Sunday, August 26, 2007

Because of You

In our previous study of the book of Joshua we have come, I trust, to know and to realize that Canaan of the Old Testament corresponds to the Christian experience, and that this experience cannot be entered by moral effort or by moral attainment. It is experienced through a representative, Joshua of the Old Testament, and Jesus of the New Testament. It is through the representative that the experience is bestowed on the people of God. It is possessed by faith. Today we come to a most significant point in this great story, where the people of God were about to enter into the land of Canaan, and we discover that they had to wait for three days.

Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, "Pass through the host, and command the people, saying, 'Prepare you provisions; for within three days ye shall pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land, which the Lord your God giveth you to possess it.'" ~Joshua 1:10-11

They had been coming to this place for years and now God says, "Wait!" The hardest thing for any of us to do is to sit still and do nothing, to wait until we inherit the promises. God has a great purpose to fulfill in every waiting time, although so often His people miss the purpose because of impatience with the Lord during the time of waiting .

Why were the people commanded to wait, and told that in three days they would pass over Jordan? Wel,l there were many reasons, but the greatest was the fact that there was a soul to save! Joshua sent two spies into the city of Jericho, and they came to Rahab’s house. Now, life in Jericho was proceeding as usual, business was in accordance with everyday custom; but the city was under the sentence of the Judgment of God. The inhabitants boasted of the river that lay between them and the invading army on the other side. They were proud of their city, of its walls, and of its fortresses, but before heaven their iniquity was full. There was no question of making terms with the inhabitants of Jericho- within two weeks God would strike in judgment and the city would lie in a heap of ruins.

"The Lord is known by the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands.. The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God." ~Psalm 9:16-17

But in our story today, within the city there was one life that had faith in God- not a very strong faith, not a perfect faith but, nevertheless, a faith. Rahab believed in the living God, and was not ashamed to reveal that she did. Her faith was such quality, at least, that we can find reference to it in the picture gallery of the heroes of faith in the book of Hebrews, chapter 11. It is also commented on by the Apostle James, who remarks that Rahab’s faith was evidenced by her works, and therefore she was justified in the sight of God. Because of her faith , and the shelter she gave to God’s people in her home, she became a sharer in all the blessings of the land of Canaan. She became part of the line of the ancestry of Jesus Christ Himself. This woman’s faith produced works and her works brought down blessing and her and her family!

So, there was a soul to be saved, and until that soul was saved the judgment of God was held back. That was always God’s way of dealing with mankind. One righteous man lived in the city of Sodom, and God sent in angels to get Him out and then judgment came upon that city.

We live in a world that is under the judgment of God, and there can be no question of the church coming to terms with it. We are told today by some people that we must catch the spirit of the age. God forbid! Our task as Christians is to rebuke the spirit of the age and bring them to Jesus.

This world and our nation are under the judgment of God, but at the right hand of our Father in heaven is a Saviour whose blood speaks, and, until every ransomed soul for whom God in His sovereign grace has a purpose of salvation is delivered, the judgment is delayed.

So we have a woman and her faith. How did she get her faith?

And she said unto the men, "I know that the Lord hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath." ~ Joshua 2:9-11

This poor, sinful woman came to have faith in the reality of a living God because of the supernatural evidences that she saw in the lives of God’s people!

The evidences that God expects to find are not to be found in the correctness of our creed, but in the chastity of our character.

The evidences for which the world looks are not in what a Christian believes, but rather in how a Christian behaves.

God looks for people with a big heart, a man with a big love, a man with great mercy in dealing with others, a person whose charity and love take in all the people of God, a person who is not only a loving person but also righteous person.

Paul gives some insight to living a righteous life:

And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. ~Ephesians 4:23-32

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor." Ephesians 5:1-2

We must remember our actions and our reactions towards people will help determine their fate. Good or bad! Rahab saw something in God’s people that brought her and her family to God.

1 comment:

Dori said...

I've never thought about my actions and reactions influencing other peoples lives long-term. I have just thought about me being theonly one that can change my actions and reactions. Good thoughts today!
Love, Dori