Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 4 * BOOK 9
DEUTERONOMY 26-34: JOSHUA 1-4: RAHAB
We’ll go right on into the Book of Joshua. Remember, God called Moses up into Mt. Nebo. It was now time for him to pass off the scene. He could see the Promised Land, but he couldn’t go in. And as we ended the Book of Genesis, with the death of Joseph, so we end the Book of Deuteronomy with Moses’ death. And I think the same thing still holds true, God buries His servants, but never His program. It may look as if all hope is lost but things continue on right up until the present. You know so many people, especially these environmentalists, are so worried about the future of our planet. I certainly am not one for polluting it and nobody loves a beautiful earth more than I do. But listen, God is not going to let mankind ruin His program. This old planet is going to do all that it was intended to do until God is ready to finish it. And He’ll do it His own way and in His own time, so we don’t have to try to restore, “Mother Earth.” Now in the Book of Joshua, God’s program is going to continue on. The new leader is in place:
“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 to them, even to the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have (past tense) 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.'”
Does that ring a bell for those of you who have been with me in Genesis? Isn’t that exactly what God told Abraham? All the way from the Mediterranean Sea to the river Euphrates. Down to the Persian Gulf and then across the Red Sea and then out to the river in Egypt. That’s all been deeded to the nation of Israel by way of Abraham. So God repeats it now to Joshua. But we know historically that Israel never occupied very much; we’ll see that in a little while. They got a little bit east of the Dead Sea. And then under David and Solomon, they got a little bit up toward the Euphrates. But Israel has never occupied every thing that was promised back here in Genesis, and now in Joshua. That’s still future. They’re going to. One day, they will have the whole thing. But so far, historically, it has not happened. So now come down to verse 5. God tells Joshua:
“There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life…”
How long did Joshua reign as the leader of Israel? Twenty six years. Not long; twenty six years and then Joshua too, will die. And then Israel, as we’ll see, will go into the time of the Judges and the Judges cover three hundred years. And then we come to King Saul and King David. So God said:
“…as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”
You know where else that verse is? Hebrews. The New Testament. It’s the same promise that God has given to you and I. “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Now, no one knows better than you people that I am a stringent separator of Law and Grace. And that much of what God gives to Israel under Law is strictly for the Jew, under the Law. But on the other hand, there is so much that we can take and apply to our own situation today. Now here is one of them. Just as surely as God tells Joshua to be of good courage and be strong, isn’t that the admonition for us today? Absolutely. In fact, a verse of Scripture comes to mind. Go back to Ephesians Chapter 6. Most of you know these verses from memory. You all have heard many sermons on them so I’m not going to enlarge on it. But I want to show you that the God of Joshua is the same God that we deal with today. And as He told Joshua to be strong and of good courage, look what He tells us through the apostle Paul, writing to the Ephesians:
“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Do you know what high places means? It means spiritual high places. It means the big wheels of denominations or what have you, who have abdicated their position. They have turned, doctrinally, from the basic truths of Scripture. They no longer ascribe to the burial and resurrection of Christ. They will not recognize that He was the Creator God. They will no longer preach the atoning power of the Blood. Listen, we’re up against that. And these guys have got a lot of influence. They’ve got a lot of power. They can crank out the books, like I couldn’t even dream of doing. And people read them and people are influenced by them. We are up against spiritual wickedness in high places. I’m not saying all, but there are too many. I know that we still have good men out there. I know that we still have good men in seminaries, so when I say these things, I’m not making a blanket statement. My wife and I agreed many years ago that there were a couple of words that we should never use: never say never, and never say always. Because they will get you in trouble every time.
“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to (what?) withstand (now this is a promise. God says that if we will do our part, then He will do His part.) in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore (that is, positionally), having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness: And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking (above everything. Coming back to what I have talked about. What is paramount?) the shield of faith…”
Obedience to what God has said. Several people have come and asked me about prayer, well what does it say?
“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, (that is, as the Holy Spirit is that One that takes our prayer right into the throne room of Heaven.) and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;”
I think prayer has been neglected too much. And as I’ve told several individuals, never underestimate the power of prayer. Don’t limit God in prayer. I know there are some that say,“Well, we have no business asking God for anything but spiritual things.” Listen, God is just as concerned about our physical needs and our material needs as He is with the spiritual. Remember when we were back in Genesis and I taught that God has made us not just soul and spirit, but He made us what? Body, soul and spirit. He’s concerned with the whole person. If you’ll come back to Joshua, just as surely as He told this man to be strong and of a good courage, so we can take that in application. So now He says:
“…for unto this people (the nation of Israel) shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.”
Here we come to that Abrahamic Covenant. God promised Abraham that not only would he have a nation arise, but that nation would have its own land in which to live. Here it is now. It’s right before them. And God is telling Joshua, “You’re going to divide the land,” that is, to the various tribes of the twelve, all except Levi of course, and they are going to live off the inheritance of the other eleven.
“Only be thou strong and very courageous…”
And then verse 8. Now I believe that this is just as applicable, even though to Joshua, the Law is what He is talking about. Yet for you and I, living in the Age of Grace, the Word of God is still paramount in our everyday experience.
“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein (how much?) day and night…”
You wake up in the middle of the night, what do you think about? Do you think about the Word of God? That’s what God expects. And He’s not expecting the impossible. The moment you wake up in the morning, what’s your first thought? Oh, thank the Lord that I’m still in His care. You see that beautiful sunrise and do you give the Lord credit for it? We live in a beautiful part of Oklahoma. It’s a beautiful sight to look at that sun coming up over, or setting on, those mountains. Do you stop and give the Lord the glory for it? Well this is what He wants:
“…meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: (now I’ve got to constantly remind us that He’s talking about the law back here, but nevertheless, for you and I, it’s the same God and He expects the same kind of a reverence toward Himself. And then He says, according to an Old Testament economy; He doesn’t promise this in the New Testament or Paul’s writing, but here He does. That if they would be obedient,) for then thou shall make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”
That’s what I call the “Prosperity Gospel” preacher, because they like to grab a verse like this. But Paul never says something like this. Paul never says that if you’re obedient, that you would be rich. Paul doesn’t even guarantee good health. In fact, I have to think as a good example, certainly a lady that must have loved the Lord. If you could have any judge of character by the songs that she wrote. Blind from birth, who was it? Fanny Crosby. Don’t you suppose that if this held true, that she should have had her sight? Other believers went through terrible times, and according to this, that shouldn’t have happened. Listen, we don’t have that kind of a promise. The only thing God promises in the Age of Grace, is a roof over our head, clothes on our back, and food to eat. Everything else is just an outpouring of His grace. We don’t deserve any of it. Come down to Chapter 2. Remember that Joshua is going to bring them across the Jordan River. And they’re going to come across in the springtime, when Jordan is at flood stage. It isn’t a little narrow river that most of us see when you get over there. It’s going to be a great expanse of flood tide.
“And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, `Go view the land, even Jericho…'”
Remember, Jericho is just across the river. This is why it’s good to go to the Holy Land, to go to Palestine if you get a chance. I never realized until we got there, back in 1975, that Jericho was just off the edge of the Dead Sea. I didn’t realize that Jericho was just fourteen or fifteen miles, steep down a mountain, from Jerusalem. But when you get there, all of this suddenly falls into perspective. I never realized until we got there that Bethlehem was only five miles from Jerusalem. And I didn’t realize that Hebron was only six miles south of Jerusalem.
I couldn’t believe that I was so ignorant of the geography of the Holy Land until I got there. I always tell people that if you can afford it, by all means, go to the land of Israel and see it first hand. It’s just amazing. Here they are just opposite Jericho. So they’re going to spy on the place; they’re going to look it over. Remember, Jericho was one of the great walled cities of that day. They had a wall large enough to drive chariots on. But not only that, they lived on the wall, some of the less fortunate. And so, as they went on the wall, they came into the house of a prostitute, believe it or not. And this harlot’s name was Rahab.
I have to stop and teach a little bit about Rahab. Someone asked the question, “Les, how much faith do I have to have to be saved?” Now that’s a logical question, isn’t it? We sometimes wonder, “Do I believe enough?” And of course that’s why a lot of people have doubts. Have I believed enough? You know what my stock answer is? How much did Rahab have? Enough to be saved. She didn’t know everything all the way back to Adam. Rahab couldn’t have written a book like Moses and Joshua did. But yet, Rahab had just enough faith that God could save her and call her His own. Let’s read on. So the King of Jericho finds out that there are spies. And he has a good idea that they had hid out in the home of Rahab. And of course that’s where they are. So anyway, the authorities from the King of Jericho come to Rahab:
“`…Bring forth the men that are come to thee, which are entered into thine house: for they be come to search out all the country. And the woman took the two men and hid them, and said thus (now she’s lying no doubt about it. But for the benefit of God’s servants. And she said), There came men unto me, but I wist not whence they were: And it came to pass about the time of shutting of the gate, when it was dark, that the men went out…”
So she’s telling them, `There not in the city, they’re long gone.’ In fact, she uses a ploy that people still use today. She says, “They went that away.” But where were they? They were still in her house. And she hides them in the thatched roof.
“But she had brought them up to the roof of the house, and hid them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order upon the roof. And the men pursued after them the way to Jordan unto the fords: and as soon as they which pursued after them were gone out, they shut the gate. And before they were laid down, (for a night’s sleep) she came up unto them upon the roof; And she said unto the men, (here comes what I call that small portion of Rahab’s faith. She didn’t know everything, but she had enough faith that God could do what He did. So she said to these spies of Joshua) `I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you.'”
Now remember what King Balak faced back there in Moab, and the Canaanites are facing the same thing (they see this multitude of Israelites). But that didn’t effect them near as much as what they had been hearing. And what had they been hearing? All that their God had been doing for them.
“For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt (40 years previous); and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. And as soon as we had heard these things (about the power of Israel’s God), our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.”
Now I call that Rahab’s profession of faith. She couldn’t profess faith in the Gospel as we know it, that Christ died for her, was buried, and rose from the grave for her, because it hadn’t happened yet. In fact, Isaiah Chapter 53 hadn’t been written yet. But what little knowledge God had given to her, she responded to it. And she embraced it in the arms of faith. I usually like to put something on the board. What is the basic difference between believing in God and believing God? It is all the difference in the world. See you can believe in God, and I suppose that 95% of Americans say, “I believe in God.” The other 5% say they don’t, but way down deep when the deathbed comes they do. I do not believe there is an absolute atheist. To believe in God is one thing. To believe God: that enters into faith; that implies that God has said something. And as soon as God said something and we believe it, then it is faith. For example, He tells us (in I Corinthians 15:1-4) that for our salvation we are to believe that Christ died for us, was buried, and rose from the grave, and that he did that for you and me. Now that is faith. Let’s turn to the Book of Psalms for a moment. Chapter 14:
“The fool hath said in his heart, `There is no God.'”
Now the translation has two words there that are italics or in different print, and those two words are what? There is. I’ve told you over and over, the reason words are italicized is because they have been added by the translators, to hopefully clarify. Leave those two words out as it was originally. I like to put a comma after the word no. Now what does it say?“The fool hath said in his heart, no, God.” So the fool says no, God. He is saying no to what God has said. That is the real fool.
I don’t think there is a big enough fool to say that there is no God. But there are millions who say. “No, God, I don’t want to believe what you say. I don’t want to do what you say.” Just as soon as we get like Rahab, and we can not only say, “Yes, I believe in God,” but Rahab was already being obedient to God by hiding the spies. She was already putting her faith into action. Here we have one of those exceptions that I usually talk about in the Abrahamic Covenant, and that is Jew only with exceptions. Rahab is one of the exceptions. She is a Gentile, not a Jew. And she not only comes into the family of God, but in Matthew Chapter 1, we see this little bit of faith. Remember she was a harlot, a prostitute, living on the wall in Jericho; but she recognized who God was, and what He could do for her. And then in Matthew 1:5 who do we see in the genealogy of Christ? Rahab.