The TREE OF LIFE weekly teaching summary from THE WEEK ENDING:
January 16, 2000
The Doctrine of A Personal Sense of Destiny
Moses and his Personal Sense of Destiny
We will next look at Joshua, an Old Testament prophet, who was from the tribe of Ephraim. Joshua was a young man at the time of the Exodus and was chosen by Moses to be his assistant and personal attendant, EXO 33:11. Indeed, his name means literally“his own servant” referring to his relationship with Moses. He was present on the mountain when Moses received the Law inEXO 24:13ff. He was guardian of the tent of meeting when Moses met with Jehovah or the Lord Jesus Christ. He was also a military hero and one of the twelve spies sent into the promise land. He trusted in the Lord did not give an evil report like the majority of the spies did. Joshua was a “stand in the gap” individual who went against the majority. This prepared him to fulfill his personal sense of destiny. In fact, because of his faithfulness, Joshua was one of the few survivors of the Exodus generationNUM 26:65, “And not a man was left of them, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun.”
Joshua was commissioned by the Lord to become the leader of the Client Nation of Israel when Moses died, (DEU 31:14-23). His personal sense of destiny was to lead the children of Israel into the promise land and to establish them as a nation. Therefore, as a part of his personal sense of destiny, the Lord confirmed Joshua before the people as His new leader. JOS 1:1-9. Three times in this passage the following phrase is used, “Only be strong and very courageous.”
Abraham and Sarah taught us that if we live in our personal sense of destiny, we would have to overcome a lot of adverse circumstances that appear to be against us. Joseph taught us that if we were going to live in our personal sense of destiny, we would have to trust in the timing of God. Moses taught us that if we are going to fulfill our personal sense of destiny, we must not rely upon our own human resources but rely upon the power and the strength of God. Joshua will teach us the importance of being strong and courageous in fulfilling our personal sense of destiny.
After the Lord commissioned Joshua as the new leader of the people to courageously and obediently take all of the Land that He had promised under the Palestinian Covenant (God’s real estate deal with Israel), Joshua exhorted the people to prepare to possess the land. They responded with wholehearted support and obeyed him. The first major test they encountered was the transfer of authority from leadership of Moses to Joshua. This was a very difficult test for Joshua. This always carries with it challenges and demands. As a part of his personal sense of destiny, Joshua had to deal with the fact that there would be those who would criticize him. In Joshua chapter two, we see the Lord working behind the scenes for His people while they have no idea what’s going on (JOS 2:1-16). One of the ways that the Lord prepared Joshua and the people of Israel for the conquest of the promise land was that He sent out a victorious reconnaissance mission which revealed the peoples fear of Israel. This reconnaissance brought back a positive report.
“Surely the Lord has given all the land into our hands, and all the inhabitants of the land, moreover, have melted away before us.”
It is interesting to see that this reconnaissance was actually commissioned in JOS 2:1 “Then Joshua the son of Nun sent two men as spies secretly from Shittim,”
Shittiym means “the acacias” pointing to acacia wood, which is used in the Old Testament representing the humanity of Jesus Christ, EXO 37:1. The interesting analogy here is that this reconnaissance team was a picture of the humanity of Christ going before us and pioneering the spiritual life and coming back to us with a positive report.
A positive report such as 1JO 4:4 “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” Or PHI 4:13 “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
So when the Israeli spies came back from Jericho, and as a result of this intelligence report, the people’s faith was strengthened and encouraged. Therefore, Joshua was encouraged that the Lord had given the land to them and had caused the people to be frightened of them because of their God, Jehovah Elohim, The Lord Jesus Christ. As the children of Israel marched towards the promise land into Canaan, the Lord performed some magnificent miracles for them. This is what caused the inhabitants of the land to freak out and to become afraid. For example, not only did the Lord God part the Red Sea but He also parted the Jordan River. And this was well known because we read the response to the crossing in JOS 5:1. “Now it came about when all the kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan to the west, and all the kings of the Canaanites who were by the sea, heard how the Lord had dried up the waters of the Jordan before the sons of Israel until they had crossed, that their hearts melted, and there was no spirit in them any longer, because of the sons of Israel.”
Notice again, the Lord at work behind the scenes as believers fulfill their personal sense of destiny. And He does and will do the same for us. Also notice in JOS 5:13-15, Joshua meets the Captain of Jehovah’s army, the Lord Jesus Christ according to JOS 6:2. Through a theophany, the Lord appears before Joshua as a warrior ready to go into battle, this is why His sword is drawn. This resulted in Joshua prostrating himself before Him and worshipping Him. He was told to remove his sandals from his feet because the ground where he was standing was holy, JOS 5:13-15. And then Joshua really begins to fulfill his personal sense of destiny. The Lord utilizes the skill and obedience of Joshua to lead the people in a conquest of the land, JOS 6:1-12:24. As a part of our personal sense of destiny, the Lord waits to develop the use of those spiritual skills and then He guides us and uses us to fulfill His will. Spiritual skills must precede production skills. The effect of the conquest was the fact that the Lord was with Joshua and his reputation spread throughout all of Canaan after the defeat of Jericho, JOS 6:27 “So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame was in all the land.”
In JOS 11:15-20 we read “Just as the Lord had commanded Moses his servant, so Moses commanded Joshua, and so Joshua did; he left nothing undone of all that the Lord had commanded Moses. Thus Joshua took all that land: the hill country and all the Negev, all that land of Goshen, the lowland, the Arabah, the hill country of Israel and its lowland from Mount Halak, that rises toward Seir, even as far as Baal-gad in the valley of Lebanon at the foot of Mount Hermon. And he captured all their kings and struck them down and put them to death. Joshua waged war a long time with all these kings. There was not a city which made peace with the sons of Israel except the Hivites living in Gibeon; they took them all in battle. For it was of the Lord to harden their hearts, to meet Israel in battle in order that he might utterly destroy them, that they might receive no mercy, but that he might destroy them, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.”
The life and book of Joshua, as in the case of all Old Testament studies “was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures might have confidence” (ROM. 15:4). These studies create confidence, perseverance and encouragement in the positive believer. The book of Joshua can also be viewed as analogous to the New Testament epistle of Paul to the Ephesians. For example, in the book of Ephesians, the apostle Paul brings out the fact that God has promised great possessions to us, however, the possessions would be appropriated only after conflict and conquest. Joshua is the inspiration for us in the spiritual realm. The Exodus generation is a photograph of the loser believer in the present age. As such the teachings regarding it constitute a warning to us (1CO 10:6,11). However, the next generation, which we can call the conquest generation is a photograph of the winner believer in the Mystery Dispensation of the Church-age. The conquest generation depicts by analogy the winner believer who after conflict, (EPH 6:10-13), “stands” to receive the great assets and blessings which were placed on deposit for him in the highest heavens in eternity past by God the Father (EPH 1:3; COL 1:5; Heb 10:35-36). Israel, under Joshua’s command who in turn was under the command of the Lord Jesus Christ was commanded to go forward and dispose seven nations before possessing the Land. The seven evil nations are analogous to seven assaults against the believer’s soul in the present dispensation. These are found in JOS 3:10 “And Joshua said, By this you shall know that the living God is among you, and that He will assuredly dispossess from before you the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Hivite, the Perizzite, the Girgashite, the Amorite, and the Jebusite”
Canaanites. They were known for their excessive wickedness, sexual immorality. They are analogous to EPH 4:22, with the sin nature competing for control of he soul, also see GAL 5:17, 19. The Hittites were a people of the ancient world who flourished in Asia Minor. They were known for their religious and pagan influences that pulled the nation of Israel away from the worship of the one true God. Therefore, they are analogous to cosmic systems competing for influence of the soul, EPH 2:2-3, 1JO 2:15-17.
Hivites. They descended from Canaan and tricked Joshua and the Israelites into making a covenant with them. In GEN 34:2-31, they appeared warm-hearted and loving, but were very impulsive, and given to the multiplication of materialism. Analogous to Satan’s plan of attack against the soul. EPH 4:27.
Perizzites. They lived in Canaan as early as the time of Abraham and Lot, (GEN 13:7). After the conquest of the land of Canaan under Joshua, they were allowed to live. They entered into marriages with their conquerors and seduced the Israelites into idolatry. Analogous of false doctrine’s assault against the soul. EPH 4:14.
Girgashites. They were also descendants of Canaan and one of the nations living east of the Sea of Galilee when the Israelites entered the Promised Land. A Girgashite represents the material state of thought that unregenerate man holds concerning himself, especially concerning his material organism. Analogous to EPH 5:18a, defense mechanisms constituting a life-style of fear.
Amorites. The Amorites were one of the major tribe, living in Canaan. They were uncivilized people. Then Israel invaded Canaan under Joshua, the first Israelite victories came against the Amorite kings. They ruled much of the Promised Land east of the Jordan River. Analogous to EPH 3:13, portraying adverse circumstances attempting to overrun the soul’s line of resistance.
This is one of the reasons why the Lord said to Joshua four times in JOS 1, “Be strong and courageous.”
If we fulfill our personal sense of destiny, we must overcome the external adversities of all kinds attempting to overrun the soul’s line of resistance. This is analogous to the winner believer becoming a master of the details of life.