“Failure To Seek God’s Counsel First” Josh. 9:14-15

“Failure To Seek God’s Counsel First” Josh. 9:14-15

“And the men took of their victuals/provisions and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD.” Joshua 9:14

How do you go from ‘ultimate defeat’ in chapter seven, to ‘ultimate victory’ in chapter eight, to ‘ultimate stupidity’ in chapter nine, to ‘ultimate victory’ in chapter ten? Because the LORD is the center of your victory or His absence is the cause of your defeat and stupidity. Joshua, Joshua, Joshua, wake up and smell the humus! Over, and over, and over; aren’t you glad, we are not like that? We always learn from our mistakes the first time, right? Oh, did they lie and deceive Joshua and his men into thinking they were from a far away country, by wearing old clothes, bringing old, torn wine skins, and moldy bread? The Jewish people had learned that obedience was necessary for victory at Jericho and Ai but they had not learned the need for ‘Divine Guidance’ for their journey as of yet, or that, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD,” and his stops too.

The Gibeonites would only bring trouble to Israel Josh. 10:4-15; II Sam. 21:1-14. Also the very presence of the Gibeonites across the center of the ‘Promised Land’ would isolate the ten tribes in the north from the two tribes in the south. This led to hard feelings and the dividing of the kingdom in Rehoboam and Jeroboam’s day, I King’s 12.

Joshua 9:15 says, “And Joshua made (asah; made an offering or sacrifice of peace (shalom) with them (the Gibeonites) and he made a (ka-rath; to cut, or kill, to cut a covenant something had to die) to make a league (ber-eth; a pledge, a covenant, an alliance, a treaty) with them (the Gibeonites) to let them live (kha-ya; to have life, remain alive, live prosperously) and the princes (na-se; chiefs, captains, leaders) of the congregation swore (sha-vah; adjure, took an oath, seven, the septenary number was sacred) unto them.” Oaths were confirmed either by seven sacrifices, see Gen. 21:28, or seven witnesses or seven pledges. This was a very binding ‘Pledge or Covenant’ which they took. They swore an oath, they cut a covenant, they sacrificed an animal to God, they made a peace offering, they pledged their allegiance, they shed innocent blood, and they promised them a prosperous life and protection without ever seeking God’s counsel, advice or face. They never consulted the ‘High Priest,’ or the ‘Urim & Thummim.’ They will soon find out but too late, the godless always divide the Godly, ALWAYS!

Their second mistake or maybe it was their first was not seeking out God’s word for direction and instruction, because Exodus 23:28-33 which they just read at the end of chapter eight at the altar on Mount Ebal says, “And I will send hornets before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before them,” v. 29. “I will  not drive them out from before thee in one year; lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against thee.”  (Interesting, this same principle works in His church with cleansing. He doesn’t drive the hornets or busy-bees out all at once).  v. 30, says, “By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased and inherit the land.”  Note v. 32, “Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods.”  And Joshua goes on and does just that.  Do you see now the importance of, ‘The Word & Prayer’ and how they must go together and stay together all the time?  God intended it to work that way.  We go to His Word to seek the mind of God on a particular matter then we go to His Throne to seek the will of God on that matter; They work, ‘hand in hand.’  They are like two rails of a train track and you need both to keep your train on track or it will surely crash.  The Gibeonites will be a nest of hornets in Israel’s flesh all because Joshua and Israel’s leaders did not seek God’s word and God’s face before making a covenant with a foreign Godless nation. (Wake up America!)

So, Joshua and the nation of Israel traveled three days and found the liars in Gibeon and the nation of Israel was upset but their leadership cut a covenant with them.  So, they made the Hivites hewers of wood and carriers of water for the house of God, v. 23, and the house of Israel, v. 27.  Even though Gibeon was a great city, a royal city, greater than Ai, and all it’s men were mighty men it still sold itself into slavery for fear of the ‘One true God of Israel.’  Then Adoni-zedek, King of Jerusalem and four other kings attack it for selling itself out to the Jewish people and their God, YeHoVaH!  However, as we shall see in Joshua chapter Ten, this was the LORD’s ‘Providential Plan.’  Many times when we do stupid stuff, God will turn it around and use it for His glory, not yours, His!  But don’t count on Him to always dig you out of the pile of dung you got yourself into, sometimes He let’s you sit in it and fester and stink for awhile.  However, He is Omniscient as well as Omnipotent and He is going to come to Joshua’s rescue once again or is it the Gibeonites, I guess we will have to wait and see. Remember, “Read His Word, and then go to His Throne,” He is waiting for you and do that before you make any decision, big or small. You got that, ‘Servant of the LORD?’ Now heed it, don’t just read it! Till next time, I’ll see you, “…Between the Lines…”

“Failure To Seek God’s Counsel First” Josh. 9:14-15 – 6/14/18



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“The Altar On Mount Ebal” Josh. 8:30

“The Altar On Mount Ebal” Josh. 8:30

“Then Joshua built an altar unto the LORD God of Israel in Mount Ebal.” Joshua 8:30

Abraham, “The Altar Builder” was the first one to build an altar here in Gen. 12:7-8 after leaving Haran and going on his journey to Canaan following his father’s death, making him the family patriarch. Mount Ebal is between ‘Bethel – The house of God’ and ‘Ai – a ruin, heap, or pile of rocks, a cairn. We had a ‘Cairn Terrier’ a small Scottish dog trained to go into a pile of rocks to hunt rodents. Mt. Ebal means bald and bare or Mt. Bald or Mt. Ey Bald, and it sits between Bethel and Ai. Some of my children attended ‘Philadelphia College of Bible,’ which was originally ‘Philadelphia Bible Institute’ started by C. I. Scofield and William Pettingill as ‘Philadelphia School of the Bible’ in 1914. Then in 2000 it became ‘Philadelphia Biblical University’ and in 2012 after a mixed response it became ‘Cain University.’ A name which their website says, “adopts the concept of memorials and trail markers” or a pile of rocks, like Ai, a heap of ruins!

Moses also built an altar after his battle with Amalek in Rephidim in Exodus 17:15-16. He was told by the LORD to write that event in a book and to rehearse it in the ears of Joshua, so he would never forget it. So, Moses built an altar (miz-ba-akh; from the word to slaughter, kill, sacrifice). An altar had only three purposes, ‘Prayer, Worship, Sacrifice’ and Abraham was known as the ‘Altar Builder’ because everywhere Abraham went, God had an altar. Maybe that is why he is the only person specifically called, “The Friend of God!” Moses is referred to as being a friend of God and talking ‘face to face’ with God, but he is never called, “A Friend of God” in Scripture, Never!

However, Moses built this altar and named it. I don’t know of many altar’s that are named, this one is called ‘YeHoVaH-nissi.‘  YeHoVaH is my banner, in commemoration of the victory in battle over the Amalekites.  Interesting, Ex. 17:16 says, “Because the LORD has sworn, that the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.”  (and forever).  They will keep coming back – who are they?  Arab’s, Palestinians, Muslims; Amalek is the son of Eliphaz by his concubine Timnah, the grandson of Esau.  Gen. 14:7 is their first mention; and in Gen. 36:16 Amalek is called a duke or chief.  Have fun with this one it is a good study.

Now back to Joshua 3:30, where he builds an, ‘Altar on Mount Ebal’ like Moses did after his victory, and where Abraham did when he entered the promised land like Joshua, are you getting the picture?  Good!  Now, remember the altar is for ‘Prayer, Worship, and Sacrifice,’ and I trust you have one in your home; ‘A Family Altar‘ that is.  I believe he is following the instructions Moses recorded for him in Exodus 17:1-16 and rehearsed in his ears over and over.  He built the altar out of whole stones, offered sacrifices and burnt offerings to God on them, and wrote the law of Moses on it.  What did he write?  The whole Torah, I don’t think so, probably the ‘Ten Commandments.’  Then in v. 34 he read the whole law to them, all of it, every word, v. 35.  He read all the law, to all the people, men, women and children.  How long did that take?  All day I suppose and then some.  What does that say to us as a Church or Christian family?  Neh. 8:1-8, says, they stood and read from morning till noon the word of God.  We need to read the Word of God to our people and families and put it on the walls of our homes and on the walls of our hearts.  Churches used to have two pulpits, one for reading the Scriptures and one for preaching the Scriptures, now we don’t even bring our Bibles to church anymore, shame on us!  They have removed them from our schools, our hospitals, our libraries, and now our church pews, next our homes!  What’s that old saying, “We don’t miss it until it’s gone!”

With sales in excess of five billion, it is considered the best seller of all time, selling approximately 100 million copies every year and the Bible has been a major influence on our literature and history, especially in the West.  Around 200 bc the Jewish people referred to the books of the Bible as, “The Holy Scriptures,”  and Christians now call both the ‘Older and Newer Testaments’ the “Holy Bible.”  On November 17, 2017 “The Museum of The Bible” opened in Washington, D.C. and they have over 3,150 items on display.  It is one of the largest assemblies of Biblical artifacts and texts in the  world.  It’s goal is, “to reacquaint the world with the book that helped make it, and let the visitor come to their own conclusions, they don’t exist to tell people what to believe about it, “states Cary Summers, it’s president.  Worth a visit?  I would say so, and while you’re there visit the ‘Holocaust Museum.’  Better yet, why not read it every day with your family.  There are 7,099 languages spoken in the world today; 2,584 Bible translations in the works right now in different languages; 1,521 New Testaments have been translated into world languages thus far; and only 670 entire Bibles have been translated thus far since it was written thousands of years ago.  So, we have a lot of work to do and yet you hold in your hands one in your language, but do you read it?  How often, how much, how long, how intently, how sincerely? John Knox read his Bible through every month, cover to cover for over forty years. I read 250 words/minute which is considered slow and it takes me 90 hours to read the Bible cover to cover, Genesis through Revelation. An hour a day would be three months, try it some time. I had a friend in Chicago that read her Bible eight hours/day every day. She was retired and had a bad heart and was from Yugoslavia and wow, did she know her Bible!

Joshua learned a principle from Moses and he put it into practice but did it stick?  Did he stay focused on those principles and how long did they last?  One chapter, and along came the ‘Hivites.’  Do you have any Hivites in your life or neighborhood?  Till next time I’ll see you, “…Between The Lines…”

“The Altar On Mount Ebal.” Joshua 8:30 5/24/18

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“The Battle of Ai and Bethel” Josh. 8:14-29

“The Battle of Ai and Bethel” Josh. 8:14-29

“And the LORD said unto Joshua, stretch out the spear that is in thine hand toward Ai; for I will give it into thine hand, and Joshua stretched out the spear that he had in his hand toward the city.” Josh. 8:17

The principle we learn from this is, “Our battles are not ours to fight, they are God’s.” But we must fight them in the spirit and attitude of prayer on our knees first. They lost the first battle with the warriors of Ai when they fought it their way in Josh 7:1-6, because there was ‘sin in the camp,’ Achan’s! But in Josh. 8:1 the LORD tells Joshua to,  “Fear not (ya-re, stop trembling), neither be thou dismayed (kha-thath; terrified), take all the people of war/battle with thee and arise (kum, stand up, get up) and go up to Ai; See (ra-ah; Behold) I have given into thy hand the King of Ai, (and the king of Bethel 12:16) and his people, and his city, and his land.” Now get up and go! But do it My way and in the Spirit and the power of prayer and you shall do to Ai as you did to Jericho. Why, can’t we remember that principle in our lives? If we do it His way, in the spirit and power of prayer the enemy doesn’t stand a chance. You would think that Joshua would always put God and Prayer first after this right? Wrong!

They go to Ai and set the ambush in place just like the LORD told them and drew the men of war out into the Arabah or desert wilderness and there was not a man left in Ai or Bethel v.17, and they left their city wide open for the ambush. Then the LORD told Joshua to, “stretch out (na-tah; extend, or spread out) the spear (ke-dohn; lance, javelin, dart) that is in thy hand toward Ai; for I will give it into thine hand. And Joshua stretched out the spear that he had in his hand toward the city.” Josh. 8:18. Then the men in ambush came out and set the city on fire and the 30,000 warriors in the woods came out and attacked the men of Bethel and Ai and killed all 12,000 of them and captured their king alive.

However, “Joshua drew not his hand back, with which he stretched out the spear, until he had utterly destroyed (kha-ram; completely destroyed or eradicated) all the inhabitants of Ai.” (and Bethel). Men, women and children. Josh. 8:27 says, “Only the cattle and spoil/booty of that city Israel took for a prey/prize (ba-zaz) unto themselves, according to the word of the LORD which He commanded Joshua.” Back in Josh. 8:2 when He was giving Joshua instructions for destruction; “And thou shalt do to Ai and its king as thou didst unto Jericho and its king; only the spoil of it and the cattle thereof shall ye take for a prey unto yourselves.” Jericho was the first fruits(The Raysheit) so all the spoil belonged to the LORD, that’s why Achan had to be stoned and burned with his family for taking what belonged to the LORD. Ouch!!

It doesn’t say, but I wonder if Joshua had some help holding his hand up, stretched out with his spear in it for hours while his men battled the warriors of Ai and Bethel and burned their cities? I would imagine that took most of the day; In v.14 it says the king of Ai rose up early in the morning and went out to fight Joshua and not a man was left in Ai or Bethel v.17, and in v.18 Joshua stretches out his spear in prayer towards Ai and Bethel, and drew it not back until they were utterly destroyed v.26. We know the king was buried at sun down under a pile of rocks v.29. So, it was a one day battle and maybe 8-10 hours of intense ‘spiritual warfare’ with his spear stretched out towards Ai and he would not let up until the last enemy was dead. We used to use a phrase at our ‘prayer meetings’ when we had ‘prayer meetings’ that is, in the olden days before the internet remember, the phrase was, ‘we need to pray through!’

Where did that phrase come from? Better yet where did it go? I can show you where it came from Matt. 18:19, “Again I say unto you that if two of you will agree (sum-fo-ne-o; agree together, harmonize, to be in accord) on earth as touching (peri; to pierce through, to the other side, ‘there it is’) anything that they shall ask it shall be done (gin-omi, come into existence) for them by My Father, who is in heaven.” The problem today is we don’t ‘pray through’ any more, we don’t stay on our knees long enough, until every enemy is dead. We pray about things, we pray for things, we pray with others, we have a moment of prayer, we have our prayer check lists; we may even have a prayer circle, or a prayer tea, or a prayer time, but when was the last time you prayed all night until the sun came up, or all day till the sun went down, or until every enemy was slain, or you prayed through until you were heard in the courts of heaven.

I wonder did any body help hold his hands up? Moses had Aaron and Hur in Exodus 17:8-16 to hold his hands and Joshua fought the Amalikites all day, until the going down of the sun. Now we know where Joshua learned it, and Moses built an alter there and named it “YeHoVaH-nissi (The LORD is my banner). You can see this principle for “Spiritual Warfare” in Ex. 17:11, “And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hands (in prayer) that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hands (in prayer) Amalek prevailed.” “And Moses’ hands were heavy… and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands.” v.12. That’s why we need a team of “rope-handlers and prayer-partners” to stay up our hands and steady our course. We can’t do this alone and neither could Moses or Joshua, or you for that matter!

Talking to your fellow man about God is glorious in deed, but talking to God about your fellow man is even more glorious, Amen? Charles Spurgeon met 5 young students visiting his church before services on Sunday and offered to give them a tour before church began. At one point he showed them his furnace room and it was a hot July day and they were some what reluctant, but he silently opened the door and there were over 700 people on their knees praying for the services to follow and for God’s servant. You marvel at Spurgeon’s ministry and you pale at yours in comparison, maybe YOU need to get 700 people to meet for prayer before the services or during them to pray for the service and the servant or maybe even 70 or 7 and hold up his spear or his rod like Moses or Joshua. Prayer is not just a good idea it is God’s divine plan. He does nothing without prayer and everything with it including destroying your enemies. So, stretch out your spear, lift up your rod and watch what God will do with one of His children wholly and holy sold out to Him. Till next time, I’ll see you, “…Between the Lines…”

“The Battle For Ai and Bethel”    Josh. 8:14-29

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Prayer For The Accursed Thing” Josh. 7:6

“Prayer For The Accursed Thing” Josh. 7:6

“And Joshua rent/tore his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face before the ark of the LORD until the eventide, he and the elders of Israel, and put dust upon their heads.” Josh. 7:6

Where did he learn to pray like this? From his mentor Moses! So, they destroyed the great citadel of Jericho, except for the harlot Rahab and her household who helped the Jewish spies. She becomes Boaz’s mother, that’s why he marries Ruth a Moabite, because Salmon one of the spies was his father and he married Rahab, but I’m getting off track here. Then they get whooped at Ai and 36 of their men are killed out of 3,000, that’s when Joshua falls on his face and tears his garment. For one thing Joshua went to Ai without consulting God, he felt pretty frisky after Jericho, like every city was just going to fall down before him with a trumpet blast. Secondly they took Achan along whose name means ‘Trouble or Troublesome.’ So, they moved on Ai based on human wisdom, if he would have fallen on his face before the ‘Ark’ in verse one, maybe 36 men would not have lost their lives. Later we will see God’s plan for the ‘Battle of Ai’ in chapter eight and it is very different with a very different outcome.

So, Joshua and the elders are praying with their faces in the dirt, seeking God’s wisdom, God’s direction, God’s help and God’s advice, after the horse is out of the barn. Joshua almost seems to blame God for this defeat, listen to his words in v. 7, “Alas (ahhh; to mourn or grieve) O Lord GOD (Adonay YeHoVaH) wherefore hast Thou at all brought (abar; pass over, cross over, march over) the Jordan, to deliver (nathan; to give) us into the hand of the Amorites to destroy us? Would to God we had been content and dwelt on the other side of the Jordan.” (Blah, Blah, Blah…) The blame game, it’s all Your fault God, my spouse has cancer, my child died, my business failed, my dog ran away, why God did you let this happen? Sound familiar? We need to be careful when things are not going as we think they should be going, it may be us and not God that has a problem, Amen? That was a little weak, are you paying attention?

O Lord (Adonay) what shall I say when my family, neighbors, friends and my church turn their backs on us before the enemy? For they will hear of it on Face-Book, Twitter, the Internet and cyber-bully us and cut-off our good name and defame us and You too. What are You going to do about Your great name, O God? Sounds like Joshua and maybe you and I have a tendency to lose it when we are losing it and blame God. But you say, “That never happens to me!” I’ll give the Holy Spirit a minute to prick your sanctified conscience and remind you of when it did happen…… Now are you with me? Good!

I love God’s response in v. 10, “And the LORD (YeHoVaH) said unto Joshua, Get Up! (kum; stand up, rise up) wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face.” There is a time to pray and there is a time to act, why? There is sin in the camp! Someone has taken the accursed thing, (kha-rem; a devoted, dedicated thing of God’s) they stole it and dissembled it (ka-khash; deceived, lied, denied) and put it, (sum; placed, buried, planted) it among their own stuff (kel-iy; vessels, utensils, implements). You say, “Well that could never happen to me or us, or the church today, because that is Old Testament. Really, then get a sharp knife and cut the Old Testament off of your Bible and throw it away or burn it, because none of it pertains to you. Or turn to Malachi chapter three and start reading, especially verse six, where it says that God is ‘Immutable’ He never changes, good thing He doesn’t. Then read vv. 7-11 regarding His ‘Tithes’ and ‘Tithing’ was a principle set up long before the ‘Fiery Law’ was given to Moses in Deut. 33:2, referring to the pillar of fire). Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek in Gen. 14:20, and Jacob promised God he would give Him a tenth/tithe of all He gave him. Who did Jacob learn tithing from, from his father Isaac, who learned it from his father Abraham, who learned it from Noah or Shem who were still living during Abraham’s life. In fact Shem outlived Abraham by five years according to the Biblical records.

However this is not about tithing, it is about prayer and this point is about robbing God of His dedicated thing. I believe the tithe of all the land, Lev. 27:30 belongs to the LORD, the apples, peaches, grapes, etc not just your pay check and He will get it with or without your permission because it belongs to Him, just like the Babylonian garment and wedge of gold in Joshua 7, it is a dedicated thing, (kha-rem). Now whether or not you get a blessing for surrendering His tithe to Him, well that is entirely up to you and whether you give it willingly or He takes it, don’t wait for Him to send the devourer.

Now as far as Joshua is concerned, God told him to “Get Up!” And they found the one who took the ‘dedicated thing’ which was some silver, gold, and a garment, and Achan, his family, livestock, belongings, tent, and children were stoned and then cremated in the ‘The Valley of Achor’ (trouble) but not before Achan made a prayer of confession to God and acknowledged his sin of stealing from God. Notice in Joshua 7:11-18, Achan did not come forward on his own but had to be found by elimination probably by the ‘Urim and Thummim‘ (lights and perfection – stones in the high priests pouch to reveal God’s will). Maybe if Achan came forward on his own and willingly confessed his sin, things may have been different, in v. 20 after he is caught, his prayer is one of ‘Admission’ not one of ‘Acknowledgement.’  He is caught with his hand in the cookie jar, or doing 90 mph in a 45 mph zone, and he says, “You caught me, I’m sorry.” He has to be asked to give glory to God and make confession of his sin, there was no contrition on his part, no acknowledgment.  Webster says, ‘To admit is to concede, to grant the other persons argument, your right, I was wrong, to be in general agreement or consensus.’  I would say, because Joshua had to ask him to pray, he was not broken by his sin or the 36 people his sin caused to die.  To acknowledge is to know something is true, to recognize and answer the claim.  Admission describes assent that has been elicited by persuasion and implies a conceding of the fact, just a simple declaration.  Joshua had to wring it out of him like juice out of a lemon.

However, the sin of Achan does teach us a great truth about the “oneness of the People of God.”  In v. 11, God declares of Achan’s sin, “Israel  has sinned.”  So, He held the whole nation responsible for one man’s sin, corporal punishment.  I experienced this in the Marine Corps.  If one Marine messed up, we all paid for it.  This is seen in 1 Cor. 5:1-7; 12:12-14, 26.  The whole purpose and plan of Christ is hurt by the sin, neglect, theft or unspirituality of just one believer, and the bigger the tree the greater the damage and the louder the noise when it falls in the forest.  I don’t even want to get into ‘Biblical Cremation’ but the only time you find them burning bodies or people is when it is not for good reasons.  So, Till next time when we see the ‘Battle of Ai God’s way’ we’ll see you, “…Between The Lines…”

“Prayer For The Accursed Thing” Josh. 7:6 5/14/18

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Joshua Worship’s Jehovah Sabaoth’s Prince” Joshua 5:14-15

“Joshua Worships Jehovah Sabaoth’s Prince” Joshua 5:14-15

“Art Thou for us, or for our adversaries? And He said, Nay, but as the Captain of the Host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto Him, What saith my Lord unto His servant?”  And the Captain of the LORD’S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standeth is holy.  And Joshua did so.”  Joshua 5:14-15

Nothing more is said; Nothing more needs to be said;  If you had an encounter like this with the ‘Prince of YeHoVaH Sabaoth‘ would you be anxious to share the details?  I didn’t think so.  They have just crossed the Rubicon, I mean the Jordan River, during spring flood season, all 2.5 to 3 million of them; the manna has stopped falling, the Amalakites, Amorites, Canaanites, and Electriclites are armed and ready to destroy them and all Joshua has is a bunch of ‘Manna Pickers’ and ‘Quail Grabbers’ and even that has stopped.  So, after they celebrated Passover and circumcised all the males, (ouch!) he decided to take a walk by himself and take a look at his first obstacle, Jericho.  It is on this evening walk, alone that he meets this Man, with His sword drawn, ready for battle, who turns out to be none other then the ‘Captain of the LORD’s Host.’  How long did Joshua stay on his face in prayer, worshipping Him?  Probably all night, I would say this was an evening walk when it was cooler, and what did they talk about?  Probably, the battle strategy for Jericho, chapter six.

Joshua needs the same kind of ‘God Experience’ which Moses had in Exodus chapter three with the “Burning Bush.’  In Exodus 3:5 Moses was told by God to take off his shoes because he was standing on ‘Holy Ground’ also.  Then God revealed Himself to Moses and His Almighty power and sent him to free His people.  And he became the ‘Servant of the LORD’ and now Joshua was to take God’s chosen people from the desert into the ‘Promised Land.’  So, he needed the same kind of ‘Burning Bush’ experience or ‘God Experience’ that Moses had.  This same word (sha-kha; to bow down, prostrate yourself before God) is used to honor God in prayer, like Abraham on Mt. Moriah in Gen. 22:5; and of Elkanah, Hannah’s husband in 1 Sam. 1:3; and many others in the Tenach.

Joshua probably took a moonlight walk since the word Jericho means “city of the moon” or “fragrant place.”  I have said it before and I will say it again, “It’s a great day to take a walk, eat an apple and talk to God.”  I have personally met God on more walks in His creation, alone than at any other time, and so have many of your great Christian hero’s like Hudson Taylor, Oswald Chambers, Charles Finney, David Brainard, and the list goes on.  I’ll never forget the Wednesday night prayer meeting at Lakes Pond Baptist Church in CT, when I went up to the alter and the pastor’s son-in-law came up to pray with me and took off his shoes.  He gave me a verse that night, Lev. 6:13, “The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out.”  I think he is the pastor of that church now and my son-in-law is the pastor of my home church in Clinton, CT; God’s providence is so amazing. Amen? So, is the ‘Captain of the LORD’s Host,’ have you ever met Him?  I’m sure you have, you just might not be aware of when it was.  We need to be sensitive to His leading, to His voice, to His touch, to His word, because His sword is always drawn, because our adversary always is on the prowl seeking whom he may devour.

The first thing Joshua, the servant of the LORD did when he realized he was in the presence of God, was to fall (na-fal; to throw oneself down, to prostrate oneself on the ground, Job  1:20) on his face (pa-nem) and worship and pray and request from the Lord His desires and will.  How often we come with our petitions, requests and prayer lists, never giving any attention or time to God’s needs or desires.  Have you ever asked God what He wanted or what was on His list or how His day was going or what you could do for Him?  Or maybe, don’t even ask Him for anything just thank Him and praise Him for Who He is!  Joshua just fell down prostrate and worshipped, then he took off his shoes and listened for awhile.  Have you ever done that? Taken off your shoes and just listened for a while, in silence?  Silence can be deafening at times but God want’s us to be ‘Still’ and ‘Know’ Him, Ps.46:10. (Still as a Stone!) That is probably one of the hardest things for man to do, “Be Still and Listen.”  That’s what Joshua did in Josh. 5:14-15, listened to that still, small voice, with a drawn sword.  Oh, how we need that today, we can’t seem to go anywhere, anymore without our i-pods, cell phones, i-pads, templates, note-books, face-book, twitter, etc. etc. I wonder if God uses a cell-phone or if the angels use face-book?  I bet the Spirit world good or bad is not addicted to the internet but they sure have us addicted for good and bad and especially Christians today. Just look around the church on Sunday morning or listen to the cell phones go off during the sermon or invitation.

Many of the Church Fathers felt that Joshua should be part of the Pentateuch because the children of Israel were not in the ‘Promised Land’ yet.  They were still on the other side of the Jordan and had a lot of fighting to do to conquer it.  So that is why we thought it best to include Joshua in our “Portraits of Prayer in the Pentateuch.”  There are only about thirteen places we will pitch our tent and camp out in the early chapters of Joshua so we hope you will enjoy your journey with us. So, leave your manna behind, there is plenty of corn in the ‘Promised Land’ waiting for us to enjoy.  Till next time, we’ll see you. “…Between The Lines…”

“Joshua Worship’s YeHoVaH Sabaoth’s Prince” Joshua 5:14-15  5/10/18

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“The Funeral For Moses” – Deut. 34:8

“The Funeral For Moses” 

“And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days. So the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended.” – Deut. 34:8

Moses is now 120 years old, he spent 40 years in Egypt as a prince of Pharaoh, 40 years in Midian as a Shepherd or Reuel, and 40 years in the desert as a Servant of God. His eye never grew dim, nor did his strength abate. He was a ‘Servant’ (eh-bed; which among the Hebrews was commonly a slave; a servant of servants is the lowest of servants, Gen. 9:25). In fact that was Joshua’s title in Josh. 1:1, “Joshua, the son of Nun, Moses’ minister/servant (sha-rath; minister, servant, to wait upon) saying;” In Gen. 39:4; 40:4 the same word is translated servant. In verse 5 it says, “he died there in the land (muth; die, kill, perish, be executed, or put to death) of Moab.” This is the land inhabited by the descendants of Lot’s son, east of the Dead Sea, opposite Jericho. Some Scholars debate this because of his appearance in the book of Revelation, they doubt he died, but the rest of verse 5 states, “according to the word (peh; mouth, speech, orifice, breath).

This word is used for the phrase, “To speak mouth to mouth with no one in between.” Like ‘CPR’, this is not the Hebrew word (da-bar) for word. I get the idea that God is speaking directly to man, or Moses, don’t you? Verse 6 says, “So, He-God, buried him, Moses (Ka-var; to heap up a mound of dirt upon a body) in a valley (gah-e; steep valley, narrow gorge) in the land of Moab, over against Beth-Peor (The house or temple of (Baal Peor) this is where Balak took Balaam to curse Israel and he blessed them instead, Num. 24: 1-9. Followed by the prophecy of the ‘Star out of Jacob and the Scepter out of Israel’ concerning the coming Messiah, which would bring the Magi to Jerusalem. But v.6 goes on to say, “but no man (esh; person, human being, mankind) knows (yada) of his, Moses’ Sepulchre (kev-u-ra; grave, burial site) unto this day.” No man, only God! Good thing or they would make it a shrine and start wars over it. Amen?

As I said, Moses was 120 years old when he died (mar-veth; death, dying, realm, state, or place of death) his eye was not dim (ka-ha; weak, faint, darkened) nor was his natural force (la-akh; vigour, strength, stamina, freshness, abated (Nus; deported, disappeared, escaped him, or left him). Then the children of Israel wept (ba-ka; they wailed and cried, and shed tears, to weep bitterly, to shed strong tears, the tears were flowing) Wow! I can’t find the right words to describe this time of mourning at Moses’ grave. Verse 8 says they were weeping (Bek-ly; to make great lamentation) like David in 2 Sam. 13:36 when he heard that Absalom killed his son Ammon. This word is used of a dropping, or distilling of water in mines, Job 28:11. This is a profusion of tears and mourning (a-vel; for the dead, in mourning garments).

In Gen. 50:10 they brought Jacob’s body to the cave of Macpelah to bury it with Leah, Abrahm and Sarah; and Isaac and Rebekah; and they stopped at the threshing floor of Atad (Buckthorn) which is beyond the Jordan, near Jericho, Gen. 50:10, “And there they mourned (sa-fad; wailed, lamented, to beat the breast) with a great (ga-dole; intense in magnitude and intensity) and very sore (meh-ode & ka-vad; with all your strength to the highest degree; a heavy, massive, abundant lamentation (mish-pad; wailing) and mourning, for his father; are you getting the picture? Now watch the last two words of Gen 50:10 “Seven Days” (sheh-vah yom) which is referred to in Judaism as “sitting seven,” for a funeral. They won’t shave, or bath, they will tear their garments, cover their mirrors, take off their shoes and sit quietly. They will eat round foods, representing the cycle of life, etc. Dupont used to give Jewish workers seven days off for the death of a loved one, now they get only three days. Imagine, your spouse dies, or your soul mate mate whom you have known for 30-40 years and you are supposed to get over it in 3 days; how about 7; try 30!

That’s what it says in Deut. 34:8, they wept, they fasted, they prayed, they mourned, they wailed, they consoled each other, and when the time of mourning ended Joshua takes the reigns v.9, “And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the Spirit of wisdom;” Moses trained him, and laid his hands on him and gave him the charge. So, ‘The Servant of the Servant of the LORD was ready to take charge, Josh. 1:1-9. But what do we learn from this portion of scripture? God is going to take spiritual leaders away from His church and replace them. We will have a time to weep, mourn, pray and console one another, but most of all pray and seek God’s face for direction and will in our lives and ministries. Death is not a time to panic, its a time to sit, pray, wait on God and listen to His spirit, the Spirit of Wisdom.

They spent 40 days embalming Jacob, 70 days mourning for him in Egypt, 30 days traveling to Canaan to bury him, 7 days at Atad sitting shiva, that’s almost five months taking care of his death. The Jewish people today will pray ‘Kaddish’ at the grave and usually every day for a month and then once a month for 11 months. It is not a prayer for the deceased, it is a prayer allowing the living to express their emotions to God. It’s like the Lord’s prayer in some ways. In some of the printed texts of the Hebrew Bibles the Pentateuch concludes after the final verse with these words, “Be strong! The five-fifths of the law are completed. Praise to God, great and fearful!” We will continue our prayer study through Joshua as he takes the children of Israel into the ‘Promised Land’. So, till next time, I’ll see you… ” Between the Lines…”

“The Funeral For Moses” Dt. 34:8 – 4/26/18

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“The Blessing of Moses on Israel” Deut. 33:1-3

“The Blessing of Moses on Israel” Deut. 33:1-3

“And this is the blessing wherewith Moses, the man of God, blessed the children of Israel before his death.  And he said, “The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them;  He shined forth from Mount Paran, and He came with ten thousands of saints.  From His right hand went a fiery law for them.  Yea, He loved the people; all His saints are in Thy hand: and they sat down at Thy feet:  every one shall receive Thy Words.”  Dt. 33:1-3

What a blessing Moses puts upon each of the tribes of Israel except for Simeon.  Even Joseph is named in v. 13 and then Ephraim and Manasseh are mentioned in v. 17 but there is no mention of Simeon, the son of Leah.  He is mentioned ten times in Genesis and Numbers and three times in Exodus but only one time in Deut. 27:12, and there he is named with five other tribes on Mt. Gerizim blessing the people of Israel when they pass over the Jordan River, there he is listed with Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph and Benjamin.  On Mt. Ebal you have Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan and Naphtali to curse the people as they enter the promised land.  But Simeon is not mentioned in Moses’ blessing for the nation of Israel before he dies, why?  If you had 12  brothers and your father called 11 of them to his bedside and blessed them before he died, wouldn’t you wonder what Number 12 did, to warrant his disapproval?

The name Simeon means hearing; or hears and obeys; or hearing with acceptance; but that doesn’t bear out his life as we know it, even though we don’t know a great deal about his personal life with less then 50 references to Him in the Bible.  And even though his name means hearing with obedience, he was deaf on the day when he should have been paying attention and disobedient when his future hung in the balance.  He and his brother Levi slew all the male Shechemites who were just circumcised (ouch!)  They acted in their ‘Self-will’, Gen. 49:6 and took delight in their gross sin.  When Joseph tested his brothers in Egypt it was Simeon he put in prison, why?  Was he the one who really sold Joseph to the Midianites and not Reuben?  For some reason Joseph thew him in jail to test him, and separate him from his brother Levi.  When the two of them were together they were devious.

When separated at first Simeon did not multiply as seen in I Chron. 4:24-27.  During the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness the ‘decrease’ of the tribe of Simeon was remarkable.  Why?  Because of the idolatry in his tribe, thousands were slain, his “Self-Will” kept breeding from one family to the next.  However, when he entered the ‘Promised Land’ he joined the tribe of Judah, (Judges 1:1-3) and that marked a turning point in the history of the tribe of Simeon.  Even Ezekiel 48:24-25 mentions a portion of Simeon between Benjamin and Issachar.  Then in the book of ‘Revelation’ chapter 7:7 you have, “12,000 sealed” from the tribe of Simeon.  Because of their ‘Self-Will,’ God scattered and impoverished the Simionites; may that not be our curse, may we like Christ seek the “good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Imagine being one of the twelve tribes of Israel, the ‘apple of God’s eye’ and not even being mentioned in the final blessing of, “The Man of God” due to your own Self-Will.  But you are not guilty of any of that, right?  I didn’t think so!

From Deut. chapter 27 on, Moses is dealing with “Blessings and Curses.”  In Dt. 28:23 he says, “And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be as brass…”  Did it ever feel that way when you were praying and it seemed your prayers were just bouncing off the ceiling, because it was made out of brass or bronze?  Sometimes I feel like I need to go outside and pray and I might have a better chance of getting through to heaven.  Maybe the problem is not God or heaven but you, man and earth which has become like iron, (v. 23) due to ‘Self-Will.’  Webster defines ‘self-will’ as, “persistent carrying out of one’s own will or wishes; especially when in conflict with others; stubbornness; obstinacy.”  Is He hitting any keys on your piano, he is plucking a few of my strings.  I think I might have to get alone with God and deal with some of my “Simeon Syndrome,” how about you?  And that’s not even why I started out in this passage.  Funny how God’s Spirit takes you somewhere you had no intention of going.  I would have liked to have climbed Mt. Gerizim and Mt. Ebal with you.  They are right near Shechem where Simeon and Levi slaughtered the Shechemites, quite a distance from Jericho but God didn’t lead us up that mountain.  Maybe He will take you mountain climbing, let me know what you find!

However, as far as this ‘Simeon Syndrome’ goes it can really affect your prayer life and your next generations and theirs too.  So, if you are having a ‘bronze ceiling’ problem you better check out your ‘Self-Will’ problem first.  The problem may not and usually is not God’s, it’s man’s and his iron earth.  Satan finds more than one way to invade our prayer closets, if he can’t break the door down he will slither in through stubbornness or obstinacy, with words like, “I can do it myself!”  So, keep your eyes open for the ‘Simeon Syndrome,’ it is rapid in the church today.  On another note, ‘The Blessing’ in Deut. 33, is an amazing gift from God.  We saw it with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and now Moses.  Orthodox Jewish fathers will go around their dinner table on the Sabbath and lay their hands on their children and pray a blessing over each one of them or they will stand at the table and pray it.  My father being an unbeliever, raised by a Jewish mother but no a Jewish father cursed me; He only got the Ebal side of the ‘Blessing & Cursing  Commandment.’ I trust you take time to bless your children, your grandchildren, and your great grandchildren if you are fortunate enough to have any and you let them hear the blessing.  It’s a powerful thing, instituted by God and it has never been revoked, eliminated or eradicated.  Pastor’s should pray a blessing over their congregations, small group leaders over their groups and so on and watch what God does.  He promised to bless His blessing and He can’t go back on a promise.  This is the head of the families responsibility or the leaders obligation, but if there is no father then the mother must do it until God gives that family a father.  But where was Simeon?  Off doing his own thing, gathering some manna, killing a snake, pitching a tent or something important I guess.

I’m sure it was important in his own mind and heart.  Important enough to miss out on,”The man of God’s” final blessing, just before he died.  I’m sure they blew a trumpet to call a solemn assembly, I’m sure the Simeonites heard it, I’m sure they knew it was important, I’m sure they saw the others gathering for the meeting, but they had something else to do, something more important.  More important than a sacred assembly; more important than a blessing; more important than God?  What could be more important?  “Self Will!”  Till next time, I’ll se you, “…Between The Lines…”

“The Blessing of Moses On Israel” Deut. 33:1-3  2/22/18

Posted in The Blessing of Moses on Israel, Uncategorized | Leave a comment