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Some Thoughts on Joshua

By Richard Gunther


The book of Joshua begins with the God of hosts, or the God of armies, commissioning Joshua to lead an assault on the land of Canaan. The name "Joshua" means "Jah is salvation" so immediately we see in Joshua a link between him and Jesus, and between Jesus and war.

We Christians can take this conquest story as a sort of analogy of our own attack on the enemies of God's kingdom, as we move forward spiritually, led by Jesus, the leader of our army here on Earth.

Joshua by the time he appears in Canaan, had been through quite a long period of training by Moses, as he ministered to Moses and watched him leading Israel. Let us take notice of this previous training, and study the Master under whom we must also serve. We must also take time to be with Jesus, and learn to model ourselves on Him.  There was more to Joshua than just intelligence and motivation, he was also Spirit-filled, an essential quality of all Christians. Deut.34:9 says:

"And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his  hands upon him:" So Joshua was prepared by God for a special purpose, just as all Christians may be. Then came the commission: "Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people...every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you...from the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your coast". What tremendous promises. We Christians must broaden our vision and see great things for God, rather than small things. We may be focused on our street, but God wants to win the whole neighbourhood, and country.

The promises were, from the human point of view, quite unrealistic, with their talk of vast tracts of land and equally vast hordes of enemies to be overcome, but it was the infinite God Who gave His promises to Joshua, and also, He set a few conditions. It wasn't going to be an easy stroll for Israel. They had some obeying to do. If Israel was obedient, victory was assured.

When we think of the extent of what Joshua and Israel was to possess we may find it staggers our imagination, but the Bible relates how every word came to pass as promised – to the extent to which Israel obeyed, they received the success promised them. The Lord said to Joshua "I will be with thee: will not fail thee nor forsake thee". Christians have been issued with an even greater commission by the Lord Jesus: "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned". Mark 16:15,16.

Just as Joshua was commanded to lead an assault on a vast tract of land, we Christians are called to organize an assault on the whole earth. Palestine is peanuts compared with the world. The Lord gives us the same sort of word of assurance too: "And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following" Mark 16:20.

God encouraged Joshua, in v6,not by some sweet little saying which might have given him a nice thought for the rest of the day, but by actually commanding him to :"Be strong and of a good courage...(v?)only be strong and very courageous...(v9) Have not I commanded you? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with you wherever you go" Joshua ch.l.

What did Jesus say to us? "And these signs shall follow them

that believe; in My Name shall they cast out devils; they shall

speak with new tongues, they shall take up serpents; and if they

drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay

hands on the sick, and they shall recover." Mark 16:17,18. The

commission has been given, but there are some who say, "Yes but,

 this command was to the eleven special disciples, and not to us

ordinary Christians". That sort of excuse just doesn't hold water.

   Turn to Acts 8:5,4. Saul is persecuting the church, the

"ordinary" Christians and they are scattering far and wide in

order to avoid him. But the record tells us in v1 that the

apostles STAYED in Jerusalem. How accurate the Bible is, and how

pointed, when we read it carefully. This means it was the

"ordinary" Christians who moved out into surrounding countries,

and we are told: "Therefore they that were scattered abroad went

everywhere preaching the word". Initially they went to the Jews

only (11:19), but they went, and when it was made quite clear to

the church that "on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of

the Holy Ghost" Acts 10:45 they must have preached to all men

just as readily.


Note: Joshua had to do something before he could be successful in this great task; "0nly be thou strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law...turn not from it from the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but you shall meditate therin day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written therin; for THEN you shall make your way prosperous, and THEN you shall have good success". The way to success is through obedience and faith. Obedience is the way to prosperity. We reap what we sow.

Look at what Jesus said about obedience and success, in John 8:31;


"Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed:"

In John 14 and 15 Jesus qualified His way to successful Christian living. 14:15:"If ye love Me, keep My commandments". 14:21:"He that has My commandments, and keeps them, he it is that loves Me:

and he that loves Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love

him, and will manifest Myself to him".

14:23:"If a man love Me, he will keep My words; and My Father will love

him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him".

14:24:"He that loves Me not, keeps not my sayings:"

15:7:"If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you".

15:10:"If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in My love"*

15:14:"Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you".


So before we begin, have we taken a look at ourselves? Is our armour all on, polished and strong? Is our attitude right? Have we become reasonably familiar with the enemy and his tactics? Have we taken note of other success­ful Christians and seen how they overcome things? Are we on good terms with Jesus our Leader, or do we think we can fight alone without His support?

Joshua told the Gadites, the Reubenites and the half tribe of

Manasseh to leave their wives, children and cattle and to cross the Jordan with the rest of Israel. Do we detect a similar command to US in Luke 14:26,2?: "If any man come to Me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife,and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whosoever does not bear his cross, and come after Me, cannot be My disciple".  Sometimes we Christians are quite happy to stop and live on the piece of land we have already gained. We say: "Who wants to cross the Jordan and go on with the others? We're saved, God has blessed us, our sins are forgiven, we have our wives, our children, our house, our little business. Let's just stay here and enjoy it all..."But God says “Come on, join your brethren for a while, and then return, when the battle is over. I need every man I can get. Don't leave all the work to a handful of willing ones and thereby lose the tremendous rewards I have for the overcomers". (It is amazing how much is done by a handful in the Church while the bulk of Christians do comparatively nothing)

Josh.1:15 "Ye shall pass before your brethren armed, all the mighty men of valour, and help them; until the Lord have given your brethren rest, as He has given you, and they also have possessed the land which the Lord your God gives you". God may be allowing you to gain in material blessings, increasing you deliberately, to see WHO you will decide to live for. Is your heart set on His things more than any other? Or are you content to enjoy what you have and "who cares about them". Your attitude should be: "And they answered Joshua(Jesus),saying, All that you command us we will do, and wherever you send us, we will go".

The first thing Joshua did was to send two spies into Jericho. The first thing he got the people to do was to give them three days warning before they marched and told them to prepare food for the journey ahead. The story of salvation is vividly told in the way God delivered His people out of Egypt by His mighty stretched out arm over them. When we are delivered from bondage to sin it is a similar sort of exodus. Then comes a period of training. Christians need a time for learning after they are saved, in order to grow to maturity. After the training comes the battle proper, when Christians are called to fight for the kingdom of God, under the leadership of Jesus(Joshua). How many times do we see the sad state of a Christian's life as he either prefers to stay in ‘ spiritual Egypt’, or comes out and then returns, or reaches the bitter waters (trials and difficulties) and gives up, or murmurs against God and thereby turns his Christian walk into a wandering in the wilderness? And how many times does the Christian reach the promised land and then hang back because of either apathy of luxury?

Thinking about the spies, it is also applicable to us, because we need to hear reports of the territory we are to move into. It helps to make a plan of action, to stay alert and keep track of what's ahead. Planning ahead is some­times essential to success. Ways of planning ahead for our spiritual war are:

Praying about it beforehand, searching the scriptures on the subject,

reading about the problem, memorizing scriptures in preparation, maintaining every part of your spiritual armour, listening to the Lord's forewarnings in your quiet times with Him, preplanning certain courses of action if certain things happen, examining some of the enemy's past attacks, and working out your replies beforehand, should you be challenged by difficult questions.

The two spies came into an harlot's house, and she became a very useful ally. Just so, there are people in this world who are longing for a chance to serve the Lord, but they don't have many opportunities – nobody asks them. We Christians should always be on the look out for "Rahabs" as we go about. Remember, Rahab was prepared to risk her life for the two spies. (There are too many Pastor-centred fellowships, where the saints are delegated out of jobs!)

"And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, Behold, there came men in hither tonight of the children of Israel to search out the country." The king of the spiritual city of darkness is the devil, and he has an efficient system of communications, but he cannot thwart the work of God. Rahab hid the two spies and the king's men were sent on a wild goose chase. God often makes our enemies (His enemies) look foolish for our sake's, as we go about His business.

When Rahab came to the spies to tell them all was clear, she told them of  stories she had heard about Israel: "And she said to the men, I

know that the Lord has given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when you came out of Egypt; and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side (of the) Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed.

"And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath".

If the whole church finally woke up to the Great Commission by Jesus, and kept His words, it would be so filled with the Spirit that great marvels would contin­ually occur much to the astonishment and fear of  unbelievers. You, Christian, can begin today, to bring this about, by taking Him at His word and doing what He has commanded you to do. When we  Christians are walking in the Spirit, God goes before US too, opening hearts, and preparing people for the gospel, so that when we preach, they are able to hear. Take encouragement from the God of Israel. He is the same God today, as He was when He spoke to Joshua.

The book of Joshua goes on to tell how Rahab hung a scarlet thread from her window. All who sheltered in her house were safe from harm. Why? Because God saw the thread. The thread itself was no protection. It was just a symbol. The thread is a type of the blood of Christ, because when God sees that blood He turns away from judging us: Ex.12:13 "And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you". See how this compares with Col.1:14; "In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins".

The next obstacle was the Jordan. This represents the first major faith barrier, which Christians have to overcome. It seems that the tabernacle, because it was carried some distance ahead of Israel, is a type of the leading of Christ Jesus from ahead. Because of His foreknowledge, He knows we can make it Through the problems ahead, because He is greater than those problems, so He simply goes on ahead and expects us to follow - this is called ‘walking by faith’ – faith requires obedience - obedience is essential..." for you have not passed this way before" 5:4.

Up to the Jordan went the priests, bearing the ark, and then Joshua tells them: "When you come to the brink of the water of Jordan, you are to stand still in Jordan." When we Christians come to the "Jordan" in our lives, the Lord is always there to divide a path through. When we meet such a river, let us not avoid it, or put off the challenge. Let us instead go straight ahead into it, watching the Lord remove the obstacles as we continue on.

So the whole nation of Israel passed through on dry land, and so should we continue to walk on steady ground through the worst trials we meet. Obedience brings its own rewards. Jesus says to those who continue forwards at times like these: "I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it; for you have a little strength, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name" Rev.3:8

There are many other parallels to Christians in this book of Joshua, for example, take the fact that the people had to "sanctlfy" themselves before they began the march. Josh.3:5. WE are told : "Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts:" 1Pet.5:15. This word means, 1 To dedicate, 2 To set aside for holy uses, 3 To make holy. The word of God should be used by all Christians as they learn now to sanctify set apart-themselves through obeying it. Jesus said: "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth" John 1?:1?.

Josh.5:14."And it came to pass, when the people removed from their tents, to pass over Jordan..." When we Christians go forward for Jesus it usually means we have to leave behind some temporary shelter we may have taken comfort in, or some place we had become used to. God doesn't want us to stop too long anywhere, in case we settle down and refuse His call when He wants to go on.

Josh.4:5 "And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of Jordan, and take you up everyman of you a stone upon his shoulder...that this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask your fathers in time to come, saying, what do you mean by these stones?". As we pass through trials and obstacles, we gain a testimony, which we then can relate to others. We pick up and carry with us an experience. Maybe we simply jot down a brief record of prayers answered, or the things which God did for us during the day, but whatever method we use, it becomes a "stone" which we can carry out and set up before others. The witness of an experienced Christian to an inexperienced one can be a wonderful aid to building up the weaker one's faith. You Christians who are experienced, try to remember all you can if you haven't done so already, and be prepared to tell others who'll listen, about the mighty and wonderful things which Jesus has done in your life. (I keep notes in which I record specifically answered prayers)

Josh.4;13 "About forty thousand prepared for war passed over before the lord unto battle, to the plains of Jericho". Here is a picture of the church on the move. Everything is set up: the tabernacle is built and complete, the people are prepared, and there is an army ready to do battle, or to go out preaching the word.

   Josh.5:2,3 "At that time the Lord said unto Joshua, Make thee sharp knives, and circumcise again the children of Israel the second time. And Joshua made him sharp knives, and circumcised the children of Israel at the hill of the foreskins". The first generation who had been circumcised were  all dead, but for a few whom God spared, and the second generation had grown up uncircumcised. What a clear parallel to the state of affairs in so many churches. The founding fathers were born again Christians      (John3:3) but many of the next generation seem to have become simply church goers; speaking very broadly of course. Truly it has been said ‘God has no grandchildren’. Personally, I cannot rely on my parent’s faith for my salvation, and rewards are not shared. I must receive my own rewards, or suffer loss. What many of this new generation need is a new experience of Jesus Christ. They can't live on the things which those who went before left behind, they must experience Him for themselves, and throw off the inherited things, striving to earn something of their own. The church should be a constantly original thing, fresh, lively, growing, changing its methods constantly to meet the different cultures, not ritualized to the extent that God has to ‘wait hopefully behind the minister in case He is given a chance to speak’

The people had to be circumcised with a sharp knife, and it was an act which identified the people as God's. Let's look at these two points. First the knife. Heb.4:12 "For the word of God is quick,and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of the soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart". Secondly, the circumcision: Phil.3;5 "For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh".

The "knife" of God cuts deep into us and sorts out our heart, and when we respond to God's surgery, we yield our spirit to Him, become Christians, and are circumcised spiritually. Having been so marked, we should grow as Christians to maturity, and then go out to use this same word of God to present the gospel to others. We supply the word and God uses it by the Holy Spirit to speak to the uncircumcised about their sins.

Circumcision was a symbolic way of cutting the whole flesh off. That, of course, would kill the body, so God chose a small part to represent the whole. As a symbol of death for the flesh, circumcision represents the demand by God that Christians should consider their sinful nature dead.

There is a strong word of warning to us in Josh.5:6 "For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the people that were men of war, which came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they obeyed not the voice of the Lord:". Notice that it was the men of war who were denied entrance, because of disobedience - or lack of faith. What an indictment on slack or apathetic Christians. There are many today who believe they are Christians, who are denied entrance to the "land that flows with milk and honey" because they refuse to get on with the battle. Instead of fighting, they behave like Israel did in the wilderness, always complaining, and doubting, and trying to do things in their own strength, and disobeying God, and always arguing amongst themselves over trivialities, over petty personal things, over peripheral doctrinal matters. While they are to be commended in that they have Bibles, and they go regularly to church and maybe even Bible classes, and read inspirational books, and do lots of good works, they fail to take up the challenge and go out preaching. Evangelism is the major part of the Great Commission, yet many Christians will do ANYTHING BUT evangelize!

Then there is the sort who want to introduce someone to the Lord but it ends up just a social visit, or it fizzles out because they don't know how to get the message across. Again, some "men of war’ are so busy polishing their "armour", (i.e. endless theology discussions, courses, studies and so on) they never get to use it. Week after week they learn about the Lord,and hear His word, and feed themselves, but it all stays inside them instead of spilling out into the lives of others round about. Are you one of these types? If so, please make a point of learning how to put the Bible into practise, and begin to inherit the wonderful rewards which accompany action.

Josh.5:12 How the Israelites must have wondered at the abrupt ending of the manna. "Aad the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land, neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year". Maybe they missed it, maybe not. At least it was edible, though monotonous? Whatever their reaction, they had to be resourceful now, that was for sure, living off the land. Their time of training was over and the Lord's special supply of food was finished.  John 6:45-51 explains: "It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that has heard, and has learned of the Father, comes to Me. Not that any man has seen the Father, save He which is of God, He has seen the Father.

"Verily, verily,I say to you. He that believes on Me has everlasting life. I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof and not die.

"I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of tae world".

Every day of our lives we can come to Jesus and pray, and read His word. He is everlasting Manna to us, as we feed on Him. "but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day" 2 Cor.4:l6.

Joshua was by Jericho when he met a man with his sword drawn in his hand" 5:15.Who was this warrior? It must have been the Lord Jesus in one of His pre-human appearances, this time revealing Himself as God of tne armies of heaven. We see him again as such in Rev.19:11-15 "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he does judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written, that no man knew, but He Himself.

"And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood sand His name is called the Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations sand He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God."

However, in Joshua's meeting with Jesus, He is told: "as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come". God doesn't have one army - He has two: the heavenly one and the earthly. The angelic army fights in spiritual ways and the earthly army fights on earth. Many times during the first and second world wars, instances of angelic intervention are recorded, and by the same token, many spiritual battles are won through prayer where physical force would have been futile. We Christians are both earthly and spiritual. We too are called to physically go out to confront the enemy, and spiritually to do battle. Take comfort - Jesus is our captain and His sword, His word, is drawn on our behalf. If we could see what is going on in the invisible spiritual realm while we preach the gospel, it would probably scare us silly. There are massive, mighty battles going on all around us each moment of every day, as God wars against Satan.

Josh.6;1"Now Jericho was (tightly) shut up because of the children of Israel; none went out, and none came in". Isn't this just like an unbeliever, when we are on the march for the Lord and we come close to him; he (or she) goes on the defensive, he tries not to meet you, he clams up because everything you say is anointed by God and it pricks his conscience, he wishes you'd go the other way because its so obvious  that you have a wonderful new life in Christ it makes him feel dissatisfied with everything. Jericho is just like someone who has come under conviction of sin.

The way Jericho was taken, if it shows anything at all, is that when our God does something, it is always original – that is, He does things His way, not ours. We cannot predict His decisions. He never has to do the same thing twice. He has infinite imagination. So often the church tries to repeat something... they get a hold of a formula and try to put it into action year after year, and then wonder why it doesn't work. They arrange a ‘festival’, or a certain kind of ‘outreach’, or adopt a ‘preaching plan’, just like last years’ one, just like all the others, and it flops. They arrange an evening, just like all the dozens of evenings they’ve held for the past twenty years, and it turns out dull and weak, with all the old faithfuls sitting obediently in their places. Take note - God wants to do new things - He wants to do imaginative, fresh, exciting things with you! His activities aren't limited to the regular Sunday service. He is a God of variety, and changing seasons, and different hues and whole new tunes and lights, and volcanic eruptions, and tidal waves, and aurora borealis.Taste and see that the Lord is good, and alive, and has a personality of immense proportions, full of variety and newness and imagination, and innovation.

Look at how Jericho was taken, and try, if you can, to imagine that it is the very first time you ever read the account. How incredibly different this assault is from any assault ever launched on an enemy. How bizarre it is, how weird and wonderful, how inconsistent with normal military maneuvers. Whoever heard of taking a city by going around and around and around and around and around and around and around it. Does it make you dizzy thinking about it? Imagine how the people of Jericho felt as they watched the army of Israel, some three million strong, silent but for the trumpet going tramp tramp tramp past the battlements. Imagine being in the city, listening to the sound of those horns echoing through the streets, and ringing in your ears. Fantastic! And then, on the seventh day, the command came from Joshua about what the people were to do when the walls fell, and sure enough they fell. And after the dust cleared and the last huge mass of rubble stopped sliding and tumbling, Rahab came out alive.

As a Christian, you should try to be original in the Lord, because He is original.Kom.6:4 "Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that children; the ones whose parents discipline them properly are the best adjusted children, and the most secure, and often the one’s with the fewest ‘hang-ups’, because they know they are cared for, but the disobedient children very often have parents who don't care enough to correct them. Sometimes disobedience is a way of getting attention. As we grow up we still like to feel secure. If the members of a congregation really care about each other they will not tolerate disobedience in each other, they will commit themselves to helping each other, in order to be right before God.

God is very keen about having his church clean and whole from top to toe, and He doesn't like any infection in it, because infection spreads, from cell to cell, from organ to organ, unless the ‘white' cells move in.

In Joshua chapter seven, Israel sent some soldiers to attack a small city populated by "the men of Ai", but, "...the men of Ai smote of them (Israel) about thirty and six men: for they chased them from before the gate even unto Shebarim, and smote them in the going down: wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and became as water".

After reading verse one we see that this defeat was the result of Achan's sin. This is a type of the situation when a Christian keeps unconfessed sin in his heart. God cannot abide a Christian who refuses to be completely open with Him. Ps.66:18 "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me". Isa.1:15 "And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide Mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, will not hear: your hands are full of blood". Isa.59:1,2 "...your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear".

When Joshua saw this defeat of his men, he knew something was wrong. He knew that (1) God had not forgotten " His former promises, therefore,(2)the fault must lie with Israel. This course of action is a good pattern for us to follow sometimes and under certain conditions.

Joshua then made a prayer of intercession, and then he laid the problem out before the Lord and asked God what was going on. He didn't like the idea of Israel being chased by the enemy, because it was contrary to his expectations as based on the word of God to him. We Christians sometimes have to take stock of a situation in the same way. We do our best but nothing happens so we come to the Lord and tell Him about it, asking for guidance. And we get it, because He wants to show Himself strong on our behalf. Why some Christians don't get far with difficulties, is often because they don't give Jesus a detailed account of their affairs. If we don't confide in Him, He can't confide in us.

"And the Lord said to Joshua, Get thee up; why lie thus upon your face? Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff".

(1) they have sinned - God doesn't avoid saying the truth.


(2) they have transgressed the covenant - reaping what they have sowed. (5) taken the accursed thing - held close what God despises.

(4) dissembled - tried to conceal something wrong from God.

(5) stolen - taken what God said was not to be taken.

(6) put it with their own stuff - introduced unholy things into holy.


Have you ever seen a Christian puffing away on a cigarette, or regularly drinking in the local pub, or going to all the rock concerts? Have you ever noticed how weak such Christians so often are? How little they care about Bible study, about witnessing, about fellowship? They are trying to live a life for the Lord with something He hates, and little wonder that they are more often than not so ineffectual. God says "Take away the accursed thing from among you". We Christians are not called to live a life of whatever suits us, with a little bit of God, and lots of pleasures and entertainments from the world. We are called OUT of this world with all its sinful practices, and its unfruitful works of darkness. (We must stress the word ‘sinful’ here, because there is much in the world which is good and blessed by God) 1 John 2:15-17. "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust thereof; but he that does the will of God abides forever". We should be so busy working for God that there is no time for getting tangled up in the affairs of the world. It is said that the devil finds work for idle hands, and so he surely does. He would like to have every Christian on earth busy enjoying himself or herself twenty four hours a day if he could. What he hates to see is a Spirit-filled person keeping enjoyment in proportion, or in the right balance) to his spiritual life, and to his physical needs. He hates to see a person with Jesus on the throne of his life, because it means that that person is able to spend time each day witnessing and preaching the gospel. Rom. 12: 1,2. "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God".

Having isolated the cause of Israel's failure, Joshua was told to bring the whole nation tribe by tribe, house by house, and family by family, before God, until the culprit was found.

God knew who the culprit was of course, but it was a good way of demonstrating this knowledge before the nation - and before us who read of it. Can you imagine yourself there, being marched past the tabernacle, wondering if you would be picked out. The guilty man Achan must have felt pretty secure at the start, as he stood in the massive host, but gradually, as the tribes were separated, and the houses were separated, and then Moses started sorting out his family, he must have realized that the God of Israel knew what he was doing. There's no such thing as safety in numbers when God is around. If you are an Achan’ type of Christian who has taken into your life something which God despises, don't think He hasn't noticed, and don't be surprised if he sorts you out. Achan was arrested, judged and burnt to death, and so too, when Christians build rubbish into their lives, the fire of judgment will burn that rubbish up one day.

Achan's confession is very ‘modern’:(v21) "When I saw (pride, of the eyes) among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment (pride of life),and two hundred shekels of silver(love of money 1Tim.6:10),and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight(2Tim.2:20,21 (God's gold shouldn't come from Babylon),then I coveted them (Ex.20:17 Thou shalt not covet. ..”), and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it". It is much better to hide God's word in our hearts, than to hide things from Babylon in it-Ps.119;11. Christian, have you got some possession of this world which you value more than Jesus? Have you taken to yourself something sinful and hidden it from the Lord? Are you keeping back an area of your life which you don't want Jesus to clean up, because you think it is more valuable than Him? I urge you to release it to Him now, and avoid the coming "fire'' of judgem­ent, which will burn up your fruitless works when He returns. v19: "And Joshua said (Jesus says)to Achan,(to that unusable area of your life),My son, give, I pray, glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession to Him,"

When the men first came back from Ai they advised Joshua to send only a handful of soldiers to take the place. Had they become overconfident in their own strength? It looks like that, because there is no mention of the Lord having given the direction. It probably seemed reasonable to Joshua, so he let them have their way. Here we have a good example of impatience and probably also presumption. God should decide when a Christian is ready, and He should be the one who gives the command to move when everything is right. If we go rushing away ahead of Him, thinking we can manage without His Spirit, we very often come limping back, crestfallen and subdued, BUT when we Christians get everything straight first, and then hear God's clear command, we can take action knowing we will have success.

The command to us is to "Preach the word; be instant(immediate) in

season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering

and doctrine." 2Tim. 4:2. Also clear is the command in Mark 16:15 "Go

you into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature". And

there are many other clear commands for action given to us. The church

is God's spiritual army, and it would  do it well to take notice of how

important it is to be fully cleansed, with no "Achans" in its ranks to

slow it down.

In Joshua eight we have a completely different approach to the same problem. "And the Lord said unto Joshua, Fear not, neither be dismayed: take ALL the people of war with thee, and arise, go up to Ai: see,  have given into your hand the king of Ai, and his people, and his city, and his land:". For a while Israel had trusted in her own strength, and forgotten to seek the Lord on the matter, but now she was ready, and so now God went with her. And notice, it was in unity that Israel marched, as it should be with Christians. If all true Christians in a country could unite in their efforts and march together for given object­ives, the world would sit up and take notice – but there are so many denominations, with so many independent programs, and meetings, and services and so on, that very few churches can schedule the time to work with another church. And further, there are the problems of tradition, and formalism, which have created many Pastor-centred, building-centred fellowships, which are unable to move into the community as they ought to.

Joshua and a massive array, united as a fully capable host of fighting men -what a picture of the church as it should be - marched against Ai. They took the city city by a clever tactic of drawing Ai's army out with a decoy, and then moving in with another force behind Ai's thrust. This sort of tactic can be employed by Christians too.

When we witness we can use verbal bait to draw out a person from their stronghold of lies and arguments. We may give him some clear statement Of our beliefs, encouraging him to commit himself, and then we can use a well aimed scripture and cut at the very heart of his argument. Scriptural? By all means YES. This was a technique used by the Master Evangelist Himself. It is like fishing. Dangle the bait, draw the fish nearer, and then catch the hook into its jaw. Lure the unbeliever out, then close the trap behind him. Leave him with no way out.

Take one example from the New Testament. John 11:21.Martha met Jesus, as He came to where Lazarus had died, and she said "Lord, if thou had been here, my brother had not died". To draw her out of her "city" Jesus set an ambush. He said "Your brother shall rise again". This immediately provoked Martha into exposing her innermost thoughts: “I know that he shall rise again in the resurr­ection at the last day". Now Jesus struck home with a well aimed scripture: "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that belleves in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" Martha was defeated, She had been thinking in an outdated way about life and death, and she hadn't come to the point of full acceptance of who Jesus was, But now she said: "Yes, Lord: I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world".

Joshua 8:18 "And the Lord said unto Joshua, Stretch out the spear that

is in thy hand toward Ai; for I will give it into your hand". Another

reference to God stretching out His "spear" is in Isaiah ^9:2. where

Israel, the Lord, and Christians, are all suggested by the passage. Verse

2. "And He has made my south like a sharp sword; in the shadow of His

Hand has He hidden me, and made me a polished shaft; in His quiver has He

hidden me". Are you a "polished shaft" in the hand of the Lord? Are you a

sharp, mature Christian, able and ready to be used by God in His work? If

you are, then God will stretch you out over cities, and use you to defeat

the enemy. "For Joshua drew not his hand back, wherewith he stretched out

the spear, until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of

Ai". Jesus will not draw back his hand from supporting and directing a

Christian when that Christian is willing to be about his Master's work.


After the battle, Joshua gave thanks, and offered up burnt offerings, and then he wrote out the Law of the Lord and had it read to Israel(v55) "There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the congre­gation of Israel," If only the church would read out the scriptures in church instead of men's thoughts, and "nice" stories. If only the church would get back to the meat of the word, and start proclaiming the challenging life a Christian should be living; then the men would be weeded out from the boys. If only the church would make a stand against unrighteousness and wickedness in the world, instead of remaining silent while its own members talk about the acceptability of perversions and sinfulness. Where are the men of God, the true Christians? Have they all been so completely fooled that they can't see the 3ible standards set for them, or are they afraid of the truth and preferring to avoid conflict? (For example, one major denomination actually voted on whether to allow homosexuals into ordained positions! They didn’t need to vote – five minutes of reading the Bible would have settled the matter!)

The end of the verse just quoted says of who heard this reading session: "with the women, and the little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them". That is the scope of the word of God. No-one is excepted from its authority. All age groups and all races are expected to be obedient to and have love for the God of the Bible, and the Bible of God.

Joshua chapter nine brings out two very interesting aspects of what happens when we become a Christians. First of all, as we see in verse one, we tend to stir up hostility: "And it came to pass, when all the kings...heard...that they gathered themselves together, to fight with Joshua and with Israel, with one accord". 

The reaction we evoke is the normal, expected reaction when friends, neighbours, relatives, club mates, teachers and so on, find that we are a "new creature in Christ Jesus". They will immediately change in their words and actions towards us. Many will not become outwardly become hostile, but will instead make personal remarks which they will consider funny, not realizing the real situation, and we will just have to forgive them because they are acting and speaking in ignorance. Many will be much more openly anti-Jesus, and will say so. These are often the easiest ones to resist because they are at least open and frank about their position. But some will become bitterly opposed to us, and will be on the watch constantly for any slight error in our behav­iour - just as the priests watched Jesus for sin (and found none). The ones who are like this, in my experience, are usually self righteous, arrogant and proud of their sinfulness, thinking there is nothing wrong with their own lives, or if they are aware of some sin they will downplay it, and treat sin as if it is trivial. People like this will harrass us right through life - there is no end of them - but I have seen them converted, occassionally, so don't give up hope. These hostile ones will react violently to everything you do and say. Some may become outraged, incensed, even violent. They wmay resent everything you say, "reading into" it, and thinking (subjectively) thsat it is aimed at them. Mark 3:2 "And they watched Him, whether He would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse Him".

We weren't perfect before we were Christians, and we aren't perfect now; the big difference is that now we are living for Jesus and not for ourselves. Because of this change of emphasis, other people tend to become sensitive to us, and many will take offence. This is because most people are completely ignorant of what the Bible really says. They've been brought up on the lies and confusion sown by the devil, as he has worked through religious hot air, opinions of the world­ly-wise thoughts of non-Christian commentators, carnal ideas, skepticism, and so on, much of which is inculcated into children through the public schooling systems. This wealth of half-truths and misleading pseudo-scripture, filled with the philosophy and traditions of men, and counsel of misunderstanding, has resulted in a world-wide garbling of the Bible's real message.

When we get close to Jesus and take His words as they stand, we often find that even what is the accepted norm for Christian beliefs can sometimes be way off the beam, we discover the futility of traditional teachings, but at least there can be fellowship in spite of such differences. It is with the unbeliever that the differences are most obvious. Jesus said "It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?" Mat.10:25. 

The reaction of banding together against you may take a while to appear, but it will come to pass eventually, if you are a strong, active Christian. It may be that you go to school of some Course or other which  involves a classroom situation, and you maintain a constant Christian witness there. One day you may give your Bible-based opinion, and find that every member in the class laughs, or objects strongly. They are not fighting or laughing at you so much as the Lord Jesus whom you represent. When this sort of thing happens, rejoice.

The second reaction of Joshua nine is just as obvious in its effect on a Christian, if allowed to go unchecked. In the case of Joshua and Israel, they were met by what appeared to be men "from a far country", who wanted only peace. Joshua and Israel made the fatal mistakes of (1)Not asking God what to do in the situation, and,(2)Failing to obey God's already given commands. The command of God concerning the other nations in Israel's path was clear:

Deut.7;1-6. Note especially verse two "you shall make no covenant with them, nor show mercy to them". But Joshua and Israel "made peace with them, and made a league with them, to let them live: and the princes of the congregation swore (promised) to them".

How does this apply to us? Beware in your Christian life, of commitments which could become burdens. This is a subject which must be dealt with between you and the Lord, personally, but there are some examples available;

(1)The Christian couple who buy a house with a deposit, but end up both out working 2 jobs, and exhausted, and only just able to pay the payments, and too tired to do much else.

(2)The Christian who accepts extra work to make more money than he or she actually needs, and eventually gets caught in the snare of covetousness and greed. 

(5)The Christian who takes on a lengthy study to earn a degree on some subject because he or she thinks it will add something to the CV, but ends up feeling proud and superior and highly intellectual – thus ruining their ministry.

(4)0ut of kindness a Christian couple suspend their ministry (Kid’s Club or whatever) in order to look after some aged relative and eventually find, to their great sorrow, that the old person has brought nothing but stress and misery to the home.

(5)A zealous Christian may set out to serve a church, and in great enthusiasm accept all sorts of ‘jobs’ but then finds that his witness is completely obscured (swamped, drwoned) by continual, gospel-less social activities, and numerous tedious group meetings, and useless activities all through the week. A great potential buried.

In all of these examples the motives were sterling, but it does pay to look into the possible repercussions of our decisions, and to try to anticipate the results. Num.53:55 "But if you will not drive out the inhabitants of the land before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which you let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and they shall vex you in the land where you dwell". Luke 14:25-27 "And there went great multitude with Him: and He turned, and said to them, If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever doth not bear his cross, and come after Me, cannot be My disciple". Jesus must come first. Some people put Him first some times, but Jesus wants us to put Him first at all times.

    Jesus is quite a different leader to the "gentle Jesus meek and mild" which seems to be one of His popular images. The image of Joshua the warrior is more accurate. Jesus is also is a cross carrier, a “man of sorrows”, a maker of martyrs, a leader into rough battles where there may be pain, and sorrow and strained nerves. If you're a Christian you have vi&tory, and happiness, and a beautiful peaceful life, but there are times when clouds may form, and storms may blow. These blessings have their place, true, but it isn't always like that. Johnl6:55 "In this world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world". Rom.8:23 "...we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of the body". Heb.13:12,15 "Wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore to Him without the gate, bearing His reproach".

Joshua ten. Now we see what happens sometimes, when we make a commitment, which later takes effort to maintain, and uses up our precious time and energy, which should be used for the Lord. In this case, the Lord used Israel's mistake and turned it to His glory, so we also have here a good example of His ability to overrule situations.

The king of Jerusalem at that time, got all the neighbouring kings together, and decided to launch an attack on the Gibeonites, who had fooled Israel into making a covenant with them. As we might expect, Israel kept her covenant with the Gibeonites, and was consequently forced to go marching off to fight FOR their enemies. What a sad state of affairs. Not only was Israel lumbered with the Gibeonites, but now she had to go fighting for them as well. "So Joshua ascended from Gilgal, he, and all the people of war with him, and all the mighty men of valour"

Now, we may see three sides to this conflict. It was in God's plan for US, to show us how to act – a spiritual lesson. First we learn, that if we make a commitment, we are expected to keep to it, so it is a grave warning to us to be careful about what we take on – what we promise to do. Secondly we know that it was the declared intention of God to destroy certain Canaanite tribes, so He was not forgetting this even though it may have had the appearance of such. Thirdly we see that although the Gibeonite situat­ion forced Israel to march, it also stirred up the enemy, and put the enemy into a situation where they could be destroyed. The Gibeonites unwittingly became the perfect catalyst for the Lord's work.

The ensuing battle, sometimes called Joshua's long day, is worthy of a study all on its own. There are however, one or two things about it which stand out. One of these things is the fact that God killed more of the enemy with His "great stones" than Israel killed with the sword, and, so accurate was God that he picked off the enemy and at the same time missed His own men. "And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the Lord fought for Israel". This is remarkable targeting. From out of space came meteorites (perhaps) which struck only the enemy. Now this might happen once or twice by coincidence, but there is no coincidence with God. Every incoming missile had a name attached to it. When God has a special purpose in mind, and when He has His people fighting, He always takes special actions on their behalf. One of the most remarkable occurrences of recorded history has here been summarized for us in this book of Joshua, and all in a matter of seven verses. This fact indicates how much value God puts on it – just enough to warrant a mention. In proportion, however, He gives us twelve verses on how the Gibeonites fooled Israel. In proportion to that, He has given us four whole books about His Son,and twenty one books of explanation after that. By contrast, when man reports of great events, he tends to elevate the natural and denigrate the supernatural. He makes the event more important that the God behind the event. In the account in Joshua, we might have expected to read screes about the size and shape of the meteorites, the atmospheric conditions, the military movements and their respective leaders, with their comments, the number of dead, and,more to the point, the elevating of Joshua to the status of a sort of godlike leader. Instead, we see the true proportion of the event in the simplest of terms.

It was the Lord who commanded Joshua's military decisions, the Lord who slew the enemy, the Lord who cast down great stones from heaven, the Lord who delivered... "for the Lord fought for Israel".

For the Christian, situations may arise where we are forced to make a decision which we would rather avoid. It is better to go ahead in spite of opposition, than to turn away to easier actions, because Christians shine brightest where it is darkest. Joshua could have said "Well we made a mistake with those Gibeonites, so we'll just forget about them and let them be destroyed", but he didn't. He acknow­ledged he had made a mistake and he decided to keep his word. It would have been better if he'd seen through the Gibeonite's trick beforehand, but he didn't, so he went on, acting responsibly, according to the situation which had resulted.

I once met a Christian who had been living with another Christian girl for a short time, having had a child into the bargain. He asked me what he should do. I told him, in as many words: "You have made a covenant with the woman, and the result is a situation you can either be honourable in or you can run away from, which will probably make things even worse. The honourable thing to do is to marry her". This young Christian did get married, and now he and his wife have had more children, and they are both strong in the Lord, having built up a Christian family. It is a beautiful thing to see the joy and strength of this couple. Now the Lord is fighting for them, since they put their lives straight.

Joshua "made war a long time with those kings".(v18)The Christian life is not one which involves a few quick battles and then its all over. It is, rather, a long hard fight against many forms of evil, on many fronts - as explained in the study on Ephesians 6»Paul says, in ICor.15:51 that he stands in jeopardy every hour, and he dies daily, and in 2. Cor,1:7 he says "as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall you be also of the consolation". If you're a Christian, and you aren't being mocked, or resented by unbelievers, or under some sort of pressure to be "one of the boys", chances are you aren't godly enough. "..all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" 2Tim.5:12.

"For it was of the Lord to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favour, but that he might destroy them,"(v20).Many tines we meet people who are violently opposed to the gospel. Don't worry about them too much if they make a lot of noise, they are probably being stirred up by the Holy Spirit Holy Spirit as they come under convlction of sin. Another kind of rebellion is called apathy, or deliberate indifference. Apathy is a terrible thing because with the apathetic there is no reciprocation, no response, no reaction to the gospel. But when you preach and someone gets really mad with you, start praising God, because it might be only a short while before you see a conversion. Saul of Tarsus is a good example of the complete reversal in attitude. Imagine if he had been an apathetic man. We might never have had  most of the New Testament books for a

start, not to mention the numerous churches which he founded throughout


the then knowh world. God has to knock down the old building before He

builds the new one.


   Chapter twelve is a list of the lands taken and the kings destroyed by Israel.


Chapter thirteen follows naturally with several relevant things.

(1)Joshua, who represents his generation, is old and near to passing on,(2)There i6 much land still to be possessed - the battte isn't over yet,(3)Balaam the son of Beor is recorded as being dead,(4)Levi inherits God. Some spiritual applications follow:

(1)The church goes from generation to generation. As each new generation comes along, it takes over the positions and work within the Body of Christ which the former generation is leaving behind,and the responsibilities are passed along. What is your ministry in the Body of Christ? Were you just handed it by defalt, or were you called to it? Are you one of those Christians who warms the pew every Sunday and lets the minister do all the work, or are you studying the scriptures and preparing yourself for personal ministry to others? Every Christian in a church should be capable of doing the “work of the ministry”. There should be any inactive, passive, spectator Christians in a fellowship. But some might say that that's the minister's job, to preach. Show me one scripture and I'll believe you. The trouble is, you can't. In, the early days of the church, every Christian, after a short training period, went out preaching and establishing other new converts so that they in turn could go out and do the same. But then. the devil said, "Now look here; some of you are better at this preaching than others. Why don't you leave it to them. "And then the same thing happened to the small group so then gradually the number of workers grew smaller, and the number of listeners grwew larger. And so it is today. So,take note,and then take the initiative, and start writing new chapters to the book of Acts with your own life.

Joshua didn't have a fat Bible, as we do, today... he had to write it himself by his life. The part he wrote this way is the story of how he obeyed God. In so doing, he made history, and revealed God to us. How much greater should we be today, having received not only all the wealth of examples and knowledge of the Old Testament, but also the revelation of God in the face of the Man Christ Jesus, plus all the epistles which explain how we should walk with Jesus following,plus all the examples over the past 2000 years of men and women of God. "You (the present falling generation church) are old and stricken in years, and there remains yet VERY MUCH land to be possessed" Josh.13:1.

Christian, are you going to be satisfied with the little bit of land you have so far, or are you going to go out into the world and conquer more than the past generations have managed? It is so very easy to settle down and say: "We have a nice little church, a good little congregation, lots of old-faithfuls who come to everything, and we like the minister". On the other hand, it is much more worthwhile to say: "I am a Spirit-filled man of war, ready for


service. Here I am Lord. Put me to work."


(2)There is still much land to possess. The opportunities for witnessing are never exhausted. If you live in a town or city, it is impossible not to have neighbours. Paul said "For a great door and effectual is opened unto me.. ."1 Cor. 16:9 and Jesus says to us, in Rev.3:8 "I know your works: behold, I have set before you an open door, and no man can shut it; for you  have a little strength, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name". Do YOU have a "little strength"? Do you "keep" His word? Do YOU identify with Jesus in your daily life, and choose to live as a Christian? Jesus says to you that He has set before YOU an open door, a spiritual door has been flung wide for you.

In Luke 10:2 and Mat 9:37 and John 4:35 Jesus is speaking about the people around Him. He calls for "labourers", or workers, to go into the "harvest" and continue His work for Him. Labourers are  not necessarily reapers, but simply people who are prepared to obey the Lord and leave the results to Him. For example, notice, that even the Son of God couldn't win everyone to Himself, but He did at least provide a witness. He was a faithful labourer, but not always a successful reaper.

   In Mark, in the parable of the sower, the field is the world, and the seed is the word. The sower WENT out to sow. Note, the sower didn't wait for the fields to come to him, and the church shouldn't sit still and invite people in. The sowers have to GO OUT to sow. Is this a familiar pattern where you fellowship: you see the people arrive at the church,then they take their seats in the church, then they appreciate the minister ass they let the minister do the preaching to them, then they sing, and then they all go back home, until the next Sunday. Instead of sad and common scene, this is how it ought to be: every able member of the church should be going out to sow the word. Why do we find it acceptable to let a small group of dedicated Christians do the evangelism, when the Bible says it is the whole church which is expected to do this work?

The main reasons why Christians don't move into evangelism are simple:


1.They aren't built up in the scriptures properly. Yes, they go to Bible Classes, and they hear sermons regularly, but they don't systematically study the foundation stones of their faith, and develop a working knowledge of what they believe.

2..They don't know they are supposed to be evangelists


3.The ones who do realize, find they don't know the principles of winning

another – either that or they find excuses for not doing the work.


4.Churches always have Bible times, but few have training sessions for evange­lism. Rather, they prefer to go through the basics, as outlined in Hebrews six, year after year, year after year, until it comes out their ears. Very few Christian bookstores stock books on evangelism. I wonder why? (3)Balaam the son of Beor is recorded as being dead. The story behind this is very interesting. King Balak tried to hire Balaam, a 'professional' prophet, to curse Israel for him. Balaam tried three times, but each time God spoke through him instead, and He uttered great blessings (Num 22-^4) instead of the intended curses. As a result, Balaam went home unpaid - but before he went, he told Balak that if he wanted to strike a deadly blow against Israel, he should introduce foreign elements into the nation. This devlish trick succeeded to a certain extent, dragging down the Israelites in six stages. Each stage is relevant to Christains too:

1.Num 25:1-3 "And Israel ABODE in Shittim,(lived near the danger)   2.and the people BEGAN to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab(showed an interest in the thing forbidden by God),

   5.And they CALLED the people to the sacrifices of their gods (attracted by the thing forbidden by God, and agreeing with the evil),

   4. And the people did EAT (began to partake of the thing forbidden by



   5.And BOWED down to their gods(identified with the things forbidden by 


God, with an open, public display)


6. And Israel JOINED himself unto Baalpeor: (the final stage in diso­bedience, the complete willful turning away from God).

The judgment on this sin was: (v4) "And the Lord said unto Moses, take all the heads of the people, and hang them up before the Lord against the sun" The principles here outlined don't end here, however, but in fact run right through the Bible.

In 2Pet.2:15 it says "Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone

astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the

wages of unright­eousness; but was rebuked for his iniquity". In Jude 11

it says "Woe unto them for they greedily after the error of

Balaam for reward..." Jesus has the last word on the matter in

Rev2:14 "But I have a few things against you, because you have there them

that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a

stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed

unto idols, and to commit fornication". Remember, this message is

addressed to a church, and is therefore directed at what should be a

gathering of Christians.


Much of our Christian lives are made up of decisions. We choose this or we choose that. We have our own personal views of many things, which is good, but let us now examine ourselves as to whether we have mixed something unholy into our holy lives. Have we done what Aaron's two sons did, and offered up "strange fire", or irregular worship to God? (Lev 10;1) Remember what Jesus said about true Christian worship (John 4;24).Have we tried to combine something which God despises with something which God commends? It would be worthwhile to just think about this for a moment.

(4) Levi inherits God. Christians "inherit ‘God’ too. We become sons and priests to Him on conversion, and have a tremendous future - see Malachi 5;16-18. Remember, the Levites were chosen for service, not pew warming. They had to be the nation's civil service - the people who handled the affairs of state. They were regarded as servants of the priests, and God counted them as His firstborn, His own possession, instead of the actual firstborn of all Israel. We Christians are also expected to be effective administrators in God's kingdom, as we work within the present circumstances and government of the day. God regards us as His, and expects us to serve Him faithfully. The Levites had to pay tithes to the priests, so too, we should offer to Jesus, our High Priest, tithes of our lives and the substance of our hands, as we go about His business.

Being a son of God is an awesome privilege, matched by no other rank or position in the world. We are separated out from countless millions of people, by our Creator, and given His Spirit, and His Word - all freely given - and we are then expected to take the good news of reconciliation to others.


(The remainder of the study was missing – some dog-eared, brown, crumpled sheets had fallen from the folder - but you may like to pick it up here and carry it on for your own edification)

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