Thought for the Week - 8th October

Pastor Gareth Watkins

Joshua 1: 1-9

After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord,
it came to pass that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun,
Moses’ assistant, saying:
“Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan,
you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them—
the children of Israel.
Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you,
as I said to Moses.
From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river,
the River Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites,
and to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your territory.
No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life;
as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you.
Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide
as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.
Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do
according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it.
For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid,
nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

This week I want to consider that which is laid before us – our inheritance. Many Christians don’t keep their eyes fixed on what their inheritance in God is. There is a spiritual inheritance that is ours to be partakers in.

We have to keep our eyes on that there is an inheritance that is ours, and not to be short sighted. We are heirs of the kingdom! Inheritance is a big part of our lives, and onto and into the next life. We’re not just doing what we do for here and today, it’s not just going to last for tomorrow. What we do today goes on for us unto eternity, but also carries on into our families to the third and fourth generations. What we’re doing has an inheritance. What we’re not doing has an inheritance.

What an exciting inheritance that is before us! In the passage above we read that the Lord had land and a promise that was not just given to Joshua, but was also an inheritance to their fathers, which was given before. When Joshua gets the word from God, it wasn’t just according to Joshua. It was according to the men that had gone before – from Abraham to Moses, from Moses to Joshua – all of them are part of this great inheritance that God is going to take them into. How incredible!

That man, has laid out step by step what God’s inheritance is to be for him and subsequent generations, right up to Christ, and from Christ to us. That’s the depth of the promise that was given to this man!

When you get a promise like this, it’s not just about you. It wasn’t just about Joshua. It’s about all the people who are to inherit of this promise. Sometimes we are so short sighted of what we’re doing and how we’re doing it. All the while, the big picture is laid before us – and the big picture is taking us on into a place where we could never attain in our own right.

Imagine being Joshua! Moses is gone and he has to step into the shoes of a might man of God. He’s told things “go over this Jordan” and to take all of the people – who were not necessarily his people at this point – into the new land that God had given them as an inheritance. He had to become a leader in God, and the people had to come in line with this man who had been given a word and commission from God.

He’d have had old people, people who were ill, children and babies. He had to take them all over a 100 foot wide river and inherit a land that God was going to give them. The land was going to be their inheritance. It’s a huge thing for Joshua, one man, to be told. It’s a huge thing for the people who are going to come in behind this plan, to be told. That God is going to do this thing and give these people an inheritance in line with the command of God which goes back right back to the time of Abraham! This is going to be their inheritance!

This land was huge! There was Lebanon, the great river, the great sea, the Mediterranean, into Jordan, and the land of the Hittites. They were to inherit a massive land for what they were. And God’s calling to us as a church is often far bigger than we can possibly see. That’s our inheritance. That inheritance goes on from generation to generation.

God says to Joshua “No man shall be able to stand before you”. These are the principles of going on to inherit the things of God. The practical side of it – one day Joshua was going to have to mobilise the people cross that river. Joshua and the people had to be obedient to obtain their inheritance. If they didn’t cross the Jordan, they wouldn’t have inherited the promised the land. The theory became practical. They had to step onto the soil of Canaan, bump into Canaanites, go to the towns and cities, and conquer them.

They’ve been in captivity for 400 years, wandering the desert for 40 years, and Canaan is full of fortified cities. Are they equipped to fight big battles? No. They have no chariots or armaments. Spiritually it was going to be terrible. The Canaanites were depraved and indulged in serpent worship and child sacrifice. The Children of Israel had to go into this land, inhabit it and conquer it.

We read:

go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them—
the children of Israel.
Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you,
as I said to Moses.

This is the same God that looks after us today! If we’ve got an inheritance in line with Joshua’s, what a wonderful encouragement for us in 2017! God hasn’t changed. We have to listen to the inheritance that are planned for us. They were for the times before Joshua and for the times after Joshua.

We have to step out in faith and go to the places God gives us. We don’t know the way we will be treated when we get to those places. He will give us the land. No man will be able to stand before us. He will never leave us or forsake us. Praise God!

The fact that Joshua was obedient, benefits us today. The fact that we’re obedient today, affects your subsequent spiritual generations down the road. These are eternal things! Joshua is given a pattern of attainment of how to go into our inheritance. When we’re born again we become legal heirs to certain privileges in God (Romans 8:17). There comes a point where the experience, the detail and the practical begins. These things that we’re going to inherit are far more important than the things that begin to the natural life.

Romans 8: 16-17

The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ,
if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

When we become Christians, we become partakers of all that Christ has. Because Christ bought us with His blood, we become inheritors of God’s eternity. Because of what Christ has done, we become heirs of what Christ enjoys. The word “if” here is very important – “IF we suffer with Him”. Knowing of it is one thing – Joshua knew all the things God told Him. But then came the day when he had to practically step out and go over the Jordan. He had to go into Canaan, meet the forces of darkness, fight the battles, win the wars, and do what God wanted him to do. Christ had to do the same. We have to do the same.

Knowing of it isn’t necessarily good enough. There has to be an outworking of it. If we don’t suffer, or have the things that Christ went through, are we actually heirs in the first place? Even the devil knows the theory. The moving on in it – the practicalities of it – we may suffer and endure different hardships, but we will be glorified together with Him! It brings us into a whole new realm that we can’t even comprehend!

Legal inheritance is mapped out before you – if this, this and this happens, then one day somebody benefits. This is a similar thing – if this and this happens, if you follow this path, if you suffer with Him, you will be glorified with Him and partakers in His inheritance.

I want to share with you an example of four great people in the 19th and 20th century who found their inheritances in God, which still last even to this day. God used them in different ways and their inheritance lasts from generation upon generation:

Cecil Jackson-Cole: Started the first charity shop. He was a very rich man who had furniture shops. Because of his faith in God, when he saw people starving in Greece he decided to do something about it. He started the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief, which became OXFAM. His work also resulted in the forming of Help the Aged and Action Trust.

Michael Faraday: was a Christian whose discoveries included the principles underlying electromagnetic induction, diamagnetism and electrolysis. This man loved God and the world that man had made. And what an inheritance we have from him – we can turn lights on in our church!

Florence Nightingale: hundreds of years ago you would have only seen nurses in hospitals for the rich people. As a Christian woman, she was convicted by God to serve others. Out of that comes the nursing profession we see today.

John and George Cadbury: invented a hot chocolate drink to encourage alcoholics to stop drinking alcohol. Because they became so successful, they had to build big factories etc. They put their Christianity into practice, building spacious houses with gardens for their staff, put pensions and education in place. They shared how Christianity could help in everyday life.

If we want to partake in our inheritance under God, we have to look at the principles and structures laid out under Joshua. Men will come against us if we stand under God. We will be frightened. We will need to be of good courage. But God will bring an inheritance that only He can bring for us.

But there are conditions:

observe to do according to all the law
which Moses My servant commanded you;
do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left

If someone stronger tries to pull us one way, or someone weaker than you tries to pull us one way, it’s important that we don’t turn to the right or left. God spoke into Joshua’s life that He will make us prosperous and with good success. Where necessary, God will do the miracles! We have to set out feet on what God has for us. There will be days where we have to fight the forces of darkness, and the things that oppose God. But oh the wonderful inheritance that comes our way because of it!

1 Peter 1: 4
to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away,
reserved in heaven for you

It’s a personal inheritance! It’s kept in heaven, just for you! There’s a future for each one of us – an inheritance laid out for us to walk into. It is incorruptible and will not fade away!


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