Notice how the flood waters were rolled all the way back up to "Adam", to the father of the human race. This is a graphical picture of the Atonement of Yah'shua (Jesus) which stretches back to the first man and forwards to all those who will come and who will receive Him.
The Ark of the Covenant represents God's Presence, because it is His Throne. In the New Covenant, God's throne is in the heart of the believer, and within that throne are the Ten Commandments, summarised by the Two Commandments of Yah'shua (Jesus) represented by the two cherubim angels on either side of the mercy seat - Love the Lord with all your heart, and love your neighbour as yourself. How do you love God and your neighbour? By obeying the Ten Commandments. The Christian disciple who is walking in obedience to His Lord will part the flood waters that bar him from the Promised Land of complete redemption.
After the first generation of double-minded Israelites was destroyed God left a double-principle for the true men and women of God: absolute trust in Yah'shua (Jesus), represented by Joshua, and courage to do what is right represented by Caleb. With faith in one hand and boldness in the other, a Christian can move forward. But remember that boldness without true faith is recklessness, and faith without boldness is indecision and stagnation.
You'll find that this double-principle of faith-with-boldness applies to life in general, but you'll equally find people entering life with one or the other missing - and sometimes both.
Notice that when the Israelites besieged Jericho that it wasn't Joshua who called down destruction on the city. It was the Levites marching around seven times, blowing their shofars and finally shouting. As you study your Bibles you'll discover this sevenfold principle cropping again and again. The Book of Revelation tells us that we have seven areas in our sinful life that we need to overcome. To be victorious in the Christian life requires a complete focussing on Yahweh, our Heavenly Father. Notice that Israel didn't attack Jericho militarily. They left God to do that for them supernaturally. Rather, they praised God on the shofar and then shouted. The Bible doesn't say what they shouted but elsewhere in scripture we learned that Israel often "gave a great shout of praise to Yahweh" (Ezra 3:11). I believe they were praising the Lord - they were declaring His victory in complete and total faith.
Crossing the Jordan and taking Jericho without losing a single man were miracles indeed. But as we know the conquest of Canaan did not proceed according to schedule because they didn't do what Yahweh said. They were told to completely exterminate the Canaanites. They didn't. And those selfsame Canaanites caused them no small amount of trouble and misery in the future. Once again we are taught by God of the absolute necessity of getting rid of all sin from our lives - not just the "big" ones because the "small" ones soon multiply and grow big in number. Never say that you're not breaking the first few commandments and so you're free to break the less serious ones. They're all serious, as we learned from the Ten Plagues of Egypt last week.
The Israelite failure to clear out the Canaanites meant that they were never able to live in peace in their land. The Book of Judges tells us of one crisis after another - invasions, desolation, and national catastrophe. Their carelessness in being completely obedient to Yahweh left the door open for Satan to harass them. The small unrepented sins grew into big unrepented sins, until we come to the end of the book and are presented with a scene of near total apostasy from the truth. The last sentence in the Book of Judges says it all: "In those days Israel had no king; EVERYONE DID AS HE SAW FIT" (Jdg.21:25, NIV). Listen to that statement again: Everyone did what they wanted to. Everyone did what they felt was right in their own eyes. And that is exactly the condition of the modern world and it goes under a complicated name called EXISTENTIALISM. Or to put it another way, "if it feels right to you, it is right for you". Every man and woman became their own judge of morality and truth.
Believe it or not, this was the beginning of the end for Israel. They didn't believe Yahweh when He said they had to get rid of all the Canaanites. They thought they could make peace with them and cooperate happily in the land. And that's just what casual Christians have been doing since the beginning. They say: "Oh, don't worry about the little sins. That's no big deal". So they compromise with sin. The trouble is, those sins multiply, just as the Canaanites did. Then those sins overwhelm you, just as the Philistines did, turning Israel into slaves. Understand this: the little sins matter - and much more than you realise. To ignore the little sins is just another form of double-mindedness that leads ultimately to spiritual destruction.
Now I am often asked if God grants us what we want even if it is against His will. In the beginning He doesn't - He fights for us, pleads with us, hopes we will come to our senses and will repent. He sends problems, calamities, stresses - you name it, He will send anything that will get us to wake up. But if we, in our stubbornness - in our wilful, passionate blindness - still continue to resist Him - then, yes, He gives us what we want - not because that is His will, but as a last resort. For He knows that what we ask for that is wrong will lead to even worse calamities than we had before, even though at first everything will seem to get better.
And that's just what happened with Israel. In the time of Samuel the prophet they decided that they didn't want Yahweh's system of Judges to rule them but they wanted a king. They wanted the pomp, glory, fame and reputation which they saw the kings of neighbouring countries brought their nations in war and commerce. They wanted to imitate the pagans even though Yahweh had expressly forbidden that.
Now in those days kings had absolute power. They could do exactly what they wanted to. They were what is called "absolute rulers" or dictators. Now when the Israelites told Samuel, who was their Judge and prophet, that they wanted a king contrary to God's commandments, he warned them that it would lead to slavery. But they wouldn't listen. So Samuel pled with Yahweh and this is what God said:
"Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected Me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking Me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do" (1 Sam.8:7-9, NIV).
Samuel warned them but they wouldn't listen. God could have refused and punished them but He didn't. He let them have what they wanted. He said to Samuel: "Listen to them and give them a king" (v.22). And that's what they got - and a pretty wild, unstable and double-minded king they got too called Saul.
Saul started well and then started going off the road. But he was an absolute ruler - he could not be questioned - and things began to go horribly wrong. There was civil war and in the end Saul was killed and David was put on the throne. He was the best King Israel ever had but because he had absolute power the law was bent for him. He committed murder and adultery and ought to have been executed, but because he was king he got away with it. He showed favouritism to his son, who rose up in rebellion, and caused another civil war. Then came Solomon the Wise and the Stupid, the biggest double-minded fool ever - so brilliant and yet so idiotic. The nation was a double-standard. He turned his people into slaves, just as Samuel prophesied, in order to built magnificent palaces. He turned to the paganism of his foreign wives and when he died, what happened? His double-mindedness led to the formation of a double-nation - two nations. The country split into two - into Ephraim and Judah. First Ephraim fell into apostasy and was utterly destroyed, the people being taken into captivity to Assyria. Then Judah did the same, and the people taken into captivity to Babylon. All because those foolish Israelites in Saul's day wanted a king ... all because they wanted to be worldly and copy the pagans around them.
So does God give us things we want that are wrong? If we are persistent enough, as the Israelites were, and refuse absolutely to repent, then, yes, He may give us what we want. But what a terrible price has to be paid for wilful, passionate blindness. To be given what we want but not what we need.
You might think that Israel would have learned her terrible lesson but, oh no, stubborn pride made them do something even worse.
Ephraim never returned home. Today Ephraim is scattered throughout the world, and mostly here in northern Europe, north America, Southern Africa and Australasia. We are the Diaspora of Ephraim in Norway, Sweden, Britain, Holland, Germany, the United States, Canada and elsewhere. And do you know what's so tragic about the situation? The people of northern Europe and America don't even know they're Israelites: they've lost their identity. We are the people of Joshua, only we have rejected Yah'shua (Christ). Only a tiny handfull like us know who we are.
Well, Yahweh allowed Judah home - briefly - to be witnesses of the Messiah's birth. A few courageous, bold Calebs came back, and had to literally fight for their existence. We talked about one such episode at Hanukkah in December when the Greek antichrist Antiochus Epiphanes tried to exterminate them. Then the Romans took them over.
Hundreds of years before Israel had demanded a human king and got one. This time, though, God sent them a Heavenly King, Yah'shua (Jesus), and they said 'no thanks'. They chose to be slaves under Rome! What idiocy! What wilful, passionate blindness - the ultimate WPB! After all the evidence that He gave them, those stupid Judeans said, 'no thanks - we'd rather be slaves of Caesar'. That's what they asked for. Even worse, they even asked for their children to be cursed, and God granted their prayer! Hear that! Like those stupid American fishermen who preferred a few dead swordfish to their own lives, these Jews preferred to be cursed instead of receiving eternal life and salvation from the King of Heaven. And look what happened to the Jews in the centuries that followed.
If you want to shake your heads in disbelief, now is the time. But sadly, the same thing is going to happen again - one more time. This time an antichrist is going to come and offer to be the planetary Dictator and the world is going to say 'yes please'! And then - finally - the third time round, Christ will return and finish the world system off for God. A third of the planet will perish in that catastrophe.
Do you see the terrible responsibility that freedom brings? And do you see the terrible cost to our souls when we abuse that freedom and choose to do what God has forbidden, knowing as He does that it is not good for us? Mankind is double-minded because he suffers from a disease called sin - a sin which makes him wilfully, passionately BLIND.
The apostle John quotes the prophet Isaiah who speaks of Satan: "He has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn - and I would heal them" (Jn.12:40, NIV).
The apostle Paul said: "The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God" (2 Cor.4:4, NIV).
When we disobey Yahweh, Satan takes over and blinds us. It isn't worth it. It really isn't. Those stupid people in Samuel's day wanted the glory and fame of kings - they were blinded by conceit and vainglory because they were worldly-minded. They believed in God, but they weren't saved. They were the sons and daughters of Jacob, not the sons and daughters of Israel.
When Christ returns Israel will be restored again, with Yah'shua as King - a benevolent, righteous Dictator who cannot do any wrong. Men are just not capable of being kings over nations, let alone the kings and queens over their own lives. They're too stupid. That is why Yahweh wants nothing less than the death of your self, leaving only faith in Yah'shua and courage to do what is right. He wants you to be like Joshua and Caleb. Will you be?
Recall also that once the River Jordan had been crossed Israel entered a covenant by circumcision at Gilgal.
This page was created on 4 April 2001
Last updated on 4 April 2001
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