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Mar10TueMarch 10, 2015Yesterday we talked about tearing down. I want to continue with this and look at it from a couple of different vantage points. The first is from the original command to take the land already promised to them. Another vantage point that I will talk about tomorrow is tearing down what was rebuilt in the Promised Land. This will look at the good and bad Kings. First of all before taking the original Promised Land, the people rebelled against God. Numbers 14:1 “That night all the members of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. 2 All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness! 3 Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” 4 And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.” Because they did not believe the promise, they had to wait. Deuteronomy 2:14 “Thirty-eight years passed from the time we left Kadesh Barnea until we crossed the Zered Valley. By then, that entire generation of fighting men had perished from the camp, as the Lord had sworn to them.” Numbers 26:65 “For the Lord had told those Israelites they would surely die in the wilderness, and not one of them was left except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.” Numbers 32:12 not one except Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua son of Nun, for they followed the Lord whole- heartedly.” These are more examples of why we must believe and obey the word of God.God had already promised this land to them. The designated name of the land is not complicated as it is the “promised” “land”. They were told how this promise would happen and it did not matter how big the enemy was, they had the power of God’s word, his promise to them. When we take the land we are commanded to tear down and we are given the power to do it. This is still the same today. 2 Corinthians 10:4 “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” Exodus 23:20 “See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared. 21 Pay attention to him and listen to what he says. Do not rebel against him; he will not forgive your rebellion, since my Name is in him. 22 If you listen carefully to what he says and do all that I say, I will be an enemy to your enemies and will oppose those who oppose you. (I continue to ask this question; why would it be different with Jesus? We must do the same and pay attention. Disobedience to Jesus will lead to defeat.) 23 My angel will go ahead of you and bring you into the land of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites and Jebusites, and I will wipe them out. 24 Do not bow down before their gods or worship them or follow their practices. You must demolish them and break their sacred stones to pieces. 25 Worship the Lord your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you, 26 and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span.” Healing is a touchy subject but I find it interesting that this was the promise then, then Jesus healed the sick and James 5:14 said, is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” Later in Deuteronomy 29 “Your children who follow you in later generations and foreigners who come from distant lands will see the calamities that have fallen on the land and the diseases with which the Lord has afflicted it.” We have a lot of diseases, just saying.Now it was Joshua’s turn to take the land. Numbers 27:18 “So the Lord said to Moses, “Take Joshua son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit of leadership, and lay your hand on him. 19 Have him stand before Eleazar the priest and the entire assembly and commission him in their presence. 20 Give him some of your authority so the whole Israelite community will obey him.” In order for Joshua to take the land they had to tear down what was there Numbers 33:50 “On the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho the Lord said to Moses, 51 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you cross the Jordan into Canaan, 52 drive out all the inhabitants of the land before you. Destroy all their carved images and their cast idols, and demolish all their high places.” Earlier Moses had said in Exodus 34:8 Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped. 9 “Lord,” he said, “if I have found favor in your eyes, then let the Lord go with us. Although this is a stiff-necked people, forgive our wickedness and our sin, and take us as your inheritance.” 10 Then the Lord said: “I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the Lord, will do for you. 11 Obey what I command you today. I will drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 12 Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going, or they will be a snare among you. 13 Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and cut down their Asherah poles. 14 Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” 2 Kings 17:40 “They would not listen, however, but persisted in their former practices. 41 Even while these people were worshiping the Lord, they were serving their idols. To this day their children and grandchildren continue to do as their ancestors did.” We have the power in Jesus and in the power of the Holy Spirit to tear down but we cannot go on living with former practices in our lives. There are too many Christians and churches with one foot in the world and another in the church. You can’t have both.Along with the promise there is always a warning, which says in Leviticus 18:3 “You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices. Deuteronomy 4:23 “Be careful not to forget the covenant of the Lord your God that he made with you; do not make for yourselves an idol in the form of anything the Lord your God has forbidden.” Leviticus 20:22 “‘Keep all my decrees and laws and follow them, so that the land where I am bringing you to live may not vomit you out. 23 You must not live according to the customs of the nations I am going to drive out before you. Because they did all these things, I abhorred them. 24 But I said to you, “You will possess their land; I will give it to you as an inheritance, a land flowing with milk and honey.” I am the Lord your God, who has set you apart from the nations. 25 “You must therefore make a distinction between clean and unclean animals and between unclean and clean birds. Do not defile yourselves by any animal or bird or anything that moves along the ground—those that I have set apart as unclean for you. 26 You are to be holy to me because I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own.” Today we must return to making a distinction between the holy and unholy.We are to be in covenant with the Lord God. Deuteronomy 29:19 “You are standing here in order to enter into a covenant with the Lord your God, a covenant the Lord is making with you this day and sealing with an oath, 13 to confirm you this day as his people, that he may be your God as he promised you and as he swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 14 I am making this covenant, with its oath, not only with you 15 who are standing here with us today in the presence of the Lord our God but also with those who are not here today. 16 You yourselves know how we lived in Egypt and how we passed through the countries on the way here. 17 You saw among them their detestable images and idols of wood and stone, of silver and gold. 18 Make sure there is no man or woman, clan or tribe among you today whose heart turns away from the Lord our God to go and worship the gods of those nations; make sure there is no root among you that produces such bitter poison.19 When such a person hears the words of this oath and they invoke a blessing on themselves, thinking, “I will be safe, even though I persist in going my own way,” (This is still true today) they will bring disaster on the watered land as well as the dry. 20 The Lord will never be willing to forgive them; his wrath and zeal will burn against them. All the curses written in this book will fall on them, and the Lord will blot out their names from under heaven. 21 The Lord will single them out from all the tribes of Israel for disaster, according to all the curses of the covenant written in this Book of the Law. 22 Your children who follow you in later generations and foreigners who come from distant lands will see the calamities that have fallen on the land and the diseases with which the Lord has afflicted it. 23 The whole land will be a burning waste of salt and sulfur—nothing planted, nothing sprouting, no vegetation growing on it. It will be like the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboyim, which the Lord overthrew in fierce anger. 24 All the nations will ask: “Why has the Lord done this to this land? Why this fierce, burning anger?” 25 And the answer will be: “It is because this people abandoned the covenant of the Lord, the God of their ancestors, the covenant he made with them when he brought them out of Egypt. 26 They went off and worshiped other gods and bowed down to them, gods they did not know, gods he had not given them. 27 Therefore the Lord’s anger burned against this land, so that he brought on it all the curses written in this book. 28 In furious anger and in great wrath the Lord uprooted them from their land and thrust them into another land, as it is now.” The modern church has forgotten about the wrath of God, Yes it was satisfied with Jesus as the song says but the wrath returns when we do not obey God’s word.This gives us a good perspective as to how serious this is when it comes to following Jesus Christ and the new covenant. Yes this is the Old Testament but what many Christians are missing in the New Testament is the “what if you don’t follow wholeheartedly” question. “If” is a big word in the bible. Some have simplified that process by saying it doesn’t matter, once saved always saved. This is a very strong belief for many but shy on scriptural evidence. Who wouldn’t want to believe something that takes the pressure off? Wholehearted or not, you are okay. But wait a minute lets apply that to temperatures. Lukewarm or hot it doesn’t matter, I think not. Just like Israel was vomited out of the Promised Land and only a few survived, the luke warm are going to be spewed out also. We must tear down the life of sin and sin no more. This is done in the power of the Holy Spirit. 1 John 3:9 “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.” God in the name of Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit gives us the power to tear down sin in our lives. How is it that so many Christians say they are still sinners even though they are saved by grace? We need to return to obeying the word of God so we can tear down the strongholds, destroy the idols and demolish the high places in our lives and in the lives of those around us. Once again the church needs to obey the word of God so we can take the land, but we must be prepared to tear down so that we can be transformed.