Leaving Legalism (Part 8: Consecrate Yourself)

Early in the morning Joshua and all the Israelites set out from Shittim and went to the Jordan, where they camped before crossing over. After three days the officers went throughout the camp, giving orders to the people: “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the Levitical priests carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before. But keep a distance of about two thousand cubits between you and the ark; do not go near it.”

Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.”

Joshua said to the priests, “Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on ahead of the people.” So they took it up and went ahead of them.

And the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses. Tell the priests who carry the ark of the covenant: ‘When you reach the edge of the Jordan’s waters, go and stand in the river.’”

Joshua said to the Israelites, “Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God. 10 This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites. 11 See, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth will go into the Jordan ahead of you. 12 Now then, choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. 13 And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the Lord—the Lord of all the earth—set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap.”

14 So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. 15 Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, 16 the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (that is, the Dead Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. 17 The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stopped in the middle of the Jordan and stood on dry ground, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.

(Joshua 3:1-17)

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Leaving Legalism (Part 7: A New Identity)

Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof and said to them, “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. 10 We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. 11 When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.

12 “Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. Give me a sure sign 13 that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them—and that you will save us from death.”

14 “Our lives for your lives!” the men assured her. “If you don’t tell what we are doing, we will treat you kindly and faithfully when the Lord gives us the land.”

15 So she let them down by a rope through the window, for the house she lived in was part of the city wall. 16 She said to them, “Go to the hills so the pursuers will not find you. Hide yourselves there three days until they return, and then go on your way.”

17 Now the men had said to her, “This oath you made us swear will not be binding on us 18 unless, when we enter the land, you have tied this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you have brought your father and mother, your brothers and all your family into your house. 19 If any of them go outside your house into the street, their blood will be on their own heads; we will not be responsible. As for those who are in the house with you, their blood will be on our head if a hand is laid on them. 20 But if you tell what we are doing, we will be released from the oath you made us swear.”

21 “Agreed,” she replied. “Let it be as you say.”

So she sent them away, and they departed. And she tied the scarlet cord in the window.

22 When they left, they went into the hills and stayed there three days, until the pursuers had searched all along the road and returned without finding them.23 Then the two men started back. They went down out of the hills, forded the river and came to Joshua son of Nun and told him everything that had happened to them. 24 They said to Joshua, “The Lord has surely given the whole land into our hands; all the people are melting in fear because of us.”

(Joshua 2:8-24)

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Leaving Legalism (Part 6: Preparing to Enter the Kingdom)

Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two men as spies from the Acacia Grove, saying, “Go and scout the land, especially Jericho.” So they left, and they came to the house of a woman, a prostitute named Rahab, and stayed there.

The king of Jericho was told, “Look, some of the Israelite men have come here tonight to investigate the land.” Then the king of Jericho sent word to Rahab and said, “Bring out the men who came to you and entered your house, for they came to investigate the entire land.”

But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. So she said, “Yes, the men did come to me, but I didn’t know where they were from. At nightfall, when the gate was about to close, the men went out, and I don’t know where they were going. Chase after them quickly, and you can catch up with them!” But she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them among the stalks of flax that she had arranged on the roof. The men pursued them along the road to the fords of the Jordan, and as soon as they left to pursue them, the gate was shut.

(Joshua 2:1-7)

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Leaving Legalism (Part 5: Provision for the Journey)

10 Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people: 11 “Go through the camp and tell the people, ‘Get provisions ready for yourselves, for within three days you will be crossing the Jordan to go in and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you to inherit.’”

12 Joshua said to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh: 13 “Remember what Moses the Lord’s servant commanded you when he said, ‘The Lord your God will give you rest, and He will give you this land.’ 14 Your wives, young children, and livestock may remain in the land Moses gave you on this side of the Jordan. But your fighting men must cross over in battle formation ahead of your brothers and help them 15 until the Lord gives your brothers rest, as He has given you, and they too possess the land the Lord your God is giving them. You may then return to the land of your inheritance and take possession of what Moses the Lord’s servant gave you on the east side of the Jordan.”

16 They answered Joshua, “Everything you have commanded us we will do, and everywhere you send us we will go. 17 We will obey you, just as we obeyed Moses in everything. And may the Lord your God be with you, as He was with Moses. 18 Anyone who rebels against your order and does not obey your words in all that you command him, will be put to death. Above all, be strong and courageous!”

(Joshua 1:10-18)

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Leaving Legalism (Part 4: Freedom)

After the death of Moses the Lord’s servant, the Lord spoke to Joshua son of Nun, who had served Moses: “Moses My servant is dead. Now you and all the people prepare to cross over the Jordan to the land I am giving the Israelites. I have given you every place where the sole of your foot treads, just as I promised Moses. Your territory will be from the wilderness and Lebanon to the great Euphrates River—all the land of the Hittites—and west to the Mediterranean Sea.No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. I will be with you, just as I was with Moses. I will not leave you or forsake you.

“Be strong and courageous, for you will distribute the land I swore to their fathers to give them as an inheritance. Above all, be strong and very courageous to carefully observe the whole instruction My servant Moses commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right or the left, so that you will have success wherever you go. This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to recite it day and night so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do. Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

(Joshua 1:1-9)

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Fruit of the Spirit—Self-Control: Part 7 (Decision Making: Moral Courage)

16 Do not put the Lord your God to the test as you did at Massah. 17 Be sure to keep the commands of the Lord your God and the stipulations and decrees he has given you. 18 Do what is right and good in the Lord’s sight, so that it may go well with you and you may go in and take over the good land the Lord promised on oath to your ancestors, 19 thrusting out all your enemies before you, as the Lord said.
(Deuteronomy 6:16-19)

That night all the members of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness! Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.”
Then Moses and Aaron fell facedown in front of the whole Israelite assembly gathered there. Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”
10 But the whole assembly talked about stoning them. Then the glory of the Lord appeared at the tent of meeting to all the Israelites.
(Numbers 14:1-10)

25 Then someone came and said, “Look! The men you put in jail are standing in the temple courts teaching the people.” 26 At that, the captain went with his officers and brought the apostles. They did not use force, because they feared that the people would stone them.
27 The apostles were brought in and made to appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. 28 “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.”
29 Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings!
(Acts 5:25-29)

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The Day the Sun Stood Still

“So the sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed its setting almost a full day.  There has been no day like it before or since, when the Lord listened to the voice of a man, because the Lord fought for Israel…”
Joshua 10:13-14 (HCSB)

This message from Joshua 10:1-15 addresses the important topic of how to interpret the Old Testament.

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