Full text and audio of Zac Poonen’s teaching on the Book of Joshua which is part of the popular series called Through The Bible.
Listen to the MP3 Audio here:
Zac Poonen – Bible Teacher
We’ll turn to the book of Joshua. Joshua, chapter 1. We could describe this book as the book that tells us about how Israel possessed the promised land. It’s very similar to the Acts of the Apostles, because it was a new beginning and there were tremendous manifestations of power. And Joshua was a great leader, brought them into the promised land.
Just like in the Acts of the Apostles, we read about people who came into the fullness of the Spirit and came into a new beginning of a new covenant.
And we also see in the book of Judges, immediately after Joshua, how backsliding came very quickly in after the time of Joshua, which teaches us that when God’s people don’t have good leaders, backsliding enters in very quickly. And we see that as soon as the apostles died, backsliding entered in very quickly as we read in Revelation chapter 2 and chapter 3 among the churches.
So the book of Joshua is very similar to the Acts of the Apostles. And just like we learned from the Acts of the Apostles, we could learn from the book of Joshua.
See, the book of Joshua pictures God as a God of war. And sometimes we can’t understand that. But God is a God of war because He’s a God of love. He hates anything that harms His people. Just like a father would make war against the diseases that are in his son, a good doctor would make war against disease, where there are polluting influences that would defile and corrupt His people, the only way was to eliminate them.
So the land of Canaan is not a picture of heaven. Some people talk about crossing. We sing songs sometimes about crossing Jordan in death and entering Canaan. Canaan is not a picture of heaven because there are no giants in heaven to be killed. And that’s the clearest proof that Canaan is not a picture of heaven. It’s a picture of life on this earth, of an overcoming life.
Sometimes some of these songs we sing have got wrong theology in them. Canon is a description of a Spirit-filled life where the giants of sin, the lusts in our flesh, are crucified one by one. All the giants were not killed in a moment.
You know, the people of Israel had to go, cross two bits of water in their journey from Egypt to Canaan. One was the Red Sea and the other was the River Jordan. And these both speak of death. We saw in 1 Corinthians 10 that going into the Red Sea was a picture of baptism. The River Jordan is a picture of another death. That’s where John the Baptist baptized people. That’s where Jesus was baptized. And that speaks of another death.
And we need to understand these two, the spiritual meaning of this if we are to enter into the promised land ourselves.
See, the Bible speaks about the old man being crucified. Romans 6:1-6 speaks about your old man was crucified by God. We don’t crucify our old man. Romans 6 is very clear that our old man, which is this mind that wanted to sin when which we were in our unconverted days, our sinful bent of mind was crucified with Christ on the cross. It was God who did that.
But there is another thing which we are to crucify. In Galatians 5:24, it says, “those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its lusts and affections.”
So the flesh is different from the old man. The old man is what God crucified on the cross with Christ. Romans 6 is very clear.
The flesh, Galatians 5 is what those who are Christ’s crucified. The flesh, we can say, if I were to use an illustration, the flesh with its lusts are like a gang of robbers that try to come into our heart to pollute us.
The old man is like an unfaithful servant who lives inside our heart and opens the door every time these robbers come to steal everything.
Which does God kill? He kills the servant. The gang of robbers are still there, hale and hearty. That’s why you are tempted exactly the same way after you’re converted as before you were converted, because the gang of robbers is alive. They wanted to come into your heart before you were converted; they want to come into your heart after you’re converted.
But something died. And what died was not the lust or the temptation — the old man, the servant inside who kept opening the door; he’s died, that God killed him. And He put a new servant there called a new man who does not open the door. When the temptation comes, now we say no.
THEN HOW DO WE FALL INTO SIN?
Because sometimes when this new servant does not eat properly, he’s weak and he can’t keep the door shut against the robbers, and the robbers push their way in. That’s how a believer sins.
But there is a difference between a believer sinning and an unbeliever sinning, because the believer doesn’t want to; the unbeliever wants to. In fact, that is the proof of whether you’re born again or not. The proof of being born-again is not whether you sin or not, but do you want to sin? If you still want to sin, I would definitely say you are not converted.
When people come to me for baptism, I ask them one question: do you want to sin anymore, even once? I’m not asking you, will you sin? Nobody can say I will not till the end of their lives. But do you want to? That want to, that’s the old man.
So THERE ARE TWO DEATHS, and it’s very beautifully pictured in the Old Testament. In the Old Testament, the entire army of Pharaoh was buried in one moment under the Red Sea; that’s the old man. Who did it? The Israelites did not kill them; God did it. God buried the Egyptian army. The old man was crucified by God on the cross.
But now they cross Jordan, which speaks of another death. I again go into the water and say, ‘Lord, I die to this flesh of mine.’ I take that attitude. They that are Christ’s have taken this attitude of the flesh will be crucified, but the lusts are still there. The giants are still ruling the land and Joshua and the Israelites had to kill them one by one and we have to kill our lusts one by one. That’s different from the Egyptian army, which is buried in a moment.
See, Scripture is so exact when it comes in to its application in the New Testament. And if we open ourselves to the Holy Spirit, He will reveal these hidden things of Scripture to us, and the Bible is a wonderful, exciting book. It’s so perfect and so exact in that Old Testament typology. They did not understand it then, but we understand it today.
This is the land of Canaan — our body — ruled by giants, many, many giants. But we have taken an attitude towards that giant, saying, I have decided I’m going to take up the cross. Jesus said, you’ve got to take up the cross every day. That’s not to kill the old man. The old man is already crucified. It’s to put the flesh to death.
There is only one thing I want to say. The Bible speaks about the possibility that if you continue to take a lax attitude towards sin, you can put on the old man again, that’s possible; a person can lose his salvation.
But in Joshua, we are talking — the picture here is of the lusts of the flesh being put to death one by one. OVERCOMING SIN is the theme, the spiritual theme of the book of Joshua. And the picture in the whole book is to encourage us in our battle against sin. And that’s why this is a wonderful book.
And we have a leader in this battle who goes ahead and leads us into this battle. His name is JOSHUA. Joshua is the Hebrew word for Jesus. Jesus is a Greek word, and the Hebrew is Yehoshua. The Lord is Savior. You shall call His name Jesus because He is a Savior. He shall save His people from their sins.
And you read about — that’s why you read in Hebrews chapter 4. You see that in the King James version how Jesus and Joshua are actually the same name. And that’s also very interesting that our leader who leads us into this battle against sin is Jesus, who was tempted in all points as we are. Joshua did not sit in a tent and tell the other people to go and fight: ‘You go and fight. I’ll sit here comfortably in the tent and you fight the battle and win for me.’ No, he went in front and fought and said, ‘Follow me.’
That’s what Jesus also says. The Bible says ‘He’s the captain of our salvation’, in Hebrews Chapter 2. Now, a captain of an army does not sit in a tent at the back. He goes in front. And the people in the old days anyway, they looked at that captain, the kings used to lead people into battle, and it’s exactly like that. Jesus is the one who has gone ahead, and that’s why he says, ‘let us run this race, looking unto Jesus, who in His earthly life endured the cross, despising the shame, conquered, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.’ (Hebrews 12:1-3)
This is the one we are to look at: in our earthly life, in our battle today, there is a captain who has gone in front of us, so that when we are tempted today, we say, ‘Lord, You were also tempted, exactly like I am being tempted at this moment. And You have gone ahead of me as my captain, and You have overcome, and I shall also overcome. I am following You.’ And there is no defeat when we follow Jesus. We are defeated when we don’t follow Jesus.
So those things as a word of introduction, I also want to say just one practical thing, and that is that, you know, there was a reason why God wiped out the Canaanites, the same reason why He wiped out people in the time of Noah through a flood. Because the whole earth, it says in Genesis 6, had become corrupt.
Does a God of love wipe out people? Let me ask you, will a doctor who loves his patient amputate his foot? Have you heard of people whose feet have to be amputated because gangrene has set in? And it is so bad that if they don’t cut off the foot, the whole body will be killed.
So when you see that doctor using a saw and cutting off somebody’s leg, if you don’t understand medicine, you’ll be convinced that that doctor hates him. But actually, that is the greatest mark of love, that he’s cutting off his leg.
So we need to see that killing people who were going to cause gangrene and corrupt the whole nation of Israel was the greatest act of love. Wiping out people in the time of the flood was an act of love so that the human race is preserved. And that was God’s way in the Old Testament. He very rarely does it in the New Testament, where people lead others astray. Sometimes He smites them dead. We read of the apostle Paul once smiting a man with blindness in Acts chapter 13, because he was leading somebody astray. But those are rare.
I’ve heard of people who have been killed because they were opposed to revival. So God does that very rarely. But in the Old Testament, we read this: it was not murder of the Canaanites, it was surgery that we read in Joshua and many, many years earlier, you read in the book of Genesis in chapter 15, something very interesting relating to why this judgment took place in Joshua.
In Genesis 15, we read here that the Lord said to Abraham, and Abraham was living in Canaan at that time, and there were Canaanites there.
Why didn’t God use Abraham and his servants to kill the Canaanites? You know that in the previous chapter, Genesis 14, he killed so many armies. I mean, he defeated so many armies. Abraham was a powerful man, but he did not use Abraham to kill the Canaanites then. He said, you’ve got to wait 400 years.
And the reason being given in Genesis 15, it says: ‘afterwards,’ verse 14, ‘they will come out with many possessions, and then they will occupy this land. In the fourth generation, (Genesis 15:16), they’ll return here.’ Reason? Because the sin of these people has not yet become ripe for judgment.
Just like the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah came up to a certain point of ripeness. Just like you pluck a mango, when it is ripe, sin also… God waits and waits; it’s green now. Yeah, it’s growing, growing, growing. You wait for the mango to grow till it becomes ripe. Sin also grows and grows and grows, and finally it becomes ripe. And God says, now it has to be judged.
So the sin of the Canaanites we read there was not yet ripe, which would take another 400 years to be ripe.
And then Joshua came in. Now, the Canaanites were ripe for judgment. There was all types of sexual perversity going there, sex with animals and all types of wicked things going on. You read that in Leviticus… God said, this is the reason why I’m driving out these nations in front of you.
So we see that it was surgery, not murder. That’s the reason why… and it was not because He was partial. Because we read, after Israel occupied the land 700 years later, when Israel themselves committed the same sins, God chased the Israelites out of the land also. The Assyrians came and captured them.
125 years later, when Judah — the southern kingdom — also began to turn away from the prophets and fall into sin, God sent the Babylonians to destroy them too. So God is not partial. Whether it’s the Canaanites or the Israelites or the people of Judah, His standards are the same. If they keep on violating, violating, don’t listen, don’t listen, don’t listen, one day God does surgery just like He does with us.
You know that if God excuses your sin, I would say He doesn’t love you. He has to judge your sin. He hates sin. If a father allows his children to have disease, I would say the father doesn’t love that child of his.
So what we see here is Joshua did not question God. He accepted God’s standards, and he obeyed His laws and His ways. And it says here in Joshua chapter 1, so much for an introduction.
JOSHUA CHAPTER 1
As we go into the book of Joshua, chapter 1 and verse 1. We read here ‘after the death of Moses, the servant of the Lord, the Lord spoke to Joshua, saying, Moses, My servant is dead. Now I’ve given you every place that your foot treads on’ (verse 3).
verse 5: ‘no man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life.’
What is the New Testament verse which is the equivalent of Joshua 1:5: ‘No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life’?
Romans 6:14: ‘no sin will be able to master you because you are under grace, because you followed Jesus.’
This is the exact equivalent of Romans 6:14. Here is the land of Canaan, ruled by many, many giants, many sins. And the Lord says, ‘not one of those sins will be able to stand in front of you. You’ll conquer all of them.’
Do you believe that? That’s God’s will? Paul believed it and he said in 2 Corinthians 2: thanks be to God, who always leads us in victory in Christ. Always in victory. That was Paul’s song. That is to be our song too.
We know that many people did not enter into that life. Many Christians don’t enter into this life.
600,000 Israelites came out of Egypt. How many entered into this land? 2.
600,000 people are born again. How many come to a life of victory? Perhaps 2. Why? Like Joshua and Caleb, those are the ones who have faith. If God has said it, we can do it.
The other people say, oh, no, these giants are so big. These sins are so powerful. They have ruled us for so long. How can we drive them out? And such believers remain defeated, defeated, defeated, even though they are serving God. That’s not the way to serve God, we have to overcome sin and thus serve the Lord.
The rivers that flow from heaven through us must not flow through a polluted channel, a channel that is polluted with dirty thoughts and murmuring and complaining and love of money. No, it must flow through a clean channel that has overcome sin. Then it can bless people. I believe this is the great lack in Christendom today.
We have Christian leaders who are not pure inside, who have not overcome sin in their private life, who have not overcome the love of money, who have not overcome the lust of the eyes, who have not overcome bitterness who have not overcome the spirit of competition with other Christian leaders and with other organizations, who have not overcome jealousy, and who have not overcome unrighteousness in many areas, who have not even overcome telling lies, who have not overcome shouting at their wives, and they’re getting up to preach to God’s people.
What can they preach to God’s people? They can teach people, God’s people how to shout at your wife, how to be bitter, how to be jealous, how to compete. What else can they teach? The rest is all theory.
There’s a lot of theory being preached in the pulpits today which are not real. We have to overcome; all the knowledge that you acquire with study is useless, if you are not an overcomer. You will only preach theory to other people. Remember this. Learn this from the book of Joshua: be an overcomer.
So the Lord says, ‘no man will be able to stand before you.’ Why? Because I will be with you. It’s not because we determine. No, it’s because Jesus is with me. It’s because He fills me with the Holy Spirit. He will never fail me, nor forsake me when I face a trial or a temptation. That is the type of leader God is looking for today.
‘Be strong (verse 6) and courageous.’ Don’t be afraid of any sin. ‘You will lead these people to possess this land which has been ruled by their enemies for so long.’
My dear brothers and sisters, you must go out and get God’s people to possess the land which has been occupied by sin, their bodies ruled by sin for years. It’s no use just converting people to have faith in Christ. Just cross Egypt, put the blood outside the door, come through the Red Sea, be baptized and also be baptized the Holy Spirit. Full stop. There is no full stop. That is only the kindergarten lesson.
After the kindergarten, do you send your child into the kindergarten and say, okay, you passed out a kindergarten; that’s all your education. That is what is happening in Christendom today. No, that’s the beginning of your education.
The baptism in the Holy Spirit, the pillar of cloud was to lead them into the promised land. They should have gone there in two years. They did not go there even in 40, because the leaders don’t teach them. Faith comes by hearing.
If we don’t hear these truths, how will we overcome? ‘Be strong and courageous’, He says.
‘And be careful, (verse 7) to do everything that’s written in God’s Word. Don’t turn to the left or the right.’
If God says sin shall not have dominion over you, say it. Don’t reduce the intensity of that. And don’t say more than what the Bible says. Don’t say that we can be perfect like Christ on this earth; we cannot. We shall be like Him when we see Him, it says in 1 John 3. Don’t go beyond Scripture. Don’t go less than Scripture.
We can overcome, but we will be like Him fully only when He comes again. But till then, it’s like climbing a mountain. The day I am converted, my sins are all forgiven. My past is blotted out, but I am still defeated by so many sins.
And then I climb a mountain. The top of the mountain is becoming perfectly like Christ. That will happen only when Christ comes again.
But do I have to live at the foot of the mountain all my life? No. It says let’s press on to perfection. Hebrews chapter 6: let’s press on to perfection.
2 Corinthians 7:1, it says perfecting holiness in the fear of God. Don’t be afraid of that word. Perfection is at the top of the mountain which will happen when Christ comes again. But we are to press on.
Paul says, ‘I’m pressing on’, in Philippians 3, I have not reached the top of the mountain. I’m not perfect, but I’m not going to sit at the foot of the mountain forever. The trouble with the lot of God’s people is they are going in circles like we saw in Deuteronomy. The Lord says, you have gone in circles enough. You’ve stayed at the foot of this mountain enough. Now climb it. Press on. Be careful. Don’t turn to the left or the right.
‘This book of God’s Word shall not depart from your mouth.’
Where should we have God’s Word? I said the other time, in our heart. We also need to have it in our mouth.
The trouble today is people are confessing things which they want to satisfy their lusts. Lord, I confess that I’ll have a house. Lord, I confess that I’ll have a job. Lord, I confess that I’ll have a car. No, instead of that, stop all that.
Start confessing. Lord, I confess I’ll overcome anger. Lord, I confess that I’ll overcome lust of the eyes completely. Lord, I confess that I’ll overcome the love of money.
These are the things we are to confess. But the leaders among God’s people are telling people to confess for material things, material things all the time, because that’s what people love. That’s how you get crowds. But you can’t build a church with crowds who are interested in material things. You can build a church only with people who are interested in heavenly things, godly things. Don’t attract the wrong type of people to your crowd, to your church with confessing the wrong things.
This book of the Law. What does God’s Word say? Where does God’s Word say you’ll get a car or a house? God’s Word says sin can be overcome. God’s Word says you can come into a life where you rejoice in the Lord always 24 hours every day, where there’s never a moment of depression or discouragement or defeat. Always in triumph, always rejoicing, always giving thanks in everything for all people. This is the New Testament.
Confess it and say, Lord, this is the life I want to live.
I remember as a young Christian, I looked around and I saw believers, believers, Christian leaders defeated. And I said, ‘Lord, I don’t want to judge them. That’s not my business. But I want to look at God’s Word. I want to look at Jesus and I want to look at Your promise.’
And I kept on confessing the life I want in my own life is the life described in God’s Word: rejoicing always; always giving thanks, always in victory, always praying, always having our mindset on the things above.
Lord, I want to be like that when I’m 20. I want to be like that when I’m 30. I want to be like that when I’m 40. I want to be like that when I’m 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, till the end of my life, I want to be like that. Let it not depart from your mouth.
I say that to you because these are not the type of things that you are encouraged to confess nowadays unfortunately. Sometimes you may find, like I often find that you’re a lone voice standing for God and His Word in the midst of popularity seeking preachers. Don’t be like them.
‘This book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth. You shall meditate on it day and night.’
What should you meditate on day and night? God’s Word. Not even the need of the heathen. That looks like a good thing. But you can help the heathen only if you meditate on God’s Word day and night.
And be careful to obey everything that you do it, that’s written there.
Then what will happen? You will make your way prosperous. This is the real prosperity Gospel, where my life becomes prosperous in a heavenly way, in a spiritual way, and I will have success.
See those two words there? Prosperity and success. The world is seeking for prosperity and success… everybody. But they don’t seek it the way it’s written in Joshua 1:8.
So just keep that in mind when we go through this book and when you go through life.
JOSHUA CHAPTER 2
Now we want to move on to chapter 2. In chapter 2, we see God’s concern for a prostitute in a heathen country. It’s not only Jesus who was concerned for prostitutes in the New Testament. We see there in the Old Testament, Rahab, who was not a Jew, but she was a prostitute. But even prostitutes may be sick and tired of their prostitution. Mary Magdalene was sick and tired of her evil life. Very few people knew that. They just despised her.
Some of those prostitutes that are today in the red light areas of our cities, they may not be there because they love it. Some of them have been pushed there. Some of them are sick and tired of that. Perhaps some of them need to hear the Gospel. I praise God for those through the jades who have had a burden for such people, because God has a burden for such people. They may not be Christians, they may be heathen like Rahab, but God, who searches all over the world, irrespective of nationality, irrespective of whether there’s a person, a prostitute or a religious leader, He sees a longing in that person’s heart and He makes a way for that prostitute’s salvation.
And Rahab comes down in the pages of Scripture. In the book — in the New Testament, James write about Rahab’s faith was accompanied by works, he says.
Imagine, where did that prostitute think that she would be an example for generations to come. For 3000 years, people would talk about her faith. See, God is without partiality. And I want to say that to encourage all of you. Some of you may be like Rahab, one unknown person who’s lived in sin, made a mess of your life living there in some place where you think nobody can reach you. But God sees the longing in your heart and He’s got ways to lead you to become His servant.
Now I want to tell you something even more wonderful.
If you read Matthew chapter 1. You read there that Rahab became one of the ancestors of Jesus Christ. Can you imagine that? So wonderful plans God had for this prostitute in Jericho. She was not even a Jew, but after she was delivered and the Israelites came in, she married an Israeli, and through her came Mary, the mother of Jesus. Through her came David, king of Israel. Through her came Joseph, the husband of Mary. She was the ancestor of both Joseph and Mary. She was the ancestor of David. Amazing! God’s ways are so different from ours. We praise the Lord for His way.
JOSHUA CHAPTER 3
In chapter 3, we read about how the Israelites crossed Jordan. And the Lord said to Joshua in Joshua 3:7: ‘This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that just as I was with Moses, I will be with you.’
God told Joshua — see it’s very difficult for Joshua to fit in the shoes of Moses. Imagine some great mighty leader like Moses, who for 40 years, everybody feared and respected, a man who could solve every problem. And suddenly he dies.
And Joshua, who was probably maybe 78 years old, is now got to step into his shoes to lead these 600,000 men. He thought, how will these people respect me? 0
Sometimes you may be called to go into a ministry which is formerly fulfilled by some great man of God who was respected by everybody. You say, how can I do it?
And the Lord says, don’t worry, I will begin to exalt you.
Do you know who exalts us so that people begin to respect us? God. Don’t wait for some man to make you a director, to give you a title and say, okay, now I’m director. Are you trying to get respect through getting a college degree after your name? There’s some people who never get tired of making their tails long. You know, the tail after the name, this degree, and then this degree and this degree. But this long tail is not going to help you to serve God.
This long tail is… God who has to exalt you. It is God who has to manifest to people that you are a man of God, that He’s got to be with your mouth. What’s the use impressing people with your tail? There must be an anointing upon your life, the words of your mouth and then people know whether God is with you or not. Jesus never had a tail. He didn’t have anything. He was a normal human being without any tail. But God was with Him. That’s the important thing.
That’s the important thing. God was with Him. And that’s the thing we need more than anything else. Don’t seek after degrees. Seek that God will be with you. If you go to a Bible school, go there to study the Word of God, not to get a degree. That’s trash.
Seek to study the Word of God and that God will be with you. Seek to be anointed. Seek to learn the fear of God. Very few people go for that unfortunately. They go more for qualifications to lengthen their tails.
I will be with you and I will exalt you.
And what was Joshua’s qualification for serving God? God was with him.
What was Jesus’ qualification for serving God? Acts 10:38 says God was with Him.
What was Moses’ qualification? God was with him.
What was David’s qualification to kill that giant Goliath? One thing: God was with him.
What is your qualification to serving God? Your certificate? God have mercy on you if you think the devil’s afraid of your certificate. Devil doesn’t care for your certificate. You can get ten more certificates; he’s not afraid of that. He wants to see whether God is with you or not. If God is with you, the devil will be scared. If God’s not with you, you can have any number of certificates, it’s no use.
When the devil comes against me, I don’t show him my certificate; I don’t have any certificates in any case. I say if God is with me, the devil will run.
Remember this, it’s very, very important because we live in a day and an age where we think it’s these things by which we serve God. It’s not. It’s the anointing of the Holy Spirit, it’s the presence of God standing with me.
Many, many times I’ve said to God, ‘Lord, when I stand in a pulpit, I want You to stand with me. It’s no use my standing there if You don’t stand there with me. If you stand with me, I can speak Your word.’ Long for that, that God will be with you.
I will be with you, I will exalt you. And why did God pick on Joshua? Because there must have been things in his life that God saw, particularly his faith – we can conquer Canaan, he said, when he was sent two years after he came out of Egypt, this young man Joshua said we can conquer Canaan. And God said, that’s the man I want. That’s the man, the man who can believe Me, who can trust My promise. He picked him and He made him work with Moses. That’s very often the way God trains a man for His service: make him work for 38 years with another Godly man, with a man of God, like Elisha worked with Elijah and learned how to be a prophet, like Timothy worked with Paul and learned how to be an apostle, and Joshua worked with Moses.
Now, if God gives you that opportunity and calls you to work with a man of God, that, I would say is perhaps the greatest privilege that you can have and the greatest honor that God can give you to prepare you for His service; that is worth a million Bible schools. If you can work with a man of God, if God appoints you for that, it’s not a question of your choosing.
There were a lot of people who probably wanted to be close to Moses. I’m sure a lot of people would have liked to take over from Moses and be close to him. But God picked out Joshua, and God has to pick you out in His sovereignty and associate you with a Godly man whose life and principles affect you. So that’s how Joshua was prepared. His faith, his experience, his being called by God, that was the thing. And his diligent application to the word of God. He studied it, understood it not to get a certificate. He studied it because he wanted to obey it. He studied it because he wanted to share it with others.
Let me tell you the same thing. You can be a man or a woman of God too.
Okay? We’ve seen in chapter 3, Joshua tells them one more verse I want to show you before I move on.
Joshua 3:9: ‘Come here and listen to the words of the LORD your God.’ He himself had meditated on it day and night, and now he’s able to tell other people: listen, just like Moses listened to God, came out and told the people, Joshua listened to the Law which Moses had written, read it and told the people, I want to tell you what God has said. That’s your calling to share, to tell people to listen to what God is saying, not my bright ideas.
I tell you, I don’t want to know what the higher critics are saying and what the critics of the Bible are saying and what the people who believe in evolution are saying. Let people who want to waste their time go and study all that.
I want to say: Come and listen to what God is saying. That’s what I’ve done for 40 years, and that’s what I want to do till the end of my life. That’s what Moses did. That’s what Joshua did. That’s what Peter did. That’s what Paul did. Come and listen to what God is saying.
And I want to say to you, don’t waste your time studying what the other people are saying. Listen to what God is saying. And when God is saying something, that is the best answer to all those critics. You don’t have to study what they are saying.
JOSHUA CHAPTER 4
Further, let’s move on to chapter four. You know, God’s ways are so different from man’s ways, so different.
Chapter 4 we read of them crossing the river Jordan and it’s the Ark of the Covenant which went in front. We read in chapter 3, verse 15: ‘those who carried the ark came into the Jordan and the feet of the priests carrying the Ark dipped, and they went following the ark.’
The ark is a picture of Jesus Christ. We saw that yesterday. The ark is that rectangular box on which the mercy seat was, and in the most holy place, a picture of Christ. And the ark went ahead into the land and the people followed. Let us run this race looking under Jesus. It’s very significant that the ark went first.
And when they went there, Joshua said, okay, now that we have come here, don’t just rush into battle. Just hang on a minute. Don’t get excited. Take little time to relax and let’s first of all give thanks to God. Oh, this is wonderful to learn this lesson that when God does a miracle for us, the first thing is to kneel down and give thanks to God.
And he said, ‘Go down into that river and pick up twelve stones from the middle of the river’, (verse 8), and put them here and make a pile of these stones and make it a memorial so that years later, generations later, 100 years later, when somebody comes and says, what is this pile of stones here? Some little boy asks his father, and the father says, do you know what our great grandfather experienced here? He came through this river. The river parted and they came through.
So God wanted to keep a memorial there for future generations. And I believe the things that God has done for us, we must share with our next generation so that they can have faith that it’s a memorial to what God can do. That’s what we see in chapter 4.
JOSHUA CHAPTER 5
In chapter 5 we see that Israel is circumcised again in Gilgal, because it says here in Joshua 5:5: ‘all the people who came out of Egypt were circumcised, but the people who were born in the wilderness had not been circumcised.’
There were 40 year old people there who were not circumcised, and that was the commandment of God. So we read that they circumcised. It’s a small thing, but it was a mark of the covenant of cutting off all confidence in the flesh. Philippians 3:3: we are the true circumcision, cutting off all confidence in the flesh. Before you go into the battle, cut off all confidence in the flesh. That’s the first step.
Don’t think you can overcome in your own strength. And the reproach of Egypt is now rolled away (verse 9).
After that, in (verse 13), the Commander of the LORD’S army, the Captain of the host of the LORD, (verse 13 to 15) comes before Joshua. This is Jesus appearing in a vision. And Joshua thinks that is the enemy and says, “Are You on my side, or are You on our enemy’s side?” (Verse 13)
Sometimes we ask God, ‘Lord, are You on my side or are You on that side?’
And what is the Lord’s answer? I’m not on your side, or on that side; I want you to come on My side.
It’s very different. We say, ‘Lord, I’m going there. Please come and bless me.’
No, we must say, Lord, where do You want me to go?
And the Lord says, I’m going there. You come with Me.
That’s very different. But what do we say? Lord, I’m planning to go here tomorrow. Please come. I hope You’re on my side.
And the Lord says, I’m not on your side. I want you to be on My side.
Who is on the Lord’s side?
So he asks, ‘Are You on my side or my enemies?’
And the Lord says neither. I’m the captain of the host of the LORD and I’ve come here to lead your army. You just come along with Me. That’s pretty humbling.
And Joshua said, Fine, I’ll just follow You.
Life is so simple. I don’t have to plan to go here and there and ask you to come with me. You know, a lot of people are serving the Lord like that today. They have made their own plans and they’ve asked the Lord, please come here and do this for me, that for me, the other for me.
He won’t come. No, we can’t treat God like a servant. He’s the captain. If God was your servant, what do you tell your servant? What does the master tell his servant?
I’m going here, please pack my bags and come. A lot of people talk to God like that, but He won’t come because He’s not your servant.
You got to say, Lord, where are You going? I’ll pack my bags and come with You. Change your way of serving the Lord and it’ll make a lot of difference in your life. I know it has in mine, because then I can serve the Lord more efficiently. I can go where the Lord has already prepared the ground. Instead of planning to go somewhere, do something for five years, discover that God is not there and say, okay, I wasted my time. Let me go to another place. What a fool. What a foolish way to serve the Lord. Why not wait on the Lord and say, Lord, where’s the ground ready? And the Lord says, Here, come with Me. And I go.
This is the way to serve the Lord. And I have discovered the truth of that in the last 25 years. That’s the best way to serve the Lord. He knows exactly where He has to take you. Not somebody else, but you.
Okay, those are the lessons we learned there.
JOSHUA CHAPTER 6
And then we go to chapter 6 and we see here the Lord tells him, (Joshua 6:2): ‘I have already given Jericho into your hand.’ That’s the thing we need to go when we fight against Satan. I have already defeated Satan. The Lord did not say: I’m going to give Jericho in another seven days to you. No, no, I have already given you, just go and take it. I have already defeated Satan. You just go and establish My victory.
I believe that our calling is to go and establish the victory of Calvary wherever we go. Satan’s already been defeated.
I have given Jericho into your hand. Don’t miss these little sentences in Scripture. They have a great spiritual truth: I have given… you just march around, and blow the trumpets on the seventh day. In other words, just confess Satan has been defeated. Like it says in Revelation 12:11: ‘they overcame Satan by the blood of the Lamb and — by the trumpet in their mouth — the word of their testimony to Satan.’
Satan, you’ve been defeated on the cross. I have great joy in reminding Satan about that very frequently that he was defeated on the cross. He doesn’t like to hear it. He doesn’t like to hear it, I tell you that.
I remember a demon possessed lady whom I was — I didn’t know she was demon possessed. I told her, I told her to accept the Lord and I told her to confess. Tell the devil he’s been defeated on the cross. And she shouted out and said, ‘I’ve not been defeated on the cross.’
I said ‘Yes, you have. You were defeated 2000 years ago. You were defeated. Get out of her in Jesus’ name.’ And the demon left.
And then she said, ‘Yeah, Satan, you’ve been defeated on the cross.’
And I learned one thing that day that the devil does not like to be reminded that he was defeated on the cross 2000 years ago. I want to ask all of you wonderful believers sitting here, how many times do you tell the devil that he was defeated on the cross? Start today. Tell him often you were defeated on the cross. He’ll hate you. And I like it when the devil hates me, because then I know I’m on the right track.
Don’t get scared. Oh, if the devil hates me, he’ll trouble me. No, you will experience the mighty power of God to overcome Satan and put Satan under your feet.
Be strong and courageous. That’s what the Lord told Joshua. Remind the devil frequently that he has been defeated. So that’s the blowing of the trumpet and the city — this is not a technique. You can listen to what I’m saying: now I’ve got the technique. I’ll just get up in the morning and tell the devil, ‘Satan, you were defeated on the cross’ and you don’t keep your conscience clear, Satan will laugh at you: ‘You’re telling me that? I know all about your life. I know Jesus and I know Paul, but who are you?’
That’s what the demon told some people who tried to make the right confession. So I’m not teaching you a technique. It’s not a technique. I’m saying: keep your conscience clear, humble yourself, submit to God, (James 4:7) and then resist the devil. If you try to resist the devil without submitting to God, you’re going to have problems.
JOSHUA CHAPTER 7
So then we move on to chapter 7, where we read Israel was defeated. That’s exactly what I said just now, because they didn’t keep a good conscience. One man stole something.
Now, God had said very clearly in chapter 6, verse 24: that says, ‘they burnt the city and the silver and the gold and the bronze and the iron they put into the treasury of the Lord,’ because God had told them that you must not touch anything here in Jericho. It must all be given to the Lord. Everything must be given to the Lord. And so they did that.
But there was one man, it says in chapter 7, verse 20, he confesses later on I’ve sinned, I saw (verse 21), a beautiful dress from Babylon. Shinar is Babylon. See how Babylon comes up again, these Babylonian dresses, I tell you, they’re pretty tempting. And silver and gold…
and I saw, I coveted, I took — three steps in temptation and sin.
I saw (Joshua 7:21), I coveted, I took. And fourth step: I hid it. This is how we sin. I see, I covet, I take, and I hide — it’s all there in verse 21. And therefore Israel was defeated.
And when Israel was defeated, Joshua said, ‘Why?’
And the Lord said, ‘There’s sin in the camp.’ And Achan was stoned to death.
And then now listen to this — this is the wonder part of the story which some of you have missed, I’m sure.
The Lord told them, when you go to Jericho, don’t take anything. And Achan thought, boy, here I’m coming to fight a battle. And if the next 20 years after killing all these giants, I get nothing, I’ll be poor. If I serve the Lord like this, I’ll be a poor man. I want to keep a little bit for myself. But it was only a test.
In JOSHUA 8:2, the Lord said to the people, ‘Now you go and defeat Ai, and this time you can take everything for yourselves.’ The rest of the time in Canaan, whenever you defeat anybody, all the spoil is yours. What a fool Achan was! If he had just not done it the first time, he would have got all the rest of the spoil for the rest of life. Any number of Babylonian garments, any amount of silver, any amount of gold — he missed all that because when God tested him, he failed.
Sometimes God will test you and see whether you grab something out of covetousness. And if you do, you would have missed God’s best, which he had for you for the rest of your life. That was a test. Instead of that, if you had sought God’s kingdom, He’d have given you so many things. If you sought God’s kingdom first, all the other things will be added to you.
And in JOSHUA Chapter 8, we read of how Ai was defeated. In verse 26, it says, ‘Joshua lifted up his javelin — just like Moses lifted up his hand — on that mountain top, Joshua lifted up his javelin and Ai was defeated.
And the danger after we won a great victory is that we can become complacent. It always happens. After a great victory, we say, praise the Lord! Finally we won and we relax. And when we relax, we get deceived. And that’s what happens in chapter 9, because these people thought they were so great and they knew God so well, some Gibeonites we read in chapter 9, who were actually Canaanites, who should have been killed, came and met Joshua. They acted (Joshua 9:4) very craftily and they pretended that they were coming from a long distance. They wore worn out clothes (verse 5) and worn out sandals and old bread. And they came and said, we’ve come from a very far country, from the other side of Jordan, perhaps. And we have come here, ‘Can you give us some protection?’
And Joshua said, where are you from?
And they said, we are your servants (verse 8). We have come from a very far country and we have heard… they flattered Joshua. And it’s very dangerous, servants of God, when you listen to flattery. I’m always scared of the people who are trying to flatter me. There’s deception around the corner.
Oh, we have heard the fame of the Lord your God. And Joshua, we have heard that you are a great man of God. And we have heard the reports of what happened in Egypt. And we heard the reports, (verse 10), of what He did to the kings of the Amorites. And so our elders in our country men said, let’s go and ask these people. Let’s be your servants. And these wineskins were new; now they are torn.
And listen to this. (Verse 14) the men of Israel did not seek advice from the Lord, and Joshua made a peace with them, made a covenant with them, Okay, we will not kill you.
And then three days later, (verse 16), they discovered they were not from a far country, they were neighbors, but they had already made a covenant.
And what have we learned from that? Be careful immediately after a time of great victory. Have you seen the times in the Gospels where immediately after a great time of healing, Jesus would go away into the wilderness to pray, to give the glory to His Father because He was tempted like us? That’s a lesson for us.
Joshua did not seek counsel from the Lord. When is it that you don’t seek counsel from the Lord? Not when you are defeated. When you are victorious, we are in greater danger after a victory than after a defeat. Usually after a defeat, we are very close to the Lord because we have fallen. It’s after we have been victorious for some time that you are in real danger. And that’s how many people don’t progress. They cannot endure in victory for too long. They get deceived and led astray.
And then we read — but they come back. So they told these people to be servants. And then we read about five kings — attacked Gibeon. And in chapter 10, now he’s encouraged by the Lord, and the Lord tells him, ‘Don’t be afraid, (Joshua 10:8) I have given — always the word is I have already given them into your hands.
I’ve already given them into your hands. Now you are going to overcome them.
And Joshua came upon them and defeated them. And it says in (verse 21) that no one could utter a word against Israel.
No one could utter a word against Israel. That’s how God led His people on.
And in (verse 24), we read that Joshua has called the Israelites and said, put your feet, the last part of verse 24, on the necks of these kings.
The Bible says in Romans 16:20, the God of peace will crush Satan, not on cavalry, but under your feet. He’s already defeated Satan on Calvary. Under your feet, he will be crushed now. That is what God is going to do.
Those are the most important chapters, and I don’t have time to go through all the rest.
I just want to say one more thing in Joshua 13:1, Joshua was old and advanced in years. And the Lord says there’s still much land to be possessed.
The Lord says there’s much land to be possessed. And this man is dying; he’s old. It’s a sad thing that there were no other leaders after Joshua. That’s a sad thing in Christendom today. Godly men are dying, and still so much land has to be possessed.
There was one man like Caleb in Chapter 14, but he was also old, and he was passing on.
Towards the end of the book, in chapter 24, we read Joshua bidding farewell. And he says in (verse 15), ‘you can serve whom you like, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.’
That’s how Joshua lived. It is not only him, he and his house served the Lord. That’s how they lived, and that’s how they — he led not only the people of Israel, but he led his house. He was an example in his home, and he was an example for the people. I believe God needs many people like Joshua in our land today to live for Him.
And I pray that we will learn from these principles and study the other chapters in Joshua so that we can also follow in his footsteps. Amen.
Heavenly Father, help us to go in Your footsteps. Help us to honor You. Help us to be Godly men who do not fear the devil but who stand on Calvary’s victory and proclaim that victory. There is much land to be possessed today for You both in our bodies, sins to be overcome, and also in the land of India. I pray that you will raise up many men to serve You in this day and age, in Jesus’ name.
For Further Reading:
- (Through The Bible) – Luke (Pt. 2): Zac Poonen (Transcript)
- (Through The Bible) – Luke (Pt. 1) : Zac Poonen (Transcript)
- (Through The Bible) – Mark: Zac Poonen (Transcript)
- (Through The Bible) – Matthew (Pt. 2): Zac Poonen (Transcript)
- (Through The Bible) – Matthew (Pt. 1): Zac Poonen (Transcript)