Posts Tagged ‘Joshua’

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

Many  people, Christian and non-Christian know the epic story from the book of Exodus of how God parted  the Red sea so that the Israelites could escape their enemies, the Egyptians.  But that wasn’t their last encounter with facing water as an obstacle.  Fast forward to the book of Joshua where they now faced the River Jordan  and God would move miraculously again.  Unlike the first time, when God told Moses to raise his rod and the waters divided, this time with Joshua as their leader, the bible says that the:

“..feet of the priests who bore the ark dipped in the edge of the water…. and  the waters that came from upstream stood still and rose in a heap very far away…(Joshua 3:16, NKJV).  Then the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan; and all Israel crossed over on dry ground…”(Joshua 3:17).  And finally,  ” when all the people had completely crossed over, the ark of the Lord and the priests crossed over in the presence of the people” (Joshua 4:11)

The ark of the covenant, a chest holding the ten commandments, represented the presence of God on the earth. It was considered sacred and holy and not just every and anybody  could carry this sacred treasure. But notice a few things:

1)It was designated that only the Levitical  priests, a chosen group that was set apart for unique dedication to God, could carry the ark.  This was in addition to their duties of offering sacrifices to God to make atonement for the sins of the people as well as pronouncing blessings over the people.

 2)The priests had to step out first into the water, bearing the ark of the covenant and then the people came after.

3)The priest did to cross over themselves until all the people crossed first.

Obviously, the levitical priests played a vital role in the survival of the Israeli nation.   And their function served as a foreshadowing of what Jesus would do for all of us once and for all. Since Jesus Christ died on the cross as a living sacrifice so that our sins could be forgiven and our relationship restored with God, we no longer have need for a levitical priest to work on our behalf.  With Christ as our Lord standing as the perfect High priest , we in turn have become “… a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation…” (1 Peter 2:8) selected to show the world  the goodness of God.  All true Christians now function as priests to the Lord God Almighty.

Furthermore, just as the levitical priests of the bible bore the ark of the covenant, we must bear/carry the glory of God to do His work and make an impact on the lives around us.  As the priests were required to be holy,  we are called to consecrate (i.e. dedicate, devote ) ourselves to God and strive to be holy.  But it’s not so simple! It may mean you have to move ahead of the people and come out of the crowd.  Will you do it?  It may mean the Lord will take you through a rigid lifelong process of molding, shaping and transformation.  People, things, attitudes, character traits–anything that hinders you from becoming the righteous person God demands you to be will be uprooted. Will you cooperate?  You may have to be first to step into unknown waters with faith and trust,  so that those coming behind you (i.e. unsaved family members, friends in need,  etc.) can safely cross over.  Struggles will come!  Will you go? Are you selfless enough to stand firm and sacrifice your own needs so that others may cross safely. Even when it seems like you are being left behind while others move forward.  Can you do it?

The closer you get to God, the more of His glory will be revealed through you.  But carrying God’s glory is not a joke. The requirements of those levitical priests to remain holy were stringent.  Any deviation meant instant death.  They could not approach Him unholy and without some payment for their sins and the sins of the nation.  But thank God for the blood of Jesus that was shed  that we can approach His throne despite our faults and be forgiven by His grace and mercy. Thank God for the payment of the blood of Jesus, that grants us eternal life  and not death.

God wants to demonstrate His power and work miracles through you.  But to carry God’s glory, you must know there will be trials, struggles and hardships.  Don’t let this deter you.  Take hope in the fact that God says “…as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will never leave or forsake you” (Joshua 1:5, NKJV).  Be strong and of good courage….(Joshua 1:6).  With God, you can do all things.  The blessings of His glory far exceed the hardships….and yet still I rise.

With peace and blessings may you continues to rise always,

Stillirise 323