Chapter 10 – Faith Seals the Victory
The history of Israel’s journey from Egypt to Canaan is well known to most Christians, as it comprises a major portion of the books of Moses, the first five books of the Bible. Yahweh promised the Israelites that He would lead them forth to a land flowing with milk and honey which He would give to them and to their children as a possession. He told them they would need to drive out the inhabitants of the land of Canaan, but He would be with them and He would fight for them.
Those familiar with the history of Israel know that the generation which came out of Egypt failed to enter into their possession. All those above the age of twenty who came out of Egypt died in the wilderness, except for Caleb and Joshua. This generation spent forty years wandering around in wilderness places, until their generation had passed away. The reason for their inability to enter the land of Canaan and establish the kingdom of God was unbelief.
It is ever God’s design that those who are called out of the world as His children should proceed quickly to begin a conquest of the land of their flesh. Many Christians, however, mirror the historical account of Israel. Even after it has been many years since God first called them, they have made no progress in subduing the land of their flesh. A great number of Christians spend their entire lives wandering in a barren wilderness where there is no fruit from their lives that comes forth for the glory of God. They are still ruled by the sin in their flesh, and the kingdom of God has not been established in them in righteousness and peace.
The reasons for Christians failing to take possession of the land of their flesh are the same today as they were for the Israelites 3,500 years ago. Chapter eight focused upon the need to lay aside the diet of the world and begin feeding on the Bread of Heaven. It is only as we do this that our faith is built up and our spiritual strength is increased. We know the Israelites despised the food God sent them and demanded flesh to eat. Therefore they were unprepared when it was time to go forth in battle and take possession of the land. In the same way, if we are not feeding on the Word of God we will be ill equipped for the spiritual warfare to which we have been called.
It was only a relatively short time that God would have kept the Israelites in the wilderness. Yahweh would have led the Israelites very quickly from the receiving of the Law into the conquest of the land of Canaan, but their disobedience kept delaying things. God would also lead us very quickly from receiving His Spirit to a conquest of the sin that dwells in our flesh. Yet, like Israel, we can delay our victory over all the enemies that reside in our flesh. By despising the Bread of Heaven, through idolatry (loving the world and the things in it), and by rebellion against God’s authority, we can delay that which God would have us to perform quickly.
When the Israelites finally arrived at the border of the land of promise, Moses sent forth twelve men to spy out the land and bring back a report. These twelve men spent forty days walking across the length and breadth of Canaan. They saw an exceptionally good land. It was fertile and well watered. There were vineyards and farms and orchards already planted. It was something to be greatly desired, and it held forth the promise of a magnificent dream come true for those who had known nothing but slavery all of their lives. To have their own land as a possession, and to serve God in freedom while enjoying many blessings, was more than any of them could have anticipated while living in bondage to Egypt.
The spies also saw large numbers of people dwelling in the land. There were strongholds and walled cities which would have to be conquered. And there were giants in the land. It is easy to judge the people of Israel as lacking courage, but we must remember they serve as “types of us.” Most Christians do no better when Christ calls them to go forth and take possession of the land of their flesh.
We too have giants in the land. Our bodies are inhabited by many enemies, and there are strongholds and walled cities that must be conquered. What are the enemies you have identified in the land of your flesh? As this book is addressed to those struggling with addiction, I would suspect that many have identified alcoholism, drug addiction and pornography as giants they must fight. When you look at these giants, how do you see yourself in comparison?
Yahweh desires to completely change your life. He desires to take a land that is polluted by sin, and filled with desires and passions that are at enmity with Him, and establish peace and righteousness. He wants to take your spiritually barren life and transform it into a fruitful garden. He has given His children His Spirit that they might find the fruit of the Spirit flourishing within them.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
This fruit is absent from our lives when we come to Christ. If we have been ruled by sin and addictive desires, we cannot say that we have goodness, or self-control. If we have walked in selfishness, we have not manifested love, for the Scriptures state “love does not seek its own.” If we have been depressed or anxious even to the point of taking prescription drugs to seek to counteract these enemies in the land, then we have not had peace. If we have wanted our fleshly desires satisfied immediately, even to the point that some would resort to theft, then we have manifested neither patience nor kindness. None of the fruit of the Spirit are present in our lives when our bodies are ruled by these enemies. Therefore the enemies must all be conquered.
Can you envision your life becoming a land of abundant fruitfulness that is pleasing to God? Can you envision your entire being filled with the presence of Christ and experiencing love, joy, peace and all the other fruit of the Spirit? Can you imagine a life where you are no longer looking over your shoulder waiting for judgment to catch up with you, but instead your only expectation is the Father’s praise as He looks at your life? This is Yahweh’s desire for you, and He has promised to make it a reality if you will trust Him and obey.
As great and precious as the promises are, many fall short of possessing them due to the warfare that is required. They are daunted by the enemies in the land. They manifest either a lack of desire for the things God has promised, or a lack of confidence in Yahweh’s power and good intentions. Listen to the report of the men who spied out the land of Canaan.
When they returned from spying out the land, at the end of forty days, they proceeded to come to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation of the sons of Israel in the wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; and they brought back word to them and to all the congregation and showed them the fruit of the land. Thus they told him, and said, “We went in to the land where you sent us; and it certainly does flow with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. Nevertheless, the people who live in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large; and moreover, we saw the descendants of Anak (the Anakim were giants) there. Amalek is living in the land of the Negev and the Hittites and the Jebusites and the Amorites are living in the hill country, and the Canaanites are living by the sea and by the side of the Jordan.” Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it.” But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us.” So they gave out to the sons of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone, in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size. There also we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”
As you consider the giants in the land of your flesh, do you see yourself as a grasshopper in comparison? If we were left to our own strength and resources this is truly how we should see ourselves. But, as we read in the last chapter, we are not left to face the enemies in the land of our flesh by our own strength and wisdom. God has said He will fight for us, and that together we will overwhelmingly conquer all enemies.
Caleb and Joshua were the only two men who went in to spy out the land who calculated their ability to take possession of it by reckoning on God being with them. We read further the words of Joshua and Caleb.
Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, of those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes; and they spoke to all the congregation of the sons of Israel, saying, “The land which we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If Yahweh is pleased with us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us — a land which flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against Yahweh; and do not fear the people of the land, for they will be our prey. Their protection has been removed from them, and Yahweh is with us; do not fear them.”
This should be the mindset of all those who have been called out of the world by God. If you have received the Spirit of Christ to indwell you, then you should do all your reckoning with the knowledge that you are not alone. God is both present with you, and He will fight for you. The protection has been removed from all of our enemies. Addiction cannot stand before the child of God who will believe and obey. It has no more power against God than a house of cards has to resist the force of a hurricane. Addictions of all kinds are so overmatched when compared to the power of God working in us, as to make their chances of victory laughable. The God who created the Universe with a word, and Who holds all things together by the strength of His might, is not daunted by the enemies that dwell in our flesh.
It is not a lack of available power that will keep any man or woman from conquering the enemies in the land. It is unbelief. Consider the words of those who did not share the faith manifested by Joshua and Caleb.
Then all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. All the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron; and the whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! Why is Yahweh bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become plunder; would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?” So they said to one another, “Let us appoint a leader and return to Egypt.”
Fear and unbelief are perpetually the enemies of faith. Fear and unbelief will cause us to despise faith even as the sons of Israel despised Moses and Aaron. When Joshua and Caleb persisted in telling the people that they were well able to go in and take possession of the land, the people responded by speaking of stoning them to death.
There are many Christians today who view the battles God would lead them forth into, and they are met with the fear and unbelief of their flesh. They begin to look for other leaders who will not make them face their enemies. It does not matter if their only options are to die in the wilderness, or to return to the bondage of Egypt. They prefer these things to facing the giants in the land of their flesh.
Yahweh is greatly displeased whenever He encounters such a heart of rebellion, fear and unbelief in one of His children. He knows there is no reason for a person to give themselves over to these things. He has demonstrated in the most profound way that He is for them. Some have criticized the Israelites for acting in such a cravenly manner when they had observed the power of God in bringing them forth from Egypt. These Christians believe they would never have acted in a similar fashion. The Israelites witnessed the plagues that decimated the most powerful nation on earth, so they should not have feared the inhabitants of Canaan. God had proven to Israel that He was for them, and He would fight for them. It was not by the Israelites’ power that the armies of Egypt were destroyed in the Red Sea. God had vanquished the enemy they dreaded.
The Christian should consider that God has done even more for us. We need look no further than the cross of Christ to see how God has taken up our part. The authority of Satan over mankind was destroyed at the cross. God was willing to go to the most extreme lengths in order to redeem us from the power of sin. He sent forth His Son, Who was more precious to Him than anything else, and He asked Him to lay down His life that we might be delivered. By His mighty power God then raised Christ from the dead, and He has sent forth His Spirit that we might become partakers of this same resurrection life. We have the dunamis (the dynamite power) of God within our beings.
How then can we doubt when we are faced with the giants in the land? Do we even begin to suppose that God will ask us to fight our battles on our own? Has He not sufficiently proven that He will take up our part in the most extreme way? Even as God assured Israel that He would give them the land of Canaan, and that He would give them victory over all those who dwelt there, He has given the same promise to you and I.
Because there is no reason for us to doubt Yahweh’s good intentions for us, He is justifiably angry when we begin to accuse Him of a lack of caring. The Israelites said, “Why is Yahweh bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become plunder.” There was no foundation upon which to make such an accusation against God. The complaint was totally unjust, having its origins not in the truth, but in fear and unbelief which the people were not ruling over.
Many Christians do not realize what a tyrant fear is. They have not understood how much evil is brought about by allowing fear to remain in our lives, unchecked and unconquered. Fear will lead men and women to make baseless accusations against God, and it will persuade them to choose slavery to sin over a life of righteousness. This is why God has declared that above all others, the fearful will be the first to be cast into the lake of fire.
But the fearful, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.
You may say, “I don’t believe I am afraid of my addiction. I do not understand what fear has to do with it.” If you see your addiction as greater than your ability through Christ to overcome, then you are not walking in faith, but fear and unbelief. How common is it to hear a comment similar to the following, “I am afraid that I am not able to conquer this area of my life”? I have heard such confessions many times.
The Scriptures reveal that we will never be able to take possession of the land of our flesh, we will never be able to drive out the enemies, apart from faith. We must believe what God has said is true. We must put a greater weight upon the promises of God than the report of our eyes and ears. Only those who are feeding upon the Bread of Heaven will find this faith arising in their hearts.
Yahweh was so displeased with the response of the Israelites that He told them that they would receive exactly what they asked for. They had said, “It would be better that we had died in this wilderness,” so that is exactly the judgment He brought upon them. Their own words sealed their fate.
In the next chapter we will look at the importance of guarding our lips against speaking careless words of unbelief. I want to end this chapter on a positive note, however. Rather than taking Israel’s history as a negative lesson, I would like us to see the positive things that were revealed in the lives of Joshua and Caleb.
Although most of those alive who came out of Egypt failed to obtain the promise, everyone who believed obtained the promise. This should serve to encourage those who see so much defeat everywhere around them. What the story of Joshua and Caleb reveals is that even if all who are around you are falling short of victory due to evil desires, rebellion, fear and unbelief, those who will follow the Lord with a whole heart will ALWAYS obtain the promises of God. Yahweh will not disqualify you due to the unbelief of those around you. All those who have faith to take possession of the land of their flesh, will do so.
Joshua and Caleb witnessed every male over the age of twenty from their generation die in the wilderness. They observed that none of these entered the land to drive out the inhabitants that dwelt there. But they held fast to the promises of God, and they went into the land and have received the testimony that among all those of their generation, they were pleasing to the Father. This can be God’s testimony concerning your life as well.
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