Sunday, February 03, 2019

All That Is Written: God's Transference of Leadership to Joshua and What That Leadership Was

After Moses died and God transferred leadership of His people to Joshua, He commanded Him (Joshua 1:7-9):
7 Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. 8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. 9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
After the given, "go . . . unto the land," this instruction stands front and center.  It hasn't changed.  This is what God wanted (Deuteronomy 6:25, 11:32, 15:5, 28:15, 31:12) and henceforth (John 14:15, 23, 1 John 2:3-4, 5:3) what He wants, blessing for obedience and cursing for disobedience.  The New Covenant is a corollary, because in his depravity man cannot do everything God says to do.  When you believe in Jesus Christ, you are agreeing to everything that He says.  It isn't a negotiation.

The concern of God for Joshua, for everyone, is fear, starting with fear of death.  The fear of death is the fear of the loss of everything and then there is the fear of losing anything short of everything, that is related to the ultimate fear of death.  Sixty-times in scripture we read, fear not.  The positive of that is "be courageous."  Jesus said in Matthew 10:28:
And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Before God commanded Joshua to "be thou strong and very courageous," He promised Joshua He would take care of him.  Being strong and very courageous is believing God when He says He will do that, take care of you. Fearing the One Who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell instead of fearing them which kill the body is believing in the One Who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.  Matthew 10:28 wasn't about how to be a better Christian, but what it means to be a Christian.

A modern, "Christian" all out attack exists against what God commanded Joshua.  Instead of being courageous, these professing Christians rank what God said so that they only really have to do what's important, not everything, like God actually said.  The hardest things to do are left out, because those take strength and courage.  These people claim to believe.  They are more like those whose "carcasses fell in the wilderness" (Hebrews 3:17), who did not "enter into his rest," because they "believed not" (Hebrews 3:18).  Later, a different generation of the same crowd would not "go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach" (Hebrews 13:13).

God has never rescinded "all that is written."  The Lord Jesus in His relationship with the Father said, "My meat is to do the will of him that sent me" (John 4:34) "for I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me" (John 6:38), "for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise (John 5:19)" and "for I do always those things that please him" (John 8:29).  When Jesus gave the Great Commission, which was as the Father sent Him so sent He His followers (John 20:21), He said it was "teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:20).

Ranking of doctrines, unity, and separation dovetail on the subject of the deviation from what God told Joshua.  The ones ranking essentials and non-essentials might not rank Joshua itself to be essential or of first importance or whatever one uses to divert from "all that is written."  A version of be afraid and not be courageous is "I don't want to be alone" or "in a small group."  Separating shrinks the group and motivates the leaving out of things that might separate.  This is not about God.  It's not being okay with just His promises.  It's "His promises are not good enough for me."

"All that is written" doesn't mention uncertainty, because scripture doesn't teach it.  God isn't uncertain.  What He has written is certain, which is why He expects it.  God would be unjust if He expected us to do something we couldn't be sure about.  However, this is what the "some that is written" will most often say.  An underlying testimony of uncertainty or doubt buttresses ranking doctrines.

What some will call this post or this content, whether in a post or not, is "unloving" and "hateful."  Why is it unloving?  People will be the victims of thinking they have to do everything God said and might have to suffer some sort of short term loss for it.  The loving ones are those who say, go ahead and do what you want a lot of the time.  Those who say, do everything, are holding back their audience from the pursuit of happiness, and that can't be love.  The love of God actually washes up on fleshly shores to engulf those who don't want to do everything God said.  No, love compels believers to do everything that God said.  "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha" (1 Corinthians 16:22).

Certain doctrines and practices are the ones that become non-essential and expendable, because they are the ones challenged by the world.   The leader needs strength and courage, what God commanded Joshua.  When you hear someone say, I don't like separation, referring to what's needed for the preservation of certain biblical teachings, that's a lack of strength and courage speaking.   Israel needed and the church still needs a man to stand in the gap.  We don't need men who adjudicate the capitulation.

The key for the leadership of Joshua, so for the nation, was taking everything God said and wanted seriously, leaving nothing out.  It reads like everything as Israel enters the land, the whole purpose, what some today call "everythingism."  This ensured the right relationship between God and man.  The people wouldn't have better relationships by neglecting or refusing what God wanted for them, yet the instinct of the flesh is I know better than God on what it takes for success.  No, in the same context, success comes from knowing, meditating on, and then doing what God said, all of it.

The success of Joshua's leadership revolved around "all that is written," not "some of what is written."  Some isn't acceptable.  It wasn't for Joshua and it wasn't for the New Testament Joshua, Jesus Himself.  It shouldn't be for us either.


Anonymous said...

Mr. Brandenburg,

Great exhortation. We lower the standards for others and let them off easy because we are "loving". The truth is, we want the same leniency shown to us. We don't want to have obey the hard things.

It is interesting that you harp on "is written." After your post on 1 John I've been reading it. I had never noticed how 1 John 2 repeats "write" and "written" over and over. There is no wiggling out of obedience to God's commands. They are all there in black in white. Ours is to read/hear and do.

Chris L

Kent Brandenburg said...

Thanks Chris. I agree.