WAR A LONG TIME
Joshua 11:15 As the LORD commanded Moses his servant, so did Moses command Joshua, and so did Joshua; he left nothing undone of all that the LORD commanded Moses. 16 So Joshua took all that land, the hills, and all the south country, and all the land of Goshen, and the valley, and the plain, and the mountain of Israel, and the valley of the same; 17 Even from the mount Halak, that goeth up to Seir, even unto Baalgad in the valley of Lebanon under mount Hermon: and all their kings he took, and smote them, and slew them. 18 Joshua made war a long time with all those kings. 19 There was not a city that made peace with the children of Israel, save the Hivites the inhabitants of Gibeon: all other they took in battle. 20 For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favour, but that he might destroy them, as the LORD commanded Moses.
As we have previously stated, the man Joshua is a personal type of the Lord Jesus Christ. His Hebrew name in the Greek is Jesus. (See Acts 7:45; Heb. 4:8). And as Joshua leads the Old Testament people of Israel in the physical warfare with their enemies, so our Lord Jesus leads us in our spiritual warfare as the spiritual Israel today. Romans 2:28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God. 9:6 … For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:
As dear Pastor Hubert Davis preached during the days of his earthly pilgrimage, “In the Old Testament we had the natural. In the New Testament we have the spiritual. And then in eternity we have the glorious!”
And the spiritual, born again believer is also a warrior! 2 Timothy 2:1 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. 3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
And we have a spiritual enemy! Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 1 Peter 2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;
We have spiritual weapons that are mighty through God! 2 Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; Read also Ephesians 6:10-18.
The church’s enemies first occupied their land! Genesis 15:16 But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.
In this verse the Lord was informing Abraham that his people would first spend 400 years in Egyptian bondage while these Amorites, that Joshua is now fighting, would be enjoying what would become Israel’s promised land! These Canaanites would be eating, drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage in that land flowing with milk and honey!
Exodus 23:29 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. 30 By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land. And here the Lord is instructing Moses that they would most assuredly inherit the land, but only by little and little so that the wild beasts would not multiply against them. So we see that the enemies of the Lord occupied their promised land before them.
And so it is with the spiritual believer in this day of grace! For our minds and affections were long under the influences of an unregenerate spirit, before they were conquered by the Lord’s grace! 1 Corinthians 15:44 … There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
We were lost sinners before ever being conquered by the grace of Christ through the spirit of the gospel! Ephesians 2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation (that is, our manner of life), in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. For like the Canaanites dwelling in the future land of promise, we were lost sinners, then dwelling in physical bodies that would, one day be fashioned like unto his glorious body, after the last enemy of death is destroyed by the resurrection!
For whereas the unbelievers have no regard for their physical bodies after their death, choosing to burn them, the believers consider their bodied to be as seed, planted in the earth, to be raised a spiritual body, occupied throughout eternity! Job 19:26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: 1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. Phil. 3:21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body …
Listen to the Lord Jesus speak of the death of his own body: John 12:23 And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. 24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
Think about it! The physical resurrection of his body produced our justification! Romans 4:25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. And therefore our bodies are completely under his sovereign ownership! 1 Corinthians 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. 2 Corin. 5:14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.
Therefore the church shall have War A Long Time with her enemies! Some wise, spiritual leader has long ago truthfully said, “A call to salvation is a call to dying!” Consider but these verses of Holy Writ: 2 Corinthians 4:10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. 11 For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.
For from those “remnants of corruption in every part, … ariseth a continual, and irreconcilable war;” (Philadelphia Confession of Faith of 1689, Chap. XIII, para. 2).
The kings … on the north. Be assured, dear reader that every individual believer, without exception, has a most intense and long struggle with just his indwelling corruptions! Galatians 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
Just look at the Hebrew meaning of those words, on the north! We first see this word in Exodus two, verses two and three. In the former it is translated into English as, she hid him. Whereas in the latter it appears as, hide him. That same Hebrew word also appears in Job 20:26 as, in his secret places. For these sinful traits are characteristic of those of our very first parents who sewed fig leaves together in order to hide their nakedness from God! These are those deeply hidden sinful motions within each of us that we would rather just hide, than confront!
The Psalmist David wrote of this in the nineteenth psalm. For there we read, in verses 12 and 13, Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. He was justly fearful of those secret faults and those presumptuous sins! – And so should we all be!
For we all now know, by the evidence of the scriptures, and by years of religious teaching that Judas was a reprobate! But had you lived in his day, you would not have been so sure of that! For even the other disciples, the very Apostles themselves, never pointed one finger at him, but all said unto him one by one, Is it I? and another said, Is it I? (Mark 14:19). For it is he that endureth to the end shall be saved. (Matt. 10:22). Therefore this constant warfare against remaining corruption is of great value to peace of heart and mind concerning our present spiritual state!
For growth in grace not only provides the evidence of spirituality, but also the prevention from the effect of unchallenged secret faults. 2 Peter 3:17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. 18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
It will be of great, eternal benefit for us to remain at War A Long Time against those inner forces that, without sustaining, effectual grace, will lead into realized reprobation! 2 Corin. 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? 2 Corin. 7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
The Apostle Peter also warns against presumption and self will. He, as did David, warns that they can lead to the forming of the reprobate! 2 Peter 2:10 But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. 12 But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;
The human character, made in the image of God, has the privilege in Christ to rise far above all other forms of created existence! Psalm 8:6 Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: But man also, without effectual grace within, can fall into debauchery below that of the brute beasts! For complete submission to Christ is the evidence of indwelling grace. But arrogance and self will, presuming upon some religious performance is an evidence of dogs and sows, but never the Lord’s sheep! For the sheep have effectual hearing ears and following feet! John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
And we find this to be one of the reasons that the Lord does not remove, but rather raises up, enemies to war against us! Deut. 7:22 And the LORD thy God will put out those nations before thee by little and little: thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee. The human enemies (daily crosses), are to be contended with in order to prevent the much greater danger of contending with beasts (falling into reprobation)! That is how David proved to Saul that he could defeat the human giant, Goliath! It was because he had already defeated much more formable enemies in the lion and bear! (1 Sam. 17:34-36).
None shall enter eternal glory except by way of the cross! Matt. 18:7 Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
1 Peter 2:20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. 21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
But compared to the riches of being in God’s glorious presence eternally, these crosses are seen to be but a light affliction! 2 Corin. 4:16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
These afflictions are temporary, but the glory is eternal! These afflictions are but exercises in faith. And that faith is but the bud that shall blossom into glory!
May the Lord God have mercy on us all!
Pastor Gene Breed.