WHEN GOD SAYS “THAT’S ENOUGH!” | The Book of 1 Kings 21:17-29

497Intro: The events of which we have just read take place some 5 to 6 years after the events on Mount Horeb. In that interim, Elijah has not been heard from nor seen in the life and affairs of Israel. Perhaps his time was spent training the prophet Elisha to take his place. Perhaps it was time wherein God allowed the prophet to rest his spirit, his mind and his body. Whatever the reason, it seems that there is a 5 or 6 year span in Elijah’s life when he is on the shelf and is not being used by the Lord, at least in a public way.

But, this quiet time has not been for naught! During those silent years, the Lord has reworked the prophet of God and when he appears on the scene again, he is not defeated, discouraged and self-centered. When he comes back into view he stands forth as a man of God once again. He has been prepared and reworked for new and renewed service to the Lord God.

There is a lesson for us in all this. Don’t despise the times when God pulls you from the public eye and closes you up with himself. It may not be pleasing to the flesh and the ego, but it is a time that God has chosen to reform you and to mold you more perfectly into the image of His Son.

Now, Elijah is back! He is ready to serve and he is not disappointed. God gives him a new mission. As we see him carrying out the will of the Lord we can see that Elijah is still The Faithful Man Of God. Notice three elements of this text that demonstrate the faithfulness of Elijah and the power and purpose of God as we consider the thought, “When God Says “That’s Enough!

  1. V. 17-19GOD’S MISSION DECLARED
  2. 17-18aThe Comfort of It – God’s word, which came to Elijah, brought with it a two-fold comfort.
    1. God’s Grace in The Situation– Perhaps Elijah thought that he had served the Lord for the last time. Perhaps he thought that his last days on the earth would be spent preparing Elisha for the tasks that lay ahead in his ministry. Perhaps he thought that he would be remembered as Elijah “the has been”. But, the Word of God did come to the man of God again! God still had a plan for this man’s life and He intended to use him again for His glory. Elijah experienced the grace of God in being taken off the shelf and placed back on the front line for the glory of God.
      1. (Ill. As you and I travel through this world, there will be times when it seems that the Lord has finished with us. It seems that we have been shelved, and that we have lost our effectiveness and usefulness to the Lord. We may be in that position because of some sin we have allowed to enter our lives. It may be that God is just setting us aside for a time so that He might prepare us for something even greater. Whatever the reason you find yourself set aside, do not despair! Use the time wisely. Pray, seek God’s face, learn God’s Word. Be faithful to Him even when you are in one of the dry times of life. There will come a day when the Master will pass by the shelf He has you sitting on and He will take you down and put you back in the fight for the glory of the Lord. God hasn’t forgotten about you! I would imagine that Jonah thought he had preached his last message as he lay in that whale’s belly. He was wrong! Peter thought he was washed up as a disciple when he denied Jesus at that Roman fire. He was Wrong! John mark thought that he would never be trusted by the Apostles after he abandoned Paul and Barnabas on the mission field. He was Wrong! David probably thought that he would never shout and sing again after what he did with Bathsheba. He was Wrong! And, friend, if you think you are washed up this morning because of some sin or circumstance in your life, you are wrong too!
    2. God’s Grasp of the Situation– God’s words to the prophet let him know that the Lord is on top of the situation. God knows where Ahab is and what Ahab has been doing. Surely it brought comfort to the man of God to know that his God was in control.
      1. (Ill. I just want to remind each of you that God is in control of your situation as well! Just as God knew all about Elijah’s enemy; where he was and what he was doing, God knows what your enemies have been up to as well!
    3. 18The Cause Of It – The reason God sends Elijah with this message of death and destruction is because of the events of 1 Kings 21:1-16.
    4. 19The Content Of It – God’s message to this wayward pair is direct and plain. There will be no misunderstanding that which the Lord is trying to say to them. There are two basic divisions in God’s message.
      1. The Sin– God knew what Ahab had done. He knew the extent of it and He knew the vileness of it. Nothing got by the gaze of God. Those things that we think are hidden from view are open to God. He sees all and He knows all and He will deal with men on the basis of their sins!
        1. (Ill. Just a reminder: God knows everything there is to know about us. Nothing in our lives escapes His gaze,Pro.15:3.)
      2. The Sentence– For Ahab’s sin, there can be but one sentence: Death! This man is guilty of murder, theft, deception, idolatry and every form of wickedness and evil. He is guilty in the sight of God and he is sentenced to die! Ahab had been given plenty of rope. He has been given opportunity after opportunity to repent of his sins and turn to God. However, he had procrastinated and continued in his sins. Now, God says, “That’s enough! It’s time to face your deeds!
        1. (Ill. Just a word of application here: There will come a time when God says, “That’s enough!” There is always a price to pay for sins committed and left unconfessed –Gal. 6:9; the day will come when God will look at your life an say “That’s enough!” What will it cost you in that day? Don’t be a fool! God knows how to get you attention, and He will not hesitate to touch the most precious thing you have to do just that!
        2. V. 20-26GOD’S MESSAGE DELIVERED

(Ill. When Elijah receives this new call, He wastes no time, but sets out to do the bidding of the Lord. He goes directly to Naboth’s vineyard where he finds Ahab enjoying his ill-gotten gains. When he arrives, he faithfully and forcefully delivers the message of God.)

  1. 20aThe Challenge – When these two men meet, the first to speak is Ahab. He sees Elijah approaching and calls him his enemy. But, while Ahab looked at Elijah as his enemy, Elijah was, in fact, the best friend Ahab had! If Ahab wanted to find his real enemy he needed to look no farther than the woman he called his wife. She was the source of his trouble, not Elijah! The Word of God tells us that much of what Ahab did was because he listened to his wife. 25. She was a vile and wicked woman!
  2. 20bThe Confrontation – Elijah’s response to Ahab is to confront his sin head on. The man of God pulls no punches, but he lets Ahab know that his sins have been exposed! This reminds me of the time Nathan came into King David and said, “Thou are the man!” However, Elijah’s statement exposes the fact that Ahab is at the center of the blame for all that has taken place!
    1. When Elijah uses the word “sold“, it is an interesting play on words. This is a word that means “a habitual lifestyle given over to something.” It can also mean “to marry.” Not only has Ahab manifested wickedness in his life day by day, but he had also married wickedness when he took Jezebel to be his wife.
  3. 21-26The Condemnation – In these next few verses, Elijah delivers the terms of God’s judgment to Ahab. He tells him in no uncertain terms just what is going to happen to him, his family and his kingdom because of his sins. Surely, this wasn’t a popular message, but it was the message of the Lord and it had to be delivered! Notice three aspects of this message.
    1. 21a, 23-26It Was Personal – There is no mistaking the fact that the hammer of God of about to fall in the life of Ahab and of his family. Even the wicked Jezebel will be judged by God. The sinners will not go unpunished!
    2. 21b-22It Was Perpetual – Ahab is told that even his children will suffer because of his sins. This is one of the sad consequences of allowing sin to fester in our homes and hearts. Our children learn from our wickedness and often they will adopt our evil ways. This invites the judgment of God to visit their lives as well.
    3. 21-26It Was Plain – There was no question concerning what Elijah told Ahab. It was a message so plain and clear that even a wicked, hard headed, hard hearted king would have no trouble getting the point.

III. V. 27-29 GOD’S MERCY DISPENSED

  1. 27Ahab’s Repentance – When Ahab hears the sentence that is handed down by Elijah, he knows that he has run out of chances, he knows that he must repent or perish. So, even this wicked little man does what he should have done many years before. He repents of his sins and walks in humility before the Lord.
    1. (Ill. Repentance is one of those words that doesn’t get a lot of air time in our modern world. The idea of repentance refers to a “Change of mind that results in a change of action.” The Bible is clear when it says, “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.Luke 13:3, 5. It also says, “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent:” Acts 17:30.
  2. 28-29Ahab’s Respite – Because Ahab repents, God let’s Elijah know that He is going to show Ahab mercy. Judgment is still coming, but it will be held off until after Ahab’s death. My friends that is grace in action! If anyone deserved to pay the price for wickedness, it was that wicked king named Ahab. “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)“,Eph. 2:4-5.

 

HOW TO AMBUSH YOUR AI …..Joshua 8:1-35

Living Victoriously in Difficult Times
Living Victoriously in Difficult Times

Joshua 8:1-35

Chapter 8 finds Israel facing the same city that they faced in chapter 7. The little city of Ai. The first time Israel went up to do battle at Ai, they were defeated by the inhabitants of that city and 36 of their number lost their lives. The reasons for their defeat are many, but the primary reason was that there was sin in their midst that had not been dealt with. That sin caused them to be defeated at Ai. Now, they are back and it was time for Israel to go and face these people in battle once again.

Before we move into these verses this morning, I want to tell you that Ai, in the Bible, is a type of the flesh. The word “Ai” means “a heap of ruins.” That is a good way to describe this flesh in which we live. The first mention of this city is found in the book of Genesis in connection with the life of Abraham, Gen. 12:8; 13:3. The Bible tells us that Abraham pitched his tent “between Bethel and Hai.” Now, the name “Bethel” means, “The house of God.” Isn’t it interesting that many saints have pitched their tents somewhere between the house of God and a heap of ruins? Do you see the connection? You can either live in a place of victory and blessing, or you can live in a place of defeat and misery. You can either have a Bethel kind of life or an Ai experience, which is up to you!

Just like Israel, we often lose battles to our Ai, (this flesh), but through the Lord, we can learn how to ambush our Ai and walk away with the victory in our lives. I don’t know the battles that you are fighting with your flesh, but I do know that you can win the victory.

These verses tell us how. Let’s look together at these verses and learn How To Ambush Your Ai.

Verse 1-2 THE VICTORY IS PROMISED

Verse 1 gives you A Word About Winning – When the Lord speaks to Joshua, after the death of Achan, God tells him to go to Ai. However, he tells him that things will be different this time. He assures Joshua and Israel of the victory.

It is interesting that the Lord called them to return to the place of their greatest defeat. God knew that they needed to overcome the defeat at Ai before they could move on in the conquest of Canaan. Folks, it’s the same for you and me this morning. How many times have we lost the battle to the flesh? I think the Lord has a word for that this morning! Notice what He told Joshua, “Fear not!” I think that is the Lord’s word to us this morning! To those who have fallen and have lost a battle to the flesh, God says, “Fear not! I am giving you the victory!” I think it is a blessing to know that I do not have to live in defeat as a Christian!

I will remind you once again that the Lord did not save your soul to leave you defeated and beaten by the flesh. He saved you to walk in the victory that He can give to those who will walk in His ways and not in their own ways or in the ways of the world.

Verse 2 gives us A Word About Waiting – Notice that the Lord tells them that they will do to Ai what they did to Jericho, except for the fact that in Ai, they are to take all the spoils for themselves! If Achan would have waited just a few more days, then he could have had all the riches that he could have imagined. Instead, he ran ahead of God and grabbed for himself that which was forbidden by God and as a result, Achan paid the ultimate price.

What a lesson for you and me this morning! We are guilty of the same kind of foolishness aren’t we? If we could just learn to wait on God and let Him lead and bring into our lives the things that need to be there, we would be far better off. Unfortunately, this flesh wants what it wants and it wants it now! It doesn’t want to wait.

Verse 3-26 THE VICTORY IS PURSUED

Verse 3-17 lets us know that They Had God’s Plan – God told them in exact detail how they were to mount their attack against Ai. They were to lay an ambush for Ai and they would take the city and all its inhabitants.

(Israel had already learned what happens when you do things the Lord’s way. When you fight the battle by following His plan, you cannot fail. They had also learned what happens when they refused to do it God’s way. They learned that failure awaits that person who goes against the will of the Lord.)

Verse 18-23 lets us know They Had God’s Power – Israel fought the battle, but God gave the victory! You see, the first time Israel went to Ai, they went in their own power and they suffered terrible, humiliating defeat. This time they went to battle walking in the power of God and they were victorious.

Again, there is a lesson here for those of us who struggle with this flesh. The battle will not be won by our ability to say “No!” The battle will not be won because we are more powerful than the temptations we face.

Verse 24-26 lets us know They Had God’s Performance – these verses tell us the news that Israel trusted in the Lord and absolutely prevailed over their enemy. God did what He said He would do!

May I remind you that we are serving the very same God that gave Israel the victory? He hasn’t changed one bit! He is still the same God this morning that He always has been and always will be. You can count on God to keep His Word

Verse 27-35 THE VICTORY IS PRESERVED

(At this point in this story, Israel has followed God’s plan and they have achieved the victory. Now, they must maintain their victory. They take two steps that make this a reality for them. In our lives, we can achieve the victory over the flesh!

Verse 27-29 tells us that  Victory Is Preserved By Death – Please notice that they did not leave a single person alive in Ai. No one from the king down to the humblest servant was spared from death in this battle. Joshua knew that this enemy had to be totally eradicated or there would be problems down the road.

The lesson for us this morning is this: Your flesh is still alive and well, but it needs to be put to death!

Verse 30-35 encourages us that Victory Is Preserved By Devotion – Ill. The Context. After the enemy had been eradicated and victory had been preserved, Israel finished by doing what the Lord had told them to do through Moses, Deut. 27:1-28:6. Half of the nation was to stand on Mount Ebal (ih – b AW l) and the other half on Mount Gerizim. The Levites were to stand in the valley between these mountains and were to read the cursings and the blessings. As they read the cursings, the crowd on Mount Ebal was to shout “Amen.” When they read the blessings, the crowd on Mount Gerizim was to shout “Amen.” This exercise was to remind them of what God would bless and of what He would not bless. They were reaffirming their commitment to live by the Word of God every day!

Folks, if we are to ever experience lasting victory over this flesh, then we too must learn to walk in the Word of God. It isn’t enough to fight the war with the flesh and hope to achieve the victory. If we are to win and preserve the victory day by day, then we must learn to live by the Word of God. If God said do it, then do it! If God said don’t do it, then don’t do it. If you have a doubt, then leave it out! Where is your devotion this morning? It needs to be to the Word of God!

How To Make Your Walls Fall Down Flat | Study of Joshua

Jericho
The Battle of Jericho

Joshua 6:1-21 Israel has finally crossed the Jordan. They have prepared themselves spiritually and they have, thus far, followed God’s orders to the letter. Now, they are ready to begin the conquest of the Promised Land. They are ready to claim for themselves the land that flowed with milk and honey. However, like most things in life that are worth having, it wouldn’t come cheap!

Now, just for a moment, try to put yourself into the shoes of the average Israelite soldier. For most of these men, Jericho was the first city they had ever seen that was surrounded by huge walls. It must have looked like and absolute impossibility to many. However, they listened to the instructions they were given by the Lord and they saw those massive walls fall down flat.

This morning, many in these services may question the fact that we are preaching from a book that is old and that is all about battles and wars. It is my opinion that the book of Joshua is very relevant to today’s Christians. Folk, we are living in days of battle and spiritual struggle. We need to know how to fight. We need to know that our God is able to give the victory. We need to know how to follow Him to that victory. Joshua teaches us those valuable lessons!

Just as Israel faced the formidable walls of Jericho, you and I face walls and obstacles in our lives as well. We need to know how to overcome them as we march towards the victory. This passage holds that answer for us today. Let’s watch Israel conquer Jericho and as we do, let’s let the Lord teach us How To Make Our Walls Fall Don Flat.

Verse 1 ISRAEL HAD A PROBLEM

Ill. Jericho is known as the oldest city in the world, in Joshua’s day, it was surrounded by a system of two massive stone walls. The outer wall was 6 ft. thick and about 20 ft. high. The inner wall was about 12 ft. thick and was 30 ft. high. Between the walls was a guarded walkway about 15 ft. wide. Israel’s problem was that they had a city to conquer, but there were some extremely huge walls in the way.

As we go through life, we have obstacles that we face as well

We must learn not to look upon our obstacles as dead-ends, but as opportunities for the Lord to work in our lives!

(Ill. The great Apostle Paul had such an obstacle – 2 Cor. 12:7-10 – This attitude is foreign to us this morning. Yet, we must come to realize that the power of God is best revealed in and through us when we are unable to handle life. God is more clearly visible when we are totally out of the picture! In a sense, that is what He did with Israel here. As we will see, He completely removed them from the equation! The victory at Jericho was all God!)

Verse 2 ISRAEL HAD A PROMISE

As Joshua and all the men of war stood looking at those walls around that great city, God had a word of comfort for their hearts! Here, God promises Israel the victory before they ever attack Jericho!

He lets them know about the conclusion before they ever enter into their battle!

As we face our obstacles, whatever they may be we can do so with confidence, because we have the Lord’s promises as banners to march under:

1. We Have His Promise That Our Weapons Are Powerful Through God – 2 Cor. 10:4-5.

2. We Have His Promise That all things work together – Rom. 8:28; 2 Cor. 4:17.

3. We Have His Promise That I can do all things– Phil. 4:13; Eph. 3:20.

4. We Have His Promise to be strong in the Lord and in the power – Eph. 6:10.

5. We Have His Promise that said thank be to God who gives us the victory – 1 Cor. 15:57.

6. We Have His Promise That He will never leave us alone – Heb. 13:5; Matt. 28:20.

7. We Have His Promise That we don’t have to be troubled because He has prepared a place for us – John 14:1-3.

As we face the walled cities in our lives, we need to learn to believe the Lord, to take Him at His Word and trust Him for our victories! (Rom. 4:21; 2 Cor. 1:20)

I. Israel Had A Problem

II. Israel Had A Promise

Verse 3-5 ISRAEL HAD A PRAISE

Ill. The context. Israel marched around the city in obedience to the Lord and they prevailed! (Ill. The absurdity of the command! Can you imagine how the people in Jericho must have reacted? They saw the armies of Israel approaching their city and they probably thought that they were about to be invaded by the enemy. Then, just as Israel came near the city, they turned and began to march around the walls. I can see those inside Jericho as they ran to see where the Israelites would mount their attack. However, instead of attacking, the soldiers, and the priests merely marched around the city one time. All that was heard was the sound of the ram’s horn trumpets and the pounding of the soldier’s feet upon the ground. This was repeated for 6 days. By this time, the people in Jericho were no doubt mocking and jeering the Israelites. Then on the seventh day, they compassed the city seven times. When they had finished that seventh lap, the priests gave a long blast on the trumpets and the people of Israel shouted with a great shout! It wasn’t the shout of an attacking army, it wasn’t a shout of fear, but it was a shout raised in praise to their God Who had promised them the victory. When the people shouted, the walls fell down flat and Israel ran into the city and utterly destroyed it. Theirs was a great victory!)

You ask why seven times? What’s the significance of seven?

Jacob serving seven years for a bride

Israelites are given over to Midian seven years

Samson’s wife weeping before him seven days

took Solomon seven years to build the temple

just man falleth seven times and riseth up again

seven men appointed to serve the people

In Revelation we find seven angels, seven churches, seven seals, seven trumpets, seven vials, seven horns, seven candlesticks, seven stars, seven plagues, seven spirits, seven eyes, seven lamps, seven thunders, seven heads, seven crowns, seven mountains, seven kings

Seven “I Am”

6:35 I am the bread of life

8:12 I am the light of the world

10:9 I am the door

10:11 I am the good shepherd

11:25 I am the resurrection and the life

14:6 I am the way, the truth, and the life

15:1 I am the true vine

Most of all there were The Seven Statements of Jesus from The Cross.

THE CRY OF LONELINESS | Christian Book Review

Christian Book StoresThe fourth word that Jesus uttered was a word of anguish of loneliness addressed to the Father. It is found in Matthew 27:46 – “At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ which means ‘My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?’”

Max Lucado gives the following account in his book titled No Wonder They Call Him Savior.

“The summer of 1980 in Miami was nothing to smile about. The Florida heat scorched the city during the day and baked it at night. Riots, lootings, and racial tension threatened to snap the frayed emotions of the people. Everything soared: unemployment, inflation, the crime rate, and especially the thermometer. Somewhere in the midst of it all, a Miami Herald reporter captured a story that left the entire Gold Coast breathless.

It was the story of Judith Bucknell. Attractive, young, successful, and dead.

Judith Bucknell was homicide number 106 that year. She was killed on a steamy June 9th evening. Age: 38. Weight: 109 pounds. Stabbed seven times. Strangled.

She kept a diary. Had she not kept this diary perhaps the memory of her would have been buried with her body. But the diary exists; a painful epitaph to a lonely life. The correspondent made this comment about her writings: ‘In her diaries, Judy created a character and a voice. The character is herself, wistful, struggling, weary; the voice is yearning. Judith Bucknell has failed to connect; age 38, many lovers, much love offered, none returned.’

Her struggles weren’t unusual. She worried about getting old, getting fat, getting married, getting pregnant, and getting by. She lived in stylish Coconut Grove (Coconut Grove is where you live if you are lonely but act happy).

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Judy was the paragon of the confused human being. Half of her life was fantasy, half was nightmare. Successful as a secretary, but a loser at love. Her diary was replete with entries such as the following:

‘Where are the men with the flowers and champagne and music? Where are the men who call and ask for a genuine, actual date? Where are the men who would like to share more than my bed, my booze, my food. . . . I would like to have in my life, once before I pass through my life, the kind of sexual relationship which is part of a loving relationship.’

She never did.

Judy was not a prostitute. She was not on drugs or on welfare. She never went to jail. She was not a social outcast. She was respectable. She jogged. She hosted parties. She wore designer clothes and had an apartment that overlooked the bay. And she was very lonely.

‘I see people together and I’m so jealous I want to throw up.
What about me! What about me!’

Though surrounded by people, she was on an island. Though she had many acquaintances, she had few friends. Though she had many lovers (fifty-nine in fifty-six months), she had little love.

‘Who is going to love Judy Bucknell?’ the diary continues. ‘I feel so old. Unloved. Unwanted. Abandoned. Used up. I want to cry and sleep forever.’

A clear message came from her aching words. Though her body died on June 9th from the wounds of a knife, her heart had died long before. . . from loneliness.

‘I’m alone,’ she wrote, ‘and I want to share something with somebody.’”

The anguish of loneliness.

It is experienced by the abandoned child. The person who is divorced. The person in the nursing home. Maybe you experience it in the empty home. The empty mailbox. The long days. The longer nights. A one-night stand. A forgotten birthday. No personal emails – just junk and business.

Maybe you have been spared this cruel cry. Oh, you have been homesick or upset a time or two. But despair? Far from it. Suicide? Of course not. Be thankful that it hasn’t knocked at your door … yet. Pray that it never will.

But for many, loneliness is a way of life. The sleepless nights. The lonely bed. The distrust. The fear of tomorrow. The unending hurt. When did it begin? In your childhood? At the divorce? At retirement? At the cemetery? When the kids left home?

Maybe you, like Judy Bucknell, have fooled everyone. No one knows that you are lonely. On the outside you are packaged perfectly. Your smile is quick. Your job is stable. Your clothes are sharp. Your calendar is full. Your talk impressive. But when you look in the mirror, you don’t fool yourself.

Or maybe you don’t try to hide it. Maybe you have always been outside the circle looking in, and everyone knows it. Your conversation is a bit awkward. Your companionship is seldom requested. Your clothes are dull. Your looks are common. Ziggy is your hero and Charlie Brown is your mentor.

Am I striking a chord? If I am, if you sighed in understanding, I have an important message for you. The most gut-wrenching cry of loneliness in history came not from a homicide victim or a prisoner or a widow or a patient. It came from a cross on a hill, from Jesus.

“My God, my God!” he cried out, “Why have you forsaken me?”

Never have words carried so much hurt. Never has anyone been so lonely.

Leviticus 16 is a passage of the Law of Atonement. It describes God’s Law to the Israelites of how to make an offering and sacrifice for the sins of the people. Remember, this is before Jesus comes to be our final sacrifice. It is complicated and ugly. In vs. 21 and 22, after much blood has been shed of animals in sacrifice, a live goat is taken. The high priest lays his hands upon the live goat and confesses the sins of all the people of Israel and transfers them to the head of the live goat. It is then sent away into the wilderness alone with all the sin upon itself. It is alone. It cannot be among the people. It is forsaken. It is cursed by God. The people would be
relieved. God would be appeased.

The temporary sacrifices described in Leviticus 16 are only a shadow of what was to come in Jesus. Hebrews teaches us that these sacrifices could not remove sins. They were only a lesson of what was to come – a lesson of our great need for forgiveness that Jesus alone provides.

Hebrews 10:1-4 – “The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship. If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared. But instead, those sacrifices actually reminded them of their sins year after year. For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.”

Hebrews 7:26-28 – “He is the kind of high priest we need because he is holy and blameless, unstained by sin. He has been set apart from sinners and has been given the highest place of honor in heaven.Unlike those other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices every day. They did this for their own sins first and then for the sins of the people. But Jesus did this once for all when he offered himself as the sacrifice for the people’s sins. The law appointed high priests who were limited by human weakness. But after the law was given, God appointed his Son with an oath, and his Son has been made the perfect High Priest forever.”

And because of Jesus’ perfect sacrifice, we have this result.

Hebrews 10:19-25– “And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one
another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”

Because of the blood of Jesus – we can come boldly into the presence of God … in relationship. We are not alone. And we are commanded to be together as the body and not neglect that – not to live life alone but together.

We will never have to experience the greatest loneliness – eternal separation from God. But Jesus did. On the cross, a moment came when he was overwhelmed by the loneliness, being forsaken by the Father with whom he had experienced eternal closeness. He was separated from him. But for you and I he willingly endured this. He took all of our sin upon himself and God had to forsake him. He was the true, the only, the final sacrifice for our sin. He seemed to be able to take so much. He took the betrayal without complaint. He endured the trials 3without defending himself. He took so much beating and physical torture before he even came to the cross and was silent. He carried his own instrument of cruel death without complaint. He was crucified and still expressed his concern and care for others. But then something happened that he could not be silent about.

I want to go back to how Max Lucado describes this moment. “And now on Skull’s hill, the sinbearer is again 4191512_largealone. Every lie ever told, every object ever coveted, every promise ever broken is on his shoulders. He is sin. God turns away. The despair is darker than the sky. It is more than Jesus can take. He withstood the beatings and remained strong at the mock trials. He watched in silence as those he loved ran away. He did not retaliate when the insults were hurled nor did he scream when the nails pierced his wrists. But when God turned his head, that was more than he could handle.

‘My God!’

The wail rises from parched lips. The holy heart is broken. The sinbearer screams as he wanders in the cosmic wasteland. Out of the silent sky come the words screamed by all who walk in the desert of loneliness.

‘Why? Why have you forsaken me?’

Why did Jesus do it? Oh, I know, I know. I have heard the official answers. ‘To gratify the law.’ ‘To fulfill prophecy.’ And these answers are right. They are. But there is something more here. Something very compassionate. Something yearning. Something personal. What is it?

I may be wrong, but I keep thinking of the diary. ‘I feel abandoned,’ she wrote. ‘Who is going to love Judith Bucknell?’ And I keep thinking of the parents of the dead child. Or the friend at the hospital bedside. Or the elderly in the nursing home. Or the orphans. Or the cancer ward. I keep thinking of all the people who cast despairing eyes toward the dark heavens and cry, ‘Why?’

And I imagine him. I imagine him listening. I imagine him holding out his nail-pierced hands showing that he who also was once alone, understands.”

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Study 2 of The Book of Joshua|She’s Not The Girl She Used To Be

downloadRead Joshua 2:1-24

And she said unto the men, I know that the Lord hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you.

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.

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.

There once was a rather rough, uncultured man who for some reason fell in love with a beautiful vase in a shop window. Eventually he bought the vase and put it on the mantelpiece in his room. There it became a kind of judgment on its surroundings. He had to clean up the room to make it worthy of the vase. The curtains looked dingy beside it. The old chair with the stuffing coming out of the seat would not do. The wallpaper and the paint needed redoing. Gradually the whole room was transformed. When you put Christ on the mantel of your heart, your whole life is transformed.

  • It is this kind of transformation we witness here in the second chapter of the book of Joshua.
  • As the Israelites were about to enter Canaan and claim their promised land, the first city they would have to face was the great walled city of Jericho.
  • If they could take this city, they could easily split the country in two and then move from there to conquer the north and the south.
  • Before they go about the business of defeating Jericho, Joshua sends spies to the city to gage the mood of the people and to see whether or not they were ready for war.
  • When these spies entered Jericho, they went to the home of a harlot. Why? Well, the sight of men entering a harlot’s home would not attract too much attention. Now would it?
  • What they found when they entered the home of Rahab must have come as quiet a shock to these two men. They found a woman who had been changed by the power of God. They met Rahab, but found out that she wasn’t the girl she used to be!

For us, Rahab is a picture of the power of the Lord Jesus to transform any life that comes to Him by faith.

What we will see today is how the Lord takes sinners who will place their faith in Him and changes them by His power and grace

RAHAB THE CALL GIRL

Verse 1 describes Her Spiritual Condition – Rahab was a harlot. Her’s was a depraved and wicked life. She is a picture of every person who is lost in sin this morning. You see, you may not be a harlot, but if you have never trusted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, then you are lost in sin and need to be born again! It is sad but true, all are sinners

It also describes Her Spiritual Condemnation – She lived in a city that was slated for destruction! God had already determined that Jericho would fall! I’m sure the people felt pretty confident and reasonably safe behind the walls of their city, but God had already passed sentence upon them and they were doomed to destruction! The people of Jericho may not have felt that they were in great danger, but they were doomed nonetheless!

So it is with the sinner this morning! The lost person may feel secure today and may not believe that he is in any danger. However, the Bible tells us that the lost are condemned already, John 3:18

Then we see God’s Spiritual Compassion – Notice verse 10. Rahab tells the spies that they heard of what happened in Egypt and of the kings thy have defeated along the way. Well, it had been 40 years since they left Egypt. God had spared the city for that amount of time, and still they had several more days before judgment came to them. Rahab had experienced the grace and patience of God in giving her time to come to faith in Him.

Friend, how many years has the Lord given you? How many times has He knocked on your heart’s door? How many times has He called you to faith? You that are saved, how many times did the Lord call before you responded in faith.

RAHAB THE CONVERTED GIRL

Verse 10-11 She Heard The Word – Rahab heard about the God of Israel. It was a message of judgment that she heard, but it introduced her to the true and living God. The message that came was to her a message of life!

The message is the same today. That message is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:

6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.

7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.

8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time

Verse 9-11 She Heeded The Word – Not only did Rahab hear the message, but she heeded it as well. This message produced a response of faith in the heart of Rahab. The fact that she believed the message is proven by what she says about God. In verse 9, she calls Him “the LORD”, using His covenant Name Jehovah. In verse 11, she expresses her faith in Him as THE God of Heaven and of earth. I verse 12, she again expresses her faith in Him as she calls God to witness the pact she is about to make with the spies. Even Heb. 11, the great Hall of the Faithful, in verse 31 tells us of the faith of Rahab. She heard the message and she acted on it in belief.

RAHAB THE COMPLETED GIRL

By the way, He has no respect of persons, therefore, what He did for Rahab, He can do for you. He used her in a mighty fashion. He can use you as well!)

Verse 12-22 The Proof Of Her Completion 

In Verse 1-7 She Labored For The Lord – One of the surest proofs that Rahab was genuinely converted is the fact that she involved herself with the work of the Lord. She hid the spies and covered up for them. We cannot condone her lie. Even James uses her as an example of the believer who proves their salvation by the works of their life, James 2:25.

My friends, we can like it or not, but the truth of our profession is proven by the work of our life, James 2:18! You see, we can say anything we like, but what we really are is proven by what we do! The fruit of your life proves the root of your life – Matt. 7:20

She also Loved The Lost – Notice that Rahab is concerned about others in her family who are in danger as well.

The Payoff Of Her Completion – Because she placed her faith in the Lord God of Israel, she obtained some precious possessions. Notice how God took this former harlot and blessed her new life with the richest of His blessings. She Found A New Family – She went from being part of judged nation to being part of a holy nation! She Found A New Family – Rahab was taken from the house of shame and wound up in the hall of fame. This woman became and ancestor of the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, she was David’s great-great grandmother and she was the mother-in-law of Ruth. Josh. 6:20-25 She Found A New Freedom – Because of her faith she was spared from the destruction that overtook her city. By the way, all those in her house were spared as well! When the walls of Jericho fell down flat, there was apparently one section that remained standing. It was the section that held the house of Rahab. It was a place that was marked by a scarlet rope that hung from her window, v. 18.

What a picture is given here. And, just as Rahab’s home was marked by a scarlet rope, v. 18 so our life is recognized by God because of the blood of Jesus that has been applied to our souls by faith. That rope told Israel that Rahab believed God and was to live. The blood of Jesus tells the Father that we have trusted His Son and that we, too, are to be spared! Folks, it is the blood that makes the difference! I Pet. 1:18-19; Rev. 1:5.)

It was the blood of a lamb that spared the firstborn in Egypt when the death angel passed through the land. It is the blood of Jesus that makes the difference between Heaven and Hell for each of us this morning!)

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Study 1 of The Book of Joshua|This Land is our Land

CanaanJoshua 1:1-18

Do you remember the song we used to sing when we were children in school? “This land is your Land.” The lyrics went a little something like:

“This land is your land This land is my land
From California to the New York island;
From the red wood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and Me.”

When I read the book of Joshua that’s what I think about, the land that God promised to them many years ago and now it was time for them to enter into that land of promise. However, as they prepare there must be an understanding that there will be battles that will have to be fought. Therefore, in the midst of the battles, there is always hope for victory, Rom. 8:31, 37. In fact, the Bible tells us that we are the recipients of victory through the Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Cor. 15:57.

While we are engaged in the battle with evil, there is the expectation that we can and will walk in victory in our lives. For me, this is what the book of Joshua represents.

In this book, we find that Moses, has died and a new leader named Joshua has been appointed to lead the nation of Israel into Canaan. After 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, Israel is about to take possession of the land which God promised Abraham.

This book is about the battles Israel faced in order to claim that promise from God. Joshua is a book of warfare, suffering and great victories. It is a book that can teach the Christian much about obtaining spiritual victory in your life.

This morning, I begin a new series that will take us through the book of Joshua. My goal in preaching it is help you to stop wandering around in the wilderness and to enter into your Canaanland of spiritual victory. These verses will help us to understand what it takes to go from wandering around in a wilderness of defeat to living in a land of victory.

There are 3 truths given here that we need to understand this morning as we look at the thought,

This Land Is Our Land!”

In Verse 1-9 we see THE CALL FROM GOD.

In order for them to enter the land they must get instructions from the one who gave them the land. In verse 1-4 there is A Call To Claim The Land – In these verses, Joshua is reminded that the Lord has already given the land of Canaan to the children of Israel.

Joshua is commanded to lead the people into Canaan to claim the land that they had been promised by the Lord. The land was given to them back in Gen. 12:7 and the promises were reaffirmed to every succeeding generation of the nation of Israel. The land was indeed their land! There was no need for them to continue their wandering around in the wilderness. They had a land, all they had to do was claim it.

Each day as I look around as I go through my week I see Christians who are defeated, who struggle with sins, who, for all intents and purposes are wandering around in a spiritual wilderness. My friends, it does not have to be that way! God has a place of victorious living which He has promised you and I can live in, 2 Cor. 2:14; Rom. 8:37; 1 Cor. 15:57. I believe with all my heart that God did not save you to see you defeated! Most of the time, we are defeated because we refuse to walk in victory.

We also see in verse 5-6, 9 A Call To Have Confidence In The Lord Joshua is reminded of some very precious promises in these verses. Notice what God promised him:

There was the promise of victory over every enemy, the promise of the presence and power of God, the promise of the faithfulness of God, the promise of absolute victory and the promise of God to keep His promises. The question is what did Joshua have to do to make these things happen? Just one thing: Trust God! May I remind you that the same promises God made to Joshua are in force for you and me this morning? You can still count on the Lord to do everything He promised Joshua He would do!

He still gives victory over all our enemies – 1 John 5:4-5. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? He is still ever-present, Heb. 13:5, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. and all powerful – Matt. 28:18. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. He is still faithful – Matt. 28:20. I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. He still gives absolute victory – 1 Cor. 15:57; But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. He still keeps His promises – Rom. 4:21. And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. What do we have to do to see these things come to pass in our lives? Just one thing: Trust God!

In verse 7-8 we find A Call To Carry Out The Law – The Lord tells Joshua that if he is to lead the people of God to rest in Canaan, then he take heed to the Law of God. Remembering the Law is an essential step to entering our Canaan as well. Notice what the Lord to Joshua about the Law and how this applies to our lives today. He was to keep the Law, He was to meditate on the Law and He was to prosper by honoring the Law.

There is a lesson in this for us this We are to feed on the Bible –  Job 23:12. I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food. We are to live by the Bible – Psa. 119:11; Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. We will be blessed when these things are true in our lives – Psa. 1:1-3! 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. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 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.

Finally in the Call from God we find in verse 6a, 7a, 9a A Call To Courage In Leadership – In the midst of all these things the Lord calls Joshua to do, 3 times, God Himself, encourages Joshua to be strong and courageous! These words carry the idea of “standing firm and strong in the face of opposition.”

Are you standing for the Lord? Or, have you fallen out along the way?

To claim the land as yours you must also look at verse 10-15 THE CHALLENGE FROM JOSHUA.

After Joshua receives his challenge from the Lord, without hesitation, he goes to the people and tells them that the time has come to take their land. First, he challenges the nation as a whole and then he addresses a specific group within the nation of Israel.

In verse 10-11 there is  A Challenge To Readiness – Joshua tells the people to get ready to go into Canaan and claim the land. These were the words they had been living for 40 years. However, before they could go in, they had to get ready! God told them to prepare them some food. You see, the manna was about to stop. God had told them that He would give them manna while they were in the desert, but it would cease when they entered the Promised Land, Ex. 16:35. The manna was desert diet, now they were about to move up to something a whole lot better. They were going to a land flowing with milk and honey. What had worked in the wilderness would not suffice in the land of blessing!

The same is true for us today. Before we can enter our Canaan, we have to prepare for that land. The way we live must change. The things we feed on must change. The entire scope of our lives must be altered to adjust to life in Canaan! This is why so many never enjoy the victorious Christian life. They simply refuse to make the necessary changes to adjust to living in spiritual victory. The fact is, if you expect to walk in victory, you will have to learn to walk by an entirely new set of rules, Rom. 6:4; Col. 3:1-10.)

What will you have to do to get ready for Canaan?

In verse 12-15 there is A Challenge To Responsibility – Now, Joshua addresses the tribes of Reuben, Gad and that half tribe of Manasseh. These tribes had sought, and gotten, permission from Moses to remain east of the Jordan, just outside the Promised Land. Their reason in making this request? The land east of Jordan was a land that was good for raising cattle, Num. 32:1, 4, 16. Still, Joshua reminds them that they had promised to fight alongside their brethren until the land was conquered, Deut 3:12-20. These people are challenged to remember their promise and to aid the nation until victory was secured. While these people settled in a land of prosperity, they were also in a land of danger. Years later, when the Assyrian army attacked from the East, these tribes were the first to go away into captivity.

Listen, there is a very powerful lesson for us in these verse. We have literal legions of Christians who are just like these 2 ½ tribes. They are more concerned about making a living than they are about making a life! The primary thing that motivates them is getting ahead in life. In other words, they are materially minded instead of spiritually minded!

These people represent those Christians I would call “borderline Christians”. These are people who have trusted Jesus for salvation, but that is about as far as they are will to go. They will come when they want to, tithe when they feel like they can afford to, fight a battle now and again, but most often, they are seen just playing around the edges, refusing to put God first in their lives.

By the way, it is this type of Christian who is usually the first to fall in times of attack and temptation!

Lastly, take a look at verse 16-18 THE COMMITMENT FROM THE PEOPLE.

In verse 16 They Commit Themselves To A Life Of Surrender – These people make their stand with the Lord. They promise absolute obedience and surrender to the will of God.

This is the only way spiritual victory will come to any life. There must be total and absolute surrender of every area of life to the will of God and to His divine leadership. Anything less hinders the work of God in your life and mine. What are you holding back from the Lord this morning?

In verse 17 They Commit Themselves To A Life Of Submission – These men also promised to follow the leadership of God’s man. Just as they had followed Moses, they committed themselves to following Joshua! We are to submit to the leadership of God! Canaan is only for those who are subject to the will of God!)

Finally, verse 18 shows us  They Commit Themselves To A Life Of Separation – Finally, the people commit themselves to separating from those in their midst who refused to comply with the commandments of the Lord. And, their separation was so strong that they vowed to put to death anyone who rebelled against the leadership of Joshua. These people knew that allowing rebellion in their midst was a sure way to guarantee defeat.

Again, the lesson for us is clear this morning. If we want to walk in victory, we must practice separation in our lives as well. We should separate ourselves from anything that would prevent us from having victory in our lives. Whether it be from certain people, in the way we dress, the way we talk, the things we watch and do, where we work, how we think or in any other area of life. If it is a hindrance to your entering into your Canaan, then it must go. Otherwise, you will always be defeated and in danger. Even as I speak, you already know what it is that is holding you back this morning. You need to get that things settled today!

Canaanland is our land! It has been given to us by the Heavenly Father and all we have to do this morning is to march in and claim it for ourselves. However, while it is ours, it isn’t cheap! If you really want to walk in spiritual victory and live in Canaanland, then you will have to pay the price.