More Than Conquerors, 6: Who Then Is The Victor?
- Thursday, September 18, 2003
Or, how about this name: Joshua.
The book of Joshua begins with these words: After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses' aide: "Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them-to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates-all the Hittite country-to the Great Sea on the west. No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous."
While in Israel last year I had the rare privilege of going down into the very depths of what was once an industrious city, Hazor. (The story of its fall to Joshua can be found in Joshua 11 and my column written for Crosswalk can be read here.) What Joshua did in Hazor he did in no other Northern city; he burned it to the ground. The soot from his fire remains, clinging to the walls, even to this day. As I touched it (if you went to the story on Hazor you will see a photo of me touching the sooty walls), and as I rubbed the black dust between my fingers, I reflected that this was the remains of Joshua's fire.
Joshua's fire. As though he were the only soldier carrying a torch. But it not the individual solders who get the credit. It's Joshua.
Or is it?
Look back with me at what God said to Joshua in His marching orders: Get ready.
Get ready to do what? To cross the Jordan. Why? So that you can go into the Promised Land. And do what? Conqueror it. How? As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.
When God said "Get ready," the Hebrew word used was "Quwm" (pronounced koom), which means to rise, arise, stand, rise up, stand up, be firmly established.... I am immediately reminded of Paul's command when he wrote of the armor of God in Ephesians 6.
Paul wrote: Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Paul's words to us sound a lot like God's orders to Joshua!
The New Testament Greek Lexicon treats the word "conquer" thusly: to be more than a conqueror, to gain a surpassing victory. Therefore: get ready (rise up, put on the whole armor of God, and then stand firmly established in what God has called you to do). Cross the Jordan (whatever seems to be between you and what God has promised you, no matter how insurmountable it may appear...march forward). Conquer (do more than conquer...overwhelmingly possess)!
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