Elevation

life-863462_640Joshua 4:14: On that day the LORD exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel, and they stood in awe of him just as they had stood in awe of Moses, all the days of his life. (ESV)

Joshua did not attempt to elevate himself in the sight of the others. He waited for God to elevate him. But did he really have a choice but to humble himself for God to elevate him in view of the fact that Moses the one from whom he took over as the leader of Israel had such gigantic reputation and it was not easy to follow in his act.

In the first chapter of the book of Joshua, it was plain for all to see that it was not easy for Joshua to take over from Moses after his death. Not only did God say he needed to be courageous but the men of Israel repeatedly told him that he should be bold to take the necessary steps, that they were with him, and that they will deal seriously with anyone who acts otherwise.

Joshua did not try to make himself seem important in the eyes of the people, and that gives God the “space” to elevate him in the eyes of the people. The bible says that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). The devil is an example in this. He sought to elevate himself above God and the result was a crunching total demotion (Isaiah 14:12-16).

The same can be said for Adam and Eve. They were tempted to disobey God with the lure that eating the forbidden fruit will lead to an elevation of their wisdom. It was not to be. What they thought will to lead them to wisdom in the pursuant of their self-will, lead to their destruction (Genesis 3).

Real elevation by God may not be so interpreted by men. Men judge according to appearance, but God judges the heart (1Samuel 16:7).

It was the acts of God through the life of Joshua and Moses that lead to their elevation in the eyes of the people. And in the case of Moses he was so great that God needed to hide the place of his death and bury him himself. He died, but his burial place was not known, he was one of a kind (Deuteronomy 34:1-6).

When God was talking about him, he said that to other prophets he manifests in dreams, but with Moses he speaks face to face with God as friends (Numbers 12:5-10). Moses was the one who “singlehandedly” brought the children of Israel from Egypt.

So you can imagine how Joshua would feel trying to fill the shoes of such a great man. But he was different from Moses, having a different role from his. Moses did not lead the people into the Promised Land because of his temperament through he brought them from Egypt, but Joshua was meant to accomplish that. And while Moses parted the Red Sea and had the army of Egypt drown in the same, in the elevation of Joshua before the children of Israel, God caused him to do something for the River Jordan to be parted and the children of Israel to pass through it.

Man was created and put on an elevated stage, but he was brought down by sin in a thunderous crash. But he was not allowed to stay there as Jesus came to bear the punishment of sin and free men to go back to their place of elevation.

God, when he was about to make man, said: let us make man in our own image and let him have dominion on the birds of the air, the beasts on the ground and the fishes in the sea (Genesis 1:26-28). He was supposed to be the law on the earth.

He had a purposeful relationship with God and another human, he had the possession of the Garden of Eden, a well-watered and landscaped paradise.

But when he chose to rebel against the word of God he fell from grace. There can be no claim to the experience of grace if we do not ardently embrace and follow of the word of God, which is called the word of grace (Acts 20:32).

With Jesus coming thousands of years after the sin in the Garden of Eden, we have another opportunity to get it right, to embrace the Word of God. Jesus is the embodiment of the word of God. God spoke about Jesus from heaven in the hearing of both Peter and John (while in a supernatural appearance, Moses and Elijah stood with Jesus on a mount): this is my beloved son hear him (Matthew 17:5). His rank is higher that Moses and Elijah, both of whom existed because of him (Colossians 1:16).

To truly hear is to allow our steps to be guided by what we have heard, it is to respond in faith to the word of God by acting based on it.

God wants humanity to hear Jesus, act based on the reality that he represents, the reality of the possibility of the reset in man’s relationship with God that went downhill since the mishap in the Garden of Eden.

We went down by rejecting the word, now we will come up by embracing the word, Jesus. Jesus is the Word who is God and the God who is the Word, he is the full communication of the father and he needs to be received (Hebrews 1:1-3).

A man prayed in the bible: send forth your truth which will guide me to your tabernacle (Psalm 43:3). Remember that with the sin the Garden of Eden, man was chased from the place where he had a close relationship with God, and now God has sent his son, he has sent the Word, and when we follow him, he leads us back to the presence of God, to an experience of God, to becoming partakers of the divine nature as we once were (2Peter 1:4).

We are made new creatures (2Corinthians 5:17), and are elevated to the heavenly places, the place of light as God moves us from the darkness that humanity was plunged into as we rejected the light of his presence (Colossians 1:13). In Jesus all was not lost, all was restored and more.

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video: Humility

Humility is three things:  obedience, service, prayer

2Chronicles 12:5-7

2Ch 12:5 And Shemaiah the prophet came to Rehoboam and the leaders of Judah who had gathered to Jerusalem from the face of Shishak. And he said to them, So says Jehovah, You have forsaken Me; and I also have forsaken you in the hand of Shishak.
2Ch 12:6 And the leaders of Israel and the king were humbled. And they said, Jehovah is righteous.
2Ch 12:7 And when Jehovah saw that they were humbled, the Word of Jehovah came to Shemaiah, saying, They have been humbled. I will not destroy them, and I will give to them a little deliverance. And I will not pour out My fury on Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak.  (ESV)

Video: Builder

Every building is built by someone, but the one who builds everything is God.

2Chronicles 8:1-6 (ESV)

2Ch 8:1 At the end of twenty years, in which Solomon had built the house of the LORD and his own house,
2Ch 8:2 Solomon rebuilt the cities that Hiram had given to him, and settled the people of Israel in them.
2Ch 8:3 And Solomon went to Hamath-zobah and took it.
2Ch 8:4 He built Tadmor in the wilderness and all the store cities that he built in Hamath.
2Ch 8:5 He also built Upper Beth-horon and Lower Beth-horon, fortified cities with walls, gates, and bars,
2Ch 8:6 and Baalath, and all the store cities that Solomon had and all the cities for his chariots and the cities for his horsemen, and whatever Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem, in Lebanon, and in all the land of his dominion.

video: Seduction

2Kings 21:1-9

2Ki 21:1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hephzibah.
2Ki 21:2 And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to the despicable practices of the nations whom the LORD drove out before the people of Israel.
2Ki 21:3 For he rebuilt the high places that Hezekiah his father had destroyed, and he erected altars for Baal and made an Asherah, as Ahab king of Israel had done, and worshiped all the host of heaven and served them.
2Ki 21:4 And he built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD had said, “In Jerusalem will I put my name.”
2Ki 21:5 And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD.
2Ki 21:6 And he burned his son as an offering and used fortune-telling and omens and dealt with mediums and with necromancers. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking him to anger.
2Ki 21:7 And the carved image of Asherah that he had made he set in the house of which the LORD said to David and to Solomon his son, “In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my name forever.
2Ki 21:8 And I will not cause the feet of Israel to wander anymore out of the land that I gave to their fathers, if only they will be careful to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the Law that my servant Moses commanded them.”
2Ki 21:9 But they did not listen, and Manasseh led them astray to do more evil than the nations had done whom the LORD destroyed before the people of Israel.  (ESV)

Video: Fight

2Kings 14:15-16

2Ki 14:15 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoash that he did, and his might, and how he fought with Amaziah king of Judah, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel?
2Ki 14:16 And Jehoash slept with his fathers and was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel, and Jeroboam his son reigned in his place. (ESV)

Preaching openly

composite-717916_640Acts 28:31: preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness. (NASB)

While the church was still limited to Jerusalem, persecution rose up against the church with Saul as one of the arrowheads.

He made it difficult for the Christians to preach openly, taking pleasure in harming them, and eventually they dispersed from Jerusalem, which was the epicentre of the persecution, to places where they can more openly share the word of God.

So the persecution turned out for the advancement of the church, for its expansion (Romans 8:28). What was meant to limit them, only made them spread. The persecution was to make them afraid, but it backfired on their persecutors as the church flourished the more.

At first the Pharisees warned the apostles to shut up, but he refused and continued to wax strong in the land. They went to their company and after they had prayed God released his power the more to work through their lives, but the persecution that ensued after did not answer to such prayer, this time around the Christians were being waylaid, and starting with the martyrdom of Stephen which emboldened the persecutors to harm to the Christian, who they then relocated in droves, running for their lives, but the apostles still remained in Jerusalem.

The other onslaught against the church also came through Herod who killed James in order to curry the favour of the Jews. While all these were happening, Saul got saved. It was when the persecution against the church was really hot and Saul was a hero among the persecutors. But after he was saved, his life was marked by an endless cycle of persecution.

At the end when the writing of the Acts of the apostle was winding down, it ended with a rare occurrence in the experience of Saul (now Paul), being under arrest but able to preach openly. The numerous persecution in his life could not shut him up, he was rewarded with the opportunity in the focus verse to speak openly.

This did not happen by chance, Jesus, by revelation, had told him while he was just arrested in Jerusalem that he will stand for his name in Rome.

So Paul had no doubt in his mind as to the purpose he was to fulfil in Rome, where he was eventually taken to as a prisoner. It was to speak about Jesus at every opportunity.

He was not made an apostle just to bear the title, he had a serious job to perform, which he did. When he was in prison, he wrote letters to churches and individuals; that have endured till date. He said: though he was in bounds, the word of God was not, and the bible in our hands today is a testimony to Paul’s legacy as an enduring apostle.

His boundless energy, understanding and passion for Christ oozes out of that letter and right now we are being impacted, down the ages. Just as he passionately opposed the cross, after he had an encounter with Jesus, he directed that passion to Christ’s work so much that he said that he labours more than the other apostles (1Corinthians 15:10).

He was always on the move, having as a goal to preach Christ where he has not been named (Romans 15:20), willing to pay the sacrifices, making the long journeys to reach those places. He said that he fought with the beasts in Ephesus (1Corinthians 15:30-32), he said he was in fasting often (), in peril often (2Corinthians 11:22-33); he said that just as he was committed to the destruction of the church the tenure of his mind changed and he became burdened for the church to flourish (Romans ), saying to the church in Rome that he was hard-pressed to have them see his face in the flesh so that he can impart on them spiritual gifts and help them along in their faith. He said that he writes based on the grace that was given to him (Romans 15:15).

Paul charged Timothy to preach the word with all sense of urgency (2Timothy 4:2). He did not tell him to do what he does not do. He said follow me as I follow Christ (1Corinthians 1:11). His devotion was unquestionable.

He spoke the word with all sense of urgency. He did not regard preaching the word as something to be ashamed of. He said: I am not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16). He spoke and wrote with 100percent conviction with no shadow of doubt in his mind, otherwise he could not have survived the many persecutions that came along his way and still continue to burn hot in passion for Jesus.

He spoke of Demas who departed from being part of his ministry team to pursue some other things (2Timothy 4:10). He said he loved this present world, while the bible says that we should not love the world nor the things in the word and that if we do, the love of the father is not in us (1John 2:15-17).

Paul talked about his attitude as a preacher, saying that he does not peddle the word of God (2Corinthians 2:17), no participate in hidden things of unrighteousness (2Corinthians 4). He is not trying to hoodwink the people.

He says his life is an open book as he seeks not just to impact the word of God, but to impact his very life. In that case, Paul cannot impact others more than he has been changed. He does not just want to speak with high-sounding words but to impact on others.

He was so effective that those who have never met him felt his impact. And in the book of acts certain people said he had turned the world upside down. He was a revolutionary. He disrupted of the status quo. He pushed the cause of Christianity with the last of his blood. He was jealous for the church he founded. And consistently watched over them in prayer.

His apostolic work was not just in the fanfare alone but in the place of prayer. In his letter to the church in Ephesus, he mentioned two sets of prayer (Ephesians 1, 3). He taught them the word and understood that he has a spiritual role of prayer to play over them so that they can come into the fullness of God for them.

His two prayers for the Ephesian church was about fullness. He prayed that the eyes of their understanding be enlightened so that they may know things that have to do with their new self in Christ, that has to do with the new power they now have operating in them, which operated in Christ to raise him from the dead. It was all about the new identity in Jesus, which they should now walk in the full consciousness of it.

The second prayer has to do with the love of God which they are also to comprehend together with the saint, and which if they comprehend fully, they will be filled with all the fullness of God. Epaphras followed the example of Paul and was committed to praying for the church in Colossi that they stand complete in all the will of God. While we need to be taught the will of God, praying really gets us fully into it (Colossians 4:12).

Though you may not be able to preach to others all the time, you can pray all the time for them. Paul said that prayer should be made all the time because God does not want any to perish but come to the knowledge of the truth (1Timothy 2:1-4).

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video: A Prophet

King Jehoshaphat of Judah asked to inquire of a prophet before embarking on a war, but in the new testament, there is a Prophet for us. Who is he?

1Kings 22:1-7 (ESV)

2Ki 22:1 Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jedidah the daughter of Adaiah of Bozkath.
2Ki 22:2 And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and walked in all the way of David his father, and he did not turn aside to the right or to the left.
2Ki 22:3 In the eighteenth year of King Josiah, the king sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, son of Meshullam, the secretary, to the house of the LORD, saying,
2Ki 22:4 “Go up to Hilkiah the high priest, that he may count the money that has been brought into the house of the LORD, which the keepers of the threshold have collected from the people.
2Ki 22:5 And let it be given into the hand of the workmen who have the oversight of the house of the LORD, and let them give it to the workmen who are at the house of the LORD, repairing the house
2Ki 22:6 (that is, to the carpenters, and to the builders, and to the masons), and let them use it for buying timber and quarried stone to repair the house.
2Ki 22:7 But no accounting shall be asked from them for the money that is delivered into their hand, for they deal honestly.”