance, but instead had the sacrifices Israel brought to God. They also received a greater inheritance than that: God Himself.

In this sense, Christians are spiritually connected to the tribe of Levi, since we also are called priests: 1 Peter 2:5(AMP)

You [believers], like living stones, are [a]being built up into a spiritual house for a holy and dedicated priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices [that are] acceptable and pleasing to God through Jesus Christ.

We also have a special inheritance in GodEphesians 1:11(AMP)

“11 In Him also we have [a]received an inheritance [a destiny—we were claimed by God as His own], having been predestined (chosen, appointed beforehand) according to the purpose of Him who works everything in agreement with the counsel and design of His will,”

1 Peter 1:4 (AMP)
[born anew] into an inheritance which is imperishable [beyond the reach of change] and undefiled and unfading, reserved in heaven for you,”

What undeserved privileges we attain as children of God!! (Col 3:24) And yet many of us are dissatisfied with our workplaces, our earthly possessions (finances), maybe even with our Church ministry!  We wish that God would have given us something different, and we can even get bitter towards Him about this! We must remember who we are in Christ (Ro 8:17) and see ourselves as priests, and understand that our real inheritance is God Himself!!



Before I close, let me ask you: How much of Jesus do you have?  Do you walk in the blessing of leading others to Jesus Christ, our only and Secure Inheritance? How much of the Promises God has given you, do you possess as yours?

There remains very much land yet to be possessed: while there is life, there is still much to do!  God wants us to keep pressing on!

Blessings!

Mari

Becky Austin

When The Lord Fights For You (Joshua 7-11)

4:01 AM


The Israelites listened to God’s instructions and celebrated the victory of Jericho.  But, this victory was soon followed by defeat.  As we study Chapter 7 we find that God was not consulted and the people went forth with self confidence, thinking they would easily find victory again. What a blow when they failed and the precious lives of about 36 men were lost that day. “..And the hearts of the people melted and became as water.”  Joshua 7:5 

Joshua took his sorrow and concerns to the Lord in prayer.  “The Lord said to Joshua, “Get up! Why have you fallen on your face? Israel has sinned; they have transgressed my covenant that I commanded them; they have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen and lied and put them among their own belongings. Therefore the people of Israel cannot stand before their enemies.  Joshua 7:10-12 
God made it clear to Joshua that sin was the problem and it needed to be dealt with. 

Achan coveted some of the “ devoted things”, things consecrated to either be used for the service of God or destroyed.  This was a very serious offense in God’s  eyes. Achan thought he had hidden these things and would not be found out.  We can’t hide our sin from God, however.  That sin causes trouble not only for the sinner but for others in the sinners life. That sin gave the enemy the upper hand. 

What a contrast is seen in Chapter 8 when the Lord is the one instructing the people in their battle plan and ensuring their victory. “And the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not fear and do not be dismayed. Take all the fighting men with you, and arise, go up to Ai. See, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, and his people, his city, and his land.” Joshua 8:1   We can see these principles play out in our own lives.  When God is consulted for wisdom He leads in victory. When we harbor sin, however, our sin gives the devil an upper hand in our lives and negatively impacts others as well. 

Unfortunately, the Israelites would make the same mistake of taking matters into their own hands instead of seeking direction from God. The inhabitants of Gibeon deceptively pretended to be travelers from a far away land seeking a protective type of agreement with the Israelites. “So the men took some of their provisions, but did not ask counsel from the Lord.” Joshua 9:14 They made a covenant with these people that had to be honored even when the deception was realized. Even though we may make decisions that seem good  and perhaps in the best interest of others, without God’s counsel we are likely to be deceived or negatively impacted. God wants to be Lord of all aspects of our lives, including our decision making. 

All seems well for the Israelites as they enjoy their battle victories and then the enemy gathers collective forces to come against them with a unified massive force.  The Israelites travel all night to confront the enemy and likely are very tired. But, no matter how challenging the enemy forces may be, they are no match for the power of God who controls all things. God threw the Amorites into a panic, He unleashed large hailstones upon them, and He even made the sun and the moon stand still. 
“There has been no day like it before or since, when the Lord heeded the voice of a man, for the Lord fought for Israel.” Joshua 10:14

In Chapter 11 we find that Joshua continues to obey God’s instructions and God continues to give victory after victory to the Israelites. “So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the Lord had spoken to Moses. And Joshua gave it for an inheritance to Israel according to their tribal allotments. And the land had rest from war.” Joshua 11:23 

We fight spiritual battles too and God wants us to be victorious as well. If we will honor Him as Lord of our life, seek his counsel and deal with the conviction of our sins, God will fight for us and send our enemy running. 

crossing

Stones of Remembrance {Joshua 4-6}

12:00 AM



Today we’ve finally arrived to one of the greatest climactic events in the entire Bible. The Israelites have waited forty years for this day!! Many weren’t even born when their families had begun their journey, and many may have been too young to remember crossing the Red Sea, but I bet they had all heard about it year after year.

It’s also true that this was just a river, not a sea, but it was raging and already overflowing it’s banks making it nearly impossible to cross, and it was their only barrier left between them and the promised land! They were almost home! Can you imagine the excitement!?  

A new chapter was about to begin! Just across the river lay a land richer than they dared to dream, more beautiful and fruitful than they could hope for! And it was about to become theirs because of God's steadfast promise.

It must have seemed surreal to finally stand in Canaan. Do you remember crossing the threshold to your first home? If you’re anything like me, at the time it must have seemed like a palace! You'd planned, imagined what you will do with it…but when you step in that front door, you’re overcome with emotions! Just imagine what it must have been like to realize you are part of the fulfillment of an ancient promise to Abraham. I like to think there must have been songs and shouts of celebration as God held back the water before them and allowed all of them to cross.

After Israel crossed, God gave Joshua some very specific instructions however, in Joshua 4:1-3,  After the entire nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the Lord spoke to Joshua, "Choose 12 men from the people, one man for each tribe, and command them, 'Take 12 stones from this place in the middle of the Jordan where the priests' feet are standing, carry them with you, and set them down at the place where you spend the night.' "and Joshua and the 12 men did exactly what God had commanded. But why?

Because stones don't naturally stack, there would come a day when Israel's children would ask their elders about these stones, and God went onto say He wanted the next generation to know: "Tell them the story, of how the waters of the Jordan were cut off in front of the ark of the Lord's covenant. When it crossed the Jordan, the Jordan's waters were cut off." Then in verses 23-24, “For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed over, just as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed over. This is so that all the people of the earth may know that the Lord's hand is mighty, and so that you may always fear the Lord your God."

This is what happens when the impossible meets the promises of God! 

Can you remember such a time in your life? Have you set out stones of remembrances in order to share with others, or even to jog your own memory when another miracle is needed?
The word, “remember” is found 131 times in the Old Testament and 36 in the New T. It's safe to say, The Lord wants us to remember Him and what He has done in the past. But what is the true significance of these stones?

1. The stones remind us that it's all about God
The stones would forever cry out, "God did this! By His hand we crossed this river. By His power and faithfulness we were able to reach the promised land!"Seeing that rock pile and hearing the story, the people of Israel would know clearly that they had not crossed the Jordan River on their own. Have you set up memorials in your home to pass on the stories of all God has done to the generations to come?
Here are just a couple reminders:
  •   “Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor over it in vain (Ps. 127:1).
  •  "’Not by strength or by might, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD of hosts.” (Zech. 4:6). 
  •  "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life!" (Pr. 13:12) (When my grown children all arrived in TN to settle down next to us)

2. The stones remind us that we have a missionary purpose.
Joshua told Israel that the stones would serve as a reminder that all the people of the earth may know that the Lord's hand is mighty, and so that they may always fear the Lord their God." (v. 24). We too have a mission known as the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). We’re here to know God and make Him known and I can’t think of a better way to brag on all He has done for you in the past than to make some sort of memorials for others to see.

3. The stones remind us that we must step out in faith if we want to go with God.

The stones out of the Jordan marked the movements of God among His people. They also testify of the willingness of the people to leave what they had known in order to go with God; to take a huge step of faith and step into the water, and believe in what they could not see.

I guess it’s now been more than eighteen years that I began writing on river stones and placing them in the potted plants. I usually will write one of God’s names, or a verse of Scripture and on the back I’ll include a date and a few words of explanation. I'm reminded of them every week when I water the plants. I also have a friend who has build a path to her garden using “stepping stones of faith”.

This week I had my group of study buddies begin a list with victories on one side and battles on the other. Whatever battle you are in today, looking back over past victories (and we all have them if we are in Christ) will help us hang in there and watch and wait on The Lord!