GRACE BAPTIST CHURCH
PO Box 2830 McDonough, Ga. 30253-1777
10452 Fitzgerald Rd., Jonesboro, Ga. 30238
Worshippers, Not Warriors!
Joshua 5:1 And it came to pass, when all the kings of the Amorites, which were on the side of Jordan westward, and all the kings of the Canaanites, which were by the sea, heard that the LORD had dried up the waters of Jordan from before the children of Israel, until we were passed over, that their heart melted, neither was there spirit in them any more, because of the children of Israel. 2 At that time the LORD said unto Joshua, Make thee sharp knives, and circumcise again the children of Israel the second time. 3 And Joshua made him sharp knives, and circumcised the children of Israel at the hill of the foreskins. 4 And this is the cause why Joshua did circumcise: All the people that came out of Egypt, that were males, even all the men of war, died in the wilderness by the way, after they came out of Egypt. 5 Now all the people that came out were circumcised: but all the people that were born in the wilderness by the way as they came forth out of Egypt, them they had not circumcised. 6 For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the people that were men of war, which came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they obeyed not the voice of the LORD: unto whom the LORD sware that he would not shew them the land, which the LORD sware unto their fathers that he would give us, a land that floweth with milk and honey. 7 And their children, whom he raised up in their stead, them Joshua circumcised: for they were uncircumcised, because they had not circumcised them by the way.
Circumcision, which was a token of the covenant between God and Abraham (Gen. 17:11), proved to be fatal to some Canaanites, as recorded in Genesis 34:24,25. For they were murdered in their tents from being too weak to defend themselves after the procedure of circumcision.
This ‘could’ (humanly speaking), have been the plight of the entire generation of these Israelites, had not God protected them! For the Lord God sent a fearful spirit upon the hearts of Israel’s enemies while they accomplished the Lord’s requirement of them. But we read in Joshua 2:11, 5:1 and 6:1 that it was the Canaanite that was at risk, trembling behind their city walls, thus granting Israel perfect safety in accomplishing this covenant task!
For the Lord God controls the hearts of man! Proverbs 16:1 The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD. 21:1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.
Therefore obedience to the Lord provided them his protection, even when they seemed to be in vulnerable situations. Exodus 34:23 Thrice in the year shall all your men children appear before the Lord GOD, the God of Israel. 24 For I will cast out the nations before thee, and enlarge thy borders: neither shall any man desire thy land, when thou shalt go up to appear before the LORD thy God thrice in the year.
And if you will notice in verse six of Joshua five, listed above, it was disobedience that caused the elder Israelites to be destroyed in the wilderness. For it is obedience that brings the personal protection from the Lord for the remainder!
And it is very informative to see that the Lord preferred uncircumcised novices, with hearts of submission, rather than circumcised men of war who refused to obey him! And since the Lord does not change (Mal. 3:6), so it is today! The church will always fail at its worship for, and its fellowship with the Lord God, when insisting to do so on the basis of duty, rather than from a heart of devotion! We are so blinded by insisting only upon morality as our identification rather than righteousness! We can staple all the tea bags we can to our straw hats, but we shall still be short of the glory of God! For one can be moral and not be righteous! But everyone who has imputed righteousness will be moral!
Matthew 23:25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. 26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. 27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. 28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
2 Corin. 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 2 Timothy 2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. Gal. 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
Listen as tee Lord speaks to the warrior Saul, king of Israel, in his rejection of him, while preferring a shepherd boy named David, son of Jesse!
1 Samuel 15:22 And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king. 28 And Samuel said unto him, The LORD hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou.
Saul had a sword, but David had a heart towards God! Acts 13:22 And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.
Wandering in the Wilderness
Numbers 14:31 But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised. 32 But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness. 33 And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness.
According to Numbers 14:37 the Lord killed the ten spies with a plague who brought back an evil report concerning conquering the land! Only Joshua and Caleb encouraged the people to obey God and go up at once to possess it! (Num 13:30). But the rest of all the males of Israel, from twenty years old and upward (Num. 14:29), God allowed, for the present, to continue to live until they died within a period of forty years. For during that time those whom the Lord had chosen – who turned out to be one of the most devoted generations in the history of that nation – had to bear the effect of the iniquity of their fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and male cousins who were over twenty years of age.
It is a very strong lesson to learn of God’s absolute sovereignty in the reality of human rejection and death! Some of us have only learned it from books! We know it in our heads, but not so much in our hearts! But these young people knew of the word of God to Moses by experience, that all over twenty years of age should never make it out of the wilderness! They had to be “going to funerals” constantly! They saw relatives, by whom they were raised up; parents, by whom they were nurtured, dying away until the last were gone! Now it was their turn to be the mature generation!
They learned the difference between those being chosen to be involved in this situation, from those having been elected to effectually know God within these same providences! For it was the kin of their families, their peoples, who were out there following God! It was not the Egyptians! It was not the Amorites! These were those chosen from among all the human race to be involved in this situation! But we learn from Exodus 12:38 that it was a mixed multitude that came out of Egypt! There are always tares among the wheat!
And, like Judas, some among them were chosen, but not elected! John 6:70 Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? And in Isaiah 44:28 – 45:5 the Lord calls Cyrus, the King of Persia, his anointed and my shepherd! But then he says to him I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:
The knowledge of sovereignty, received only by religious teaching is certainly not of the same weight as that learned by experience! For the Lord commands concerning the mingling of tare and wheat, Let both GROW together!” (Matt. 13:30). And God’s true church, having had this as an experience, has given us the following writings: Psalms 41:9 Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me. 55:21 The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords. 1 John 2:18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
Apostates are formed on the same church pews, under the same gospel as are the very elect of God! For one cannot apostatize from that which he has not formerly professed! And the writer of Hebrews tells us that once enlightened by the same spirit of the gospel, and once they have but tasted of that which the elect must constantly consume, it is impossible, if they fall away, to renew them ever again! (Heb. 6:4-6). What a sobering lesson this new generation learned by experience!
And in Numbers 14:33 we find a hidden message of great instruction and blessing within the language of the 1611 King James Version! We have already listed it above. And it stated: And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, … But let us look more closely at that Hebrew word translated wander in English. For left as it is, we are made only to think that they strayed about aimlessly, bored to death for the duration of that appointed time! But that is far from the true situation!
For that Hebrew word, translated shall wander is the exact same word translated, the shepherds in Exodus 2:17, & 19. The very first time it is mentioned in the Scripture, it is translated a keeper of (sheep). (Genesis 4:2). And in Jeremiah 3:15 it is used twice, appearing in the English as both, pastors, and, which shall feed! Thus we learn that there was nothing aimless about their “wanderings!” They were actually going about seeking good grass for their flocks! And in this they were being trained by the Lord for their future experiences!
We have this set forth in Psalm 78 concerning King David. Psalm 78:70 He chose David also his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds: 71 From following the ewes great with young he brought him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance. 72 So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skilfulness of his hands.
You must notice that it was directly from following the sheep that God brought him to feed Jacob! This is how David was taught to know God! For how else could he write, The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.? (Psa. 23:1-2) And do we not also read in Psalm 100:3, Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
And is not the redemptive, sacrificial character of Messiah set forth in this arena? John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. And was he not set forth from the foundation in this manner? Rev. 13:8 …the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
John 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. 13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
Then we find an amazing thing set forth in Joshua 6:3. For there these young shepherds, with hearts of obedience to God are called, ye men of war! But they did not have experience with the sword or shield! All they had were rams horns! And you don’t obtain a rams horn from a living ram! They would used the weapons that were mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds! (2 Corin. 10:4). For submissive obedience to God, even to the crucifixion of our own selves is that which always triumphs over Satan and his forces! Heb. 2:14 …that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
And just how did David tell King Saul that he was qualified to face and conquer the giant, Goliath? Did he not say that it was while keeping his father’s sheep the Lord brought him to face both a bear and a lion; giving him the spirit to courageously face his inner fears and their outward threat? Remember – the Lamb of God is also the Lion of the tribe of Juda!
Pastor Gene Breed
October 8, 2011