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JOSHUA 17:14-18

"CLAIMING THE INHERITANCE!"

The children of Joseph needed more land! Joshua told them exactly how to get it! This Text focuses on the Believer simply claiming the Promises of God!

 A Preacher in his Study

 

 

"And the children of Joseph spake unto Joshua, saying, Why hast thou given me but one lot and one portion to inherit, seeing I am a great people, forasmuch as the LORD hath blessed me hitherto? And Joshua answered them, If thou be a great people, then get thee up to the wood country, and cut down for thyself there in the land of the Perizzites and of the giants, if mount Ephraim be too narrow for thee. And the children of Joseph said, The hill is not enough for us: and all the Canaanites that dwell in the land of the valley have chariots of iron, both they who are of Bethshean and her towns, and they who are of the valley of Jezreel. And Joshua spake unto the house of Joseph, even to Ephraim and to Manasseh, saying, Thou art a great people, and hast great power: thou shalt not have one lot only: but the mountain shall be thine; for it is a wood, and thou shalt cut it down: and the outgoings of it shall be thine: for thou shalt drive out the Canaanites, though they have iron chariots, and though they be strong." Joshua 17:14-18

 

 

LESSON 1:

The children of Joseph are two, Ephraim and Manasseh. They each were given generous tribal allotments in the Promised Land! It appears the Jacob actually gave Joseph a "double portion" of territory. That's the privilege of the oldest son, which Joseph was not! But he was the favorite son!

In our Text today, Joshua 17:14, the children of Joseph exhibit both some positive and negative qualities.

"And the children of Joseph spake unto Joshua, saying, Why hast thou given me but one lot and one portion to inherit, seeing I am a great people, forasmuch as the LORD hath blessed me hitherto?"  

You see, Joshua belonged to the Tribe of Joseph, Ephraim to be precise. These seekers may have thought they would again be given favorite-son status, but such was not the case! Joshua was no respecter of persons!

The name Joshua means "Jehovah is salvation!"

The name Joseph means "Jehovah has added!"

Here are the descendents of Joseph, nobly living up to their testimony, asking for more land! Too many Christians today are satisfied where they are, not yearning for more spiritual growth and conquest.

Yet they speak inaccurately too. They say they've been given but one lot!  That was just not true. In fact, they had one territory on the west side of Jordan for the people of Manasseh, another on the same side for the children of Ephraim ... plus more land, and a lot of it, on the other side of Jordan for the rest of the people of Manasseh. Really they had three "lots!"

I hope this understatement did not reflect a grumbling spirit! In Jude verse 15 some false teachers were accused of being "complainers." This Greek word, "mempsimoiros," basically means "to find fault," which is "memphomai" in Greek. Coupled with this word is "moira," meaning one's lot or inheritance or fate!

Not satisfied!

By the way, the word "lot" is translated from the Hebrew noun "goral" and means an item gained by the casting of lots, the drawing of black or white pebbles from a bag or basket. This seems to be the way God led His people at times during the Old Testament era. Now, since Jesus came and died and has been raised from the grave, we are led by the Holy Spirit of God Who indwells Believers ... and by the precious completed Word of God! Listen to Proverbs 16:33. "The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD." Amen! Men may cast lots but God determines the outcome!

The word "portion" is interesting too, in addition to being inspired! "Chebel" means a rope! A cord, but in this sense: a measuring cord. Hence ... the area such a cord determines or marks! One's area of ownership!

Joseph was indeed a great Tribe of Israel! But they didn't have to say so ... at least not as forcefully as they did here! "I am a great people," they thunder in Joshua 17:24. Paul never said anything like that! He was the "chief" of sinners in 1st Timothy 1:15. Also Paul admitted to being "less than the least of all saints" in Ephesians 3:8.

Yet do listen to what Jacob prophesied for the sons of Joseph! The great Patriarch said this on his death-bed. "Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall: the archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: but his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:) even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb: the blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren." This paragraph is found in Genesis 49:22-26. Isn't that an amazing benediction, and prophecy?

The point of our verse today is this, at least in part and when considered in its context:  One can be blessed of God, but often he must claim those blessings before fully enjoying them! Laying hold of them by faith!

And often claiming them will require some effort on our behalf!

A vast amount of land did belong to Joseph. But he was going to have to exert himself to possess all that territory!

Cutting down trees!

Expelling the heathen!

Fighting some battles!

And claiming the Promises of God!

More about that tomorrow, Lord willing!

I recently saw a book written by a godly Preacher. It was titled "Live like a King!" We Christians are children of the King! We are royalty! Are we living like it?

Have I claimed and possessed all that God has given me?

Have you?

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2:

The children of Joseph had a problem.

They felt their land allotment was too small!

In the days of Joshua, as the Promised Land was populated by the Israelites, God gave to each of the Twelve Tribes a portion of real estate.

The Josephites seemed to be either dissatisfied with their holdings or were of the opinion that it was just too small.

They simply asked their leader, the courageous successor to Moses, for more land!

His answer was surprising too!

"And Joshua answered them, If thou be a great people, then get thee up to the wood country, and cut down for thyself there in the land of the Perizzites and of the giants, if mount Ephraim be too narrow for thee." Joshua 17:15

He offered no new surveys!

No new acquisitions!

Their request was denied!

It seems that Joshua thought God's land gift to the sons of Joseph was quite adequate!

The problem was this ... they had not yet appropriated all that was given them!

"There's a lot of timber on your spread," says the old General! That word for "wood" in the King James Text is spelled "yaar" in Hebrew. It means forest, thickly grown timber ... once it is even translated "honeycomb," apparently because of its maze-like overgrowth!

And the verb "cut down" is amazing! It is "bara" and means "to create!" It's the second word in the Bible! "In the beginning God CREATED ...."

In other words, Joshua says: go carve out some more homesteads! Farms! Ranches!

Perhaps the people of Joseph thought: "You've forgotten something, Joshua!" Giants live in those woods!

Appropriately, "Perrizites" means "belonging to a village" in Hebrew. "Perrizziy" it is spelled. They were wicked heathen people who had slid into a cesspool of immoral living, polytheism and debauchery. But they were big!

The noun "giants" is "rapha" and 17 times is translated just like that, "giants." But the other 8 times it appears in God's Word it is rendered as "Rephaim," a transliteration of "rapha" when plural.

A few folks in Old Testament Bible days grew to great heights. Goliath was "six cubits and a span" tall, with a cubit being about 18 inches! Over 9 feet!

Here's the essence of Joshua's response to the interceding sons of Joseph.

God gave you all you need!

Go seize your possessions!

Claim your victories!

Giants? Not to the Almighty God! They are "grasshoppers" in His Eyes! See Isaiah 40:22 for proof. 

Besides, God has promised to fight for you and with you. He WILL drive away those wicked Perrizites and their big friends!

The land is yours!

But how can God do such things?

Here's one way. He promised: "And I will send hornets before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee." Exodus 23:28

What an idea!

All they had to do was go "walk it off!" Plant their feet on the desired real estate! Read with me: "Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses." God said this to Moses in Joshua 1:3.

You see, one of the problems the Israelites had was laziness! They failed to do all God commanded them. They converted the Canaanites into sources of money, tribute and taxes ... and still tolerated their wicked presence! "Yet it came to pass, when the children of Israel were waxen strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute; but did not utterly drive them out." Joshua 17:13

The essence of our Text today says this: Live on the level God has provided you!

Claim and possess His Promises!

It will take effort.

There are enemies.

But the victory is sure!

Is someone today battling lustful thoughts? A bad habit? Wrong companions? Temptations to "quit?" Divorce? An "affair?"

In every situation ... God has promised victory!

"Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world." 1st John 4:4

Memorize God's Word and use it, as Jesus did, like a sword to defeat the devil!

"It is written ... It is written ... It is written!" He said this three different times in Matthew 4 and again in Luke 4, the main "Temptation" accounts. Therefore ... three times the devil was reduced to a powerless tempter!

Oh, the Power of God's Word!

The old poets used to say, "Seize the day!"

I say, "Seize the victory that is your in Jesus Christ! Live up to you potential as a son or daughter of God Almighty!"

Pray as did Moses of old, daily I mean: "And it came to pass, when the ark set forward, that Moses said, Rise up, LORD, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee." Numbers 10:35

Amen!

                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3:

The children of Joseph came to Joshua one day, wanting more land!

Their territory was insufficient!

Joshua refused them!

He said something like this: God has given you a tribal allotment. That is sufficient. You have not claimed all the real estate that's yours! Much of your land is wooded. Cut down that timber! It will require much work to do so, but the extra space will be just what you need! Now go! Obey the Lord! Claim your possessions!

Here's the exact verse I have in mind today. "And Joshua answered them, If thou be a great people, then get thee up to the wood country, and cut down for thyself there in the land of the Perizzites and of the giants, if mount Ephraim be too narrow for thee." Joshua 17:15

I was thinking earlier today. What does the Bible say about the "woods," the thickly grown land areas that Joseph's sons had not claimed?

I was surprised to find several things the Scriptures suggest are in the "wood" area of our neighborhoods, at least spiritually!

First of all, God's Word lists "she bears" as occupants of the woods! When Elisha was being abused and cursed by a gang of rebellious young people, God did something dramatic! We are told about this in 2nd Kings 2:24. "And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them." In the woods were some wild animals, ones that help us remember to honor God's Men! To respect the Preacher! We need some time in those woods for sure!

Secondly, read with me 1st Chronicles 16:33. "Then shall the trees of the wood sing out at the presence of the LORD, because he cometh to judge the earth." This is speaking of the glorious Day when Jesus returns I believe. Again the "woods" are associated with judgment, but joyfully so! Singing in the woods, while we expand our territory! "Joy" ... in the woods!

Thirdly, the trees in the woods can be used, the timber I mean, to build things in your life. The ones mentioned in 2nd Chronicles 2:16 specifically were headed to the Tabernacle, the place of worship! "And we will cut wood out of Lebanon, as much as thou shalt need: and we will bring it to thee in floats by sea to Joppa; and thou shalt carry it up to Jerusalem." No time in the woods, no worship ... at least like it should be.

Fourthly, read Psalm 80:13. "The boar out of the wood doth waste it, and the wild beast of the field doth devour it." There are wild hogs, "boars," in those woods too! Unclean animals need to be driven away! Separate from them. The best way to do so? Cut down the forests. Build your homes, advises Joshua to the growing Tribe of Joseph. They were double sized you remember.

Fifthly, and now we go to Solomon's writings, there is a Bible association between the woods and "gossip," the uncontrolled tongue! "Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth." This is found in Proverbs 26:20 for those of you who want to know. The danger of fire in the city is diminished if the overgrowth and brush and woods are trimmed away from town.

Then, lastly, there is some concern Biblically about idolatry in those woods! Then, if so, cut them down! Jeremiah 7:18 tells us: "The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger." No wood ... maybe no fires to offer be used in offering sacrifice to the gods of the heathen!

Am I writing today to a Christian, or maybe just to a church-member, who is still living by the woods, the ever encroaching woods, never retreating from the city limits.

You have lost your respect for God's Men!

Has your song gone silent?

Too long since you've been to the House of God?

Too near the filthy "hogs" of this world?

Not worried about the fiery tongues around you all the time? If you live near the woods, be careful!

And do remember, idols are made out of that stuff, wood! It's up in those hills, under every green tree, where idols are worshipped!

Spiritually speaking, buy a chainsaw. Sharpen your cutting tools! Learn to better use your Sword!

Start "thinning" out the woods. As they go ... you will have more space to grow, spiritually speaking.

Now this is indeed a great Bible case of someone "enlarging his coast!"

Amen!

                                                                                     --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4:

Objections!

That's what the Sons of Joseph are raising as they oppose Joshua's plan for further land acquisition!

They needed more territory. And indeed they were a large tribe!

But after Joshua suggested they just go and clear their remaining land, heavily overgrown with trees and brush, they balked.

And Joshua's idea about conquering those giants? Well, that was dangerous!

Listen to their rationalization.

"And the children of Joseph said, The hill is not enough for us: and all the Canaanites that dwell in the land of the valley have chariots of iron, both they who are of Bethshean and her towns, and they who are of the valley of Jezreel." Joshua 17:16

They're talking about the hill country of Ephraim and Manasseh. These two groups, Jacob's grandsons by his favorite boy, constitute the Tribe of Joseph. Of course the land is not roomy enough ... yet! There are many square miles of nearly impenetrable trees and forests and overgrowth that needed to be cleared!

The land was theirs, but strenuous effort would be required to utilize it, to build upon it and farm it productively. The Hebrew word for "hill" or "mountain" is "har," as in Harmegeddon ... Armageddon as we know it ... the hill at Megiddo!

The word for "enough" surprisingly is "matzsa" and means that which has "befallen" a person. God's allotment to them was not all that pleasing it seems! They're dissatisfied!

The Canaanites of course were the godless heathen of the land, folks that were supposed to have already been defeated in war! Some scholars say the word means a "peddlar," one who traffics or sells commodities. They are money people, merchants!

The verb "dwell" is "yashab" and means to remain in a place permanently! These idolaters did not plan to move anywhere, did they?

The noun "valley" translates "emeq" and means a depressed or low place, hence a vale. It looks like the enemies had the best part of the land ... only the mountains remained!  Thus God said to Joseph: Go to war! Defeat the wicked! Claim your possessions!

"Chariots of iron" are military vehicles that have sharp sword-like protrusions coming from the rims of their wheels. That device could speed through an army and chop men to pieces in no time!

One Bible Dictionary says: "The valley of Jezreel is the broad low valley which sweeps between the mountains of Gilboa and the range of little Hermon eastward down to the Jordan." This may be the very place where the world's next vast war will be fought, again I refer to Armageddon!

"Bethshean" means the "house of ease!" Is that not where the wicked are living yet today?

Excuses!

Excuses!

Excuses!

Here are the two so-called reasons why the Josephites could not conquer the land God promised them!

1. The inhabitants of those lovely valleys are fierce men with vastly superior weapons! Impossible to defeat!

2. Also they outnumber us drastically, town after town after town!

This is the same attitude the ten spies had when they returned from scouting Canaan during Moses' days. "We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight." Numbers 13:31-33

But God says, "Charge! Attack! I will give you the victory!"

Yet I suggest we Christians today act the same way!

God tells us: "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof." Romans 6:12

And ... "We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not." 1st John 5:18

But we say ... "Lord, we can't live up to that!"

Who is right?

You tell me!

But remember Titus 1:2 says of our Lord: "God, that cannot lie!"

And Hebrews 6:19 goes even further: "It was impossible for God to lie!"

Looks like we are just living far below our calling and potential and duty in Christ Jesus!

Believing friend, claim God's promises for your life!

Live up to the calling He's given you!

Possess your possessions in Jesus Name!

That's living by faith!

                                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5:

This Text might be sub-titled "How to correct someone lovingly, kindly!"

Joshua, the great Old Testament General, has been forced to say "no" to the Children of Joseph.

They demanded more land, other than that which the Lord gave them in the conquest of Canaan.

Joshua refused them, teaching them that much of their own land remained unpossessed! He suggested a two-fold strategy. Much wooded area remained untamed. Plus other expanses of their land was still inhabited by ungodly heathen people. Joseph should have driven them out long ago!

Grab your axes and thin the woods!

Adorn your swords and remove the Canaanites!

But ... in the process of saying NO, plainly and bluntly, Joshua the Man of God did so kindly and graciously.

Let me show you what I mean.

"And Joshua spake unto the house of Joseph, even to Ephraim and to Manasseh, saying, Thou art a great people, and hast great power: thou shalt not have one lot only." Joshua 17:17

First of all our verse explains something, something important. Here the "house of Joseph" is identified more specifically. Having a double portion as Joseph obviously did, the whole Tribe was often called "the sons of Ephraim" or "the sons of Manasseh," depending upon which Grandson of Jacob was their forefather.

The noun for people, "am" in Hebrew, suggests a closely knit group, relatives in this case, fellow citizens. An organized assembly!

The adjective great is spelled "rab" and means much or many, especially in the quantitative category. According to the Scriptural census in Number chapter 26, Joseph as a tribe had more families than any other Jewish brother. They totaled 85,200 men, twenty years old and upward. For comparison purposes, Reuben the firstborn only reached 43,730. And even dominant Judah only numbered 76,500.

Great "power," an unusual word, is spelled "koach" and means stout, unrelenting or firm! Think of the resolve Joseph had as he lived for God, one of the most faithful characters in all the Bible! Remember that Reuben was "unstable as water" according to Jacob his father in Genesis 49:4.

Look!

Even in saying no, in denying their request for more land ... Joshua has praised these Children of Joseph!

You men will have to stay within your God-given borders, but your sheer numbers and power are so thrilling to us all! Go conquer all your land, live up to the promises of God in your collective lives!

Then, one more quick point today. Joshua also mentioned a blessing that these folks had apparently overlooked. They believed themselves to have only one "lot," just like the other Jewish Tribes, but not so!

Ephraim himself had a land grant, just north of Benjamin in the heart of the country!

Manasseh had two! One on each side of the Jordan River!

I'm not all that great at math, but I get a total of three land lots!

See today's verse again!

"And Joshua spake unto the house of Joseph, even to Ephraim and to Manasseh, saying, Thou art a great people, and hast great power: thou shalt not have one lot only." Notice the words I've capitalized.

Things often are better than they appear!

Did I say "Often?"

With the children of God, "always!"

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

Or if you prefer it in Old Testament language: "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end." Jeremiah 29:11

Praise the Lord!

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 6:

God's leaders are invested with wisdom, wisdom from above!

Likely it is part of the Lord's empowerment, after he has called them to preach!

James in the New Testament shares with us a description of such wisdom. "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." James 3:17

One accurate way of defining such Wisdom is by identifying it with God the Holy Spirit! He IS Wisdom! Of course, so is Jesus and God the Father! In fact, Jesus in John 10:30 said the Godhead is One!

Joshua, Moses' successor and military General par excellence, displayed such wisdom again and again.

Once when the Tribe of Joseph, also known as the children of Ephraim and Manasseh, asked for more land ... Joshua brilliantly responded with some clear instructions. These were carefully crafted instructions based on the revealed Will of God.

Instead of leaving the Holy Land altogether, or overrunning the land of their neighboring Jewish Tribes, Joshua required two things.

First, clear the rest of the land you already own! That's yours legally! God gave it to you upon entering Canaan, now Israel! We have learned that the land was thickly grown with timber and brush and vegetation.

Secondly, drive out the enemy, the ungodly heathen that have stubbornly remained on your property! The Israelites should have already done this long ago.

Brilliant advice, Joshua!

No doubt, Holy Spirit directed!

Here's what he said word for word: "But the mountain shall be thine; for it is a wood, and thou shalt cut it down: and the outgoings of it shall be thine: for thou shalt drive out the Canaanites, though they have iron chariots, and though they be strong." Joshua 17:18

Common words are used here for the first few parts of speech in this inspired sentence. Mountain is "har" and wood is "yaar," a thickly grown forest area. However, the verb "cut down" is "bara" and means "create" or "make" in 45 of its 54 Bible appearances.

The Josephites were to "create" their own environment, based on God's Will for their lives.

They just had to claim what God had already provided them!

Fight, if necessary!

All the while begin guaranteed by God great success and ease in appropriating their blessings!

The noun "outgoings" is new to us in this Text. It is spelled "totzsaah" and means borders, extremities, or the limits of the property lines!

It appears that these folks were not living anywhere near their own borders, maybe due to fear of certain "neighbors."

To "drive out" the Canaanites translates "yarash," a verb suggesting "seizing, occupying, expelling or dispossessing" anyone encroaching on one's given territory.

The Canaanites, by definition mind you, were zealous merchants, money men, who reflected the spirit of exalted commercialism! Serving the god of mammon as Jesus would have expressed it! Having the spirit of Nahum 3:16, exalting and multiplying their merchants above the stars!

God, our living Heavenly Father, must have ... demands in fact ... allegiance and honor and worship far above that of anything else on earth.

We've already discussed those iron chariots. Deadly weapons, cutting edge technology for that day! They were equipped with sharp knife blades perpendicularly protruding from the wheels of their machines, blades that would chop any interfering soldiers to pieces as the chariots furiously sped through the battlefield!

Admittedly, the enemy was "strong!" And "chazaq" means just that, especially "stout, firm hard, mighty!" Also the King James Text uses it to say "impudent, loud, hot and stiffhearted!"

Yet it's true. The bigger they come ... with God in control, the harder they fall!

The Canaanites, the Perrizites, were indeed mighty ... but our God is All Mighty! "And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect." This Name, as used here in Genesis 17:1, is also employed nearly 60 more times in the Scriptures.

Problem solved!

All the sons of Joseph had to do now was ... obey!

And it's the same with us today!

Rest your faith in the Promises of God!

Lean on His mighty Word!

Let His Power flow through you!

Claim what is yours in the realm of the Spirit!

You CAN quit  ______________. Go ahead, fill in the blank! Name that pesky sin! That habit you can't seem to break! You may not need more information, rather more inspiration! God has already won for your the victory!

You CAN start _____________ too. Now write that good thing you have been neglecting. Like Bible Study or prayer or witnessing or more faithful Church attendance! That too can be added to your life ... with help already promised from above!

Brethren and Sisters, let's start possessing our possessions in Christ Jesus!

Let's live up to our status as born-again children of God!

Lord, help us to do so!

                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 7:

God, in His Word, has commanded us to be faithful. In fact, such a trait is part of the Fruit of the Holy Spirit Himself!  It's required of our leaders that they be faithful according to 1st Corinthians 4:2. "Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful." And since God's Commands are never given without His empowering the saints to obey them ... living faithfully can be based on the promises of God!

Jesus is Faithful! It's even One of His Names or Titles! See Hebrews 3:1-2 and Revelation 19:11. And we are going to be more and more like Jesus, as we grow to maturity in our Christian lives!

Faithful!

But I know a young man in the New Testament who was not faithful! John Mark initially was a quitter! Luke tells us about it. "Now when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem." This Acts 13:13 event happened on a dangerous leg of Paul's first missionary journey, just when John Mark was needed most!

Later Mark's unfaithfulness caused a major rift between Paul and Barnabas. Read it here. "And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do. And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; and Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God." Acts 15:36-40

John Mark was not living up to the high standards of faithfulness that God requires ... and provides ... for His children.

But, good news here, later in his life John Mark had "claimed" his possession! He had "appropriated" the promise of God ... that saints are faithful people!

Hear Paul again, late in his life now. He is writing to Timothy. "Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry." Here in 2nd Timothy 4:11 "Mark" of course is John Mark.

AlI I am saying is this. A young Preacher began his ministry lacking something God had already provided for him. Providing it through the Holy Spirit and His Fullness! But that godly young man fought the devil, overcame selfish tendencies, and laid hold of what he needed, a faithful heart! Then he wrote a Gospel accurately depicting our Lord's life, death and resurrection!

Failures becoming successes!

That's what Joshua 17:14-17 teaches!

Quit grumbling!

God has provided us all we need in Christ Jesus!

You lack nothing!

Claim your inheritance and live it day by day!

Elsewhere in Scripture, Peter denied!

Thomas doubted!

Habakkuk questioned!

But, after fighting for his God-given birthright, Peter died for the Lord, as a martyr apparently! What loyalty ... for a former weakling!

And Thomas' last words were: "My Lord and My God!" Doubts gone!

And Habakkuk no longer asked questions, he made assertions! Listen: "Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation." Habakkuk 3:17-18

Folks, take what's yours!

What God has provided you!

Turn that spiritual "currency" into power to live for God every hour of every day!

Amen!

                                                                                   --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 8:

The Apostle Paul wrote these words. They convey an amazing truth, often under-emphasized. "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life." Romans 5:10

See it?

We are "reconciled" by Jesus' Death on Calvary, by the precious Blood He shed for us old sinners! That verb, "katalasso," means "to exchange." In other words, Jesus took my place on that old rugged Cross! He died for me!

But ... look at what the verse says additionally!

"We are saved by His Life!"

That verb, "sozo," means delivered or rescued or made well or brought to peace.

Jesus' Death, according to this verse, saves us from Hell!

Jesus' Life, according to the same verse, makes possible the victorious Christian walk, day by day!

The very fact of Jesus sitting at His Father's Right Hand, interceding for His Own children, no doubt praying the very petitions He used in John 17, makes it possible ... no, makes it essential ... that we live right!

What I am trying to show you is this: our dear Lord has not only provided for our eternal well-being, but also for our moment by moment existence on earth, consciously abiding in His Love!

Victory awaits over yonder then, when we get there!

But also victory is available now; Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday and Friday and Saturday and Sunday too!

The Old Testament, in Joshua 17:14-18, illustrates this principle.

The sons of Joseph, of course being the grandsons of Jacob too, had been "born" of Jewish parentage. They inherited their own land in Canaan, three huge lots of it, and could live on those plots anywhere they pleased.

However, there was one more issue, really two more.

Some of their land was quite wooded, uninhabitable as it then stood.

Other parts of their allotment were still indwelt by foreigners, Canaanites, who hated God and lived base and sensual and reprobate lives.

Now these sons of Israel, the people of Ephraim and Manasseh, would have to not only be Jews, holding a deed to the land ... but also be warriors claiming God's promises for victory in battle, thus appropriating what had been supernaturally provided for them!

Owning the land was one thing ... living in it, all of it, day by day was quite another!

Jesus' Death, His Blood, gave me a place in the land called Heaven, eternal life ... but His Death also gave me the weapons and the power to live victoriously while I travel to Heaven, still living on earth!

Again, "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life." Romans 5:10.

It seems that often during the day, I can just sense the Presence of our dear Lord, our Heavenly High Priest, interceding on my behalf!

His Blood, now in Heaven for sure, still has power, mighty power, almighty power! Through It Jesus gives us the strength to do whatever is necessary to defeat the devil; to live godly, serve faithfully and believe consistently until we are called to Heaven!

What a wonderful truth this is!

I, having already been redeemed, born-again ...  am now saved by His Life as well!

Constant on-going enduring power and victory ... in Christ Jesus our Lord!

Glory to God!

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

MAY THE LORD HELP US ALL TO GROW IN GRACE AFTER WE HAVE STUDIED THIS GREAT BIBLE TEXT! LET'S POSSESS OUR POSSESSION IN CHRIST JESUS!

 

 

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