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Joshua 23:1

“And it came to pass a long time after that Yehovah had given rest unto Israel from all their enemies round about, that Joshua waxed old, stricken in age.”

There is a singularity in the subject matter represented here that is indicative of the nature and characteristics of God Himself. The ‘it’ spoken of may appear to be a specific event that has come to pass in a specific time and that conclusion would not be inaccurate “for unto everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven” (Ecc. 3:1). There is however an all inclusive progressive connotation and application of the specifics of exactly what the ‘it’ is that is being spoken of in this text and throughout scripture.

In order for an event to come to pass, there must first be a purpose for that event. Nothing happens in all of God’s creation that is not intended for a purpose and that purpose is the same purpose which He has purposed in Himself to perform ( Is.14:26). This purpose of God is commensurate to and in complete harmony with the counsel of His perfect will by which He all inclusively enacts every thought, word and deed. For example, this article could not have been written if, in the beginning, God had not created Adam having his seed in him. The creation of all things is by Him, through Him and for Him. Every child of Adam was contained in his seed and, in accordance with the appointed time of their habitation, the seed is manifested in the flesh, thus there is a time to be born. Since it is not in the man to devise the path that he should walk, direct his steps, cause his manifestation upon the earth or establish the limitations of the time of that habitation, then all these things must be ordered fast and sure according to that same all inclusive will which created Adam. Thus time, place, environment, society and geographic habitation must all be included in the purpose. The deliverance of the nation of Israel from Egypt would have been unnecessary if there had never been the drought that caused the famine that drew the house of Jacob into Egypt. There would have never been any preparation for the great famine, deliverer from certain starvation or any deliverance for Egypt or Israel if the brothers had never sold Joseph into captivity. This was caused to come to pass by the Spirit of God giving young Joseph a dream which infuriated his brothers to the point of desiring to kill him. Yet that angry wave was limited to the boundary of selling him to the Midianite traders who transported him to the land where, in the appointed hour, he could properly interpret the dream which Almighty God had laid upon the heart of Pharaoh. People, places and things are as intricately interwoven in the predestination of all things that transpires as the thoughts, words and deeds which are manifested in the occurrences of these events.

These occurrences are not singular in their presentation, although as history past is observed they are often considered in that manner. The continual progression of time and action from the moment God said, “Let there be light” and all things were created, until the final moment and the conclusion of the habitation of this existence, everything is coming to pass. The ‘it’ referred to is not that Joshua one day, in the twinkling of an eye, became old and stricken of years, but rather that ‘it was that after many years’ or that ‘it happened after the progression of time’, Joshua was older. This ‘it’ or the age of Joshua must then therefore contain all that had happened to him in his life time including every place, person and event that he was a part of. This must also include those things which came before him since they were necessary for the proper preparation of the stage of time whereon he would perform the part assigned unto him.

This portion would begin with the Egyptian captivity and persecution of the house of Jacob for he was born there. The house of bondage and oppression was fashioned by the hand of Yehovah God for the preparation of His people to be delivered into the wilderness. It began with a promise unto Abraham, was manifested through the blessing of abundance to Egypt under the government of Joseph and came to pass when God raised up a leader of the ‘great house’ (Pharaoh) who knew not Joseph. How someone could possibly be born into the house of authority in that land and not know the history of all that Joseph had done to save them and make that nation great is beyond comprehension, but that the purpose of God should come to pass; “Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew My power in you and that My name might be declared throughout all the earth” (Rms. 9:17). Thus it is accurate to declare that Pharaoh was raised up in fear and ignorance for the facilitating of the Will of God in preparation for the birth of Joshua.

“So Joshua did as Moses had said unto him and fought with Amalek” (Ex. 17:10).

The first recording that is given of Joshua is that he is of age to go to war and, in a position of leadership, receives a commission from Moses. In order for one to be accounted worthy of combat, they must be at least 21 years of age (Ex. 30:14). The fact that the nation of Israel was inexperienced in the art of warfare, being 430 years in captivity, may have reduced the number of years required for advancement in the ranks as Yehovah appointed Joshua to his position and gave Moses confidence in the young man. He did not call him forth to act in the capacity of traffic cop or crowd control, he sent Joshua forth to combat a very ancient people who were ‘spread out in’ and ‘supported by’ the lush valley’s (Amalek in Rephidim). These had been empowered by the hand of God to come against the nation of Israel in the land of “Massah and Meribah because of the chiding of Israel, because they tempted Yehovah saying, Is Yehovah among us or not?” ((17:7).

Joshua was also at the base of Mt. Sinai as Moses returned from receiving the two tablets of stone, containing the Law of God, which had been written by the finger of God. He and Moses were the only sons of Adam to ever see these tablets of the Law, unbroken. He never imagined that Moses would shatter those tablets in his anger because the children had risen up to play. He was the first to report to Moses that there was “a noise of war in the camp and he said, It is not the voice of shout for victory, neither is it the voice of defeat but the noise of them that singing that I hear” (Ex. 32:17). This was again in complete accord with the will of God who had called Moses unto the mount, detained him as He gave him the law and caused the heart of the people to be fearful and contentious. He alone could have enabled Aaron to hearken unto the voice of the people as he relieved the children of bondage from the trinkets and wealth that they had obtained when God gave them favour if in the sight of the Egyptians. These provisions were given to them as they fled the captivity and, after Aaron stripped them of them and made them naked, he fashion it into the golden calf. God alone could stir the thoughts and intents of the hearts of the people to cry out, “Up fashion us gods which shall go before us, for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him” (32:1).

Joshua was again commissioned to be a spy into the land of promise. He and eleven other men ventured into the land and, upon obtaining samples of the bounty and goodness of the land, returned to give an account unto the people. All twelve men were astonished about the richness of the land and the wonders of her fruitfulness but only Joshua and Caleb testified to the might and strength of Almighty God who would fight for Israel. Joshua then completed the forty years in the wilderness and assumed the mantle as commissioned by God to replace Moses.

Five years of conquest followed as the nation of Israel crossed the Jordan River and defeated thirty-one kings who were stronger, better equipped and had greater armies than Joshua. Then after Joshua, as instructed by Yehovah, divided the lots of the inheritance unto the remaining seven tribes, established the cities of refuge and the cities of the Levites, the inheritance of Caleb and his family, he dismissed the tribes of Reuben, Gad and half the of Manasseh. This was followed by about 44 years of rest as the fledgling nation was established in the land of promise. And so, after one hundred and ten years had come to pass, with every event accomplished that had been ordained of old, Joshua was old. He had finished the course, he had run the race as the time of his habitation grew to an end and he was ready to put off this tabernacle for he was stricken in age.

“And Yehovah gave unto Israel all the land which He swore to give unto their fathers and they possessed it and dwelt therein” (Josh. 21:43).

Again the will of God had continued to come to pass as “there failed not aught of any good thing which Yehovah had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass” (45). His will is accomplished in the earth as it is in the heavens and none can stay His hand and so when Joshua had defeated all the enemies of Israel, He gave them rest for the work was finished. Nothing was left to be done but to possess the land. But while dwelling there, the tribes were commanded of Joshua not to enter into any alliances with the people of the land nor take their daughters for their sons nor call upon their gods. This was not a condition upon the promise of God for He had completed all that He purposed to do; “and Yehovah gave them rest round about, according to all that He swore unto their fathers. There stood not a man of all their enemies before them. Yehovah delivered all their enemies into their hand.” The only ‘condition’ contained in this promise of God was that it was intended for a group of people whom He had chosen from all the other nations of the world.

And so it came to pass that Joshua waxed old, stricken of days. He had been faithful in leading the nation out of the wilderness and into the land of promise. He had utterly destroyed the people of the land as commanded of Yehovah. He completed all that Moses had commanded him to do and he kept the commandments of God. Then, after many days of rest at the hand of Yehovah, for one last time, he rehearsed the history of the goodness and might of God before the congregation. This was the prophecy of the Word of God which stood not according to the will of man nor was it based upon the intentions of the heart of man. Just as He had stated to Adam in the garden that in the day that he ate of the forbidden tree he would surely die, so here Yehovah, by the mouth of His servant proclaimed; “When you have transgressed the covenant of Yehovah your God, which He commanded you and have gone and served other gods and bowed yourselves to them, then shall the anger of Yehovah be kindled against you and you shall perish quickly from the off the good land which He has given unto you” (23:16).

The Word of Yehovah by the mouth of His prophet to His chosen nation, who were stiff-necked and rebellious from the beginning, and it came to pass; “Jerusalem, Jerusalem that killed the prophets and stoned them that were sent unto you. How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her chickens under her wing, and you would not! Behold your house is left to you desolate” (Matt. 23:37f).

“For if Joshua had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day” (Heb. 4:8).

The type of Christ as seen in Joshua is fulfilled in the finished work of Jesus Christ. He has delivered His elect from the ‘great house’ and defeated the army thereof. He has led them into the wilderness, providing them with living waters and the Bread of Life. He has brought them unto the schoolmaster who has declare unto them their guilt before God and brought them unto His Salvation. He has fulfilled the Law in all righteousness wherein His people live, He has defeated all foes placing them under His footstool and He has given them the promised inheritance.

Now if these are born from above of the incorruptible seed, then the Spirit of God dwells in them. The Spirit then bears witness with their spirit that they are the sons of God. Since, therefore, they are the children of the King, then are they heirs of the inheritance of the Kingdom, which is God. The fullness of the Godhead is the inheritance and the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah has given His people the inheritance, therefore the children of God have their inheritance for; “It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).

He has placed His little flock in their appointed places and has dealt unto each a measure of faith. He has left in their midst, as they dwell in earthen vessel, those of Adam (of the earth) who are stationed of old to serve them and whose very nature would prove the faith within. This trying of the faith through trials and tribulation works patience. This patience works experience, experience works hope and hope does not make one ashamed. This hope, which cannot be proven to the natural man, is the anticipation and expectation of putting off the tabernacle of this dwelling and realizing the manifestation of the sons of God. It is founded in the love of God which is shed abroad in the new hearts of flesh by the Holy Ghost which is given unto each of His children (Rms. 5:4ff). This work was finished from before man was created and manifestly declared when, in the fullness of time, Messiah was made flesh, born of a woman and made under the law.

And so it came to pass, in the days of vengeance when all things written were fulfilled, that the testimony of Jesus Christ was declared; “Yehovah has made known His salvation; His righteousness has He openly shewed in the sight of the nations. He has remembered His mercy and His truth toward the house of Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God” (Ps. 98:2f). The election according to grace stands complete in Him. They have been raised up together in Him unto newness of life and are seated together with Him in the heavenlies (Eph. 2:6). And so, as Joshua proclaimed over 2500 years ago; “all (these blessings of Yehovah) ARE come unto you and not one thing has failed thereof” (23:14). The ever present I AM has completed His work and His children have received their inheritance.

They are the sons of God though for a season they dwell, from year to year, in the booths of dust (Zech. 14:16). They are being refined by the Refiners fire as the wood, hay and stubble of Adam is being consumed through trials and tribulations yet they know that when He shall appear, every man in his order, they shall be like Him as the tabernacle, not made with hands, is made manifest; “Therefore shall Yehovah, Yehovah of Hosts, send among His fat ones, leanness and under His glory shall He kindle a burning like the burning of a fire. And the light of Israel shall be for a fire and His Holy One for a flame and it shall devour his thorns and his briars in one day and shall consume the glory of the forest and of his fruitful field, both soul and body and they shall be as when a standard bearer faints and the rest of the trees of His forest shall be few, that a child may write them. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel and such as a re escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them, but shall stay upon Yehovah, the Holy One of Israel, in truth” (Is. 10:16ff).

“Take good heed therefore unto yourselves, that you love Yehovah your God” (23:11).

The eternal love of the Father is upon each of His children and they return that love unto Him because He first loved them (I John 4:19). Although Adam desires the life and the glory of the Spirit yet is he ignorant of both. He is of the earth and cannot raise himself above the limitations of this existence. He is deceived by the pride of his heart and though he endeavours to show himself righteous; “there is none righteous, no not one. There is none that understands, there is none that seek after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are all together become unprofitable, there is none that does good, no not one” (Rms. 3:10ff).

Adam is personified in the people of the land that are left among the children of Israel as they travel through this barren world. There is a famine in the land, which God has ordained, “not a famine of bread nor the thirst for water, but of hearing the words of Yehovah” (Amos 8:11). Therefore are the sons of God sustained with the Bread of life and the Living water which flows from the throne of God and of the Lamb (Rev. 22:1). The children of this world call from the marketplaces of this present evil generation to the children of the captivity of the vanity of the flesh to come and dance and play the songs of Zion (Luke 7:32). The songs of Zion cannot be sung by the lips of man, for; “How can we sing Yehovah’s song in a strange land”. The rejoicing of the deliverance cannot be heard by the ears of the flesh for it is spiritually discerned; “Why do you not understand My speech? Because you cannot hear My word; you are of your father the devil and the lusts of your father you will do” (John 8:43). The children of light have no inheritance in the land of captivity and the inhabitants of this world have no right, nor portion nor memorial in the New Jerusalem. “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defiles, neither works abomination or a lie but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Rev. 21:27).

And so it is not of the will of man that the house of the Israel of our God ‘takes good heed unto themselves’ for as with the nation of Israel, so it is that Yehovah has fought for His people. The natural man does not know the love of Yehovah. He could not produce it in and of himself, for it is the eternal, immutable truth. All men are liars and the truth does not dwell in them. All men are drawn away after the lusts of the flesh and all men shall return unto the dust from whence they came. This admonition therefore is not unto the natural man to take up arms and overcome and it is not of conditions or works of righteousness which Adam might perform. It is for the children of Wisdom.

The wisdom of the Spirit is to know, recognize and beware of the number of man (Rev. 13:18) The Spirit teaches the children the vileness and deception of the ways of Adam as he testifies to the life within. As they grow in the grace and knowledge of His will, He reveals more and more of the corruption of the body of this death as he reminds them of the warfare. There is a law in the members which wars against the law of the mind wherein the child delights in the commandments and statutes of God (Rms. 7:22f). These two are not compatible and as the light of His glory shines in the hearts of His Beloved, it manifests that in them, that is in their flesh, dwells no good thing. Therefore, the Word of Yehovah to the redeemed is ‘exceedingly beware of your appetites and passions, your activity of the will of man and the manner of conduct of the nature of Adam’ which is contrary to the first commandment. Anything that is opposed to the first commandment is therefore contrary to the second also for “by this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if you have love one to another” (John 13:35).

“These things have I spoken unto you that in Me you might have peace. In this world you shall have tribulation but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33)

And it came to pass...

Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
August 17, 2014