Joshua 11 / Isaiah 15 / 2Timothy 1
Then the land had rest from war.
So Joshua took this entire land...it was the LORD himself who hardened their hearts to wage war against Israel, so that he might destroy them totally, exterminating them without mercy, as the LORD had commanded Moses.
As these invasion accounts are summarily written it seems like a breeze for Joshua going in and taking all of the cities in the land that God had given to the Israelites. He had to believe in the power of God to give the inhabitants of the land over to him. It was as God told Moses and Joshua, who had to believe God over what the situation appeared to be on the surface.
The LORD said to Joshua, "Do not be afraid of them, because by this time tomorrow I will hand all of them over to Israel, slain."
God reassured Joshua about this, but it was work on Joshua's part to believe that God would hand them over because the conspiracy of kings against Israel looked grim. He would have naturally tended toward fear, which could have swept him away by what appeared to be on the outside. Another work on Joshua's part was to be obedient to the word of God, that the inhabitants of the land had to be mercilessly wiped out so that not one breathing human was left. Then may have been a more barbaric time, but still killing seemingly innocent women and children would have been difficult. Even though they may have seemed innocent, they had the seed living in them which if kept alive would grow and tend toward leading God's people away from devoting themselves entirely to Him.
When the LORD your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations—the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, seven nations larger and stronger than you—and when the LORD your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy. Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, for they will turn your sons away from following me to serve other gods, and the LORD's anger will burn against you and will quickly destroy you. This is what you are to do to them: Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones, cut down their Asherah poles and burn their idols in the fire. For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.
This command is an important teaching for the sons because it encapsulates their purpose, now that they know they are chosen. No longer do they just live like they used to live, but they live to realize their new position. They have been searching all their lives for something that was always elusive to them because even though the seed was planted in them it still remained inaccessible and hidden until the appointed time when it was revealed to them. In the meantime they looked here and there, trying all the things that the humans claimed could get them what they were searching for, in vain because the humans don't know the Father nor do they know the way to His revelation, which is not something to be found out by the will or power of a man so that he can do with it what he does with everything he seeks to attain for himself—own and possess it so that he can control it for his own good, to enhance his survival dilemma a little bit more.
All the people they put to the sword until they completely destroyed them, not sparing anyone that breathed. As the LORD commanded his servant Moses, so Moses commanded Joshua, and Joshua did it; he left nothing undone of all that the LORD commanded Moses.
After the revealing happens then the sons are free to labor, struggle and fight another kind of enemy that is elusive and unfamiliar to them even though it is the closest thing to them. They are asked to betray themselves and the processes they used to employ to make themselves feel safer as an animal in their hostile world of competing animals. All of the ways they learned to accommodate themselves, particular to their own fear set, begin to be identified to them and they're shown a secret thing—that these things they once held so dear and lived to protect aren't actually good for them in the new way they've been chosen to adopt as a child of the living God, and therefore must be eliminated from their lives. The things they learned to trust in were taken into themselves and woven into the fabric of their lives so seamlessly that they did become part of the fabric of who they actually were; their identity amongst the humans, their various hopes, dreams and aspirations that used to make them feel an illusion of safety are all of a sudden no good because the light of the revelation of what they are and the way those things feed that illusion is shining into the places that were before in total darkness.
No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead he puts it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness. See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be completely lighted, as when the light of a lamp shines on you.
This isn't just fancy religious talk you hear in church, whereby pastor chicken heart wraps up his fabulous sermon on how everyone who conforms to their organization will be "goin' to heaven," because they'll continue to be the "good people" who are "full of light," as per the jesus god's promise to them and everyone else who forks over their financial and egotistical currencies the leaders require to keep the show going and the agreement flowing amongst each other that the gods are happy with their show. First they got their cheeky reports from the junior ministers about all the good they're doing down at the skateboard park, which starts to pull them into the agreement they want to feel. Then they move into the sing-alongs dripping with endorphin oozing melodic sentimentality about praising and worshipping the gods. Then they bring out the big guns as pastor happy pants delivers his sincere and forceful message, lightened and digestible by his religiously flavored stand-up punch lines. The entire show drives home and ties everything together in one big circus tent filled with the agreement of the consensus everyone feels toward everyone else—that they indeed are the good people, full of light, whom the gods must be so pleased with because of the emotional condition of that agreement that is manufactured by such a show.
The light that the Son of God teaches about isn't ordinary light, nor is it a matter of emotionally charged bouts of temporary hope that goes away when the feelings change. The illumination of the darkness is a rude light that we don't welcome because it shows us what we actually are which we love more than anything else because we've learned to feel safe in the place we created. More importantly, it illuminates our fears and hiding places that used to be dark so we could easily hide, unnoticed as we went along creating more places to hide in the various regions of darkness inside our heart that defined us as what we are—merely a frightened animal with the wild animal nature whose first and overriding instinct is to be afraid and then hide.
The Father chooses His own sons and initiates the process of illumination for the specific purpose that the darkness of the wild animal nature can be illuminated to them and they can move away from its domination over them to keep them in that condition they naturally love because they've learned to find a certain safety there. Although however secure they might feel there in that place they've created for themselves, the Father doesn't accept wild animals as sons. The various games that the humans play with one another—that they can keep their wild animal nature intact while they pretend they're something good because of the agreement of consensus they give to each other—are for the humans' sake. The sons of God are not allowed to play those games because that's just a condition of sedation that calms the fear and allows them to hide and feel an illusion of security.
"I will restore the fortunes of Jacob's tents
and have compassion on his dwellings;
Their leader will be one of their own;
their ruler will arise from among them.
"So you will be my people, and I will be your God."
These specific Israelites devoting themselves entirely to God is a copy of the better thing, which is His eternal purpose from before the beginning of time and why it was created. Notice that in Genesis, before the beginning of time, He created everything so that it would already exist, and then He created the reason for making everything else from what already existed (the soil). Then He plopped it down into the middle of everything else. Herein lies the grace of being particularly chosen, under which Paul knew he and the other sons were living in the first century, and the purpose of God for tolerating this creation. That purpose was being fulfilled in Paul and the other sons, which is why he was so willing to suffer the entire second half of his life without his animal hopes, dreams and expectations which he dumped for the sake of the Father's purpose because it was specifically revealed to him. He learned to conform to another, better way than his own. He learned to live not for himself as he did the first half, but for that purpose he was being made more aware of each day that he was moving more squarely underneath it.
This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
With the cursed humans the cart gets turned around so it's before the horse, because of the nature in them which drives them to naturally be ego-centric so everything's always about them. A perspective of humility can be gained by knowing that the only thing that matters is the reason that everything exists—not for the individuals who happen to be ruling this creation, but for the One who created it, that out of it He could draw the family of His very own sons who are definitely devoting themselves entirely to Him.
Join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.
The purpose of the Father is Him first, and the specific community of individuals who are part of that purpose, to whom grace is being extended—the other sons—second. Yes they are important to Him but not in the way they are naturally driven to want to be important. That they are inherently good so they feel important and special fulfills an evil craving inside the animals to feel the agreement of emotional survival they each seek to be better, more important, smarter, individually more perfect and able to be justified no matter who they are. That ubiquitous yet irrational phenomenon comes from within the nature that's in them, common to them all, the nature of the need to survive at all cost in as many ways as is possible.
God's true yet hidden sons have a different reality living inside them than what appears to be on the outside, on the surface as it appears to the rest of the humans. Just as the firstborn Son was hidden from the humans so that they all fell away from him, so all the sons are hidden from the humans who aren't chosen by the Father to become His own. Even those who were chosen by the Father for him (to give him a reason to continue on with his work) had a hard time seeing who he was, to the point that they cut him loose to protect their own selves when they felt threatened as the survival mode dictated to them by the animal inside them started kicking in hard.
After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, "Surely you are one of them, for your accent gives you away."
Then he began to call down curses on himself and he swore to them, "I don't know the man!" Immediately a rooster crowed. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: "Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times." And he went outside and wept bitterly.
It wasn't a human kind of power or love that was being encouraged, but something else, which was happening inside the sons to change them from one thing to another, not on the outside but on the inside where it matters. That's where the Father can live and see, not the humans. The humans are false in the sense that they are different in the secret places than they are on the outside, where the other humans can see them. The validity of their existence revolves around that external identity and what they can get from the humans they interact with.
God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
The sons of God interact with their Father, and their new identity comes from that interaction which cannot be seen by the other humans who are trying to force that interaction with whatever gods they've created and are trying to interact with on the outside. They go to their religious gatherings for the specific purpose of getting that validation from all the rest on the outside, where the humans live and move and have their being. They need to have that false validation because they're not interacting with the living God. If they were, they wouldn't make a mockery and a show out of it for each other as they keep trying to revalidate themselves with each other's approval that their false gods are alive.
That's why we separate ourselves from the world, because our involvement in it always pulls us back into its reality instead of the hidden reality that we've entered into, that which is different than the world's, unsubstantiated by it because it's not believed by those in it. It cannot be, because genuine belief is not initiated by the humans. Rather it is a response from them to the initiation by the Father, of the unseen reality that the humans won't/can't validate for the sons. Instead, they have to keep looking within themselves for that validation because that's the only place it will genuinely come from. The only humanoid types who can validate what is happening within them will be the ones to whom the same phenomenon is happening. It will not be the ones they would ever choose either, because that natural choice is driven by the animal nature, which is the evil in them. What we would naturally choose because of that are those humans whom we identified as who would be valuable to receive that validation from, according to the same evil in us that identified them as such.
According to them—those people around us who we crave that validation from, but who ironically and according to the purpose of the Father can't and won't hear the un hearable voice—what we say will seem stupid and crazy because it's not happening in them. We will fit the classic psychotic personality to a tee, thinking we hear a voice that isn't there, thinking there is another reality existing altogether apart from the natural order and that we play a special part in it which to the rest of the humans doesn't exist. Everything they know and think is all about the natural, what they can see and observe—their entire reality. Why wouldn't they think we are completely out of our minds? They aren't privy to what we have and know, it can't be verified by them, so we will just seem paranoid and out of touch, and there will be no way of us proving to them that we aren't.
Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, "He is out of his mind."
And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, "He is possessed by Beelzebub! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons."
At this point Festus interrupted Paul's defense. "You are out of your mind, Paul!" he shouted. "Your great learning is driving you insane."
A while ago one of the humans who was interested in "the spirit" came up to one of us asking all kind of questions, seemingly interested in what we were saying. What they actually wanted was just another thing they could get for themselves, as per their need to survive—some proof to validate their conception of what they think "the spirit" was doing in the first century. They wanted something that would be subservient to what they wanted to hold on to, what would integrate with everything they presently believe so that they wouldn't have to let go of the lies they want to hold on to. They are unwilling to believe because God's reality is different than anything the humans have ever learned. Because they want to hold on to what they have and are unwilling to believe God's truth could be so different than what they were willing to accept—because it challenges that sacrosanct thing they need to hold on to out of utter fear—they're just given over to it and the truth of God remains unavailable to them.
We don't know who He will choose to draw to what we have, nor should we ever assume anything along those lines because that comes from below, from the biased animal nature that is the evil inside us—choosing the evil from the evil that wants to choose because it wants a validation from below. We only know that it is unlike anything we expected to look and be like, what conclusions we drew, what is cemented into our psyche as something we feel we need to hang on to and not let go of—out of fear of not being able to control it. Ironically it is the very thing that disallows the humans to be found in Him. What good Father wants a bunch of little generals running around thinking the world revolves around them—which is always the case with the humans and the nature they serve and are ruled by. They're so convinced that the mud puddle they're splashing around in is the truth that they won't see anything else. The reason the lie is cemented into them so tightly is because of what they integrated into themselves when they became mature animals. It was a solid component of their philosophy which got translated into what their identity as a human now is. That is their identity of death, because it's so strong in them that it's pretty much impossible to convince anyone away from whatever it is, particular to the person.
Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the spirit (the unnatural , unseen, hidden—not validated by the humans—life of the Father and the Son) who lives in us.
What we have is totally foreign to what we wanted to hang on to while we were dead. I suppose our advantage was that we were never completely given over to one thing as the thing and way, and were convinced that the humans didn't have what they claimed to have. We always had suspicion that there was more, something else, another deeper truth that wasn't being touched by any of the humans who claimed to have the end-all truth about the way to God. In a certain sense we always knew that they were lying somehow; we just didn't know how they were wrong, or what that deeper truth was. Although the numbers were bothersome; so many people claimed to know the way to God, but they all seemed wrong.
Now we know that the true sons have to be chosen by God to be able to know that deepest truth about who and where their true Father is; and it didn't happen until a certain appointed time in our life. In other words, although we wanted to know the truth, we couldn't just find it because we wanted to, what the religious groups claim they can. The randomness of the humans, that anyone can just reach out and grab the way to God—all they gotta do is want it—is a misguided lie. It is totally ignored even though it is clear in the scriptural accounts that God chooses those He wants to be His and to know Him. To know Him, we have to know that secret, hidden truth about Him, and that has to be given; it is never taken by the power of the individual, or yet another human right, or able to be earned.
I thank God, whom I serve, as my forefathers did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers.
Who is Paul referring to when he mentions his forefathers who served God? Certainly not Israel as a whole, who was more an unfaithful than a faithful wife to God. He was speaking about the sliver of men in every generation, the sons that she produced for God, who wanted that deeper truth about Him more than themselves. These were the real sons of Abraham, those who looked like him not because of their natural descent but their spiritual response to God when He came to them. It is the group of chosen ones from each generation, to whom God came and revealed that truth, often creating an adversarial relationship between them and the rest of the humans so they'd be separated to Him, apart from the lies of the animal which are constantly reinforced in the humans.
The sons of God in the OT were also the sons of Abraham because they heard God's voice and responded to Him despite what that meant on the outside, in the natural. Abraham heard God tell him things and he believed Him, even though it looked impossible. What made Abraham Abraham, though—responding to God in faith—was how he heeded the voice of God when He asked him to go out from the life he knew, to somewhere relatively uninhabited, and to kill his own child with a knife. How wrong did that look, and how much justification could Abraham have produced within himself to not do it. The fact that this child was promised to him and he waited a hundred years for him, and he came as the miracle child from God made killing Isaac stranger and harder than we can understand.
The thing for us to know is that this is a copy for our lives, that the voice will say things that will not jive with what the rest of the people think, say and do—and we will either believe it or not. It will be easy to rationalize that it isn't the right way, especially when everyone else is saying we must be crazy. And they will be correct according to their reality, which isn't privy to what we know in us. They will have their validation, and those who were reluctant before to give it to them will, to invalidate our reality.
The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him. Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate. That day Herod and Pilate became friends—before this they had been enemies.
That is the point to faith in responding to God even though it looks completely and apparently that He is not doing/saying what we think. That is the point on record in account after account in the scriptures that we can read, yet it is dismissed because it isn't the reality of the humans. It only happens to a few of them, and why it's worth so much, so valuable.
The reason this Abraham/Isaac sacrifice episode exists is as the copy for us, that God Himself had the perfect child who resembled Him in all ways, because he never moved over from vulnerable child alive to God to dead mature animal. And God did, not in theory but reality, what he asked Abraham to do. He allowed the unclean animals to kill Jesus, ironically thinking they were doing Him a favor. At the hands of detestable men he was offered up by his own Father to be sacrificed, and he willingly went as the Lamb—ironically again, the only human who didn't ever cross over to death. By not being dead, and remaining pure by denying the animal nature the ability to rule him, he had the ability to destroy the power of sin, the animal nature, in God's other sons who are helplessly in prison to it as animals dead to God.
Jesus knew the story of Abraham and Isaac and he knew that he was the Lamb of God. Jesus knew that Abraham was allowed to not kill Isaac when God saw his willing heart and he thought that maybe he too might be able to escape death as Isaac had. In the garden he asked his Father 3 times to allow him to live, to not have to go through with the sacrifice that was about to happen.
Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. "Abba, Father," he said, "everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will."
After he went the third time to pray, he seems to have a renewed resolution about doing what he knew he had to do. It seems that he was given extra understanding about who he was, and power to be that Lamb of God that had to be slain, but would be raised afterwards. But he nevertheless had to do the hard thing and actually believe that was true, and not just something he made up. As he was praying the third time, he was no doubt told again about his importance, and assured about his resurrection, and so he had to believe God was willing and able to do what He promised. That is the work we have to do, and it is work—harder than any other work. The good Son teaches the other sons how to do the work so we are strong and unpolluted by the snake, and clean for the Father.
If you hold to my teaching, you are my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
What he did by obeying God and allowing himself to be led to the slaughter, as any natural lamb would, was even more important than the work he did while he was alive, because by it he saved all of God's sons. While he lived on the earth, he revealed the Father to those given to him, and he taught them to love God's things instead of what they were already completely given over to as dead animals. God's offering up the thing He valued most in all creation and Jesus' complete willingness to suffer as that Lamb made it possible for each of God's sons to be freed from the power of death, the nature of the snake. His sons could now be born by His nature, as Jesus had been, instead of the nature of the animal that all men are completely in prison to.
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
What we think in our minds when we read this verse is not correct. Because of the humanistic view of God that the world created (that God loves everyone) we read "...who takes away the sin of the world" to mean that he takes away the sin for every human in the whole world. What John is saying is that Jesus is the Lamb, written about in the OT, who is worthy to take away the sin of the world from the sons who are chosen by God to be pulled out of that world—ruled by the human animals who are ruled by the wild animal nature. He is the One who can set the sons of God free from the animal nature, which is what he killed on the cross. By being one who was never ruled by the animal nature he was the one who could kill its power to hold his brothers in the grave (hell).
What allowed him to do it was the life that lived in him, that no one could see. The seed of God, the spirit of life, the deposit and guarantee—the half of Jesus that was God and not Mary. It was the mark of God, the blood on the doorposts of his heart, that allowed the angel of death to pass over him and allowed him to be redeemed from the ground as God had promised, to the incorruptible being that he now exists as. It is that same spirit that will give us life one day after our bodies are gone and we are in the grave. That is the mark which the angel of life will recognize and know that we belong to God and therefore need to be raised up as Jesus was. The mark is God's name, and if it is not there then the angel of life will pass over us as surely as the angel of death passed over the Jewish houses that had the blood on their doorposts, and every house in Jericho where there was no scarlet cord in the window.