March 11, 2018

The Bible is our Daily Bread!


TEXT : Jos 1:5  There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Jos 1:6  Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. Jos 1:7  Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. Jos 1:8  This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Jos 1:9  Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
Moses is dead, and Joshua has a difficult task ahead of him. First, he must follow in the footsteps of the Lawgiver - Moses. This alone is no small accomplishment. Then, he has the assignment of leading Israel to war. No doubt, these two undertakings is the reason why God has to command Joshua to be strong and of good courage. On the one hand, he must now replace Moses. On the other hand, he must seek God on his own in making decisions critical to Israel's future. Remember, God does not tell His servants all they need, or will need to know in advance. God has not done this in the Old Testament or the New.
Therefore, we have the exhortation from God to Joshua to be strong. He promises to be with him as He was with Moses, but Joshua cannot fail in courage. God gives these appeals in the Scriptures to His leaders, prophets, and people because human nature is prone to weaknesses such as fear. Keep in mind the characters in the Bible are men and women just like us. In the Book of James, God instructs us that Elijah was man with the same passions we possess. However, the Word of God further reminds how these patriarchs and heroes of the Bible overcame their anxieties and concerns through faith. They are our examples to follow.
In the conquest of Jericho, the first city to fall under the Mighty Hand of God, it is interesting to observe the only person to receive deliverance was a prostitute. If we wrote the Bible, we would have great men and women, people of standing in the community, people of prominence, wealth, and religious devotion spared. Yet, God selects an immoral woman. We may find this strange, yet it is not. All men and women are sinners, and those who God will call just and righteous before His throne, must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that seek Him.
As the woman caught in the act of adultery in the Gospel according to John chapter 8, she received forgiveness of her sins because no one was able to condemn her. That is, no one except God, and He is the justifier of all that seek Him through Jesus Christ. Therefore, Rahab and her family escape the ravages of war and its destruction because she believed in the God of Israel whom everyone in Jericho had heard about. This now brings us to another interesting fact.
Rahab tells the two spies sent to survey Jericho before Israel attacked it, that everyone has heard of the mighty acts of the God of Israel - Jehovah, the Self-existent One. This is noteworthy because the view of the spies sent out from Kadesh-barnea many years before came back with an evil report of this same land and city. The ten spies sent out four decades earlier said they were as grasshoppers in the sight of the nations of Canaan, and the inhabitants of Canaan saw them the same way. For this sin, Israel wandered in the desert for forty years when the distance to Canaan was only a week and a half's journey away!
Let us look at the difference between what the ten spies thought, and what the truth was.
Num 13:31 But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. Num 13:32  And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. Num 13:33 And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight. This is the negative, unbelieving report of the ten spies who discouraged the heart of the people of Israel. The ten spies contradicted God's Word, and this is something we do not want to emulate!
Now, let us look at the truth of what the citizen of Jericho and Canaan actually thought.
Jos 2:10  For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. Jos 2:11 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.
What a disparity between the judgments of the ten spies and the truth of God! Again, we must look to men like Joshua and Caleb, who saw the same cities and people that the other ten spies saw, but refused to defile themselves and the people of God through unbelief. As you know, Joshua and Caleb are the only two adults from the original exodus of Israelites that entered Canaan. They entered because they knew God cannot lie, and they chose to believe God's Word. We must do the same at all times.
There is a similarity at the start of Joshua's ministry as it was with Moses. That is, there is a parting of the waters of the Jordan River as there was with the Red Sea. Joshua tells Israel this will happen so Israel will know God is going to be with them in conquering the nations of Canaan, and also, that all the people of the earth may know the Hand of the Lord.
Jos 3:9 And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, Come hither, and hear the words of the LORD your God. Jos 3:10  And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you, and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and the Perizzites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Jebusites. Jos 3:11 Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth passeth over before you into Jordan. Jos 3:12 Now therefore take you twelve men out of the tribes of Israel, out of every tribe a man. Jos 3:13 And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon an heap. Jos 3:14  And it came to pass, when the people removed from their tents, to pass over Jordan, and the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people; Jos 3:15  And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest,) Jos 3:16  That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan: and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho. Jos 3:17  And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan. Jos 4:23 For the LORD your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over: Jos 4:24 That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the LORD your God for ever.
Joshua is told to meditate in the Word of God day and night. He is never to let the Word leave his mouth so he can remember what God has commanded him to do. If he will do this, God tells him he will have good success.
There is no substitute for Biblical mediation and memorization. The two together forms an indomitable fortress in the mind to withstand the attacks of our enemy - Satan, when he comes to steal, kill, and destroy. We know he goes about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Biblical mediation is the strongest weapon along with prayer that we have.
Joshua's success in leading the children of Israel is based on his obedience to this commandment. He meditated all day long on God Word and promises. He did not forget His commands. Therefore, he was able to conquer successfully Canaan through the power of God. There is a direct correlation between Joshua's meditation in the Bible and his inspiring and successful leadership of Israel into battle.
John Gill remarks on Joshua 1:8.
"This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth,.... He was often to read it, frequently repeat it, and speak of it, to refresh his own memory with it, and the memory of those about him. Jarchi restrains it to the book of Deuteronomy now before him: but thou shalt meditate therein day and night; whenever he had any leisure from the important business of his office, whether by day or night, see Psa_1:2, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein; which frequent speaking of it, and constant meditation on it, would lead unto: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success; in his wars with the Canaanites."
All Christians must take a page out of Joshua's life and make Biblical meditation their own habit as well. That is, we must meditate in the Word all day long every day. If we do, then the promises given to Joshua will be true for us as well, even as David wrote in Psalm 1. God's Word is our bread!
Psa 1:1  Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. Psa 1:2  But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. Psa 1:3  And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. Psa 1:4  The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Psa 1:5  Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. Psa 1:6  For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shal l perish.
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