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Joshua Part 6: Claiming the Promised Land

Scripture: Joshua 10:1, Malachi 4:2, Joshua 11:1-23
Date: 03/24/2007 
This is the last in a series of six sermons on the life of Joshua. The miracle of the sun standing still teaches us God will do miracles to provide us victory over sin. Joshua's conquests teach us that someday we will inherit the earth.
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Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the live broadcast. It is presented as spoken.

Good morning. You know sometimes I say good morning at the door when people are on their way out, but it’s seldom morning when I do that. It’s usually afternoon, but for a little while it’s still morning. I have really enjoyed getting to know Joshua better and I’m going to be sad to say goodbye to this great hero of the Bible. One of the most obvious and clear types of Christ is seen in the life of Joshua. Today is Joshua part six we’re going to look at and the sermon title is “Claiming the Promised Land.” “Claiming the Promised Land” Now in the first nine chapters we’ve been looking at, it’s talked about some of the exploits of crossing over. Of course we were ending up with meeting Joshua in the book of Exodus all the way to Deuteronomy then getting into the book of Joshua and seeing our character lead the people across the Jordan taking Jericho into the Promised Land and now we need to fly over our fourteen remaining chapters. Part of the reason for that is a lot of it deals with some of the repetition of the designation of the Promised Land to the different tribes, and that could be tedious, but I’m going to stick to the high points that remain in our story.

Now if you remember in our last study about Joshua we talked about the Gibeonites. The Gibeonites or the Hivites were the only nation that had enough sense to realize we are doomed. If we don’t enter into some sort of league, if we don’t find mercy somehow from the God of the Israelites we are doomed. And they using cunning, they extracted a covenant that they would be spared from the Israelites. You remember they showed up with their torn up sandals and torn up clothes and moldy bread and skinny donkeys and they said, “We’ve come from a far country. Make a covenant with us.” They basically plead their poverty in order to get this covenant that they would be spared. Then later the Israelites found out that they lived right around the corner. So they said, “Alright. We’ve got to keep our word. We’re going to spare you, but you must then also be our servants. You are to cut wood and draw water for the house of God.” They said, “We’d rather be servants in the house of God than be dead.” So they said, “We’re happy to do that.” From that day, the Gibeonites or the Hivites became sort of a caste within Israel and they were the servants in the house of the Lord.

They were respected. They were free to trade. They were treated with all the rights of the citizens, but in the same way the Levites and the descendants of Aaron were given the responsibility of offering sacrifices the Gibeonites their responsibility was to keep the water flowing, keep the fire burning. Shortly after they had made this covenant and the surrounding nations found out what they did is where we take up our story. Go to chapter ten. Chapter 10 in Joshua, verse 1. “Now it came to pass when Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem heard how Joshua had taken Ai…” Now that’s significant. Jerusalem. This Jerusalem once was under a foreign king. Do you know who used to be the king of Jerusalem? A king/priest by the name of Melchezadek. First time you hear about Jerusalem it is inhabited by a king and a priest named Melchezadek. His name means king of righteousness. Well, now there are pagans there that don’t worship Jehovah. Melchezadek did.

Abraham paid tithe to him, but of course that’s hundreds of years earlier. “…Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem heard how Joshua had taken Ai and had utterly destroyed it as he had done to Jericho and its king, so he had done to Ai and its king and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel and were among them…” Now they’re freely trading among them. “…they feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, like one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all its men were mighty.” They said Gibeon! Gibeon that’s where all the champions live. It was a fortified city, if they surrendered what hope is there for me? “Therefore Adoni-Zedek” I’m in verse three, “king of Jerusalem sent to Hoham king of Hebron, Piram king of Jarmuth, Japhia king of Lachish, and Debir king of Eglon, saying, ‘Come up to me and help me, that we may attack Gibeon, for it has made peace with Joshua and with the children of Israel.’” Now you notice what’s happening here? When Joshua comes you’re either going to make friends with Joshua and be attacked by the others or you’ll make friends with the others and be attacked by Joshua.

They said we’re going to attack Gibeon who used to be our neighbor because they have made peace with Joshua. That’s a very simple truth, friends. I don’t want to disturb you, but I’ve got an announcement to make. You’re all in trouble. You’re all in trouble. You’re all going to make someone mad. You are either going to experience the wrath of Joshua when He comes or you’re going to make peace with Joshua (Jesus) and you’re going to be the target of the enemies that are still in the land. If you choose to live godly, you will suffer persecution. How many times have you seen that as soon as you make peace with Joshua, you give your heart with Jesus, you decide to follow Him, all of a sudden others say, “Oh, they’ve become a Christian!” and you’ve become the target of those who used to be your friends and family and associates and they go after you? That’s exactly how it is in the world, isn’t it? As soon as the Gibeonites said, “We want to serve Joshua,” all their neighbors said, “You’re done for!” And you become the target of the devil when you decide to serve Jesus. Now some of you think, “Well, I don’t want that kind of trouble.” What’s your alternative? What did Joshua do to those who did not make peace with him? They were totally annihilated. So you’ve got to decide whose side you’re on. That’s what this is all about.

Jesus is coming. Our Joshua is going to come take back His land, right? And you’ve got to decide whose side you’re on. If you make peace and if you make that covenant with Joshua like the Gibeonites did, praise the Lord, you’ll live. Remember we read that last week. You’ll live, you’ll live! But the alternative is, if you don’t do that you’re doomed. But if you do make peace with Jesus the other nations are going to rally against you. You notice it says they made peace with Joshua and all the Israelites. That would be with Jesus and His church. We are spiritual Israel, right? And so they send a message. Well, I want to read verse five. “Therefore the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon, gathered together and went up, they and all their armies, and camped before…” They’re not going against the Israelites. They’re going against the people who were now serving Joshua.

So how does the devil take out his wrath? Does he try to fight against Jesus and his angels? Or does he fight against those who made a covenant? You think, why don’t you go against the problem? The problem is Joshua. They say, “No, we can’t beat Joshua but we’re going to get even with the Gibeonites.” So they attack Gibeon. I like this in verse six. “And the men of Gibeon sent to Joshua at the camp at Gilgal,” they sent someone escaped to get a message to him, “Do not forsake your servants; come up to us quickly, save us and help us, for all the kings of the Amorites who dwell in the mountains have gathered together against us.” Come! Save us quickly! So Joshua comes to the rescue. They send a message. Do we pray when we’re being persecuted, when we’re being attacked for our faith? Does the Lord forsake us? Joshua could have said, “Well, you guys did trick me. It serves you right.” He doesn’t treat them that way, does he? He says, “We made a covenant with you to spare you and I guess that means you’re our servants and as our servants, we’re going to fight for you.” And he goes to defend them. Not only that, they say, “Come quickly.”

How does the New Testament end? “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” Aren’t we praying, “Come quickly. Save us from this world!” “Joshua ascended from Gilgal, he and all the people of war with him, and all the mighty men of valor.” And they “marched all night” to get there and to deliver them. That’s pretty hard for an army to do, and it says, “Not a man would stand before them.” So he came, now notice what happens here in the battle. First of all, there is a confederacy, you’ll see that come up again, of all the nations there in the land to annihilate the Israelites. Do we read in the Bible in prophecy? And before I go any farther, let me tell you what I’m doing. I’m going to draw a lot of parallels between what Joshua and the Israelites experience as they came into the Promised Land and what is going to be the experience of God’s people in the last days based on prophecy. Okay? In the last days when our Joshua comes to this world is there going to be a confederacy of the nations in this world to exterminate God’s people? Doesn’t it tell us the beast, the dragon, false prophet, all the kings of the earth that reigned with that woman in Revelation 17 they all aligned themselves together to form this confederacy and everybody has got to worship the way they say and there’s one group that stands out.

They’re the servants of Joshua and they’re going to seek to destroy them. First they can’t buy or sell and ultimately they’ll be killed. But there is a confederacy, there is a union, that is formed to attack God’s people. So that’s one parallel I want you to notice. God’s people are praying that Joshua comes quickly. Don’t miss that also. And it says in verse nine, “Joshua therefore came upon them suddenly…” How does it say Jesus is going to come? Mark 13:36 “lest, coming suddenly…” He came, they were surprised, as a thief came upon them. Now in this battle he begins to fight them on just a basic deeply engaged intense battle and it says, “they fled,” I’m in verse 11 of chapter 10. “…they fled before Israel and were on the descent of Beth Horon, that the Lord cast down large hailstones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died. There were more who died from the hailstones than those whom the children of Israel killed with the sword.”

Now do you read in your Bible that hailstones have anything to do with the second coming of Jesus? Are you catching some parallels here? Revelation 16:21 “And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent…” that’s somewhere between, you know the scholars just all disagree on this, but it’s somewhere between fifty-six and seventy-eight pounds what these hailstones are. I’ve got a picture there of one hailstone a little bigger than a hardball and can you imagine getting bludgeoned with a sky full of those? How many of you remember the hail we had last week? Did some of you get hail in your yards? When we were having thunderstorms last week, water was just running down our street. It was amazing and it was hailing, aw, just little bitty, non-threatening hail. Matter of fact, Stephen wanted to go out and feel what it was like, and went outside when it was hailing, but you wouldn’t be going outside if they were as big as golf balls. I’ve been in Texas when they had walnut sized hail and it’ll wreck your car. Any of you ever have hail damage on your car before? Yeah.

Matter of fact, I think you have to have a special clause in your insurance there in tornado alley about hail damage because it can absolutely bankrupt the insurance companies. Can you imagine if the sky is filled with hailstones that are as big as softballs or fifty-six pound blocks of ice? You can see where the Lord fought for Israel out of the heavens. You know God said in prophecy that He would do that. Job 38:22 “Have you entered the treasury of snow, or have you seen the treasury of hail, Which I have reserved…” God is speaking to Job here. “…Which I have reserved for the time of trouble, for the day of battle and war?” Job wrote this, God said this to Job before the experience of Joshua and God is predicting in advance that in times of war I can rain hail down on my enemy and decimate them. But they weren’t done yet.

They wanted to make sure this army wasn’t coming back again so in the midst of the battle Joshua does something that had never happened before, never happened since. Verse 12 they’re still fighting, “Then Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel…” He was right in the midst of his soldiers when he said this. Everybody heard him pray this prayer. “Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon.” Now in the midst of the battle the sun is going down. He realizes that as twilight approaches and if it goes dark many of their enemies are going to escape, not all of them have been killed by the hail, but many of them would escape and they could probably remuster their forces and come and be a problem in the future or they’d join some of the other nations that weren’t conquered yet.

He said we’ve got to make sure that this battle doesn’t repeat itself. So he prays that the sun would not go down. It’s just above the hills of Gibeon, but the land is still illuminated and so he prays that the sun would stand still, and the moon would stop moving as well. I remember one time when Karen and I were courting we had a day I’ll never forget. We were over on the coast and we sat down on the coast up by 101 and we could look to the west and see the sun going down and we could look to the east and see a full moon coming up. Any of you ever seen that before? The sun is going down red and the moon is coming up blue and it’s just really something. It’s not that uncommon, but it’s a sight to see. This was one of those days. The moon is coming up so he had the benefit of the sun and the moon and he asks for them to stand still so they could defeat their enemies. What does that represent?

Well, you know you read in Revelation 12 and it talks about His church, a woman clothed with the sun, standing on the moon, she’s got twelve stars around her head. Here you’ve got the sun standing still, the moon standing still, and the twelve tribes of Israel attacking their enemies. It’s a symbol for the word of God being used by the church to defeat. The light of God’s word. The Lord made the sun, the Lord made the moon, right? That’s the natural light that He made. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet.” Jesus said to the church, “You are the light of the world.” And it’s talking about in the last days how do we overcome the enemy? It’s going to be through the light of His word. Now some of you are going to say, “Pastor Doug…” Oh I want to finish reading my verse here. He prays his prayer “And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed,” it’s not moving, “until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.”

Now the reason they say about a whole day, it may have been just a little bit short of the day. I don’t know, maybe like a railroad car getting going the Lord needs to jumpstart the sun when He gets it going again. I’m just teasing here. But you know what I think is interesting, there is one other time in the Bible where the sundial went backwards ten degrees. I’ve heard it argued by some astronomers that when they look up ancient history, certain great events in history that can actually be measured by astronomical times that are unchanging there seems to be a missing day. Have you heard this before? There seems to be a missing twenty-four hour period. Well, if you add together the miracle in the days of Hezekiah with the miracle of Joshua that would account for one day that is this missing day of history. It’s very interesting. Now you might be asking, “Pastor Doug, come on! This is a little fantastic.”

I mean when you think about it does the sun really go up? Does the sun go down, or don’t we know that it’s the earth that’s actually turning? Should the Lord stop the earth from turning what would happen to the tides? It would cause massive tsunamis. The mantle of the earth would shift on its surface and it would cause horrendous earthquakes and how could God possibly do that because it would violate all these natural gravitational astronomical laws? I don’t know. How do you walk on water? I mean, that kind of violates a law too, doesn’t it? How do you ascend up to heaven in a cloud? I mean, the Lord is the Lord. He could speak and make a world with His voice. If He says “Alright, I want to just freeze up all the tides and the tectonic plates,” He could have done it. I mean, it’s not a problem. You know what else I’ve thought of? What God could have done, the earth could have continued spinning. God could have said, “I’m going to do something now.

I’m going to make the moon and the sun go around the earth so it looks like they’re standing still, and make the whole solar system at least for one day revolve around planet earth.” Do you see what I’m saying? He could have done it that way; we would have never felt the difference. The thing is, people who ask those questions, what they’re doing is just doubting the power of God over the laws of nature He created. Whenever He wants… How do you animate a dead body like Lazarus after four days? Explain that to me. The miracles in the Bible are called miracles because they can’t be explained because they’re miracles. So the folks who are trying to figure out astronomically how all this happened, well, help yourself. I don’t know. I can’t wait to get to heaven and ask Him myself. You know what I love about this story is just the childlike faith of Joshua. I mean, he went beyond everything Moses had ever done.

This was bigger than any of the plagues that fell on Egypt. This was bigger than the manna coming down. It was bigger than the fire on Mt. Sinai, bigger than the Red Sea parting. This is the greatest miraculous sign in the Bible when you really think about it. All of time stood still for a whole day so that God’s people could get the victory over their enemies and inhabit the Promised Land. Now do you know the Bible also tells us in Malachi 4:2 “…unto you that fear my name shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings…” Don’t misunderstand. I don’t believe in sun worship, but there are a few arguments in the Bible that the sun is a type of Christ and the sun standing still, time standing still so that we could be saved. I mean Jesus would do anything to save His people and give them the Promised Land, to give them the victory. How far will God go for you to give you a victory? God will not suffer you to be tempted above what you are able but will with every temptation provide a way of escape that you can bear it. If you are being overwhelmed by temptation and you need help and you pray and say, “Lord, help me get the victory.”

How far will God go to give you the victory? If for Joshua and God’s people back then He’d make the sun stand still and the moon stand still, He’d stop time to give them the victory, what will He do for you? So don’t make excuses for being overcome. If God says, “I’m going to give you the Promised Land,” and you’ve got a battle, that means He will give you the means to win the battle. Whatever you need to win, He’ll give it to you. That’s good news. That’s a great story. You think about the miracles of Joshua, this is really the culmination of the miracles. You’ve got the miracle where Joshua leads them across the Jordan. That you might say is a type of baptism; that’s a miracle in the water. Then there is the miracle where there’s an earthquake and Jericho’s walls fall. No explanation physiologically how that can happen; that’s a miracle in the land. Now he prays and there’s a miracle in the heavens. You with me? You’ve got the miracle in the water, the miracle in the earth, you’ve got the miracle in the heavens and when you go to Genesis it talks about those elements right there. By the way, when Christ comes back again, listen.

We just found that when Joshua came into the Promised Land there was an earthquake. Jericho fell. Is there an earthquake when Jesus comes back? So mighty an earthquake and so great every island is moved out of its place and swallowed up. I’m paraphrasing, but there is a big earthquake when Jesus comes. There was an earthquake when Joshua came. Hailstones come down on the enemies. Do hailstones fall on the enemies when Jesus comes? Are there signs in the sun and the moon when Jesus comes? Yes, there’s heavenly signs. Not only historically has the sun gone dark during the dark day and the moon came up like blood, but it tells us when Jesus comes back there’ll be signs in the sun and the moon and the stars in quick succession to herald this miracle of victory for God’s people. And will that happen at a time when there’s a confederacy trying to annihilate God’s people? There’ll be signs in the sun and the moon then too, friends. There’re a lot of parallels here. Luke 21:25 “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring…” There’s a lot of signs here, but we’re not done. Go to chapter 11 now. Joshua chapter 11, I’m going to go between my notes and between the Bible passage itself.

After, now this gave them basically victory over the central southern part of the Promised Land, but there were still the northern kingdoms. Now listen to what happened. Verse 1, chapter 11, “And it came to pass, when Jabin king of Hazor heard these things, that he sent to Jobab king of Madon, to the king of Shimron, to the king of Achshaph, and to the kings who were from the north, in the mountains, in the plain south of Chinneroth, in the lowland, and in the heights of Dor on the west, to the Canaanites in the east and in the west, the Amorite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Jebusite in the mountains, and the Hivite below Hermon in the land of Mizpah. And they went out,” now we’ve got, before there were five, now there’re twelve. Interesting biblical number. “…they went out, they and all their armies with them, as many people as the sand that is on the seashore in multitude, with very many horses and chariots.”

They said, “Oh, look what happened when those five nations assembled. We’re going to have to put aside our squabbling as neighbors and we’re going to have to join together and see if we can develop an army that’s even bigger than the army of the southern kingdom because it seems like the Israelites keep winning.” Now it says this number is like the sand on the seashore. By the way, Josephus in his commentary on this… and that’s sort of hyperbole, the sand on the seashore, I doubt there were as many soldiers as there are grains on the sand of the sea. You all understand that’s an illustration. He says there were three hundred thousand soldiers. They had about twenty thousand chariots and the chariots back then had sides, knives.

If any of you ever saw “Ben Hur” you know what I’m talking about. That actually comes from history. The Canaanites would put these knives off the outriggers on their chariot wheels and as they rode among the soldiers on the ground it would just butcher them. They had twenty thousand of those and the horses as well and it didn’t look good. Now they’re fighting against an army that’s bigger than any army they had ever seen in any of their experience. And God said to Joshua, verse six, chapter 11, verse 6, “Do not be afraid…” Isn’t that how the book of Joshua starts? “Be thou very courageous.” Don’t be afraid. Don’t live by sight. I mean, if David looked at how big Goliath was, he would have been intimidated. Don’t look at how big the problems are.

You figure out what God wants you to do and then have faith; He will help you get the victory. Amen? He said, “Do not be afraid because of them, for tomorrow about this time I will deliver all of them slain before Israel.” That’s a pretty confident prophecy, three hundred thousand of those soldiers. “You shall hamstring their horses,” and by the way, they used to cut a nerve on the back of the horses so that they could still work in the farms, but you could never ride them in war, they couldn’t gallop anymore. And He said, “‘You shall hamstring their horses and burn their chariots with fire.’ So Joshua and all the people of war with him came against them suddenly…” There you’ve got it again. How does Jesus come? “…suddenly by the waters of Merom, and they attacked them. And the Lord delivered them into the hand of Israel, who defeated them and chased them to Greater Sidon, to the Brook Misrephoth, and to the Valley of Mizpah eastward; they attacked them until they left none of them remaining. So Joshua did to them as the Lord had told him: he hamstrung their horses and burned their chariots with fire.”

You always find it says Joshua did what the Lord said. Joshua did as Moses commanded. Like Jesus, He says, “I have kept My Father’s commandments.” And “Joshua turned back at that time and took Hazor, and struck its king with the sword; for Hazor was formerly the head of all those kingdoms. And they struck all the people who were in it with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying them.” Now I know this sounds brutal. It’s in effect genocide. Let me explain. “There was none left breathing. Then he burned Hazor with fire. So all the cities of those kings,” those twelve kingdoms, “and all their kings, Joshua took and struck with the edge of the sword. He utterly destroyed them, as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded.”

Now as you go through chapter eleven it basically says they went from city to city and they totally annihilated everybody that lived in those cities. It sounds awfully brutal. For one thing keep in mind if they left any surviving they were avowed enemies. They and their offspring would be avowed enemies and in order to have peace in the future they had to go to some pretty extreme lengths. These nations also had been marked by the Lord for extermination because of their terrible heathen grotesque perverted practices. There was rampant disease among them. They offered their children to pagan gods. They used to set their babies on burning altars. I mean, it was terrible what these people did and God said they are to be destroyed.

I’ve given them grace to repent for hundreds of years, and they’ve not repented. God had been sending messengers and prophets to them too. So this was a judgment. Now the reason I say that, notice where it says, “like the sand of the sea.” You know another place you find that? Remember I said we’re going to make some comparisons with Revelation. Revelation 20:8 “and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea.” Now notice what’s happening here. Biblically there are two prominent campaigns in the last days, two big battles. You’ve got the battle just before Jesus comes that’s happening when the devil and the earthly forces try to annihilate God’s people and the Lord saves us by this great victory, the sun, moon signs and the hailstones, right? But at the end of the one thousand years there is another big battle, isn’t there?

At that time, this is the second main, these are the two major campaigns we’re looking at in taking the Promised Land. Everything else was a small skirmish compared to this. That’s where they gather together like the sand of the seashore. At the end of the one thousand years when the devil sees all the wicked resurrected, they’re called Gog and Magog, they make this final assault on the people of God spiritual Israel inside the city, right? And at that time, what happens to them? They are judged and they are annihilated. The same thing Joshua did is a perfect parallel for the last day chronology of what’s happening. Can you see the similarities here? There is a lot we can learn from this both in the way of warning and in encouragement. That’s the final arch campaign.

I want to read verse 19 of Joshua 11. “There was not a city that made peace with the children of Israel, except the Hivites, the inhabitants of Gibeon. All the others they took in battle. For it was of the Lord to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that He might utterly destroy them, and that they might receive no mercy…” Why did the wicked have the audacity at the end of the one thousand years? You would think they know, “Hey! I’m in the wrong resurrection.” Wouldn’t you say, “Lord, give me another chance? I’m sorry I blew it” or at least just fall down and die? Why would you listen to the devil to go against the city of God and Jesus and the angels? You know one reason? The Lord is demonstrating their hearts are hardened and there is no redemptive qualities left. So when He rains fire down out of heaven on them, He had no other choice. Their hearts were totally unrepentant. They could not change. There were no redeemable qualities.

Why did Joshua annihilate the nations that did not make peace with him? He had no other alternative. They kept gathering together to battle against him. They were determined to fight against Israel. There’s only two choices, you make peace and you serve Joshua or you’re annihilated. Those choices they had back then are the same choice you and I face. Make friends with Joshua. I keep saying this, I’m assuming you all remember Joshua and Jesus, same name, one Hebrew one Greek. Make friends with Joshua or we’re doomed. Amen? Jesus said he that has the Son has life. He that does not have the Son does not have life. Those are the two choices we all have.

Now we’re going to jump, it talks about some of the smaller battles and skirmishes and dividing of the Promised Land. Now in the midst of dividing the Promised Land you can read in Joshua chapter fourteen Caleb comes to Joshua and he has a special request. Now you’ve got to wind your tape back to the book of numbers. You remember Joshua has a longtime friend. Only two individuals survived from Egypt to the Promised Land that were above twenty years of age. What were their names? Caleb and Joshua. Caleb now is an old man and they’re beginning to subdue and divide up the Promised Land. There are still some hot spots they need to put down and in chapter fourteen in verse six Caleb comes to Joshua with a request. “Then the children of Judah came to Joshua in Gilgal. And Caleb…” Think about this. Who was obviously, Caleb is from Judah, who is the patriarch of Judah now? Who is the oldest one? Everybody else was sixty-five or under except Caleb who is eighty-five. Isn’t that interesting? “And Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him,” I’m jumping ahead here. “…here I am this day, eighty-five years old. As yet I am as strong this day as I was on the day that Moses sent me; just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for war, both for going out and for coming in.” I hope I can say that when I’m eighty-five.

He probably understood the health message. Of course he was eating bread from heaven everyday, right, but something is to be said for when you’ve got faith, he had faith in God, God sustains you. Here is this guy eighty-five years old and he was just as strong as the whippersnappers that were fighting along with him. He was as strong as he was forty years earlier. “I am as strong this day as I was… then” when God sent me to first spy out the Promised Land. And I expect when Caleb first looked over the Promised Land forty years earlier with Joshua and the other faithless spies that he went through the mountains of Hebron where the Anakim live (the giants) and it didn’t bother him that giants lived there. He was looking at how lush the country was, how fertile the soil was and the springs galore were here, and he said, “This is where I want to pitch my tent. This is where I’d like to retire,” and he made up his mind. And you know how much that must have broke Caleb’s heart when they got back and God said you guys have to wander forty years because the people don’t believe? Caleb said, “I believe, Lord. Can I go?” He said, “Let’s go up at once!”

Do you remember Caleb’s speech? “Let’s go! We’re well able! Let’ go right now!” and he had to wander with those stubborn people until they all died off for forty years. Now he comes back and they’ve begun to start to divide up the Promised Land, and he’s got his eye on that country. He goes to Joshua his buddy, and I love this, he says, “My strength is as good now as it was then both for war, for going out and for coming in.” Underline this in your Bible. Do you underline in your Bible? “Now therefore, give me this mountain…” And that mountain was actually a mountain range that would include Jerusalem, Hebron and that territory. “…give me this mountain of which the Lord spoke in that day; for you heard in that day how the Anakim were there…”

The people were so afraid of the Anakim. They said, “We could never fight them! They’re like grasshoppers.” “‘…and that the cities were great and fortified. It may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall be able to drive them out as the Lord said.’ And Joshua blessed him, and gave Hebron to Caleb the son of Jephunneh as an inheritance. Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb” and the children of Judah. And to this very day the Jews, Jews are not Hebrews. Jews are all Hebrews, but a Hebrew may not be a Jew. Jews come from the tribe of Judah principally.

That’s where you get the word. They’re in that vicinity today because of what you’re reading in your Bible right now. Joshua chapter 14, an old man comes to Joshua and says, “Give me that country,” and that became the allotment of Judah because of the faith of Caleb. Amen? And he took on the country. “Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite to this day, because he wholly followed the Lord God of Israel.” Now if it’s possible for him to wholly follow God, is it possible for us to be holy and wholly follow God? A little footnote: Joshua 11:22, There were “None of the Anakim…” The Anakim were giants. The king had a bed twelve feet tall. Keep in mind Goliath was only nine and a half feet tall. The king of the Anakim had a bed twelve feet long. And it tells us that there were “none of the Anakim… left in the land…” They all had to flee. They were all defeated before the children of Judah and Israel.

Only in, catch this little footnote you might remember. Only in the country of the Philistines which was Gath. Who came out of Gath? Goliath. You remember that? Goliath of what? Of Gath. Gath, Gaza, Ashdod. Do you know that’s where Goliath and his brothers lived? They were descendants of the Anakim. It was probably a recessive gene that popped up again around the time of David. Anyway so Caleb is given the mountain because of his faith. I love this story. So then they begin to divide up the land. It tells us that Joshua gave them the land. You can read in your New Testament about this in Acts 13:19. I believe Paul is speaking here, and he says, “And when He had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, He distributed their land to them by allotment.”

That’s speaking about Joshua. Those seven nations, that’s sort of a perfect picture of how the territories are given to the seven ages of the church. Joshua chapter 11, verse 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…” Little by little he took the land and he gave it to the children of Israel. Matthew 5:5 Who is going to ultimately inherit the land? “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Jesus is going to give us an inheritance. Not only did Christ say, “I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again. In my Father’s house are many mansions…”

There is the New Jerusalem where a mansion is prepared for every believer, and He has prepared a mansion for you there. But then it says they go forth and they inhabit the earth. What did God say to Adam and Eve? He said, “Go forth, be fruitful and multiply.” And even after the tower of Babel, “Go and subdue the earth. Multiply, be fruitful.” God wants us to inherit the land, and in the New Earth not only are we going to have our country homes, we’re going to go forth from our mansions in the New Jerusalem outside of the gates of the city and we’re going to inherit the earth. It says we’ll plant vineyards and eat the fruit of them; we’ll build houses and inhabit them. It’s going to be very real. Our Joshua is going to cause us to inherit the land. Amen?

You know what I think is also interesting. God specifically promised a territory of land to Abraham and his descendants, Abraham and his seed, spiritual Israel. When the New Jerusalem comes down, what part of the earth does it land on? Jesus’ feet touch what mountain? The Mount of Olives which is in the territory of Judah splits and forms a great valley. That valley is even bigger than the territory inhabited by Solomon which was Israel at its peak of glory meaning that the borders of the New Jerusalem, 375 miles on each side, when it settles down is about the size of Oregon. When it settles down on the earth with the Middle East or Israel right at the center, within the city of God, central park in the city of God is going to be the territory God had promised to His people. He is going to keep His promise and really give them that land blessed in a special way. I think the Garden of Eden will be right in the middle. Amen? But then we inherit the whole earth.

I get excited about these things. You know in case you think this is all a legend or fairy tale, Joshua is a historical figure. I found something I thought you would find very interesting. I don’t know how many of you have heard of Numidia. Numidia. It is a region near Algeria on the west north part of present day Africa. There are a lot of ancient ruins in that country. It was a territory that was inhabited by the Phoenicians thousands of years ago. In Numidia there are two pillars that have very ancient Phoenician inscriptions on them but they can be read clearly. This is what it says in one portion of that ancient inscription from the Phoenicians. Now the Phoenicians lived more along the coasts of that land. Here is what it says. “We are the Phoenicians who fled from the face of Jesus” and that is Joshua “the son of No.” You’ve heard of Joshua the son of Nun? Many of them as Joshua inhabited the land, many of them were annihilated.

Those who did not run for their lives were killed. Some of the Phoenicians being a seafaring people may have been off at sea during these battles and they came home, realized they had lost their land and they had to flee from Joshua and his armies and some of them made their homes around the Mediterranean including this place in Numidia. Isn’t that interesting? It’s in history even extra-biblical history that Joshua lived and he was the one God used to take possession of the Promised Land. I always like some of this scholarly reinforcement for these things.

Now we’re going to get near the end of Joshua’s life here. Go with me to Joshua chapter 23. A lot of the book then has talked about the dividing of the land and the giving of the inheritance, the various little battles. As Joshua begins to age he says in chapter 23, verse 11, “Take good heed therefore unto yourselves, that you love the Lord your God.” He brought all the children of Israel together and he wanted to give them a final charge. “…that you love the Lord your God… else, if indeed you do go back, and cling to the remnant of these nations…” meaning the pagan gods they had just dispossessed, even “these that remain among you…” There were still some fragments that were held out in little pockets. “…and make marriages with them, and go in to them…”

That’s what’ll happen! Don’t marry those Phoenicians. If you make marriages with any of them “know for a certainty…” I’m still in Joshua 23 between 11 and 14 “know for certain that the Lord your God will no longer drive out these nations from before you. But they shall be snares and traps to you, and scourges on your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from this good land which the Lord your God has given you.” Now did that happen? They got comfortable and you know what’s often happens? I’ve got a friend helped me build a house and as we were building the house I wanted to move in. I was so excited to move in. He said, “Don’t move in.” I said, “Why?” He said, “Wait until it’s done. If you move in before you’re done, you’ll never finish it.” How many of you know that? I thought, “Oh, come on! Baseboards… I can finish the baseboard of a few rooms.” There’s a little few light fixtures in the closet, a little dressing. I said, “We’re ready to move in.

We can’t wait!” So we moved in. Here we are twenty-something years later, baseboard is not done, light fixtures are still not up and I could go through a litany of other things that just you get comfortable and you say, “Ah, it’s working. It’s good enough.” And what happened is they settled down in the Promised Land. The said, “Oh, yeah, we know there’re still a few pockets of resistance, a few pagan camps here and there, but hey! We’re on top of things. We rule!” They got comfortable and the nations began to multiply again and they began to make friends and they began to intermarry and you know what? Go to the book of Judges, the next thing you know some of those same kingdoms that you thought that they had completely done away with are now occupying them and enslaving them because they didn’t make a clean sweep. By the way, there’s an application for you. when you allow Jesus into your heart, give Him every corner. Any area that you still give to the enemy in the Promised Land, in your heart, it will grow until it finally enslaves you again. You’ve got to be scraping it clean, get every unclean, impure area of your life taken over by Joshua. Give it to Joshua. You’ve got to absolutely exterminate. It’s like if you’re getting rid of cockroaches, you let a couple of them live and what happens? Pretty soon it’s infested again. That’s the way it is with sin in our lives. Anything that you allow to go unchecked or check…

“Behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth. And you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one thing has failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spoke concerning you. All have come to pass for you, and not one word of them has failed.” You know one reason I wanted to read that to you again is because how confident can we be about the word of God? It will all come to pass including Jesus coming back again. Amen? And then that famous statement in chapter twenty-four, last chapter of Joshua, “And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord,” he charges them again, “choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River,” meaning the Euphrates, “or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” There’s a lot in this verse. For one thing up to this point there has been no reference made to Mrs. Joshua or Joshua’s children. They’re never named in the Bible, but evidently he had a family and a house or he wouldn’t have said that, right? We never hear anything more about Joshua.

He suddenly appears, don’t know much about his ancestors, he’s the son of Nun and then he disappears. We don’t ever hear about his posterity. Tells where he is buried. Another thing about this verse, it says we get to choose. Why would God ask us to choose? You know those who are largely Calvinistic say you have no choice; it’s all done by the arbitrary sovereignty of God. I believe in the sovereignty of God, but He gives us a choice. Otherwise why would Jesus say, “Whosoever will”? You get to address, you get to exercise your will, your choice in deciding to serve the Lord. Those who do not serve the Lord have made a choice. “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” What more do we find here? No matter what anyone else does you can still serve the Lord. Don’t blame your apostasy on the apostasy in the church. Right? So many are, “Aw, the church is in such a state of apostasy, I’m a little better than them, but that’s why I’m a little bit compromising now.” You can say, “You do what you want, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” You have a choice to make. What everyone around you is doing is not your problem.

Well, it can be a problem, but I mean it’s not your excuse. If you want to serve the Lord, you can serve the Lord no matter what everyone else is doing. Amen? You may seem to stand all alone. And then it says, “they buried him…” He died and they buried him in the mountains of Ephraim. Keep in mind Joshua was not from the tribe of Judah as Jesus was. He was from the tribe of Ephraim, a son of Joseph. Now don’t forget that. Can you imagine that last thirty years of Joshua’s life where he enjoyed the Promised Land? Probably around 1406 B.C. they conquered the Promised Land. He got to settle down and enjoy himself in his old age for about thirty years. He died at a hundred and ten. By the way, the same age as Joseph when he died. It was the same age of Joshua.

Can you imagine how the children of Israel in the next generations would come and listen to that old man? Can you imagine being able to talk to Joshua? You know I love history and you’ve heard me talk about one of my favorite episodes in history is the story of the Lewis and Clark expedition. There was one character, he was the carpenter, Sergeant Patrick Gass was the carpenter for the Lewis and Clark expedition. That’s actually the only photograph of anybody from the Lewis and Clark expedition. You know how they got a photograph from him? Because the Lewis and Clark expedition is 1804! There was no photography then. This fellow was born in 1771 and he lived until 1870, ninety-nine years. Not only can you imagine living through Lewis and Clark expedition all that you would see? He knew George Washington! He knew Thomas Jefferson. Matter of fact, Jefferson commissioned the whole group. Matter of fact, he voted in elections all the way from Washington (he was probably too young for Washington, but he lived during the time of Washington) to Ulysses Grant! He fought alongside, get this, Daniel Boone and Davy Crocket and there was a big gap between them.

He fought in the War of 1812, he fought in the Revolutionary War, and he volunteered for the Civil War, but by that point he was in his eighties and they thanked him but turned him down. Can you imagine talking to Patrick Gass? Saying, “What was it like with Thomas Jefferson? What did Washington really look like?” I mean, this guy was a walking history book! All of the stories! I mean, he’d watched the country basically be born. I did the funeral for my grandfather a few years ago. He lived to ninety-three. Not so old, but the generation. There are some of you here today that are in the same ballpark. We’ve got a sister here today over a hundred Mabel Crawford. Can you imagine living in a generation where you see World War I, World War II, going from kerosene to fluorescent bulbs, going from horses to a space station? Can you imagine living in that generation? I sometimes don’t think we appreciate the people who have experienced the greatest transition in the history of the world. Can you imagine talking to Joshua and saying, “What was it like back when you were slaves? What was it like when the plagues fell on Egypt?

What was it like going through the Red Sea? What was it like going through the Jordan? What was it like when the pillar of fire was there and the manna came down from heaven?” Can you imagine the experience that man had? And that’s why the Bible says that “all that generation served the Lord.” Because they could go to Joshua and they could talk about the wonderful things that God had done and see this man glowing with the faith and courage of God. We don’t have too many Joshuas left these days.

Now we’re not done. Almost done. You know how the book of Joshua ends? It’s every interesting. Joshua 24:32 “The bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel had brought up out of Egypt…” Stop. I’ve got to take you back to the last words of Genesis. Do you know what the last words of Genesis are? They’re not talking about Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The last words in Genesis are Joseph, another type of Christ. The last words in Genesis are “in a coffin in Egypt.” Because the last thing that happens in Genesis is Joseph charges his people, he says, “‘I am dying ; but God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land to the land of which He swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.’ Then Joseph took an oath from the children of Israel, saying, ‘God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.’” Don’t leave me in Egypt. Don’t leave me in Egypt. I was carried down here as a slave.

I’m not coming forth in the resurrection in the land of my captivity. I am coming forth in the resurrection in the Promised Land. Promise me! So they made a promise, and from the time that happened of course hundreds of years went by, they were slaves, but they embalmed Joseph. They had his body. When they finally had the exodus they had not forgotten their promise. During their forty years in the wilderness along with your watching them lug around the tabernacle they probably had an oxen cart or something. I got a picture here where they were actually dragging it on a sled, but I don’t think they did that. They’re carrying this sarcophagus. It was embalmed like King Tut probably.

I mean this was the prime minister of Egypt. They’re carrying this coffin for forty years through the wilderness to keep a promise and now after all the years of conquest finally when Joshua settles down, they have taken possession of the Promised Land, like a seed they plant the remains of Joseph in the Promised Land. And “the bones of Joseph,” I’m back to Joshua chapter 24, “which the children of Israel had brought up out of Egypt…” The book ends by saying a promise is kept. “…they buried at Shechem, in a parcel of ground which Jacob bought of the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for an hundred pieces of silver: and it became the inheritance of the children of Joseph.” Jacob, before they ever went to Egypt, had bought a place to bury. Joseph said, “That’s where I want to be buried and that’s where I want to come forth. I want to be raised in the Promised Land next to my family.”

You know another bit of history, I’ll close with this. When David Livingstone… He was not that successful as a missionary. He was a missionary, a dedicated Christian, a godly man, but he was really more successful as an explorer. He spent all of those years opening up Africa for the missionaries is what he really did. He had a couple of servants that loved him. He was such a godly man, they loved him with all of their hearts. They were a couple of his converts. He only had a few. As he went back to… Even though his health was very poor, he left England on his last trip, went back to Africa to try and do some more work in charting around Lake Victoria and he realized he was dying from malaria that had bothered him for years and he extracted a promise from his two servants. He said, “Bury my heart in Africa, but take my body back to England.” He didn’t know how they were going to do it; they didn’t know how they were going to do it.

They promised that they would do that. Well, one day they heard a sound in his tent and they took candles, they went and they found that he had died on his knees with his Bible open praying. His servants, and I’ve got their names here, Chumah and Susi. They buried his heart under a tree. They took salt, they embalmed his body, they wrapped his body up, they sewed him in sailcloth. These are two primitive friends that loved him very much. They weren’t experts at this, but they did the best they could. They then strung a long pole between the sailcloth they had sewn his body in (it was all mummified basically); they carried his body a thousand miles on their shoulders to Zanzibar. They gave it to the British counsel there. They said, “You’re kidding! This can’t be Dr. Livingstone.” They examined the body. They saw the wounds from a lion wound everyone knew he had. It was him, and they took it to Westminster Abbey where it was buried.

Think about that dedication. He wanted to be raised back at home. Why did Joseph say “take my bones out of this place”? You know what that’s telling us? God is saying no matter what battles we’ve got in this life, we can look forward to a resurrection in the Promised Land. We want to be raised in a different world, don’t we? And that’s what Joseph wanted, that he could come forth and be at home surrounded by his family when he came forth. The story of Joshua is such a beautiful story because it’s a story of coming out of slavery and coming home. It’s a story of victory. It’s a story of courage. It’s a story of faith, and God put it in the Bible because He wants it to be your story. He wants you to be in the Promised Land. He wants you to have that faith. He wants you to have that victory, and He’ll make the sun and the moon stand still to give it to you. You can be there. You need to say like Caleb, “Lord, give me this mountain.” Though your sins might be like a mountain, if you’ve got faith, you could say, “be removed,” and that mountain will be plucked up and cast into the midst of the sea. Amen? You can be there. And by God’s grace your bones can be planted in the Promised Land and you can come forth with your friends and with Joshua. Amen?

You know I wanted to sing that song again, we’ve done it before, “When We All Get to Heaven”. It goes along with the theme, 633, of Joshua a story of victory, a story of going to the Promised Land. Let’s stand together and let’s sing that, and I want to hear you sing with your hearts again.

Sing the wondrous love of Jesus, Sing His mercy and His grace. In the mansions bright and blessed He’ll prepare for us a place. When we all get to Heaven, What a day of rejoicing that will be! When we all see Jesus, We’ll sing and shout the victory!

You know one reason I like this song; it doesn’t say “if we all get to heaven,” it says “when we get to heaven.” You know one reason Joshua made it. The other spies said, “I don’t think we can make it. It looks awful tough.” They didn’t make it. Joshua said, “Let us go up at once. We are well able!” He made it. Do you believe that by God’s grace you can make it? Christ died for the sins of the whole world and that would include you. He can give victory to you. He wouldn’t die for your sins if it wasn’t possible for you to make it. You can be victorious. You can be in those mansions. Do you believe that? So now let’s include ourselves as we sing verse two “when we get to heaven.”

While we walk the pilgrim pathway, Clouds will overspread the sky; But when traveling days are over, Not a shadow, not a sigh. When we all get to Heaven, What a day of rejoicing that will be! When we all see Jesus, We’ll sing and shout the victory!

Let us then be true and faithful, Trusting, serving every day; Just one glimpse of Him in glory Will the toils of life repay. When we all get to Heaven, What a day of rejoicing that will be! When we all see Jesus, We’ll sing and shout the victory!

I’d be remiss… I want to keep singing, but I need to make an appeal, and I want to save that last verse to use it for the appeal. I’d guess that the Holy Spirit has spoken to some who are here today and you’re wondering if you can ever get out of Egypt into the Promised Land. If anything this story is telling us that if you follow Joshua you’re going to make it. And if like the Gibeonites you make a covenant with Joshua, he will save you. He’ll run to your rescue, and God will even send hailstones upon your enemies to save you if that’s what it takes. You can make it. Yes, you can. All things are possible with God. Amen? He’ll help you cross that Jordan River. There may be some of you who have been struggling in your walk and you’d like to ask for special prayer. Believe that you can get the victory. There may be some area in your life where you’ve still got some of the Canaanites camped and you know they need to be overcome and you’d like to ask the Lord to help you have the victory in those areas and to have that complete walk with Jesus. Come and we’ll have special prayer for you. If some have not accepted Jesus yet, and you’d like to make that decision, please come. Or be part of this church family, come as we sing verse four together.

Onward to the prize before us! Soon His beauty we’ll behold; Soon the pearly gates will open; We shall tread the streets of gold. When we all get to Heaven, What a day of rejoicing that will be! When we all see Jesus, We’ll sing and shout the victory!

Amen!

Oh, loving Lord, we’re so thankful for the power and the beauty of Your word that inspires us, and we can see shadows. When Joshua first came and took the Promised Land that will be repeated in our day. Lord, I pray we can learn from these lessons and more than that, I pray that we will apply the truths to our lives. Help us to have lives of victory. Help us, Lord, to trust in You, to make a covenant with You, and I pray that You’ll give us the power. Work miracles of deliverance in our behalf. A lot of needs are represented, Lord, both in this house of worship, in the lives of every person, those who are in their pews still and those who have come forward for the appeal, and I pray that You will bless them, Lord. Be with their families, bring peace and power into their families that we might live Christian lives. I pray, Lord, You’ll strengthen our faith, give us more courage, and help us live like a people that are on our way to the Promised Land. Bless us, Lord, each one as we go from this place. We pray for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that we’ll sense You’re with us wherever we go. Lord, I wouldn’t be afraid to go into battle with Joshua at my side and that’s essentially what you’re saying today. We can go from this place with Joshua at our side, our Jesus. Thank You for this promise and we pray these things in His name. Amen.

God bless you. You may be seated. And if any who have come forward this morning would like to speak to one of our elders or pastors we’d love to talk to you and pray for you. Also remember if some of you have questions about the plans that we mentioned, you’ll see the poster boards are there and some of the board members and pastors will be there. God bless you and happy Sabbath. We will have prayer in the sanctuary so let’s maintain our sense of reverence here.

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Patriarchs and Prophets Audio CD Set by Ellen White

Patriarchs and Prophets Audio CD Set by Ellen White
God's Promises




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