Today I am home in Bellingham. We had a blessed day yesterday. The family gathered with friends to celebrate our youngest granddaughter turn two. Zaria is growing and such a wonderful little girl! It was a good day.
Let me continue again on some attributes of a culture of grace. God’s grace is the power of His presence in our lives that enables us to overcome all things. It is the power of God’s presence in our lives that transforms our hearts and minds from within. God’s grace enables us to choose the things that God wants more than what we would want without Him. Grace is not God accepting us living a life that is determined by our own desires and passions. God’s grace doesn’t come to condone our flaws and limitations, God’s grace empowers our lives to become a testimony of His transformations. His desires in our hearts and minds always prove to be more wonderful and amazing that anything we seek to hold on to from our own self-preserving ways.
There was a day in the Old Testament when Joshua and the armies of Israel faced five Amorite kings. The name Amorite means, bitterness; thus, I believe that the battle of Joshua represented our own deliverance from the strongholds of bitterness in our lives. God wants to roll away the reproach of the bitter wounds in our lives. Those bitter wounds have left us bound to limitations in becoming who God intends for us to be. If we are honest, many of our desires and many of the attributes in our lives have been shaped and bound by bitter experiences in our past or inheritances rooted in some bitter curse of despair. We must not be afraid of the bitter strongholds of our hearts and minds, but we must face them and know that God’s grace is sufficient to empower us to overcome in all things.
Joshua 10:7 So Joshua ascended from Gilgal, he and all the people of war with him, and all the mighty men of valor. 8 And the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not fear them, for I have delivered them into your hand; not a man of them shall stand before you.”
When Joshua pursued his enemy, the Lord fought with him in a supernatural way. When we stand to overcome the things of bitterness that resist us from being who we are meant to be in Christ, we can expect that God will fight with us in a supernatural way. This is the testimony of grace!
Joshua 10:9 Joshua therefore came upon them suddenly, having marched all night from Gilgal. 10 So the Lord routed them before Israel, killed them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, chased them along the road that goes to Beth Horon, and struck them down as far as Azekah and Makkedah. 11 And it happened, as they fled before Israel and were on the descent of Beth Horon, that the Lord cast down large hailstones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died. There were more who died from the hailstones than the children of Israel killed with the sword.
Joshua 10:12 Then Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel: “Sun, stand still over Gibeon; and Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.” 13 So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the people had revenge upon their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day.
Joshua 10:14 And there has been no day like that, before it or after it, that the Lord heeded the voice of a man; for the Lord fought for Israel.
When Joshua was in the battle, God turned the sun back and gave him another day in the battle. Imagine; Joshua is fighting in a battle with the enemy. He is running out of time to defeat the enemy so he asks God for more time. He may have had a finger missing. He may have had a few gashes in his flesh and wounds in his body from the combat of battle. He had been in the battle with a sword. A heavy sword! He had been likely fighting for 12 to 16 hours and he cried out to God for more time! We can do this! We can overcome! Give me another day to risk my life. Give me another opportunity to lose another finger. Give me the opportunity to suffer longer. We can do this! Give me another day. That day God heeded the voice of a man. He turned the sun back and gave Joshua another day.
Joshua did not fight the battle for the fulfillment of his own desires. He fought for the sake of his people. He fought for the namesake of God. He fought for the wellbeing of others. While the battle was going on Joshua captured five Amorite kings. The name Amorite means, bitterness. These were kings of bitterness. He locked them in a cave and when the battle was done he called the next generation to reap the reward of his victory. He told those men to put their foot on the necks of those kings. Joshua defeated a bitterness of the past and made it so the next generation had the victory over that bitterness. I believe this is God’s intention for us all. God’s grace doesn’t just empower us to overcome, it empowers us to overcome all things for the sake of others.
God is removing the headship of promiscuity and legalism. They are rooted in the realm of time. Even as God stopped the sun in the day of Joshua, God wants to free us from things that are bound to the realm of time. Religious legalism is a result of a bitter root. It is mean and angry and it trying to control those who embrace it as truth and inspire them to control the lives of others. It attempts to assure those that embrace this stronghold of thinking that what caused the wound of bitterness will never happen again and it is more bitter than anything that happened. Promiscuity is the same. I can do anything. All things are lawful for me. I can do anything I desire! These are the song of a bitter wound seeking freedom from its root of pain. God’s grace can give us the victory of the bitter roots bound to time. Grace can turn back the sun and stop the moon for the sake of life for the future generations of our lives.
2 Corinthians 10:23 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. 24 Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.
The statement that all things are lawful requires the added testimony of grace. God doesn’t want us to measure things by what is lawful or what is not lawful. He wants us to come to another level of understanding as the children of God. He wants us not to be that ignorant. We should not have to be told what to do. He doesn’t want to tell us how to act. He wants us to know what to do and how to act. He wants a revolution A revolution of grace, a human race that is empowered by grace. People of God do not only know who God is, but they live with a revelation of who they are and they seek to know Him in every way that He is.
I know You are my Father. I know You forgive me of my sins. Now I want to know how You do that God? How can you be like that God? I want to be like You when I grow up? How do You do it? How do You love us? How can You forgive us of our sins? I want to be like You when I grow up, Father. I want to be able to look at the most unforgiveable things and see them as forgiven. I also want to be like You in that I want to empower others overcome all things. I want to help them put their feet on the necks of bitterness. I want them to overcome the wickedness that tried to destroy them with bitterness of soul.
Ted J. Hanson