“As for the Jebusites the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the children of Judah could not drive them out: but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Judah at Jerusalem unto this day”
Though the Land of Promise had been given, it was the responsibility of His people to take the land and possess it. Within every promise given to us by God there remains a warfare and a battle of faith to make it our own.
“This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare”
1 Timothy 1:18
It is in the receiving of God’s promises and embracing His call upon our lives that we contend in faith to see them come to pass. There is no victory without the battle, no crown without the fight and no overcoming without the exercising of our faith.
It has taken me years to appreciate that every obstacle in my life is for my own good and learning. It is in these things we discover the true value of Grace and Mercy. If the victory in these things were easy and within the realm of our own strength, then we would be a poor example of what HE has intended for us. If we do not engage in the warfare, our walk will never be able to show forth His victory in our lives and we will live a life of compromise with our enemies…
“By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land”
God has a purpose in the obstacles which stand between us and His promises… it is to the “increase’ of our faith and our strength. He has purposed us to become strong, He has intended us to be persistent and determined in the apprehending of the promises given to us. It is in these things we grow strong in our God for we have learned that our God is strong!
“For thou wilt light my candle: the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.”
Darkness comes to all who walk in the light. “And the evening and the morning were the first day”. The days of God are all “evening and morning” until we reach the last Day in which there will be no darkness for eternity. Note that the Days of God begin with the evening; the darkness is only to bring us to a greater light. The ways of God are always progressive.
“But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day”
The dark seasons of life are given to us for our good and our development. Adversity and resistance are designed to make us strong, unmovable and steadfast in spirit. There are hidden treasures and supplies within the dark places of our lives; resources to be found in the living Christ as we overcome. In adversity we are instructed to grow in the grace and beauty of our Lord. Let us not despise His ways but wait patiently and expectantly for those treasures that He will give!
“And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the Lord…”
Just as Samson found honey within the carcass of the lion that had attacked him His people find the table of His provision in the presence of their enemies. Caleb declared that the giants of the promised land would be bread for them; so are the trials and situations in which we find ourselves. It is here that the fruit of His Spirit grows and ripens to maturity.
The fruits of the Spirit are all interconnected. The patience (endurance) of the Spirit is the fruit of a living Hope; the Joy of the Spirit comes from the power of a Faith to believe in the midst of trials; the Peace of God comes from the power of a love which sends away all fear. These are the treasures of darkness which are found by those who walk and live in Him. Let us be assured that the darkness cannot overcome those who cling to the light of His Life within.
“But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold”
“Let grace be shown to the wicked, Yet he will not learn righteousness; In the land of uprightness he will (still) deal unjustly, And will not behold the majesty of the Lord”
ISAIAH 26:10 (NKJV)
Righteousness is not the product of our environment nor is it the result of favor being shown to us. If everything was to go our way, and the blessings of all that this world has to offer were given to us, it would not help us to learn righteousness. For Righteousness is an issue of the heart not of our surroundings. The righteousness of God is known on the basis of Judgment, not favor. In the verse that precedes this one (which gives us the flow of God’s thought here) it states…
“…For when Your judgments are in the earth, The inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness”
The righteousness that is available to us in the New Covenant is because of the terrible Judgment that was poured out on our Blessed Savior. Men who fail to appreciate the reason for His sacrifice are never really impacted by the corresponding grace that flows from Him. Righteousness is not only a gift it is a life that we LEARN by walking with Him. Men who take sin lightly will never learn righteousness; the change of whom and what they are is temporary and ethereal. Our environment and how we are treated will not change what we are in heart. Righteousness must be learned by walking and interacting with our God.
The true child of God knows of His discipline and His chastening. It is of necessity that we know of this in our lives. For it is in these things that we LEARN and GROW in righteousness.
“My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth…”
“Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby”
How good and right are His ways with us. As a loving Father with a child HE deals with us according to His plan and purposes. Joseph did not know that the path laid out for him was the means by which he was made ready to rule and reign. God waited and watched carefully over Joseph until the “Iron entered into his soul” and his word came!
“He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant: Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron: (Hebrew “Iron hath entered his soul”) Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him. The king sent and loosed him; even the ruler of the people, and let him go free. He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all his substance: To bind his princes at his pleasure; and teach his senators wisdom”
His judgments are always meant to be remedial and redemptive in purpose. Men who spurn His discipline and harden their hearts toward Him pay the bitterest of prices. For it is those who are “exercised” by His chastening that receive the peaceable fruits of righteousness. May we be a people who are quick to submit ourselves to His dealings that we may grow in His righteousness and love. He knows the things that lie before us and His preparation work is that we may become “vessels of honor” unto His Glory in the days ahead.
“…Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God”
“The steady discipline of intimate friendship with Jesus results in men becoming like Him”
“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies”
“They are bread for us…” This was the declaration of FAITH that characterized the lives of Joshua and Caleb in the face of Israel’s unbelief and the number and the size of the enemies that inhabited the Land of Promise. Their strength was not in themselves. Their confidence was grounded in the unshakable trust that God was with them; a live vision that enabled them to remain unmoved by the size and the scope of their enemies. This is the crucial element to a faithful and consistent walk in God. The KEY phrase to this declaration is found in the verse preceding; “If the LORD delight in us”. True Vision always lifts our eyes from ourselves and causes us to focus on the things that please HIM. The life of the Son was always centered upon the one and great eternal desire to please the Father. His will was fixed upon this one thing and because of that His life was governed by that ONE GREAT WILL. The ability to see our enemies as bread for us is in direct correlation to our submission to HIS purposes; that we are here to DO His will and to walk in HIS ways regardless of the cost.
“The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will show them his covenant”
The life of feasting at this table must always be preceded by the WAY of the ALTAR. The Altar of Burnt Offering precedes the Table of Showbread! Vision is the result of a man’s walk; our ability to see and understand the purposes of God are directly related to our heart’s condition not our intellect. Spiritual ignorance is the fruit of disobedience. It was the obedience of Abraham to take his only son Isaac and offer him unto the Lord (as per the Word of the Lord) that Abraham saw the revelation of “Jehovah Jireh” (Genesis 22:13). It was WHEN the “feet of the Priests” carrying the Ark stepped into the flooding river Jordan that it parted allowing them to enter the Promised Land. It was WHEN Judah offered himself in the stead of Benjamin that Joseph could no longer restrain himself from revealing who he was in their midst. Joseph was there the whole time yet they could not see him until there was a change of heart. So too this table is set before us with the bountiful provisions of our God to nourish and supply us with all that we need to finish this race “that is set before us” (HEBREWS 12:1).
“Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress”
“It is only by obedience that we understand the teaching of God”
Oswald Chambers (1874–1917)
“Every man must tread the Word for himself.
One may read it in one shape, another in another: all will be right if it be indeed the Word they read, and they read it by the lamp of obedience. He who is willing to do the will of the Father shall know the truth …the Spirit is “given to them that obey him”