JOSHUA 5 – Are We There Yet?

05/12/2020 – Come Out, Cross, and Fight

Joshua 5:1 – “Now when all the Amorite kings west of the Jordan and all the Canaanite kings along the coast heard how the Lord had dried up the Jordan before the Israelites before we crossed over, their hearts melted and they no longer had the courage to face the Israelites.”

What a shame Israel didn’t know that. Ever since they arrived in this strange and hostile new land, they’ve lived in constant fear and uncertainty about the nations around them.  All the cities had huge walls.  The armies were large and well equipped. Israel had no idea that their enemies had given up before the battles even started. The Amorites and the Canaanites weren’t afraid of Israel, but they were scared to death of what Israel’s GOD was able to do. No god they believed in was able to do those things.

It’s a shame Christians don’t know the truth about how Satan feels and what he’s thinking. How tragic that Christians continue to struggle daily with doubt, anxiety, discouragement, and fear.  They don’t realize that Satan knows he’s not going to win.  He’s no match for the Lord God Almighty and he knows it.

Satan knows his time is short and, even though he knows he can’t win, he’s determined not to go down without a fight.  He wants to take down as many believers as he can. He may not be able to change the outcome, but he’s going to do everything he can to delay the inevitable.

Joshua 5:12 – The manna stopped the day after they ate this food from the land; there was no longer any manna for the Israelites, but that year, they ate the produce of Canaan.”

How can we tell if we’re in the Promised Land? When can we expect to start living that abundant life? We’ll know we’re in the Promised Land when the manna stops. Every morning, for the past 40 years the Lord would drop the manna down from heaven and the people would gather it up and eat it. It didn’t taste very good, but it kept them alive.  It was a minimum amount of nourishment that required a minimum amount of effort.

But, one day, the Israelites went out and there was no manna on the ground. When we have surrendered our lives to Jesus and we’re totally consecrated to Him; when we’re ready to start living the quality of life the Lord has prepared for us to live; He will not spoon feed us anymore.  We become accountable; we become responsible for our own spiritual diets and nutritional health. We can’t complain about “not being fed.”

 Joshua 5:12b – “They ate the produce of Canaan.”  There is a delicious, nutritious feast of great food prepared for us at the banquet table of the Lord; everything from the milk to the meat and it’s all in God’s Word.  Look for it.  Find it.  Eat it and enjoy it.  It’s all prepared especially for us by the Holy Spirit.

OK, so we’ve passed through the Red Sea. We’ve crossed the Jordan River. Are we there yet? Can we finally relax and live life to its fullest? Not yet. There’s one more detail that has to be taken care of.

From the start, Israel had no choice.  If they wanted to stay alive, Israel HAD to come out of Egypt. They were in bondage. They were forced to make bricks without straw. They were starving. They were suffering. If they had not come out, they would have died there as slaves.

Like Israel, we have to COME OUT of our Egypt TO ESCAPE our bondage to sin and the power of sin over our lives. We have to come out of our Egypt to escape God’s judgment for our sin. We come out of Egypt when we repent. We have to be willing to accept the reality of our sin and repent.  We have to turn away from that sin and turn toward Jesus. We have to come out of that old life, or we’ll remain captive to it and will eventually die in our sin. We have to accept Christ as our Savior and trust in Him alone for the forgiveness of sin. (John 3:16)  

  After coming out of Egypt, Pharaoh and his entire army were coming after them to take them back to Egypt, back to their life of misery, hopelessness, and bondage.  They had to pass through the Red Sea to live and be free. (Exodus 14)

Do I have to pass through the Red Sea?  Absolutely! It’s part of the escape from Egypt. When Israel passed through the Red Sea, all their old enemies, including Pharaoh, were destroyed. They knew they would never be slaves there again.  The Red Sea is a type of baptism. It doesn’t save us but it publicly declares that our old life is dead, and, in Jesus, we have been made new.  We will never be the slaves of sin again.

Do I have to cross the Jordan River?  Not really, it’s not a matter of life or death.  If you’re saved, you can be sure that, by grace through faith, you’ll be in heaven someday. But you’ll continue to wander around aimlessly with little fruit to how for your efforts until you’re ready to cross your Jordan River.

            We cross our Jordan River when we decide to stand firm against the powerful circumstances in our lives that have become barriers; that have become obstacles; that have become excuses for not fully serving the Lord.  We consecrate ourselves in full surrender. We put Jesus first and we move forward.  We CROSS TO OBTAIN the life the Lord desires us to live.

  But before Israel can relax, settle down, and begin to enjoy their new home, they have to FIGHT TO POSSESS; to possess the new land they’ve been given. 

Some of life’s toughest battles are fought right after we decide to stand firm for Jesus.  But, if Jesus came that I might live a full, productive, and victorious life, if the Lord wants me to enjoy my life, if He wants me to live in peace and be at rest, if the Lord wants my life to have meaning and purpose, if He’s giving me these things, if these things are mine, why do I have to constantly be fighting some kind of battle to possess them?

 The land of Canaan was occupied by people who had been there a very long time.  They considered it to be their land and they were not about to move over or move out without putting up a fight.  This world is currently being ruled by what the Bible calls, “spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”(Ephesians 6:12) It’s what we, as believers, commonly refer to as “spiritual warfare.”

Satan considers this to be his world.  He’s used to giving the orders and having his own way.  The principalities and powers that rule this world are not just going to roll over or move out without declaring all out spiritual warfare against anyone who tries to stand against them.

  When the Lord gives us joy, they keep trying to take it away.  When the Lord wants to heal us, they fight to keep us from receiving it.  They’ll lie to us and tell us that the Lord doesn’t want us to have these things.  They’ll keep saying He’s angry at us.  He’s given up on us.  We’ve failed Him.  We’ve disappointed Him.  We don’t have enough faith.  Life was better before we became Christians.  That old life really wasn’t that great, but it was safer.  It was quieter. 

Living the abundant life can be a real struggle, but the rewards are worth it.  Like Israel, we fight to possess a full, productive, and victorious life.

Next time, Lord willing, we’ll watch Israel begin fighting to possess their inheritance.  Love hearing from you.  I hope you’re finding these blogs to be helpful, meaningful, relevant, and worth the time spent reading them. If so, invite others to get In God’s Word with Pastor Buj.

Published by pastorbuj

I have over forty-five years of pastoral experience serving churches in Rhode Island, New York State and California. After retirement, I wrote and published a book titled, "Why Did He Bother? A Pastor's Account of God's Abundant Mercy, Love, and Grace." It is available as a paperback, e-book and audible from Amazon.com. My newest venture is a Bible teaching blog site called "pastorbuj.wordpress.com"

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