Rest

lighthouse-581082_640Joshua 23:1: And it came to pass a long time after that the LORD had given rest unto Israel from all their enemies round about, that Joshua waxed old and stricken in age. (KJV)

God wants to give us rest. Jesus said that we should not worry about anything, but we should put our mind on the fact that God as a father cares for us (Matthew 6:24-34).

He said that we cannot achieve anything through worrying. We cannot add a little thing to our height. There is nothing that worrying does, except shift our focus from God and stop us from having faith in God. Worry is doubt and the bible says that he who doubts should not think that he will receive anything from God (James 1:5-8).

Therefore worrying harms us and because Jesus loves us he wants us to desist from it. Worry disconnect us from God, since faith is connection to God. He said we should come to him so that we can have rest for our soul.

The soul is descriptive of our humanity. And when rest is far from the soul, what we have is fear, worry, depression and even wrath (aggravated anger) which is a work of the flesh.

And the bible says that anger lies in the bosom of fools and the one who does not have control over his emotion is a fool, like a city without wall (Ecclesiastes 7:9). That means that the one who cannot control his emotion will be susceptible to all manner of influences. He would not be consistent, he can be easily controlled, made to do things he or she will regret.

Paul mentioned self-control as fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). God will not bother to supply us with it if it is not a real need.

We need self-control. We also need knowledge which the bible says will be the stability of our times (Isaiah 33:6). Another key to rest is spiritual maturity. Paul wrote that God gave the Apostles, Prophets, Teachers, Evangelist for the equipping of the saints, so that we may attain to the full statue of the fullness of Christ, and no longer be tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine (Ephesians 4:12-14).

It was the same Paul who said that we need to be careful about those who bring teaching in which our soul becomes unsettled. The writer of the book of Hebrews says it is good that the heart be established by grace not with meat which have not profit not those occupied with it (Hebrews 13:9). Being actively in pursuit of the knowledge of God will make you less susceptible to the deception of the devil.

When the devil makes you restless, it is to make you lose focus. When certain spies brought evil report of the land of Canna to the people of Israel in the wilderness, the people were disturbed and were pulled away from trust in God and they perished (Numbers 13-14). To trust God is therefore for our own good.

When Paul said that we should not worry about anything but with pray we should make our requests known to God, he was showing us another way to rest- prayer (Philippians 4:6).

Jesus told worrying Martha that if you believe you will see the glory of God, the opposite is also true, that if we will not believe we will not see the glory of God, but darkness (John 11:40). The children of Israel, instead of resting in the commitment of God to give them the Promised Land were shaken from their place of trust, they were blinded by the fear which rose up in them and they stopped seeing the lord going before them fighting for them. David said: I set the lord always before me, because he is at my right hand I shall not be shaken (Psalm 16:8).

When Adam and Eve were shaken from trust in the word of God they lost their rest (Genesis 3). As mentioned before, the bible says that wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of our times. When we reject the knowledge of God we are rejecting rest, we are moving from light to darkness and nearing a fall.

Rest captures what humanity needs.  When God made man, he gave him restful work, but after sin and they were chased from the Garden of Eden, it was to work the ground cursed for their sake. They started struggling with the ground which yields thorns and thistle, and they experienced the thorns of pain and futility. They had to sweat before they eat.

But the grace of Jesus Christ released to us is to take us back to our place of ease. Before Jesus came we labour under the burden of sin, sickness and satanic oppression.

Jesus however came with the anointing to set us free from every burden, to heal the broken heart, the open the blind eyes, to cause us to experience positive change and for us to enter into his rest.

The bible says that there remains a rest for the people of God, and those who believe do enter into that rest (Hebrews 4:9-10). They experience rest from their own works and are put on the works of Jesus, they eat the fruit of his labour and are refreshed.

While Adam and Eve ate they fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and they became restless, we eat the fruit of Jesus’ relationship with God the Father we enter into rest, as Jesus said we should come to him so that we can find rest for our soul.

We do not need to sweat it out to get to God, in the name of Jesus we access God, by the Spirit that he releases we have access to God (Ephesians 2:18).

His blood removes the limits that sin puts between us and God. The bible says that God’s ears are not heavy that he cannot hear us, nor his hand shortened that he cannot save, but sin has put a blockade between us and God (Isaiah 59:1).

And Jesus came with the solution for our sins. He came to save us from our sin (Matthew 1:21). Sin is contrary to the way God made man, therefore with sin, man becomes restless, he makes the wrong decision, takes the wrong turn and faces the bitter consequences.

Paul said that what he wants to do he does not do but what he does is what he does not want to do. He discovered that there is the willingness is in him to do right thing by God but the ability in him the programming in him is that of sin (Romans 7:22-8:1).

He cried out: who shall deliver me from this body of sin? Answer Jesus. Jesus is our gateway to rest from sin. It is because of his grace that we are no longer under the law but under grace, not just knowing what is right but enabled to do it, which is grace (Romans 6).

Jesus comes to us, to help us. He is our help. He was sent from heaven to be that for us. He opened the eyes of the blind both physically and spiritually (Luke 4:18). He comes with that level of spiritual power to break us from our bondages.

He is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the ending. He sees the end from the beginning and gives us his strength. He says: all power in heaven and on earth are with me and he sends us out to bring people into his rest, through an experience of him (Matthew 28:18-20).

Our work therefore on his behalf is not of struggle. We work in his power, we go with his unstoppable mandate the unstoppable mandate of the one who knows the end from the beginning; He says: my counsel will stand I will do all my will (Isaiah 46:10). We can rest in that assurance.

It is true 

It is true. It is real. It is Project 10000. 10000 people to be trained in three years to take the word of God to the world via the Internet.

In Jehiel Institute, we already have a 7-man planning committee committed to the project. Soon you may see someone pushing an handbill under your nose telling you about the programme and how it is going to do you a whole lot of good to be among the number, part of the spiritual force trained in a spiritual boot camp, equipped with prayer, word of God and Internet savvy and unleashed on the world.
For more information send your name, phone number, location and email address to jehielinstitute@gmail.com.See you on the other side of impact.
Kayode Crown 
Director of Studies.

The promise

flowers-209144_640Joshua 17:4: They approached Eleazar the priest and Joshua the son of Nun and the leaders and said, “The LORD commanded Moses to give us an inheritance along with our brothers.” So according to the mouth of the LORD he gave them an inheritance among the brothers of their father. (ESV)

The daughters of Zelophehad, five of them not only remembered the word of the Lord but demanded that it materializes.

Because it was the word of God to them that everyone was aware of, there was no argument when the time came from the leader Joshua.

The women did not come with their own opinion, not with their own agenda, but they presented the word of God and they had it delivered. They did not try to take what they wanted by force, they did not try to convince anyone, they did not seek for favour, as far as they were concerned because God said it; that settled it.

What they experienced was the glory of God, the manifestation of the word of God to them, to meet them at the point of their need. Jesus told Martha: if you will believe, you will see the glory of God (John 11:40).

Who she was supposed to believe was standing before her, that is Jesus the resurrection and the life. The daughters of Zelophehad believed the word of God, when it comes to their possession and they got it.

They were fixated on obtaining the promise and according to the word of God that takes faith and patience. They were willing to wait it out, allowing the fullness of time to come for them to take possession of the promised.

The bible says that on mount Zion there shall be deliverance and the house of Jacob shall possess their possession (Obadiah 1:17). Possessing your possession (getting what God as appointed for you) is part of the expression of the glory of God in our lives. The bible says that the earth will be filled with the glory of God as the waters cover the sea and that includes possessing our possession (Habakkuk 2:14). As it is written: the lines are fallen unto us in pleasant places; ye I have a godly heritage (Psalm 16:6).

But before the daughters of Zelophehad could get what was theirs, they asked. God said we should come with our strong reasoning (Isaiah 41:21). God did not make us unending. He made us with desires. Jesus said: when we pray we should believe we receive as we ask whatever we desire (Mark 11:22-24).

God is not a killjoy, he is the one described in the bible as giving you everything freely to enjoy (1Timothy 6:17). Jesus asked some people: what do you want me to do for you (Matthew 20:32-34)?

God wants to have a conversation with you about what you need, what you want. Moses asked different things from God. He asked that God will forgive the children of Israel when they sinned (Deuteronomy 10:10); he asked for the presence of God to be with the people as they moved through the wilderness. He said: if your presence will not go with us, do not take us from here (Numbers 33:15). That was a man who knew what he wanted and demanded for it.

There was the widow in the parable of Jesus who continued to make demand of the judge, until he yielded (Luke 18:1-8). Jesus expected the same importunity in prayer from us, saying, when the Son of man comes will he find faith on the earth? That faith is associated with fervent prayer; unrelenting prayer in the pursuit of the fulfilment of a desire from God, to get what is rightfully ours. A promise that is made must be enforced and that is done through prayer.

God is committed to his promise. His promise is backed by with his power. He said no word he releases returns to him void (Isaiah 55:11). God has said that the earth will be filled his glory (Habakkuk 2:14). God sent his word to you and that becomes healing in our lives (Psalm 107:20). He said that he will heal us and give us an abundance of peace (Jeremiah 33:6).

When the word of God goes forth, his power goes forth. So his promises are not empty notions. The word of God was the tool in the creation of the world (Genesis 1:1-3). The bible says that by faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God (Hebrews 11:3).

The word of God releases light. The bible says that the reasons we have such great promises is so that we might become partakers of the divine nature (2Peter 1:4). Therefore the promises have creative power, to create us in the shape that we should be in.

Jesus promised to make Peter a fisher of men, and the word was packed with enough power to create the reality that it presents (Mark 1:17). That was exactly what happened after some time.

The word is a window into the thoughts of God, into the plan of God, it is the channel to becoming all we can be in God; it is the light that empowers us to walk in the glory of God. That is why with the precious promises we are connected with the purpose and power of God, we are guided aright, and when we take the right action according to that word, we will get the result for the glory of God.

The word of God shapes us rightly, it gives us a sense of direction, and the bible says that without vision the people will perish, the word of God gives us direction, gives us the reason for living. It is the window to who we are to who God is, to who we should become, to the very presence of God. The bible says that the truth is meant to guide us to the very presence of God (Psalm 43:3). We would not know God except in the context of his word.

The word of God helps us to maintain our balance in a changing world, when we set our eyes on it. The bible says that the book of the law shall not depart from our mouth but we should meditate on it day and night, and the result in unquestionable success and effectiveness. That was God’s word to Joshua as he was about to embark on a new season in his life (Joshua 1:8).

The protocol

forest-682003_640Joshua 14:12: So now give me this hill country of which the LORD spoke on that day, for you heard on that day how the Anakim were there, with great fortified cities. It may be that the LORD will be with me, and I shall drive them out just as the LORD said.” (ESV)

Caleb made a demand of what he was promised. This is instructive. It shows that because something was promised does not mean that it will be delivered. That is why we pray.

Because something is rightfully yours does not mean it will be delivered to you. The point is, the kingdom of God suffers violence and the violent take it by force (Matthew 11:12). Jesus said: ask and it shall be given to you, knock and the door will be opened to you, seek and you will find. You need to make the prayer effort. In the place of prayer, we become co-creators with God of what he wants to do in our lives.

Caleb was promised that particular spot of land because he was courageous enough to say that because God was with them, the people can take the Promised Land.

Being faithful to the word of God, to gain the promise, he waited for forty years. The bible says that we should follow those who through faith and patience obtained the promise (Hebrews 6:12). Caleb exhibited both. He kept his eyes on the prize for forty years throughout the journey in the wilderness, and the children of Israel wandered throughout the wilderness. He waited upon the lord, he thought about the promise, he fixed his heart on the word spoken. He did not allow God’s word that he believed to slip away from him, he meditated on it. And when the time came, he asked for what he was promised to be given to him.

But from the focus verse, we realise that getting the promised piece of land was more than asking for it. God has given it to him, and Joshua (the leader of Israel) may agree with him as he did, but there are enemies on the land who had to be driven out, and that was going to take some effort. He was going to have to put his courage to work. He was giving to face his fear, confront the fear of the unknown, the fear of his inadequacies.

God was greater than all his fears. But since he heard from God who promised him and he refused to be shaken. He was focused on the reality of the unseen, not allowing the “seen” reality of the sons of Anakim to shake him from his faith in the word of God.

He fully realised that it will take God being with him to achieve his aim. Nevertheless, as far as he was concerned there was no option except to take hold of the word of God.

The Promised Land was a big deal for the children of Israel. In all their history, wherever they stayed had been temporary. Their father Abraham was asked to leave his father’s house to a land which God will show him, he did that, but never really got to put his root down anywhere except purchase a burial ground (Genesis 23:1-18).

Later the people of Israel, who was the grandson of Abraham, went down to Egypt, and they were tenant of the people there. And when God sent Moses to bring them out after hundreds of years they entered the Promised Land. From that background, we can understand that Caleb getting his hand on a piece of choice real estate was a big deal.

He got it by a combination of his own faithfulness, God’s promises, his own demand, and his courage to take action towards conquering the land.

When Moses sent twelve spies to spies our Cana, there was a report that the sons of Anakim were there and because of that, ten of them said that conquering the land of Canaan was something that cannot be done (Numbers 13-14).

But Caleb said no, and the one who said no was promised the every land that was scary to others. While the ten had small vision, Caleb had a big vision.

The small vision of the naysayers negatively affected them, they died soon after they gave their negative report, while the “big vision” Caleb whom God said had another spirit in him lived for the forty years of the journey of Israel in the wilderness and eventually conquered the land, and gave some of it as a dowry to his daughter when he married.

People will be affected by the size of your vision, big or small. Your big vision or small vision will affect people. The big vision of Caleb made a big dowry available for his daughter when he married her off. And his courage continues to impact many even till today.

But for those who had small vision – the ten spies, though they died, and their small vision affected the hundreds of thousands of the children of Israel who bought into their ill-advised vituperations against the will and word of God to conquer the Canaan. They kicked against the plan of God, taking the advice of the ten. So, small vision will affect many and big vision will also affect many.

You need to choose to see with God’s vision, see big things, see big possibilities or be bent over in fear of the unknown, rejecting the known word of God. That is the way things work; that is the protocol, what you allow to take root in you will affect many, either for faith or fear. The writer of the book of Hebrews said that we should be watchful lest the root of bitterness grow so much as to defile many (Hebrews 12:15). What you allow to grow in you will affect those who come close to you.

Whatever influence you submit to can affect those around you. We have opportunity to affect others in time and eternity as we stand with God. Jesus sent you out to be his witness for that same purpose. His single stance with God, in agreeing to bear the sin of the word, made impact for both past, present and the future. The bible says that he will see the travail of his soul and will rejoice. That is the protocol, who you are will affect others, so be the best you can be, and make the bests choice you can make.

Total conquest

sword-790815_640Joshua 11:21: And Joshua came at that time and cut off the Anakim from the hill country, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab, and from all the hill country of Judah, and from all the hill country of Israel. Joshua devoted them to destruction with their cities. (ESV)

Joshua moved with swiftness and the nations were falling before him in packs. It was the Promised Land, the people were prepared, they had a charge from God, and there was no going back. They moved forward by the word of God. They did not allow fear to hold them back. They had no other option but to follow the word of God, to move forward and take the Promised Land, there was no going back, no backing down.

Their history was a big lesson on why not to reject the word of God. After about two years that God after coming from Egypt, God wanted them to start taking over the land. But after twelve spies were sent to bring a report of the Promised Land, and ten brought an evil report, Israel chose to agree with the evil report of the fearful spies and chose to rebel against the will of God (Numbers 13-14).

God wanted them to go into the Promised Land in fulfilment of his word to their father Abraham, but they had other ideas.

Eventually, the promise of God will come to pass but in another generation. God decided that set of people would not follow God willingly, he was going to allow them to pine away in the wilderness as they wander and die there.

And the children who are under twenty years at that time eventually inherited the Promised Land. Those who rejected the word of God wasted away in the wilderness.

The wilderness represents the place of limitation, and that generation allowed their latent fear to limit their vision and motion, and they died not fulfilling their ultimate potential.

But the Joshua generation was ready. They were not suffering from slavery hangover, not suffering from the fear of the unknown, they were in awe of the word of God knowing what happened to those who chose a different path than the one God outlines.

They refused to consider their own limitation, fully believing that since God was with them, no one can be against them. They stood firm in the face of opposition. They did not consider their lack of experience, their limited preparedness.

They had their eyes on the word of God and following the leadership of Joshua they piled victory upon victory. The fear of them filled the heart of the people all around. After they parted the river Jordan to move into the Promised Land, the people knew that this group of Israelites were unique, they had the power of God backing them up.

To mount a formidable resistance against them, their opposition set out to hire those who will curse them or they combine themselves together or shut the walls of the city against them, but in the end, Israel gained total conquest because they exhibited total trust in God.

They pressed on regardless of the size and ferocity of the opposition. They believed that greater is the one who is with him than he who is with their enemies. Their God has no limitation. Our God has no limitation. The bible says that in the beginning God created the heaven on the earth (Genesis 1:1-3). That gives the picture of the kind of God that we are talking about, not one limited in power, by time or in wisdom; and because of that he is able to give total conquest.

Limitless power

The children of Israel would not have the hope of having total conquest if they did not depend on the power of God.

But in the conquering of the land of Ai, the bible noted that they did not ask God to lead them, and seeing the town as smaller than Jericho which they recently conquered, Joshua sent a few men there (Joshua 7).

The result was damning! They were routed before the enemy, and were later told that they were defeated because God withdrew himself from the nation of Israel, because in the conquest of Jericho, someone committed a sin, against to God’s instruction.

Victory for them was not by military might but by the power of God. This was brought poignantly home in a story of the battle of the children of Israel against a certain enemy nation where Moses was asked to lift up a staff. When his hand grew weak and it fell down, and his hand was up they were winning (Exodus 17:1-14). The rod of Moses represented the power of God, and in that we see how what is done in secret impacts on what happens in the public. Jesus said that when we pray in secret, God will reward us openly (Matthew 6:6).

Not limited by time

Just as God is not limited in ability, he is not limited in time. Peter said it this way: a day with the Lord is like a thousand years and a thousand years like a day (2Peter 3:8). He created time. When God chose to become man, he chose to be limited by time and space, or maybe not. He told Nathanael that already knew him even though they had not met before.

Not limited in wisdom

The whole world runs on the wisdom of God. The changing season, the rotation of the earth, the balance of the gases in the atmosphere, the changing weather, the rising and falling of the sun, all manifest the wisdom of God. The bible says that the heaven declares the glory of the Lord (Psalm 19). The created are the handiwork of God and they manifest his wisdom.

Conclusion

The Joshua generation mostly kept in step with God. The connected with all powerful God, they were able to overcome the opposition, no matter how big and how subtle.

The Lord with me

person-864804_640Joshua 6:27: So the LORD was with Joshua, and his fame was in all the land. (ESV)

The lord being with Joshua is beyond a mere statement. One of the ways it was manifested was in the great victory that God gave Israel through him in the destruction of Jericho (Joshua 6).

Jericho was not your run in the mill city. The wall which surrounded it was so thick. But within a week of doing something about it, following God’s instruction, the walls of Jericho fell down flat and the city was totally destroyed by the children of Israel. It was definitely God who gave the victory but the instruction was passed through Joshua and because of that the people had Joshua in awe. It was something unique, having the wall of Jericho fall down flat was something special. Even great Moses did not have a similar item on his “resume.”

Before that event, Joshua had an encounter with an angel of God (Joshua 5), but we did not read that he told anybody about it. He probably did not make an announcement of it.

There are people who specialise in speaking of their special private encounter with God. That is self-elevation which God frowns at.

Though Paul experienced a deluge of spiritual revelation, it was not his common practise of talk about them, except when sharing about his salvation, of the supernatural encounter he had with Jesus that day on the way to Damascus (Acts 9).

He had so much supernatural encounter with God that at a time, he said that a messenger of Satan was assigned to him to buffet him (2Corinthians 12:1-12). No one in the history of the world can make such a claim, that he has so much revelation a messenger of Satan was sent to him to make him remain humble.

But Paul was very much focused on teaching the scriptures and preaching Jesus instructing people about the principles and dynamics of his birth, death, resurrection, and their relevance to the lives of the people that they may believe (1Corinthians 2:2).

He said that his preaching focus is Christ and him crucified. He was not interested in always trying to make himself respected by speaking of his big revelations. He said those who compare themselves with themselves are not wise (2Corinthians 10:12).

It was with great reluctance that he talked about being taken to the third heavens to hear unspeakable things which were not lawful for man to utter.

He does not immediately go to press to make an announcement of his supernatural encounters. And he said that he does not want people to rate him more that they have actually witnessed in his life (2Corinthians 12:6).

“The lord is with me,” is not for me to announce, it is for God to announce. The bible says that we should let another mouth praise us and not our own mouth (Proverbs 27:2). We are not supposed to be boastful, blowing our own trumpet, trying to becoming prestigious in the eyes of the people by making exotic claims, painting ourselves in flattering colours in their minds’ eyes.

God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). We are supposed to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God who in due time will lift us up (1Peter 5:6). Both you and God cannot be “lifting you up” at the same time. You have to be actively humbling yourself and in turn God will be active in elevating you but in his time. And the opposite can also happen. When you are so active in exalting ourselves, blowing our own trumpet, God is set to shut you out.

Jeremiah wrote: the lord is with me like a mighty terrible one (Jeremiah 20:11). He knows when God is with him, it does not matter who is against him (Romans 8:31).

The presence of God with us achieves different things in our lives. It prepares us, it incubates us, and it refreshes us.

Prepare

God is not with is for the fun of it, it is to prepare us. David said that God trains his hand for battle (Psalm 18). When the anointing came upon David the first time, he became courageous enough to take down Goliath. He said the God who was with him enabled him to kill bear and lion which attempted to kill the sheep in his care.

Samuel poured the oil on him on God’s instruction, and the bible says that the Holy Spirit came upon him from that time on (1Samuel 16-17). It was after that he took down Goliath.

The word of God prepared us to confront sin in all its dimensions. In Psalm 119 we read that when we keep God’s word in our heart, we will move from sinfulness to holiness (Psalm 119:9-11). God’s word being with us is the same as God being with us, and that prepares us to live a holy life as he is holy.

Incubates

This is about internal changes, metamorphosis, transformation. Paul said that we should not be conformed to this world but be transformed (Romans 12:2).

We cannot be changed by just our own effort, rather we will be changed by the power of God. We are not changed by worrying about changing, by reading more books, we are changed by the presence of God, through different means that we experience it.

To be made into a fisher of men, what Peter needed to do was be with Jesus. Jesus told him: follow him and I will make you a fisher of men (Matthew 4:19). The “making” comes in the “following.”

Jesus embodies the presence of God (Hebrews 1:1-3). Right now for us, the presence of God is conveyed by the Holy Spirit.

When we know what the presence of God is all about then we will craze for it as we should. A psalmist wrote that he needs to be with God, that he is hungry and thirsty for him (Psalm 42:1-2). If you do not know that God is one to be hungry and thirsty for then you are really in the wrong shape.

Peter wrote that we should desire the sincere milk of the word of God so that we may grow thereby (1Peter 2:2). There is no shortcut, it is through the presence of God delivered in doses from the word that we experience divine growth.

Refreshing

Peter said that when we repent, we will experience times of refreshing from the presence of God (Acts 3:19). To be refreshed is to come out as new, it is to experience renewed grace. It is to be sustained by divine energy flowing into us.

The bible says that those who wait upon the lord will renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagle and they were walk and not faint, run and not be weary. They are rejuvenated, they regain strength (Isaiah 40:13).