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The Lord, Land and Men (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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October 23, 2020 6:00 am

The Lord, Land and Men (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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October 23, 2020 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the Book of Joshua (Joshua 13-14)

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Inheritance, ideally, in these passages, is a loved one leaving something for loved ones. And God says, well, I'm not leaving you an earthly allotment. I'm leaving you with a spiritual one.

And in that, they were unlike all the other tribes. And during the Golden Age of the priesthood, they took great honor in that, as they should have. This is Cross-Reference Radio with our pastor and teacher, Rick Gaston. Rick is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville. Pastor Rick is currently teaching through the book of Joshua.

Please stay with us after today's message to hear more information about Cross-Reference Radio, specifically how you can get a free copy of this teaching. But for now, let's join Pastor Rick in the book of Joshua chapter seven. But for now, let's join Pastor Rick in the book of Joshua chapter 13, as he begins his message, The Lord, Land and Men. Joshua chapter 13, we'll get two chapters, The Lord, The Land, The Men.

That is what we're going to be looking at. And this now begins with chapter 13, the second half of the book of Joshua, not numerically so. But the story is divided, the conquest in the first 12 chapters. And now there's still conquest taking place, but the emphasis is shifted to the allotment of the land that has been conquered. So it's not so much the battles that we're going to be looking at, but what the Jewish people did with the land after they had ousted much of the enemy. The closing chapters give us a few challenges that the Jews then faced once the land was divvied up. And that's what it is, now time to divvy up the land. The east side of the Jordan, the unpromised land that the two and a half tribes received, Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh will come to that. The Levites, they get no land. And it is a part of the story from the book of Joshua that every part of our life, every section in our soul has to go through war.

If it's going to belong to the Lord, if it's going to fulfill the directive, the commission that we have. We read this in chapter 12, just these words, just paint the picture for us. In the mountain country, in the lowlands, in the Jordan plain, in the slopes, in the wilderness, in the south, and then it goes on to name the inhabitants. But every nook and cranny, you could say, of the promised land is where the battles were taking place, and so it is in our own lives. The struggle is a part of, conquest is struggle.

Life is conquest. Deuteronomy 20, verse 1, when you go out to battle against your enemies and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them, for Yahweh your God is with you, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Imagine if you are a new recruit at this time in Israel's history. You're a lad and now you're of age to enter into the military, your tribal plan, and you're now heading out to the battlefield for the first time and you're scared out of your mind. Perhaps some veteran who's been in many of these campaigns looks over and asks, is this your first battle lad? And he says yes, with as much courage as he can pull up. And the veteran says to him, the Lord will fight our battles. The Lord is with us, in spite of your fear and your clumsiness, your failures, your inexperience, personal stupidity, which I have no shortage of. The Lord is with you. When you go out to battle against your enemies and you see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them. But what if I see this folly in my own heart?

Well, I have a fear that is the beginning of knowledge because it is the fear of the Lord. And this is what the book of Joshua is supposed to be about to us. They never did completely subdue, they did subdue the land, but they never purged it. That's, I don't know of any Christian that has gone to heaven completely purged of sin through warfare, only the blood of the lamb. That's what cleanses us. But it is supposed to work and it does work in tandem with our own relentless struggle against evil. Resist the devil, resist him, resist him.

Whether he flees or not, resist him. Verse one, now Joshua was old advanced in years and Yahweh said to him, you are old advanced in years and there remains very much land yet to be possessed. I mean, come on, Lord. I know I'm old.

I mean, coming from you is a double hit. I mean, a classmate is, you know, you're old. Well, you're old too. But coming from God, you're old.

Advanced in years. That's kind of comical. I wonder if the scribe who recorded these events, much of it, you know, oral from Joshua, when Joshua tells him about seeing the commander of the Lord's army, Joshua was alone. He had to tell it to somebody, put it down on paper. Whoever compiled the final record, he gets to this point. Does he chuckle?

I hope so. Anyway, Joshua is at this time, he's about 100 years old, a little bit more. By the time we get to the conversation with Caleb, he's about 103 years old, give or take a year.

More like give one. And yet he's expected to still go to war. Joshua, you're old and advanced in years. You still have to fight.

That's what he's telling him. Being old is no reason to stop serving. God treats Joshua not so much as an old man, but that there are things to do.

There's an urgency about his command. And this is another lesson we get just from verse one in Joshua. Yeah, you're old. He doesn't say, Joshua, you're old. Why don't you just rest and pass the mantle on? He says, keep going. I think as hard as it is, pastors should stay in the pulpit till they're dead.

I don't mean till the message is dead, but you might get some of that too. Morning, let's turn to Joshua chapter one. The Jews wanted rest.

They most certainly did. Now this is an interesting part of the story. Here you have this old man and he's ready to still go. And then you have the young men and the middle-aged ones and they're not so ready. Joshua and Caleb are still tugging. They're still pulling at the bit. They're ready to go.

Two old war horses. Every man and woman of God should be like that. Lord, what do you want me to do? It's a very simple prayer. The apostle Paul taught us when he was converted. Who are you, Lord? What do you want me to do? That's the story of our life as Christians. We open our Bibles.

Who are you? We want to know you more. Jeremiah chapter nine. If I boast in anything, it's that I know you, that I understand you and your mercy. There remains very much land, he says, yet to be possessed. No matter how long we serve, there's more to possess. There's more territory to take in our lives. And as I read earlier in the hills and the mountains and the valleys, wherever we find ourselves, there's still very much territory to be possessed. He's not saying be possessed.

He says to possess. Verse two, this is the land that yet remains all the territory of the Philistines, all of the Gershirites. Why don't these people just leave? You know, resistance is futile. Why don't they just go? Haven't they seen this juggernaut of the Hebrews coming across the land, winning every fight they engage? Ai was the setback.

They dealt with Ai. Two reasons. Judgment. In Joshua 11, we're told God is letting them, he's not giving them any incentive. There's no spiritual assistance to get those people out of the land because God wants to judge them. He's got them right where he wants them. He wants them stopped. He doesn't want them spread, spreading to other lands.

That's one reason why they're still here. God says he's going to drive them out, but he's going to use human swords to do it mostly. I mean, there was the whole Agilon event where the sun stood still and the hail came down. But the other is the processes that are taking place. The land cannot take the shock of just this giant, this nation just pushing out one and putting in another. So Canaan's resistance would be part of Israel's development.

And those are the dynamics, the forces that are pushing against each other. Why God did not just rain fire and brimstone on all the land? He could have done it.

It would have been spectacular if you were watching, not if you were a victim of it. And so, yeah, they greatly had overcome their enemies and taken possession of many cities and villages, but they did not dispossess and conquer or wipe out all of them. Verse 3, from Sihor, which is east of Egypt as far as the border of Ekron, northward, which is counted as Canaanite, the five lords of the Philistines, the Gazites, the Ashdodites, the Ashkelonites, the Gittites, the Ekronites, also the Avites.

I know I'm tempted to do all sorts of silly little things that I'm not. But these five major cities of the Philistines, they're very active into the days of David and beyond. We get familiar with them because once we get through with Ruth, I can't wait to get to Samuel and David.

The most electrifying section of the Old Testament in many ways are those sections of the life of those characters. But the one I want to single out, the Gittites, these were Philistines. That's the city of Gath, where Goliath was from.

Goliath was the giant of Gath. Later in the book of Samuel, during the days of David, when his son Absalom is trying to get him and kill him, David is fleeing Jerusalem with his forces to get his troops together for the battle, but he's fleeing for his life. And he leaves Jerusalem, of course, at one point he crosses, you know, the Brood Kidron, his head is covered, he's weeping, he's barefoot, he's devastated, he's brought this on himself, he feels so terrible about these events. But then there's that Ittai, the Gittite, that's there with his troops. You picture him either on a stallion or just armed with armor and he's standing there and David says, this is not your fight. And he says, wherever you are in life or death, wherever the Lord my King is there, I will be also. And you have to read that and you say, that's the guy I want to be throughout my life.

It's so hard, it's so hard to get even close to these things. They used to be neat little Bible stories, now they're challenges. You hear the voice of the filthy devil, I dare you to try to be a man like that.

I had no choice but to go ahead and take the dare. Ittai, from Gath, you would think, he says, you know, this is the guy that took out our hometown hero. But evidently, Ittai himself was not only sick of Gath, but he loved David. Because David had that, in spite of his flaws, he was a man that loved God so much, you stood next to him, you catch it, there's a portion of it.

Even homicidal maniacal Saul, David would start strumming that thing, and all of a sudden Saul was just sort of put in a trance with all the evil. To be a man like David, leave the bad stuff. But anyway, that is an outstanding note here, the Gittites, and later we will come across Ittai, one of the, my heroes in the Bible, just for that single speech.

And we don't read of him again after that, which suggests he died on the battlefield against Absalom. Well, verse 6, we can go down to next, all the inhabitants of the mountains from Lebanon, as far as the brook Mizrephoth, and all the Sidonians, them I would drive out from before the children of Israel, only divided by lot to Israel, as an inheritance, as I have commanded you. So there's the commandment, to divide the land, to continue to drive out the enemies. God says, I will drive them out.

And I would have said, well then I don't need my sword. I mean, who can improve on what you do? And that's not how it is. Anything God calls us to do and assists us with, we have a role in that process. And we should, we can mess it up. You know, someone says, you know, God has a plan for your life.

Well, add to that, don't mess it up. Because it is within our power. So when God says, I will drive them out, he means with the sword of his people. You know, again, we get to Samuel, we find the man that fights for his bean field, we find warriors, they're swinging their sword so, so hard and so often, they cannot let the sword go. It's stuck to their hand. It just sort of the nerves, it just locks up the spasm from swinging the sword so much. And God will use the sword of his people. That's how he's going to drive them out. And unfortunately, the people with so many victories developed a false sense of safety.

They became silent in their witness because they were so satisfied with their surroundings. Ergo, the book of Judges, depressed, the most depressing book in all the Bible. I think the first three chapters are very difficult chapters to read. It's not as far as, you know, what else are hard words? I mean, the circumstances. And so the lesson that come out of these things is if the nation does not fight, it doesn't win. If a church does not fight, it doesn't win. If an individual Christian does not fight, they do not win. That is a stark lesson from this classroom in the book of Joshua.

And I can say over the years, this church has sort of developed a fighting force of its own. You know what's expected of you and you're doing it. And failures are there.

You know, everybody has them, which we'll cover on Sunday. So if we are underweight, when we step on the scale of the word, it is because we've not been eating right. And it is our responsibility to stay fit and in shape spiritually as it is physically. Verse 7 now, he says, Now therefore divide this land as an inheritance to the nine tribes and a half, and half the tribe of Manasseh. Divide this land as an inheritance to the nine tribes and half the tribe. Because the other, to make up the 12 of course, the other two and a half tribes, they're on the east side of Jordan. Now he's talking to those who are coming to, who are on the west side, the promised land itself. In verse 8, incidentally today on the east side of Jordan is the kingdom of Jordan. And you can of course see it from Israel. You can't hit it with a rock. I tried, but no I didn't. Anyway, I'm getting confused with my neighbor's house. He plays his music loud. No he doesn't.

Alright, well let's go. Verse 8, with the other half tribe, the Reubenites and the Gadites received their inheritance, which Moses had given them beyond the Jordan eastward, as Moses the servant of Yahweh had given them. All of that just to get to Moses the servant of Yahweh. I mean again, the Bible just in those early days it keeps telling us he was a servant of God, a servant of God. What does it mean to be a servant of God?

It's more than just standing out handing out tracts somewhere. There's a lot more that's needed of God's people. And again that's the divine directive to the tribes. And we move to verse 12, all the kingdom of Og, of Bashan who reigned in Ashtaroth and Edrei, who remained of the remnant of the giants, for Moses had defeated and cast out these.

We pause there. So wait, wait, wait. Moses had already dealt with giants and won. So now coming to the promised land this time they had more incentive. Caleb was there, part of that. We're going to get to Caleb in a little while. And Caleb of course, when he says give me the land that God has told me I can have, Caleb makes his choice. I want the land where the giants are. We'll cover that in a bit.

We better get rolling to it. And also that would have, you know, after the Jews said we can't take the promised land, then they go on to conquer giants outside the promised land. That's sort of a rebuke.

And a lesson to those coming up. Verse 13, nevertheless the children of Israel did not drive out the Girgashites or the Maacathites. Does anybody have any water?

Water. But the Girsharites and the Maacahites dwell among the Israelites until this day. So long after the compiler, the historian puts this story together for us, he's saying, yep, they're still here.

We never got them out. And that's got to sting a little bit. But that's the facts. What are you going to do?

It's reality. Just make sure you try to be blameless before the Lord in the midst of those things as best we can. And what we cannot be blameless with, we seek that mercy. So the individual tribes now will have to drive out the various villages and cities that remain. Instead of it being a concerted effort with all the nation and all the force bearing down on cities such as Jericho and Ai, now it's tribal. They're going to get their territory and whatever Canaanites are in that land, you've got to get them out. And we'll get to some of that in the book of Judges.

We'll return to that. Yeah, there are some that think, for example, the church is to do for them what they can do for themselves. We don't have a lot of that here. We have people who've tried.

But that's a sad way to go through life, shunting your responsibilities and trying to get it out of God's people. Again, they had become satisfied so they stopped pressing. They were getting enough land to say, you know what?

We could live kind of comfortable here in this valley. We've taken this plateau. Why fight anymore? Sit back and relax.

I'm sick of all the killing. Paul said, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus while he was in jail. He's still pressing. Beware that we don't ever think that we can be spiritually satisfied. I like, I don't know exactly, I don't recall who coined this phrase, but God is easily pleased. He's never satisfied. What a challenge. I mean, because, and it's right.

It is true. The demands of life just don't allow us to catch a rest here. There's a rest that remains for the people of God in heaven. So tired of fighting as they were, wanting peace, it wasn't the right time. They stopped short of the commandment of the directive from God. They lost the momentum.

The iron was hot. They had the nations of the land ready to be defeated and they backed off. They were saved, more than likely, as a rule, they were saved. They felt safe, but then they were also satisfied at the wrong time. And that contributed to the lag and then the defeat and then the corruption and the checkered history of Israel. You know, when we went through Kings and Chronicles, how depressing it is, you get a good King, yeah.

And then all of a sudden, you know, the next one comes and the next two or three are just rotten. All of the North were terrible and it makes for heavy duty reading. Anyway, he says they dwell among the Israelites until this day, never fully purged. Verse 14, only to the tribe of Levi, he had given no inheritance. The sacrifices of Yahweh, God of Israel, made by fire are their inheritance.

And he said, and he said to them, as he said to them. Joshua chapter 18 verse 7 makes another comment on this. The book of Joshua keeps putting this out there for us so we don't lose sight of it. He says, but the Levites have no part among you for the priesthood of Yahweh is their inheritance. And Gad and Reuben and half the tribe of Manasseh shall receive their inheritance beyond the Jordan on the east which Moses the servant of the Lord gave them. So, God says to the Levites, the priest and the servants that are from Levi, descendants, you don't get an inheritance, I am your, well, what's an inheritance? An inheritance ideally in usage of these passages is a loved one leaving something for loved ones. And God says, well, I'm not leaving you an earthly allotment.

I'm leaving you with a spiritual one. And in that they were unlike all the other tribes. And when, during the golden age of the priesthood, they took great honor in that as they should have. When we get to Ezekiel, we find out that in the millennial kingdom the priest and the Levites will have their allotment just outside Jerusalem. There will be the priest and then there will be the Levites and they'll have their pastures for their cattle, at least that's how it's presented to us. How much of that, some of it may seem symbolic, others seem literal. We'll be there to find out.

You know, huh, look at that. Well, I got to get back to New Jerusalem. I'll see you guys later because New Jerusalem won't be the same thing as Jerusalem, two different entities.

We'll sort of be like a Shekinah, you know, hovering, heaven light. Anyway, they won't be scattered throughout the land as we find them in the book of Joshua, in the cities of refuge. They'll be centered on the place of worship and that's the idea for the Levite. They were to be centered on worship for the nation. Israel's not a church, it's a nation.

The church models her assembly like we have after the Jewish synagogues that came after the captivity, but we take many lessons from them, but we have to make sure we understand Israel is Israel, the church is the church and they're not the same thing. The law of Moses for the righteous is irreconcilable with the law of the New Testament, the blood of the lamb, Jesus Christ, not a bad lamb. All right, so verse 15, Moses had given to the tribe of the children of Reuben and inheritance according to their families.

We're on the East Jordan tribes now. Verse 22, the children of Israel also killed with the sword Balaam, the son of Beor, the soothsayer among those who were killed by them. And so that's why we're considering in this approach of the word, the Lord and because he's overseeing all of it and the land and the men. Now we come to Balaam, that enigma of the scripture in many ways. So after turning against God, what became of the sorcerer?

That's what he's telling us. We killed him. That's what happened to Balaam. He's remembered as a soothsayer, not a prophet of God. He was a prophet for a time there.

Peter says he was an insane prophet. Thanks for tuning in to Cross Reference Radio for this study in the book of Joshua. Cross Reference is the teaching ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville in Virginia. If you're interested in more information about this ministry, please visit our website,

You'll find additional teachings from Pastor Rick available there. We also encourage you to subscribe to our podcast. By doing so, you'll be notified of each new edition of Cross Reference Radio. Just search for Cross Reference Radio in iTunes, Google Play Music, or your favorite podcast app. You can also follow the links at We're glad we were able to spend time with you today. Tune in next time to continue learning from the book of Joshua, right here on Cross Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-02 06:46:43 / 2024-02-02 06:56:39 / 10

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