Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament book of Joshua which was written and recorded by Joshua the son of Nun who not only led the congregation of the children of Israel into the land of Canaan, but also led them in their conquest of the land. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters nineteen through twenty-one of this Old Testament book. In order to understand the full weight and magnitude of what is written and recorded within these chapters—it’s not only necessary to look back into the previous chapters which describe and detail the division of the land as an inheritance and possession unto the children of Israel, but it’s also necessary to consider the final words which are written and recorded within the twenty-first chapter. In fact, I would dare say that the truest and greatest way to understand the full weight and magnitude of what is written and recorded within these chapters we must understand that which the LORD did—that which He did in the midst of the conquest of the land which Joshua the son of Nun led the congregation of the children of Israel into. We must recognize and understand the absolutely tremendous reality that while it was true the Old Testament book of Joshua describes how Joshua the son of Nun led the congregation of the children of Israel in battle against the enemies and adversaries that existed within the land, it is also a book that describes how the living God worked together with Joshua and the army of Israel in order that they might be successful in all their endeavors within the land. I am convinced that if we want to truly understand what is written and recorded within these chapters about the division of the land into portions, boundaries, possessions and inheritances within the land, it is necessary to consider—not only that which is found in the final verses of the twenty-first chapter, but also the words which are found in the opening chapter this Old Testament book. If you begin reading with and from the forty-third verse of the twenty-first chapter of this Old Testament book you will find a powerful summary of what the LORD did for, on behalf of, and in the midst of the congregation of the children of Israel. In three short verses we get and obtain a powerful snapshot and summary of just what the LORD did for and on behalf of the children of Israel after bringing them into the land of Canaan. It’s worth noting that if and as you study the words which are written and recorded within the Old Testament book of Joshua you will find that it was the LORD the God of the Hebrews who caused the waters of the Jordan River to part before them, and even to return to their original place after they had all entered into the land which was promised unto them. What’s more, is that within this Old Testament book you will find different evidences and manifestations of the LORD’s work and activity in the midst of the congregation of the children of Israel. Consider if you will that which is written and recorded within the final three verses of the twenty-first chapter of this book before returning to the opening chapter of the same book:
“And the LORD gave unto Israel all the land which he sware to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein. And the LORD gave them rest round about, according to all that he sware unto their fathers: and there stood nota man of all their enemies before them; the LORD delivered all their enemies into their hands. There failed not ought of any good thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass” (Joshua 12:43-45).
The words which you find within these three verses are an absolutely astonishing summary of everything the LORD did in the land—the land which He swore on oath to the fathers of the congregation of the children of Israel. These words are an absolutely wonderful and powerful testimony and testament to just what the LORD did for and on behalf of the children of Israel, as well as Joshua who was responsible for leading them into, within and throughout the land which was before them. It should be noted that once the children of Israel were in the land that was sworn unto them, and once the waters of the Jordan River returned to their rightful place behind the feet of the priests, the assignment, the task and the assignment of conquering and subduing the land was before the children of Israel. We dare not, we cannot and must not miss and lose sight of this absolutely wonderful reality, for it is quite powerful to think about and consider it. It was true the LORD had parted the waters of the Jordan River in order that the congregation of the children of Israel might cross over on dry ground, in order that they might not only step and enter into that which had been prepared for them, but also enter into the task and assignment that was before them. What I happen to find so incredibly interesting and intriguing about this particular reality is that there is a dramatic difference between the parting of the waters and the parting of the waters of the Jordan River. If you turn and direct your attention to the narrative concerning the children of Israel at the Red Sea you will find that at the Red Sea their enemies were behind them as they pursued them to overtake them, while at the Jordan River their enemies were no longer behind them, but before them. It was at the Red Sea where the LORD caused an east wind to blow all throughout the night separating the waters of the Red Sea, and causing it to be as walls on either side of the children of Israel, while it was at the Jordan River the LORD cut off the water which flowed upstream, and caused it to stand upon a heap that the children of Israel might cross over into the land. At the Red Sea the waters of the Red Sea were parted and divided that the children of Israel might pass through, while the waters of the Jordan River were parted and divided that the children of Israel might cross over and enter into the land which the Lord had sworn unto them. It is truly incredible to think that before the congregation of the children of Israel ever fought a single battle on the eastern edge of the Jordan River, they first experienced the LORD parting the waters before them, and allowing them to cross over. This reality of the children of Israel crossing over the Jordan River would be a wonderful assignment which the living God had spoken unto Joshua in the opening and first chapter of this book. Consider if you will the words which are found in the opening chapter of this book concerning that word which the LORD Himself had spoken unto Joshua:
“Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying, Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give them, even to the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast> There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according all that is written therein: for them thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; but no afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:1-9).
Within the words that are written and recorded within these nine verses we find the LORD instructing Joshua more than once not to fear and to be very courageous as he prepared the lead the congregation of the children of Israel into the land which was sworn unto their fathers, and which was prepared for them. What I so absolutely love about the words that are found in these verses is not only how many times the LORD instructed Joshua to be courageous, to be strong, and not to fear, but there is also a truly wonderful promise the LORD made unto Joshua before he would actually lead the congregation of the children of Israel into the land that was now before them. If you begin reading with and from the third verse you will find the LORD declaring and promising unto Joshua that every place the sole of his foot would tread upon, that had he given unto them. What’s more, is that in the fifth verse of this chapter you will find the LORD declaring unto Joshua that there would not any man be able to stand before him all the days of his life. Please don’t miss and lose sight of these incredible and tremendous realities, for what we find within these words bears a strong semblance and similarity to the life of David. As you study the life of David you will find that his life after growing up as a shepherd was that of a warrior, and that of a man of bloodshed. Of course we know that David went from tending for and caring after the sheep of his father’s pen, however, we must also recognize that within and throughout the life of David he was steeped in conflict, warfare and battle. As he watched over, cared for and shepherded the flock of his father we find that he smote a bear and a lion with his bare hands as they attempted to destroy the flock he was responsible for. This testimony is found when he explained to Saul king of Israel how he was qualified to stand before and face Goliath in the valley of Elah. We know that David slew Goliath with nothing more than a sling and five smooth stones from a nearby creek. From that time on—from the time David slew Goliath in that valley—he would be engrossed and steeped in conflict and battle as he would not only be engaged in countless battles with the Philistines, but would also spend thirteen years running from the murderous threats of Saul, would overtake the Amalekites who had raided the city of Ziklag and took captive their wives and children, would capture the city of Jerusalem which up to that time was occupied by the Jebuistes, and would engage in countless battles against the enemies round about the nation and kingdom of Israel—such as Syria and Moab. In fact, I am convinced that in order to understand even more the tremendous significance of what is found in the final three verses of the twenty-first chapter of the Old Testament book of Joshua, it is necessary to consider the life of Joshua as the led the children of Israel in battle, and consider it in light of how David also led the children of Israel in battle, and was given rest from his enemies round about and before him. Consider if you will the words which are found in the eighteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Psalms beginning with the first verse:
“To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, the servant of the LORD, sho spake unto the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul: and he said, I will love thee, O Lord, my strength. The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from my enemies. The sorrows of death compasses me, and the floods of the ungodly men made me afraid. The sorrows he hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me. IN my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: He heard my voice out of His temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears. Then the earth shook and tumbled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth. There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it. He bowed the heavens also, and came down: and darkness was under his feet. And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind. He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies. At the brightness that was before him his thick clouds passed, hail stones and coals of fire. The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave his voice; hail stones and coals of fire. Yea, he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; and he shot out lightnings, and discomfited the. Then the channels of waters were seen, and the foundations of the world were discovered at thy rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of the breath of thy nostrils. He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me. They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay. He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me. The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my god. For all his judgments were before me, and I did not put away his statues from me. I was also upright before him, and I kept myself from mine iniquity. Therefore hath the LORD recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his eyesight. With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful; with an upright man’s thou silk shew they lose upright; with the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself frwoard. For thou wilt save the afflicted people; but wilt bring down high looks. For thou wilt light my candle; the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness. For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall. As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORd is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him. For who is God save the LORD? OR who is a rock save our God? IT is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect. HE maketh my feet like hinds’ feet, and setteth me upon my high palaces. He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine warms. Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath Holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great. Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip. I have pursued mine enemies, and overtaken them: neither did I turn against till they were consumed. I have wounded them that were not able to rise: they are fallen under my feet. For thou hast girded me with strength unto the battle: thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me. Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies; that I might destroy them that hate m. They cried, but there was none to save them: even unto the LORD, but he answered them not. Then did I beat them small as the dust before the wind: I did cast them out as the dirt in the streets. Thou has delivered me from the stirrings of the people; and thou hast made me the head of the heathen: a people whom I have not known shall serve me” (Psalm 18:1-43).
The words which you find in the eighteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Psalms is truly remarkable and truly powerful when and as you take the time to consider it, for you will notice that the words in this chapter are actually a song which David sang at a very specific and particular point of time within his life. Before you even get into the words of the song itself you will notice that the song was written and sung by David unto the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered him out of the hands of all his enemies, as well as delivered him from the hand of Saul. What I so love about the words written and recorded within this song is that before they were ever presented unto the chief musician they were sung before and unto the LORD. I have to admit that I absolutely love this, for it reveals and brings us face to face with the fact that David would sing these words before and unto the LORD, and would sing them before him in a personal and private place before they would ever be published and given unto the chief musician. I can’t help but get the strong sense that David felt the words found within this song would encourage countless others during those days—perhaps even generations to come—as the words of this song not only described how the LORD fought for him and on his behalf, but also how the LORD taught and trained him for battle. What I absolutely love about this song is that while it did in fact begin with a testimony and testament to how the LORD fought for and on behalf of David, it would continue and transition to how that same God who fought for David taught and trained him how to engage in battle, in conflict, and in warfare. This is perhaps what is so absolutely astonishing about that which we find in the Old Testament book of Joshua, for within the Old Testament book of Joshua we find this apparent partnership between the children of Israel and their God, as they would indeed engage the enemies and adversaries within and in the midst of the land, but also how the LORD their God would help them in the midst of their battles. The LORD would divide and part the waters of the Jordan River before them to allow them to cross over into the land of Canaan, and the very first battle they faced in the midst of the land would be a stronghold that seemed to scream and shout at them that they would and could not access that which was inside. It would be the LORD who instructed them to march around the city once each day for six days, while on the seventh day they would march around the city seven times before upon the completion of the seventh time they would shout with all their might and with all their strength. It was as a direct result of their shouting that the walls of the city of Jericho would come crashing to the ground, and would collapse before them. Once the walls of the city had collapsed before them every man would march straight up into the city with their sword in hand to take the city, and put the inhabitants of Jericho to the edge of the sword.
If you continue reading the Old Testament book of Joshua you will find that the LORD was actively involved in the process of taking and conquering the land, for the first battle would be won and conquered—first by the supernatural power of the living God being put on full display as He caused the walls of the city of Jericho to collapse before the children of Israel. Moving even further into this Old Testament book you will find that the LORD would continue to fight for and on behalf of the congregation of the children of Israel as He would cause giant stones to fall from heaven to destroy the enemies of the children of Israel before them as they fled to escape the edge of their sword. In fact, Joshua wrote that there were more that were killed by the giant stones which came down from heaven than were actually killed with and by the sword. What’s more, is that you will find that there was another day when Joshua and the children of Israel would be engaged in battle and conflict with the enemy, and Joshua prayed unto the LORD that the sun would cease going down, and the moon would remain in its place. The book of Joshua would record how it almost seemed as though Joshua spoke directly unto the sun and commanded it to remain where it was, and even spoke to the moon and commanded it to stay in its place. Even more than this is the fact that we read how there has not been a day like this in all of history when the living God hearkened unto the voice of a man as He did with Joshua. While the Old Testament book of Joshua is indeed a book about how Joshua led the congregation of the children of Israel in conflict and battle against the enemies and adversaries within the land, it is also a book that describes how the LORD interacted with and on behalf of the children of Israel as they engaged their enemies within the land. In fact, there would be one particular instance when the LORD would specifically speak and declare unto Joshua how He had hardened the hearts of the kings and people in the land in order that He might deliver them unto them and deliver them into their hands. The words which are found in the within the book of Joshua not only reveal how the LORD would and could part waters and collapse walls, but also how the LORD could harden the hearts of enemies and adversaries—and even bring up a host too numerous to count in order that He might deliver them into our hands. Within the book of Joshua we find the LORD parting waters and causing walls to collapse, but we also find the LORD deliberately and intentionally inciting and incensing the enemies of the children of Israel against them in order that they might be utterly and completely defeated by them. The LORD would harden the hearts of kings and countless inhabitants of the land just as He hardened the heart of Pharaoh in the land of Egypt that he would not let the people of Israel go out of the land of Egypt. How incredibly intriguing it is to think about and consider the fact that the same God who can part waters and collapse walls is the same God who can also harden the hearts of our enemies and even bring them up against us.
PARTED WATERS AND HARDENED HEARTS! COLLAPSED WALLS AND HARDENED HEARTS! The Old Testament book of Joshua is truly astonishing the truly remarkable when you consider it, for within it there is this strong and powerful partnership that exists between Joshua, the children of Israel and the God who led them into the land of Canaan, and the God who went before them into the battle. It’s worth noting that before the congregation of the children of Israel ever went into battle, it was the LORD Himself who went into battle before them. THE LORD ENTERS THE BATTLE BEFORE YOU EVER DO! THE LORD ARRIVES ON THE BATTLEFIELD BEFORE YOU EVER DO! Would it shock and surprise you to think and consider the fact that before you ever even step on to the battle field the LORD is already there ahead of and before you? Would it shock and surprise you to think about and consider the face that before you ever step on to the battle field the LORD is already there, and the LORD already goes before you? This is strongly evidenced with and by the fact that before the army of Israel would go the Ark of the Covenant which was the symbol of the glory and presence of the living God. There would not be a single battle the congregation of the children of Israel would go into that the LORD would not go before them and would not enter into the battle with them. There would not be a battle that the congregation of the children of Israel would not enter into where the LORD did not go before them and engage their enemies before them. What’s more, is that even before the congregation of the children of Israel stepped into the land of Canaan the enemies were and had already been defeated. Pause for a moment and think about the fact that the LORD declared unto Joshua that there would not be a single one who would be able to stand before him, and the LORD declared unto Moses that He would drive out the inhabitants of the land, and that they would utterly and completely subdue them. It is absolutely necessary to think about and consider the fact that the congregation of the children of Israel would enter into the land of Canaan, and they would engage themselves in battle against their enemies, however, before they ever lifted and raised up the sword the LORD went before them, and their enemies were already defeated—defeated not by the sword, nor by the spear, but by the word of the living God. Oh that we would recognize and understand that the enemy is and has always been defeated with and by the word of the living God, and the only thing we do is exact that which the Lord has already spoken unto us. Any battle, any conflict, and any struggle we ever face is and has been directly impacted and determined by the word of the LORD, and we are and have been called to carry out that which the LORD has already spoken and determined. Oh that we would recognize and understand this absolutely wonderful and astonishing reality, for it has the ability to greatly shift our thinking as we enter into the conflicts, the struggles and the battles we face.
WHEN THE SWORD CARRIES OUT THE PROMISE OF THE WORD! WHEN THE SWORD CARRIES OUT THE DECLARATION OF THE WORD! DEFEATED BY THE WORD, CONQUERED BY THE SWORD! The more I read and consider the words which are written and recorded within the book of Joshua, the more I can’t help but come face to face with the fact that even before the children of Israel entered into the land of Canaan the enemies and adversaries they would face were and had already been defeated. Before the children of Israel ever even entered into the land of Canaan each and every battle they faced in the midst of the land would have and had already been won. You who are reading these words might be wondering just how such a statement could in fact be made, however, I would submit for your consideration that the enemies were defeated and the battles were won before the children of Israel entered into the land—not because of anything they had said or done, but because of the word which the LORD had spoken unto them. If there is one thing we must recognize and must consider, it’s that the living God of the children of Israel spoke directly unto Moses from the time He appeared unto him at the burning bush in the wilderness, and throughout the time he confronted Pharaoh in the midst of the land of Egypt, and even during the forty years he led the congregation of the children of Israel through the wilderness concerning the nations and peoples within and in the midst of the land of Canaan. The LORD spoke unto and revealed unto Moses seven specific nations and peoples within the land of Canaan which the children of Israel were to drive out and utterly destroy and dispossess from the land. We must make absolutely no mistake about this reality, for to do so would be to fail to understand that which the living God did and would do in the midst of the congregation of the children of Israel. I find it absolutely incredible that when the LORD spoke unto Joshua after the death of Moses his servant, He would declare unto him that there would be no man who would be able to stand before and stand against him, and that every place the sole of his foot would tread, that had the LORD given unto him. Oh, this reality of no enemy, no adversary, no man, no nation, no people would be able to stand before and stand against Joshua in the midst of the land of Canaan not only reminds me of the words which the prophet Isaiah spoke and declared in the fifty-fourth chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book which bore his name, but also the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the eighth chapter of the New Testament epistle which was written unto the Roman saints and Christians, as well as the words which Jesus spoke unto the apostle Peter after he had made such a tremendous confession of faith. . Consider if you will the following words which were prophesied by the prophet Isaiah, and which were written by the apostle Paul, as well as which were spoken by Jesus the Christ:
“No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD” (Isaiah 54:17).
“What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? HE that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that love us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our LORD” (Romans 8:31-39).
“When Jesus came into the coasts of Ceasarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and other, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Belssed art thou, Simon Bar-Joan: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ” (Matthew 16:13-20).
If and as you read the words which are written and recorded within these specific passages you will notice some absolutely incredible language concerning the saints of God—those people who walk with the living God in right relationship with and before Him. In the fifty-fourth chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah we find the prophet Isaiah emphatically declaring that absolutely no weapon which is formed against them (them being the people of God) would prosper, and that every tongue which rose against them in judgment they would condemn, for this was the heritage of the servants of the LORD, for their righteousness is of the LORD. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this wonderful reality, for with these words we encounter and come face to face with the awesome reality that the prophet never said that there wouldn’t be weapons which were formed against the people of God. The prophet never declared unto the children of Israel that there wouldn’t be weapons which were formed against them, and that those weapons would not be used to utterly and completely destroy them. The prophet Isaiah didn’t prophesy and declare that no weapon would be formed against them, thus indicating that there would be weapons which were formed against them. Instead and rather, the prophet Isaiah declared that there would indeed, and there would in fact be weapons which would be formed against the people of God, however, those weapons would and could not prosper. Pause for a moment and consider this, for it has the ability to dramatically alter and change your entire perspective concerning the battles, the conflicts and the struggles you face. Consider the fact that you were never promised a life where weapons would and could not be formed against you—regardless of whether those weapons were formed against you by the enemies and adversaries which the apostle Paul spoke of in the sixth chapter of the New Testament epistle written unto the Ephesian saints, or whether they were formed and fashioned by man. You and I were never promised a life where weapons would and could not be formed and fashioned against us, but rather that any and every weapon which was and has been formed against us would not prosper. Oh, if you look back over your life can you emphatically state that there were indeed times when weapons were in fact formed against you, however, those weapons would and could not prevail against you? Can you emphatically declare with all confidence and boldness that although there were and although there have been weapons which have been formed against you, those weapons would and could not prosper against you? What’s more, is that can you emphatically declare before and unto the living God that every tongue which has ever risen up against you, you had the wonderful and powerful ability to cast down to the ground, thus rendering the accusations, the judgments and the condemnation powerless over and within your life?
As you consider the words which were written by the apostle Paul in the eighth chapter of the epistle which was written unto the Roman saints you will find him declaring unto them—rather, asking them—if God is for us, who can be against us? Stop right there and consider the tremendous weight and significance of that statement, for it must be carefully looked at when reading and considering the words which the apostle Paul wrote in this passage of Scripture. The apostle Paul asked point blank—If God be for us, who can be against us—however, what we must understand is what the apostle Paul wasn’t saying when he wrote these words. The apostle Paul wasn’t writing, nor was he declaring that there wouldn’t be those who would be against us. The apostle Paul wasn’t writing, nor was he declaring that there would be those who would rise up against us, for the apostle Paul himself knew and understood the countless times within and throughout his own life when there were those who would rise up against him. The apostle Paul was well versed in opposition which would rise up against him—specifically as it pertained to the Jews which would continually and repeatedly rise up against him within and throughout his public ministry. The apostle Paul never declared that our lives would be free from those who would rise up against us, and that there wouldn’t be enemies and adversaries which would rise up against us. The apostle Paul never thought—even for a split second or moment—that it was utterly and completely impossible for enemies to rise up against us, and for man to raise himself up against us. We would be incredibly naïve and deceived to think about and consider the fact that there aren’t and there haven’t been those who have risen up against us, and those who have sought to oppose us. HEARING THAT WHICH ISN’T SPOKEN! READING THAT WHICH WAS WRITTEN WRITTEN! UNDERSTANDING THAT WHICH ISN’T READILY BEFORE US! If there is one thing I can’t help but understand and consider when reading the words found within these passages of Scripture, it’s that which wasn’t said, and that which wasn’t written. I am convinced that when and as you consider the words which are found within these passages—it isn’t all about that which is before you on the pages of Scripture, but that which isn’t there in front of you and must be understood. It would be very easy to read the words of the prophet Isaiah and automatically assuming that there wouldn’t be weapons which were formed against us, and yet that wasn’t at all what the prophet Isaiah declared by any stretch of the imagination. It would be very easy to read the words which the apostle Paul would write unto the Roman saints and consider the fact that there wouldn’t be those who would and could rise up against us, however, the truth of the matter is the apostle Paul never declared, nor would he even think or believe such a statement. I would dare say that when the apostle Paul wrote these words which are found in the New Testament epistle written unto the Roman saints and Christians, he recognized and understood that there were countless times within and throughout the ministry the LORD entrusted him with where there were were those who did in fact rise up against him. The apostle Paul would and could never declare unto his audience that there would and there could not be those who would rise up against the people of God, for his life was a testament that would contradict such a statement.
Moving on even further in the words which are written and found within the eighth chapter of the New Testament epistle which was written unto the Roman saints and Christians you will find the apostle Paul asking his audience who would and who could separate us from the love of Christ? What’s more, is the apostle didn’t just stop there with that question, for he would go on to declare that neither tribulation nor distress, neither persecution nor famine, neither nakedness nor peril, and not even the sword would and could separate us from the love of Christ. Please note that which wasn’t said within this passage, for the apostle Paul never declared that there wouldn’t be those things which would attempt to separate us from the love of Christ. In all reality, I would dare say the apostle Paul was very much aware of the fact that there would indeed and there would in fact be those things which would seek to separate us from the love of Christ—both those things in the natural and physical realm, and those things in the unseen and supernatural realm. The apostle Paul would even go on to write and declare that we are killed all the day long, and we are accounted as sheep unto the slaughter. Oh I can’t help but be reminded of the words which the apostle Paul would write in the second epistle which was written unto the Corinthians saints. If you begin reading with and from the seventh verse of the fourth chapter of this New Testament epistle you will find the following words: “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the LORD Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh” (2 Corinthians 4:7-11). The apostle Paul knew and understood that it was absolutely and utterly impossible for there not to be things which would attempt to separate us from the love of Christ, and that there wouldn’t indeed be things which would rise up against us in opposition. The apostle’s own life and ministry would demonstrate and prove this reality to be the case, for the apostle Paul would continually be exposed to affliction and opposition from those who would rise up against him. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we understand this reality, for when the apostle Paul asked if God be for us, who can be against us, he wasn’t declaring, nor was he stating that there wouldn’t be those who would rise up against us. When the apostle Paul asked who would lay some thing against the elect of God, he wasn’t at all declaring, nor was he suggesting that there wouldn’t be those who would lay anything to the charge of God’s elect to condemn and accuse them. The twelfth chapter of the New Testament prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus the Christ demonstrates and reveals this reality to be entirely and altogether true:
“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (Revelation 12:7-12).
These words powerfully demonstrate the absolutely tremendous reality that there is one who stands, and there is one who seeks to accuse us before the throne of God—and not only accuse us, but accuse us night and day before the throne of the living God. Two such examples of what this did and does in fact look like are found in the Old Testament books of Job and Zechariah, for within the Old Testament book of Job we find the adversary standing before the throne of God to accuse Job—not once, but two separate times. There would in fact be two separate and two distinct times when the enemy and adversary would accuse Job before the throne of the living God, and when the adversary would seek to condemn Job in the presence of the Lord his God whom he served faithfully. What’s more, is that if you turn and direct your attention to the Old Testament prophetic book of Zechariah you will find that Satan stood at the right hand of Joshua to accuse him before the throne of God. Within each of these two passages we find powerful examples of how the enemy and adversary does in fact seek to accuse and condemn us before the throne of the living God. As if this weren’t enough, we also find another example in the case of Ahab, Jezebel and Naboth, for when Naboth refused to sell Ahab his vineyard which was his inheritance in the northern kingdom of Israel, Jezebel raised up false witnesses against him to accuse him of wrongdoing and evil. Even the apostle Paul and Jesus the Christ would have false witnesses and false testimony which would be raised up against them, as there would be those who would accuse them of blasphemy and of speaking against both God and government. Oh, as you read and as you consider the words which are written and found within the eighth chapter of the epistle that was written unto the Roman saints you will find and discover the wonderful and tremendous reality that there would indeed be those who would seek to bring accusation, condemnation and judgment against us, and those who would seek to lay something—anything—against the charge of the elect of God. What’s more, is that when the apostle Paul spoke about those things being unable to separate us from the love of God, he wasn’t declaring, nor was he suggesting that these things wouldn’t seek to separate us from the love of God. The apostle Paul knew that there would be enemies and adversaries which would seek to separate us from the love of Christ, but one thing he was convinced of was that in all things we are more than conquerors through Him which loved us. What I so absolutely love about the words which the apostle Paul wrote and declared in this passage of Scripture was that it wasn’t’ merely in certain things which we were more than conquerors, but in all things we are more than conquerors. The apostle Paul didn’t declare that there were only certain things which we were more than conquerors, nor did the apostle Paul suggest that only in some things we are more than conquerors. Rather, the apostle Paul declared that in all things—in absolutely every thing that rises up against us, and in every thing we face—we are more than conquerors through Him which loved us. Oh how absolutely wonderful it is to think about the fact that our conquering seems to be directly and intrinsically linked and connected to the love of God—the very same thing which absolutely nothing would, nor could separate us from.
In the matter of Jesus and His twelve disciples at Caesarea Philippi we find that when Simon Peter declared that Jesus was indeed the Christ the Son of the living God, Jesus emphatically declared unto him that flesh and blood had not revealed that unto him, but His Father who was in heaven. Jesus would go on to declare unto Simon that his name was and would be called Peter, and upon this rock (upon this confession and this truth) he would build his church. Not only would Jesus the Christ build his church, but the gates of hell would and could not prevail against it. It’s worth noting that Jesus didn’t declare, nor did He ever state that the gates of hell would and could not try to rise up against the church of the living God. Jesus never thought, nor did He believe that the gates of hell would not seek to triumph and prevail over the church of the living God, for from the times of the apostles and the early church we find continual and constant opposition against the church of Jesus the Christ. What would begin with the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of the people of Israel rising up against the church would eventually transition to the Jews themselves rising up against the church of Jesus the Christ and seeking to destroy It. What’s more, is that if you continue reading within the New Testament you will find that the enemy and adversary would seek to destroy, come against and prevail against the church through false teaching, false doctrine, and false beliefs that would be circulated and perpetuated by false teachers and false prophets. What would indeed and what would in fact begin with the Jews would eventually transition to false teachers and false prophets rising up against the church of the living God, and seeking to overcome and overtake it through false doctrine and false teaching. As if this weren’t in and of itself enough we find and discover that eventually the Gentiles themselves would rise up in opposition against the church, for the Roman Empire itself would seek to oppose and rise up against the church through persecution. If there is one thing the Old Testament book of Acts demonstrates and reveals it’s that one of the enemy’s greatest tactics and strategies to oppose the congregation and assembly of the people of God would indeed and would in fact be persecution, as he would launch countless barrages of persecution against them. Wave after wave—particularly and especially during the days of the Roman Empire—would seek to oppose the church of the living God through persecution, and the Roman Empire was perhaps the single greatest source of persecution against the church of Jesus the Christ. Even Jesus Himself spoke of this reality when speaking unto the disciples concerning the Last Days and the end of times when certain events would unfold within and upon the earth. Consider if you will the words which are found in the twenty-fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ which was written by the apostle Matthew:
“And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? Verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be throne down. And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (Whoso readeth, let him understand) then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: for then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor shall ever be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; in so much that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wherseoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together” (Matthew 24:1-28).
All of this language wonderfully and powerfully demonstrates the tremendous reality that is found in the Old Testament book of Joshua. When speaking directly unto Joshua the son of Nun the living God declared unto him that there would not be any man who would be able to stand against him, and that every place the sole of his foot would tread, that had He given unto them. It is necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this reality, for it demonstrates the fact that when Joshua and the children of Israel entered into the land—although there would indeed be those who would seek to rise up and stand against them—they would be unable to stand before and against them. If there is one thing the Old Testament book of Joshua reveals and demonstrates it’s that there would indeed and there would in fact be those who would attempt to stand against them—a reality that is revealed and manifested when the king of Hazor would unite an alliance of kings and a host of others together with horses and chariots to rise against and come against Joshua and the children of Israel. In the eleventh chapter of the Old Testament book of Joshua you will find and discover that there would be a host as numerous as the sand of the sea would rise up against Joshua and the children of Israel, and would seek to march against them, and it would even be the LORD who would harden the hearts of these kings and all these inhabitants of the land in order that he might deliver them into their hands. What is so absolutely wonderful and incredible is that in the eleventh chapter of the Old Testament book of Joshua we find Joshua and the mighty men of war within the army of Israel defeating and overtaking that great and numerous host which came against them with horses and chariots, while in the twelfth chapter we find and discover a list of thirty-one kings whom Joshua would defeat and overtake within the he land of Canaan. What’s more is that in the case of the five kings which are mentioned in the eleventh chapter—the king of Jerusalem and those four kings which united and allied themselves together with him—Joshua would have his commanders put their feet upon the necks of those kings in order that they might slaughter them. This adds an even greater meaning to the words which David wrote in the eighteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Psalms, for in this passage he would declare that the LORD would give him the necks of his enemies, and that the LORD had given him the necks of his enemies. Oh as we read the words which are written and found within the Old Testament book of Joshua we must recognize and understand that not only did the LORD give unto Israel all the land which He swore unto them, but also that they possessed that land, and dwelt therein. Furthermore, the LORD would give the children of Israel rest round about, and there stood not a man of all their enemies before them, for the LORD would deliver all their enemies into their hands. Please don’t miss the awesome significance of what is found within the final verses of the twenty-first chapter of this Old Testament book, for within it we not only encounter the tremendous reality of the LORD giving the land unto the children of Israel, but also giving them rest round about the land. Notice if you will how the LORD not only gave them the land, but also gave them rest round about, and delivered all their enemies into their hands. There would stand absolutely no man of all their enemies before them, and there would not be a single promise or good thing which the LORD spoke unto them which would fail. The final words of the twenty-first chapter are perhaps some of the most powerful words in all of Scripture, and I leave you with those words within, over and upon your life—“All came to pass!”