Summary: Part 4 of a series about God moving Christians into a deeper experience of Himself.
Possessing the Land - Part 4
Remember Your Roots - Read: Joshua 5:10-12
The children of Israel crossed the Jordan in full view of the enemy stronghold of Jericho, which lies in the great open plain (3:16). From this city, especially from the vantage point of its walls, the whole Jordan valley from Adam to the Dead Sea was visible. After the Children of Israel had crossed the river Jordan in that great miracle, and were camped at Gilgal, they did six things before taking possession of the Promised Land:
1. Their faith put fear in the hearts of the Enemy (2:2-11; 5:1)
2. They stopped but they didn’t stay (4:20-24)
3. They renewed their commitment to the covenant with God (5:2-9)
4. They remembered their roots (5:10)
5. They destroyed the manna mentality (5:12)
6. They worshipped the Lord
They did all these six things, before they fought one battle, before they attacked one city stronghold. All these things were done in full view of the enemy (3:16). These are principles that we need to follow prophetically.
The fourth thing the Israelites did, after crossing the Jordan, was to remember their roots.
Strong, well-developed roots provide a solid anchor and nourishment for a tree that symbolises strength - the oak tree. Such roots are as long below the ground, as the tree is high above the ground, so the tree continues to feed during times of drought, and when the storms blow other trees fall, but the oak stands firm. Now these roots are physical, but there is always a spiritual example to learn from this example of God’s creation.
2. They Remembered Their Roots
On the evening of the 14th day of the month of Nisan the whole of the Nation of Israel celebrated Passover. This may not sound sensational, but the last celebration had been 38 years before. The first time was in Egypt, as the hand of God passed over His people and then destroyed Egypt. The second time was 2 years later, at Mount Sinai. Here they are 38 years later, celebrating the crossing of the Jordan (4 days previously), and entering the land God had promised them. From now on, they would celebrate Passover every year.
What was important about Passover? Celebrating Passover helped them focus on their priorities. Their sacrificial lamb, whose blood was shed, was the symbol of protection and redemption.
a. Our response
With all the miracles they had seen, with all the manifestations we are seeing today in our world, with all the seeds of revival breaking out, God wants us to do two things:
* Focus on the Lamb and not the Land, or we’ll concentrate on only physical signs and wonders;
* Take our eyes off the Promised Land, and get them onto Jesus.
Before we take this Land, we have to focus on the person of the Lamb - Jesus!
God got His people to remember their roots. This avoids the dangers that can come, as God moves in mighty acts of power, in revivals. One of these dangers is to concentrate on the manifestations - the outward power of God - rather than focusing on the Giver of the manifestations. To fail here means that we focus on the Land -the physical signs - and we remove our eyes from the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ.
The Welsh revival of 1904 lasted only 8 years. Why? They focused on the miracles of healing, the deliverances, the prophecies etc, but they forgot their roots.
What are these roots? Well in any outpouring of the Holy Spirit, in any revival, in any refreshing, there are keys we must clearly remember:
* Never forget to lift up the name of Jesus
* Always remember to proclaim the Lamb
* Preach the Word
* Proclaim the Cross of Jesus Christ
d. Acts of God’s power
You must focus on the Lamb before you can ever see the Land. Jesus put outward signs (the Land) in their correct place. Let’s look at the account of the return of the 72 disciples in:
Luke 10:9,17-20 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ’The kingdom of God is near you.’ 17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, "Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name." 18 He replied, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. 20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."
These men had seen all manner of power, with demons being cast out of people when they prayed in the name of Jesus (v 17); the sick were healed when they laid their hands on them (v 9). They were truly amazing miracles.