SHEPHERDS VOICE – April 2024

Acknowledge The Sovereign Will Of God

Pr. Juxy Mathew

 

Our God is a Deliverer.  He has proved Himself as the God who delivers and He continues to do so.  The deliverance of God is based on two fundamental principles namely; the promise of God and the presence of God.

 

The Israelites led by Joshua and Caleb stood at the edge of the River Jordan to cross over to the promised land. They were to cross the Jordan River during its flood stage and enter the land of Canaan. The Jordan river is at flood stage all during the harvest making it impossible for them to cross over to the promised land. At this moment God gave them His promise that He had given Jericho into their hands.  And with His presence in their midst when the priests carrying the ark of the covenant physically stepped into the overflowing river the water stopped flowing. The water piled up in a heap and the whole nation crossed over on dry ground (Josh 3:13-17).

 

Josh6:1  “Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in. And the Lord said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour.”

The Israelites reached Jericho which was enroute to the promised land of Cannan.  The gates of Jericho were tightly shut and they could not go in or come out of it.  Here God said to Joshua that He has given Jericho into their hands. God did not say that he would give them Jericho, but that He had already given Jericho, their King and strong warriors to them and now it was up to them to claim this promise in faith.  This was preceded by God revealing His will in His sovereignty and the subsequent responsibility of the Israelites to conduct the word of God, which He proclaimed.

 

We fight a spiritual war during our life in this world.  God has revealed His sovereign will to us on many occasions.  But we have not realized God’s revelation and hence have not acquired His promise.  God’s word says in Acts 2:17 that in the last days He would pour out His Spirit on all flesh.  Therefore, it is the sovereign will of God to pour out His Spirit on us but we hold ourselves from desiring to claim this promise of God.  Jesus Christ said that He came so we may have life and life in abundance. God expects us to lead our spiritual lives in all its abundance and in order to receive this promise which He declared in His sovereignty we need to fight a spiritual battle.  The reason we do not inherit His Holy Spirit is because we hesitate to fight our battles, the victory for which God has already given into our hands.  This is not easily begotten but we need to claim in faith and be filled in God’s Holy Spirit to go ahead boldly in Christ to fight our spiritual battles.  If you see your battle as unconquerable as Jericho, you need to surrender yourself completely into God’s presence, receive our Sovereign God’s word in faith that He has given the enemy into your hands and then claim victory over your spiritual battle.  Our spiritual blessing is far more abundant and fulfilling than worldly gifts. Seek God’s spiritual blessings which are imperishable and everlasting unlike the luxury of this world.  The gifts of this world are temporary but our spiritual blessings remain with us as long as we are in God’s presence.  We need to understand that we need to fight a spiritual battle in order to acquire the promise God has declared according to His sovereign will.  The number of years you have been a believer is irrelevant unless you have experienced the oneness in the Holy Spirit which comes from being in the presence of the Almighty God.  If we experience fellowship with God’s Holy Spirit we would never want to be separated from His presence. God has given us this promise of fellowship through His sovereign will.  It is our responsibility to receive it.  The only reason we cannot receive it is because we are not ready for a spiritual battle.  We strife for several things but we have not prepared ourselves for a spiritual battle.

 

Secondly, although the Israelites miraculously crossed the river Jordan, they did not acquire the promised land due to the dangers before them.  They faced the tremendous walls of Jericho. According to Historians, the walls of Jericho surrounded its settlement and measured width 12ft, height 30 ft and through the center of the walls was a 15 ft wide walkway thus securing its inhabitants from any attacks of the enemy.  The whole area of Jericho was about 9 acres and it would take at least 30 mins to go around it once.  The Israelites had to pass through Jericho to enter into the promised land.

Don’t we also go through such uncertain situations where we experience a deliverance and immediately are faced with another difficulty?  We are left asking

God why do we have to go through another impassable situation.  Remember as long as you are a child of God, you will have spiritual battles to conquer.  Josh13:1-2 ‘Now Joshua was old, advanced in years. And the Lord said to him: “You are old, advanced in years, and there remains very much land yet to be possessed. 2 This is the land that yet remains: all the territory of the Philistines and all that of the Geshurites,’ God had told this to Joshua after they were 40 years in wilderness, crossed the Red Sea, crossed the river Jordan and reached the promised land.  God knew he was old and advanced in age and said that there was much land yet to be possessed.  Apostle Paul says in 2 Cor 1:10-11’who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us,’  We will continue to face difficulties.  2 Cor 2:14 “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.”  The life of God’s child is triumphing over difficulties through Christ by trusting in the miraculous and ever delivering hands of God.

 

Josh6:4, 6-9 “And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets….Then Joshua the son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant, and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord.” 7 And he said to the people, “Proceed, and march around the city, and let him who is armed advance before the ark of the Lord.”8 So it was, when Joshua had spoken to the people, that the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the Lord advanced and blew the trumpets, and the ark of the covenant of the Lord followed them. 9 The armed men went before the priests who blew the trumpets, and the rear guard came after the ark, while the priests continued blowing the trumpets.

The above verses explain the style of marching around the city in order to besiege it.  It is also worth noting here that God had chosen the perfect number 7 for fulfilling His divine plan. It also was a year of proclamation of liberty. God instructed in Josh6:5 ‘It shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all people shall shout with a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat. And the people shall go up every man straight before him.” v. 20 “So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets. And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.”

They had gone around the wall thirteen times as instructed by God. All the while on all those seven days the people were not to speak while they went around the wall behind the priests.  God permitted them to shout only after they had silently gone around the wall twelve times in all.  We know how to shout but we need to teach ourselves to remain silent when God says so in order to see our deliverance. Ecclesiastes 3:7 ‘A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;’  Silence needs great power and wisdom.  Too much talk brings about trouble. We need to control our tongue to avoid trouble through our words.

The Israelites had a promise before them which would be brought into fruition only if they walked silently for six days around the wall and were to shout with a great shout on the seventh day after going around it seven times.  They visualized the destruction of the walls on all those seven days as they marched around it.

In 2 Kings 4:29 we see Elisha had instructed Gehazi not to greet anyone he meets and not to respond to anyone’s greetings until he laid the staff on the boy.  When God has given you a promise you are required to abide in His presence silently acknowledging Him until you acquire it.  Your words should not deviate your mind from your prayers. We read further that the boy lay dead until Elisha reached there. When your concentration is diluted your miracle is delayed.  If you are waiting for a deliverance or a miracle, be careful in what you speak and to whom.  The people around Jericho were believers and non-believers to whom if the Israelites spoke to would hear comments opposing the vision God had given them. Likewise in the midst of your troubles you need to remain in fellowship with God and avoid people who may dilute your oneness with God and oppose His vision or promise for you.  In spite of Peter being very close and throughout with Jesus Christ, he was rebuked by Jesus when he refused to accept Jesus’s plain words of His rejection, death and resurrection. Jesus recognised that it was the satan speaking through Peter.  It is good to remain silent when you prepare yourself for a spiritual war or while you are already on a spiritual battlefield.  You will definitely see the deliverance of the Lord if you surrender yourself and your troubles into God’s hands. Ps 46:10 “Be still and know that  I am God”  The Isrraelites increased in faith each time they went around the wall.  They had a vision before them and they would speak to themselves in faith of the destruction of the wall on the seventh day.

The silent moments are the time when your faith is developed to see the miracle or deliverance that God has promised you.  You have to develop your faith and at the right time you will see the fulfillment of your promise. When you sit in prayer there will be moments when you may have to cry aloud or shout praises to God.  At such times you are bound to see the deliverance of our Lord.  God will deliver the impossible into your hands.  You should be like the nation who crossed the river Jordan also destroyed the walls of Jericho.  Remain silent as long as the almighty God has instructed you to and begin praising God.

Ps100:1 “Shout for joy to the LORD..”