Posts Tagged ‘Israelites’

You ever wonder how you ended up at a particular point? How on earth you got into some precarious situations? You give someone the benefit of the doubt, compromised in just the smallest way and gravitated to that situation you know you had no business entertaining. It’s something we all do, but ladies let me come at you for a minute.  We are especially guilty when it comes to men we allow into our personal space. We are quick to tolerate less than we deserve and accept someone who will never see our full value at the expense of having companionship or a “beau” on our arm for the summer.

By the time we reach the book of Joshua, the 6th book of the Bible, Moses Israel’s great deliverer is dead. God has raised up Joshua in his place to lead His people. The stage was set for Israel to enter the Promised Land as God had said they would. First stop: Jericho. God had already made provision for the Israelites to conquer this strong, fortified city. The bible describes it having a great wall around it, which implies a strong military presence and some serious defense tactics. Yet God had already declared to His children that they would have the victory despite how great the people of Jericho were. Once God said it, it was already done.  It just simply required that they follow  His instruction and go forward in obedience. We knew they would make out good—after all this was the beginning of the land described as “flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 33:3, NKJV).   Translation: living here meant living the good life. Joshua only gave one explicit warning before they went forward:

“…by all means abstain from the accursed (the word “devoted” used in some Bible translations) things, lest you become accursed when you take of the accursed things,…” (Joshua 6: 18, NKJV)

The English word accursed in this context is translated from the Hebrew word cherum which is related to “devoting or banning.”  Hence depending on the context it could mean the actual act of devoting or banning something/someone or it can describe the state of the devoted or banned thing/person. In Hebrew, it generally means ” separating” or “devoting specifically to God”. So anything that would interfere with the Israelites’ relationship with God, lead them astray or prevent them from living holy and righteous was banned from the Israelites by the Lord.  In the case of Jericho, the city was then cursed or marked/devoted to God for destruction. (http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/accursed/)

So what was really so bad in Jericho that God marked the entire nation off limits to the Israelites? Basically everything. The people of Jericho belonged to a group of nations that the Bible labels as Canaanites. These were a people who worshipped false idols and false gods; they did not acknowledge God as supreme ruler or Creator. Hence to avoid the risk of contamination, God continuously forbid the children of Israel from mingling with this group and being influenced to practice such abominable acts as child sacrifice, sodomy and other forms of sexual pervison that was allowed as part of the Canaanite religion. It is then  believed God told Israel to destroy the nation of Jericho so they would not be polluted by them.   The people, the statues of the false gods they worshipped, the altars  where they sacrificed—everything that could potentially hinder the Israelites from fellowship with God had to go!  It was so serious, that objects made of precious metals like gold, silver and bronze could not be kept by the Israelites for their own personal use, but had to be put in the treasury of the Lord’s temple (Joshua 6:24).

So the question is, who or what are you involved with that is deterring you from God and the things of God?  What is contaminating you?   Just like God was speaking through Joshua those thousands of years ago, God is warning us today to stay away from the accursed things!  There are some people, situations,  thought patterns and habits that we are entertaining that carries the label accursed.  Every person that crosses your path is not meant to be in your life permanently or intimately.  This  is not to speak badly of anyone.  Let’s face it, all of us were under the curse of sin through the disobedience of  Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.   Jesus came and died for our sins and in accepting him as Lord, we are no longer under the Curse, we have eternal life and we have the privilege to be in relationship with God.  Yet there are some people, sometimes knowingly or unknowingly, the devil uses to steer us off course.  And we hold on to those who are  literally toxic to our lives, our purpose and our successes.  There are some situations created to lead us to destruction.  We continue to repeat habits,  entertain thought patterns and refuse to relinquish ways that the devil is using to sabotage us and the blessings God has for our lives.   As God’s children there are just simply some places we cannot go and some things that we cannot do.  Anything that is not of God, ultimately will separate you from God and the fullness of life He has for you.

So take a survey and ask God to identify those things/circumstances/characteristics and people in and around you that need to be deleted out of your life. We often can’t do it alone.  Frequently, it requires working in collaboration with our Father.  Sometimes we have to do our part being proactive about removing the mess from our lives and other times God in His wisdom will graciously intervene without question.   Ask God with a genuine heart to help delete them and you will be surprised at how He moves in His mercy.   Warning! Warning!  The pruning process may hurt to be sure –we love to cling to the things  that are not good for us. But I am a living witness that what God removes, he replaces with what is best for you. Don’t wait until you suffer the consequences of the contamination to detoxify your life. Be intentional going forward, about what you allow in your space.  God is saying here and now…abstain from the accursed things!

Elevation requires some cancellation…..and yet still I rise.

With peace and blessings may you continue to rise always,

Stillirise 323

(CONTINUATION OF POST:  I KNOW IT WAS THE BLOOD).  PLEASE SEE THAT POST FOR PAGE 1)

The Blood of Jesus Reconciles Us Back to God

Central to Christianity is the notion that through the sin of Adam and Eve disobeying God in the Garden of Eden, mankind was eternally separated from God. God cannot tolerate sin and unholiness.  He just can’t. There has to be a mediator of some sort, something to buffer the sin.   As such, God still was merciful and still preserved mankind despite our sins throughout the ages. What was one way he did it?  Before Jesus came, God set up a system in ancient Israel where the sacrifices of animals were required payment for the atonement of sins and a gesture of worship towards Him . Leviticus 17:11 says , “For the life of the flesh [is] in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it [is] the blood [that] maketh an atonement for the soul.  Depending on the sin and the type of offering you were giving, certain animals including bulls, goats and lambs, often  pure and without defect of the animal were the only acceptable sacrifices based on the Lord’s specifications.   Imagine the thousands of animals sacrificed and the gallons of blood shed in those years!  Why? Because no different from those of us living today, those ancient folks always sinned, so they always had to be offering sacrifices day and night.    Keeping it real with God like I do, my question would be, “Lord did it really take all of that?” Never the less, this is how it was.  The blood of those specifically chosen animals, “paid for” if you will and covered the sins of the people of Israel so that they could have a relationship with God and not be destroyed by his wrath.  Instead of seeing their sin and destroying the people, God saw the pure blood of those sacrifices and granted the sinner pardon.  The blood of those animals served as the buffer between Israel and the judgement and wrath of God. That sacrificial system was the foreshadowing of what Jesus would ultimately do on the cross.   Jesus came as God in the form of man, living a sinless life, pure and without defect.  He served as the perfect sacrifice who gave His life by the shedding of His blood, that we would have the opportunity to be once and for all reconciled back to God.  No more bulls or lambs needed.  He was the guiltless Lamb of God. You must only acknowledge that your are sinner, genuinely repent of those sins, submit your life to God and acknowledge and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.  Doesn’t mean you will never sin–but when you fall, those sins are forgotten by God, once you ask for forgiveness, through the atoning power of the blood of Jesus.  Instead of your sins, God sees the blood payment of His beloved Son. Please note the correction.  I initially said in he original post that the blood of Jesus covers all sins.  Pardon my miswriting.  As pointed out, I want to be sure to clarify and emphasize that  the blood of Jesus, unlike the blood sacrifices of animals takes away our sins. John said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who TAKES AWAY the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) and Hebrews 9:26 further states “Now once at the consummation of the ages He has manifested to PUT AWAY SIN by the sacrifice of Himself.”   Where the blood sacrifice of animals could only cover our sins and require a continued sacrificing of the blood to be in right relationship with God, the blood of Jesus did what thousand of sacrifices could never do–it completely erased our sins.   Not limited to sins we have committed in the past, but for every offense we would ever commit in our lives, Jesus paid the price with His life and His blood.    (Thanks so much to my friend Cory Quarterman for pointing out the need for correction, the importance of clarification and the supporting verses). This if nothing else is the central point in our having victory over Satan and the forces of darkness. You cannot defeat him  and have eternal life in heaven without first having reconciliation and relationship with God.

The Blood of Jesus Establishes The Blood Covenant With God— A Covenant of Blessings, Benefits and Breakthroughs

Now I will be the first to admit I really didn’t know all of the ramifications of what this meant.  I’ve heard about the blood covenant here and there, but after researching for this blog post and getting greater understanding I must say I am encouraged, empowered and excited! The idea of a blood covenant is not exclusive to Christianity.  Apparently it is  a concept that has been seen in most cultures throughout the world from the beginning of human history.  Wayne Nelson, in the article Understanding the Blood Covenant  (http://www.faithwriters.com/article-details.php?id=4089)  states that a blood covenant simply means  that two covenant individuals share such a close relationship with each other that all they have or possess in this life is available to each upon demand.  Now that’s pretty deep!  So how does that apply to us as Christians and children of God who have a blood covenant with Him through the blood of Jesus Christ.   It means all that God has, by the binding agreement of the covenant relationship  is available to us and all that we have by the binding of the covenant relationship is available to God.  Doesn’t this line up with the biblical scriptures:  “…if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ,…. (Romans 8:17, NIV) and “…Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s” (Romans 14:8, NKJV). Gleaning from the example Mr. Nelson gives us in the article, if God for instance wants you to preach His holy word, under the blood covenant your answer would be to submit to God’s will.  God on His part then, on your asking should answer by  providing  what you need, for example the words,  stamina,  power and anointing to convey His announcements to His people.  So what does the blood covenant bring?

                                      The Blood Covenant Brings: 

a) Deliverance

He(Jesus)  too shared in their humanity so that by his death he (Jesus)  might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death (Hebrews 2:15)

b) Victory

Having disarmed principalities and powers (i.e. satanic forces) He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.” (Colossians 2:15)

“For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8)

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” (Revelation 12:11)

3) Cleansing and Purification from Sin

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. (1 John 1:7, NKJV)

All that God has, all that we need–love, joy, peace, strength, rest, renewal, healing, restoration, the list goes on, is ours through the blood of Jesus!

The Blood of Jesus Protects

-Now this is a topic up for debate.  Not so much that there is a question of whether the blood of Jesus brings protection.  Most Christians believe it to be true and don’t question in.  If the Lord used the blood of an ordinary lamb on the doorpost of His people, the Israelites,  to prevent destruction from coming upon  them during the Passover as seen in the scripture:  The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt (Exodus 12:13, NKJV) surely we can infer that the royal blood of Jesus protects us more completely. But the debate is over whether people need to declare or  as they say in church lingo “plead the blood of Jesus” for protection against Satanic attack. People for example will plead the blood of Jesus over their home to protect against disaster,  over their minds to keep their thoughts holy and prevent influence by evil thoughts and plead the blood over themselves and their loved ones for safety and protection.   This is honestly something I had some question about, because I hear and see many great spiritual leaders who I admire and who I would consider mentors, pray and speak this way regularly and I actually feel very comfortable doing it.  But truthfully, I never saw it written in the scriptures and I always questioned where that practice came from. So here stands the 2 sides of the argument: some argue that pleading the blood of Jesus is not biblical. That the work of the blood is already done and we are already under the protection of the blood. We don’t need to go around chanting it over every thing in our lives as if it is some magic phrase to call down the protection of God.  On the other hand, those who support using the phrase really believe the utterance of the phrase, works in the spiritual realm to disarm and dismantle demonic forces and demonic attacks because of the power the blood carries.  My take—I see both sides.  I have been around people who plead the blood of Jesus almost mechanically over everything, going as far as to even say “blood them up, blood them up” when pleading the blood for protection  of loved ones, those who don’t know Christ and against their enemies as they get into a frenzy.  That magic potion way of using the phrase, I don’t agree with.  But I have heard stories where people plead the blood over property and everything surrounding that property is destroyed while the property is spared and I myself must confess several times when I am held in my sleep by whatever force holding me, my cry of the blood of Jesus allows me to wake up and break from the hold.  The best explanation that resonated with me was given by Dr. Pat of Lunch Date With Jesus Prayer Line, that explained that when we say the blood of Jesus against demonic spirits, although they already know the power of the blood, it is like a reminder to them that they don’t have the right or the power to touch that thing or person covered in the blood.  So my opinion, done responsibly and by the leading of the Holy Spirit, it can benefit us and there is no harm in doing it.  But either way whether you say it or not, we know the power of the blood is already working. The work of Christ is done and we can easily ask specifically for what we need.  I leave it up to you to let the Holy Spirit guide you on this notion.

In those 3 beloved people I saw the power of God on display first hand. Joel lost his battle to cancer and went home to be with the Lord Tuesday, December 17, 2013.  Although the Lord did not heal Joel in this life, I have the peace of God that He is present with the Lord and healed on the other side of heaven in eternity.  My dear friend Kerri-Ann had brain surgery where it was discovered that the bleeding was due to an unknown aneurysm in the brain.  The aneurysm was treated and her recovery has been miraculous.  She never lost consciousness, never had any neurological deficits–she’s been talking, walking, singing, praying for others and praising this whole time.  Don’t tell me my God ain’t awesome!  Daddy had to be helicoptered immediately for emergency surgery to the nearest qualifying hospital for repair of the aortic dissection. He was within minutes of death’s door. After 5 hour open heart surgery, he is at home recovering discharged home 4 days ago.  His healing has been astounding as well.  Nothing but the sovereign hand of God could do this!  Nothing but the divine majesty of our Lord in all 3 lives!  All possible by nothing but the Blood of Jesus!…and yet still I Rise

With peace and blessing may you continue to rise always,

Stillirise323