THE CROSS-OVER MIRACLE (2)/ BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS!

During the Sunday service, Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh preached a sermon titled ‘The Cross-over Miracle’ (2). Her main text was taken from the books or Deuteronomy 31:1-8, 34:1-12; and Joshua, chapter 1:1-18.

The Book of Joshua is a transition Book, describing the events from the death of Moses to the leadership of Joshua, the crossing of Jordan, and the taken over the Promised Land. Joshua is the first among the books of History (from Joshua to Esther).  But Joshua is not just a book of history. It is also a Prophetic Book. Joshua is a spiritual leader with a prophetic mandate. The Book does not only describe history, but it applies these events for us to understand the mind of God. And that is the work of a prophet. The first 12 chapters in the Book of Joshua describe his military achievements. The last 12 chapters describe how he divided the land to the different tribes. As we study the Book of Joshua, we identify with the leadership transition from Moses to Joshua. It is a cross over from great to greater things. The Holy Spirit leads us into this truth. God named the book of Joshua after his name. Joshua in Hebrew is the same as Jesus in Greek. Joshua is a symbol of Jesus Christ. Many Bible scholars believe that Joshua himself wrote this book. Joshua is a great man of faith. He fulfilled destiny. He is a great example for us all!

JOSHUA IS THE NEW LEADER OF ISRAEL

God tells Moses to appoint his assistant Joshua as the new leader of Israel after his death. “Then Moses went and spoke these words to all Israel. And he said to them: “I am one hundred and twenty years old today. I can no longer go out and come in. Also, the Lord has said to me, ‘You shall not cross over this Jordan.’ The Lord your God Himself crosses over before you; He will destroy these nations from before you, and you shall dispossess them. Joshua himself crosses over before you, just as the Lord has said. And the Lord will do to them as He did to Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites and their land, when He destroyed them. The Lord will give them over to you, that you may do to them according to every commandment which I have commanded you. 6 Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” Then Moses called Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and of good courage, for you must go with this people to the land which the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall cause them to inherit it. And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” (Deut 31:1-8).  

Moses gives God’s people his final words. He tells them that he cannot lead them anymore. God’s name here is Jehovah Elohim, The Covenant Keeping God, the Creator of the universe. Moses tells the people that though he dies in Moab, God will keep His promises to give them the Promised Land. God Himself will lead them to cross over. He will destroy and dispossess the nations in the Promised Land. In Hebrew, the word ‘dispossess’ means to rob, to make poor, to expel, to occupy and to inherit. These actions are done by God Himself as the owner of the Land. Then God will give this land to His people. Joshua will lead the cross over and the possessing of the land. Moses commands both the people and Joshua to ‘be strong and courageous’ as they enter the Promised Land to occupy it. God moves first. Joshua and the people are to follow God and take over the land. You need strength and courage to walk in the Spirit! Joshua is commanded not to fear and not to be dismayed. The word ‘dismayed’ means to be discouraged, to break down in pieces, to prostrate (before your enemy), to be intimidated, or confused. To be dismayed it means to react with emotional shock, to fear, to become sad or suddenly disappointed at something unexpected. Another word for ‘dismay’ is to react with a panic attack when you encounter something that you think you cannot handle by yourself. Faith in God at all times is the medicine against dismay. Hallelujah!  

HISTORICAL REVELATIONS

I took this information from some Biblical historical books. The time God used Moses to confront Pharoah in Egypt, and to free the people of God, it was in the middle of the 15th century BC. The exodus happened in 1445 BC during the reign of Pharoah Amenhotep II. At that time, Egypt was enjoining a great economic revival as a superpower. Why did God decided to free His people at that time, when the oppressor was the strongest? To prove that man’s strength is nothing to Him. For the next forty years God’s people stayed in the wilderness when that generation died. Moses himself died just before entering the Promised Land. Under the leadership of Joshua, the people of God enter the Promise Land. They fight and defeat all the kings in Canaan. Then, they settle in that land. At that time, Canaan was under Egyptian rule. When Joshua attacked the little kings, they asked for help from Egypt, who was their master. But at that time, during the reign of Amenhotep III the economy of Egypt was much weaker. Letters were found saying that the kings in Canaan were pleading for help from Egypt. But the Pharoah lost interest in Canaan and abandoned his subjects. Why? Because God made it so. In this way, Joshua did not have to fight the Egyptians armies in the land of Canaan. God made it easier for His people to conquer the Promised Land. Selah!

Lesson: God is the only living and faithful God. He will make the crooked paths straight for His people. He will simply their lives. He will weaken the opposition and give them the victory so that they can enter into their promised inheritance.

PROPHETIC LIFE APPLICATIONS TAKEN FROM JOSHUA 1

ARISE AND GO OVER THIS JORDAN

“Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them—the children of Israel” (Josh 1:2). This is God’s Word to Joshua. He commands Joshua to ‘arise’ from the pain of loss and mourning and to lead the people forward. To obey God’s Word, it takes strength and courage! The word ‘arise’ means to get up on your feet from a lying down position. It means to stand and to be established as God’s servant. God commands Joshua to arise first, then the other people will follow his example. He must go over ‘this Jordan’. For forty years in the wilderness, they only heard about a river called ‘Jordan’. Now, they are on its banks, looking ahead to their Promised Land. Because the Israelites made a difficult and dangerous journey from slavery in Egypt to freedom in the Promised Land, the Jordan also refers to freedom. The actual crossing was the final step of the journey from bondage to freedom. It becomes a symbol of victory and deliverance: saying good-bye to slavery and hardship and entering a new life of promise and hope. ‘This Jordan’ represents ‘this freedom’, our entering to possess our possessions. Joshua must receive this word by faith. Joshua leads the people of God across the river Jordan to enter the Promised Land. God does a miracle, and the river stops flowing. The people of God crossed over across the river Jordan as on dry ground. This miracle is similar with the one God did during Moses’ leadership when he divided the Red Sea for the people to cross over.

Jordan is the lowest river in the world. It is not called ‘a river’. It is always called by its name, Jordan. It ends in the Dead Sea, at a depth 400 meters below sea level. Jordan is more than 360 kilometers long. It starts on the slopes of Mount Hermon, on the border of Lebanon and Syria. It flows southward through northern Israel to the Sea of Galilee. There the river drops sharply, to 209 meters below sea level. The word ‘Jordan’ means ‘to descend’. Because of its great length and central location, the Jordan is mentioned in the Bible over 185 times. When Abraham told Lot to choose where he wants to go, Lot chose Sodom city, which was built in the green fertile valley of the Jordan (Genesis 13). God destroyed the city later but Lot escaped from it. Abraham chose the desert, but God blessed him and his descendants. Jacob wrestled with God by the ford Jabbok, a tributary to river Jordan (Gen 32:22). The prophet Elijah lived by the river Jordan during the drought (1 Kings 17:5). Both Elijah and Elisha divided the Jordan river and crossed over miraculously. The Assyrian general Naaman was healed of leprosy by obeying the word of the prophet Elisha, by dipping in the Jordan seven times (2 Kings 2:7-14; 5:10-14). John the Baptist baptized sinners in the Jordan. He also baptized Jesus when the voice of God the Father spoke, and the Holy Spirit came as a dove on God’s Son (Luke 3). The location of the supposed baptism of Jesus is recognized as a place of worship. Approximately 600,000 Christian pilgrims visit this spot annually. Today it is known as Kasser Al Yahud, the Baptismal place of Jesus, opposite Jericho.

Lesson: Thru baptism in Christ, we cross over from death to life, from a life of sin into a new life of spiritual maturity, victory, and freedom.

SPIRITUAL WARFARE TO CROSS OVER

After Moses died, Joshua was commanded to stand and move on, leading the people. As a human being, Joshua was tempted to mourn Moses, his master, longer than thirty days (Deut 34:8). But God commands Joshua to move on, leading the people. Moses was a colossus of a man. It is not easy for Joshua to follow such a great man as the leader of a nation. It was not easy for Joshua to stand and go! Please observe that God says He is the One who gave the Promised Land to them. God does that because the Canaanites were wicked and served idols.

Lesson: God commands you to stand! You must obey God’s Word! This is an active obedience! Before you move on to inherit God’s promises for your life, you must choose to get up from the passive position of depression, doubt, discouragement, defeat, bondage, and spiritual laziness. You must ‘stand’ in the power of God’s might. This is the position of the soldier of Christ! Your answer should be: “YES, SIR!”. You cannot cross over into your Promised Land without standing tall and doing spiritual warfare. God says: ‘My servant Moses is dead’. There is a Danger of losing focus, of looking back. Moses was a great man. The name of Moses appears 57 times in the Book of Joshua. But Joshua must go ahead. You cannot ignore the past. The past is important. You learn from it. But you cannot look back if you want to make progress in life. You have to look ahead! God says: Moses My servant is dead. In other words, God’s servants live, work, die and they go to heaven. But God’s work and worship continues, for His glory! The devil wants you to backslide. The devil hates your progress and will do whatever it takes to slow you down. “We do not grieve [for them] as the others do who have no hope [beyond this present life]” (1 Thess 4:13). What God wants for Joshua and His people is that they thank Him for Moses, mourn for him for a limited time, then move on in life having hope. They know that Moses is in heaven and one day they will see him again. This is the correct way of Christian mourning. To sorrow without hope is the portion of the unbelievers. That hopeless attitude is a great hindrance against progress in life. Repent of it!

WARNING ABOUT SPIRITUAL DANGERS

Egypt is a picture of the world. The Promised Land is the inheritance of God’s people to enjoy, to be gained by faith! For any soldier who protects his home, there are three options: the first one is to become a coward, to give way to fear and to withdraw. Many believers chose backsliding than making progress thru spiritual warfare. That option is a total failure. Once you withdraw, you abandon the place of your responsibility. The devil will come in and he will take over your home. Many couples divorce because of this spiritual defeat. Many pastors have abandoned their duty to Christ and their churches have now become ‘dens of thieves’. The second option is to stand, but in fear. This standing is useless because the devil will come, fight, and win your home. The only successful option for the believer is to actively stand, to move ahead by faith, and to occupy the Promised Land. What are some of the dangers in any spiritual transition?

*One of the dangers is that of backsliding. It means to look back, to the leadership of Moses. This is what Lot’s wife did. Because of Abraham’s intercession, the angels save Lot and his family. They told Lot: “Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed”! Looking back means to desire to go back and identify with the past sin. As God was destroying the city of Sodom, Lot’s wife did not appreciate God’s mercy to her, by saving her family from a sure death. She looked back with longing to her life of sin in Sodom. At that moment, she became a pillar of salt, visible until now, near the Dead Sea (Gen 19:17- 26). The Bible teachers call that pillar of salt ‘a monument of an unbelieving soul’. Jesus warned us about this. He said: “Remember [what happened to] Lot’s wife [when she looked back]!” (Lk 17:32; AMP).

*A second danger is to become frozen in time, to stand in fear and refuse to move on. You passively protect your gains. But sooner or later the devil will attack and defeat you.

*A third danger is pride. Joshua was commanded to read, meditate, and preach the Word of God. Faith in God’s Word is the secret behind ‘good success.’ Joshua was faithful to God and His Word. Only two times Joshua made mistakes in the Promised Land. These two mistakes had serious consequences. Both are connected with disobedience to the command to study the Word of God and pray. It means that some amount of pride affected Joshua after the great victory at Jericho. The first mistake was at the battle with the city of Ai. This was a much smaller city than Jericho. Joshua did not pray. He sent some people to spy the city. They told him that the city is small. They advise Joshua that there is no need for all the soldiers to fight. They attacked Ai with just few soldiers, and they were defeated. The men of Ai killed 36 Israeli soldiers. Joshua was broken by this defeat. He had to humble himself. He prayed and asked God for mercy and wisdom. God told him what to do and they conquered Ai. The second mistake was when Joshua and the leaders were deceived by the Gibeonites. In these two instances, Joshua walked by sight and not by faith. The reason for the failures was that he forgot God and trusted himself.  Pride is a sin and a danger to always avoid.

*Another danger is impatience, to be too quickly satisfied and to fall short of God’s promises. The tribes of Ruben, Gad, and half of Manasseh, decided to settle on the west side of the Jordan River, outside the promised Land. Moses allowed them to stay there eventually, but this was a bad example to the rest people. God promises Joshua: “Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses” (Joshua 1:3). Joshua needs to walk on the land. His feet are his spiritual weapons. He cannot get tired and stop walking. He must walk and win as long as God leads him on.

Lesson? Press on until you possess your promises. Walk in the Spirit and you shall win the victory over the flesh (Gal 5:16). You must be patient. Every step counts! Make God happy by your faith!  Do not be led by sight or by greed. Finish the race like a champion! Be like Jesus!

JOSHUA – COURAGEOUS AND HUMBLE LEADER

Joshua was the man who led Israel in the conquest of Canaan. Given the many battles he faced and won, no one would ever call him a coward. Yet Joshua must have struggled with fear, for the Lord tells him over and over to “not be afraid or be of good courage,” (Josh 1:9, 18; 8:1). God’s encouragement against cowardice and fear Joshua passes along to the Israelites (Josh 10:25). The main attribute of Joshua was his courage followed by his humility. He was fearless as he conquered the land. He defeated 31 kings and occupied their land (Josh 12:24). By faith, Joshua moved on. He trusted God to fulfill His promises. See God’s testimony before Joshua died. “So, the Lord gave to Israel all the land of which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they took possession of it and dwelt in it. The Lord gave them rest all around, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers. And not a man of all their enemies stood against them; the Lord delivered all their enemies into their hand. Not a word failed of any good thing which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass” (Josh 21:43-45). Read again: “all (God’s promises) came to pass!” Glory!

Joshua was not a prophet, but he was a divinely inspired leader. After he conquered the land and he divided it to the different tribes, Joshua retired in the place of his inheritance, Timnah Serah. He was now an old man. His army disbanded. Everyone was living simple lives. Just before his death, Joshua addresses the people once more, reminding them to serve God. This is his most famous inspiring challenge: “As for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord” (Josh 24:15). Joshua does not boast about any of his military achievements. He gives God all the glory for the military victories. Moses laid his hands on Joshua who became his successor. But Joshua did not delegate anyone as the new leader. God works in different ways at different times. Joshua died as a fulfilled man. He was buried in the Promised Land, in the portion given to his tribe, Ephraim. He buried the bones of Joseph that they carried from Egypt. The priest Eleazer, son of Aaron also died and was buried close to Joshua, in the mountains of Ephraim. This is the end of a great chapter in the history of God’s people. Joshua left a wonderful testimony of a man of God, who fulfilled God’s will for his life. He left a legacy of holiness and peace. “Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had known all the works of the Lord which He had done for Israel” (Josh 24:31).

God can never lose any battle. He dispossessed the Canaanites and gave their land to His people, Israel. God changed His tenants. God’s works means desolations for the unbelievers. “Come, behold the works of the LORD, Who has made desolations in the earth” (Ps 46:8). It is hard for us to understand God’s ways. But we must accept them by faith. God destroys and God builds. He is sovereign in all His works. “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8).

May people think that God stands aloof, far in His heaven. But that is a lie. God is actively involved and ruled the nations and the individuals. God is sovereign over all the earth. He brings down and lifts up as He wishes. All people, even the unbelievers, are commanded to clap their hands and praise Him. He dispossesses the proud and gives their inheritance to the humble. “Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph! For the Lord Most High is awesome; He is a great King over all the earth. He will subdue the peoples under us, and the nations under our feet. He will choose our inheritance for us, the excellence of Jacob whom He loves. Selah!” (Ps 47:1-4). The victory of Israel was not because they were stronger than the Canaanites but because of God’s plan and purpose. In Christ we have “an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Pet 1:4). This refers to the New Promised Land in heaven! We celebrate the sovereign and saving Grace! Praise the Lord!

Finally, do not think that progress in life in easy. The lazy timid people do not experience success in life. Having a good education, a good family background and a lot of money is not enough to live a fulfilled life. You need to be born again, Spirit filled and ready to follow the heavenly Joshua as He leads on. Heaven is not only a destination but also a motivation, because we shall have our reward. Behind every successful man is not a woman, but the Holy Spirit giving strength and courage to fulfill destiny. Worship the Lord!

3 comments on “THE CROSS-OVER MIRACLE (2)/ BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS!

  1. Majik says:

    EXCELLENT! I so needed to read this today. Thank you for being faithful. Praise the LORD!

    • Silvia Lia Leigh, MD says:

      Dear brother Majik, read, believe and apply the lessons in your life! You shall surely make progress, to the glory of God.

  2. Majik says:

    Thank you, Sister. I’m a slow learner, but I ain’t dead yet. In fact, I am alive in Him, and one step at a time, He WILL lead me to GREAT VICTORY! And by His Grace, THIS will be my inheritance to my children and grandchildren!

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