The allotment of the land, part 23 - Predestination; Jos 14-17.

Class Outline:

Title: Joshua and Judges: The allotment of the land, part 23 - Predestination; Jos 14-17.  


Announcements / opening prayer:  


There are many ways in which man tries to deal with the reality of his world which he calls the achievements and attitudes of noble humanity.


I'd like to open tonight by looking at a few of these. One cannot help but have sympathy for the world and you must remember that there is not one of them that the love of God has not encompassed.


Reason: Cannot perceive the depths of that which is evil or holy since both of them are unreasonable.


That which is holy is God and His grace is unreasonable and illogical. Reason states that man should get what he deserves but grace gives what he doesn't deserve. Evil fights against God. Anyone who thinks that they can fight against God and win is unreasonable.


The rationalists believe that a little reason will give them the ability to understand the holy and the evil, but then they become bitterly disappointed at the unreasonableness of the world and they either withdraw from the world or succumb to it.


Fanaticism: these believe they can oppose evil with purity of will, but it always loses sight of the totality and essence of evil. It becomes entangled in non-essentials and petty details.


The fanatic is the bull that rushes at the red cloth and completely misses the one holding it. His fanaticism makes him run at every detail and non-essential and eventually he becomes very deceived, as if winning a non-essential detail is going to eradicate evil. He falls into the snare of a more skilled opponent.   


Conscience: those who rely solely on their conscience fight a lonely battle and they are eventually torn apart by the endless amount of conflicts in which they have to make choices.


He has no other aid or counsel apart from his own conscience. He has no idea that one conflict solved is always going to lead to another conflict and his conscience becomes weary and weak. Evil comes upon him in countless respectable and seductive disguises so that his conscience becomes timid and unsure of itself.


In the end he is satisfied if instead of a clear conscience he has a salved (soothed) one in which he lies to his own conscience in order to avoid despair.


A man whose only support is his conscience can never understand that a bad conscience may be healthier and stronger than a conscience which is deceived.


Duty: What is commanded is seized upon as surest. Responsibility rests upon the giver of the command and not on the one with the duty to execute it. Never acts from his own free responsibility which is the only kind of deed that will overcome evil.


Holding solely to duty these can never have a bold stroke of deed which is done of one's own free self-determination. Only a deed done from a free-will can strike at the heart of evil and overcome it. The man of duty will end by having to fulfill his obligation even to the devil.


Absolute freedom: takes the best possible course and is prepared to sacrifice any principle for a more fruitful compromise. He will easily consent to the bad, knowing it is bad, in order to ward off what is worse.


He acts in unrestrained freedom and so is not even constrained by principle of any kind and so he constantly compromises in order to find the best possible outcome. He is sure that he will always be able to find the less worse and so things must necessarily get better. What he will never be able to see is that what he thinks is worse may actually be better. This absolute freedom is the foundation of tragedy. Greek tragedy plays on it all the time.


Private or silent virtue: the man who doesn't steal or murder or lie but recuses himself of all public conflict. He is willfully blind and deaf to the wrongs surrounding him.


He is a private follower of the ten commandments and he finds goodness in not getting involved in any public conflict, be there a great wrong at his doorstep, it is not his problem. He must depend upon self-deception to safeguard his private blamelessness. He has no responsible action in the world. No matter how much he does it is what he doesn't do that robs him of peace. Either his quiet will destroy him or he will become the most hypocritical Pharisee.


There is also the crusader, which likely falls under the fanatic, the progressive who thinks that constant change is the answer, the minimalist who thinks we should go back to the stone age, and on and on.


All of these result in failure and frustration. These are the achievements and attitudes of noble humanity. Here is the immortal figure of Don Quixote, the knight of the melancholy countenance, who takes a barber's dish for a helmet and a miserable hack for a steed and who rides into endless battles for a lady who does not exist. It is the world taking to battle against the reality of its own evil. It is a mean spirited man who can read of what befell Don Quixote and not be stirred to sympathy.


It was Christ's business to replace rusty dull swords with freshly hewed sharp ones.


A man can hold his own in this world and walk in glory if he can combine simplicity and wisdom. Simple: fix one's eyes solely on Christ. Wisdom: fix one's eyes solely on God's will.


Not fettered by principles, but bound by love for God, he has been set free from the problems and conflicts of ethical decision. They no longer oppress him. he belongs simply and solely to God and to the will of God. It is precisely because he looks only to God, without any sidelong glance at the world, that he is able to look at the reality of the world freely and without prejudice. And that is how simplicity becomes wisdom.


The believer can behold God and the will of God and then he is able to see the reality of the world freely, without prejudice, and so his simplicity becomes wisdom.


God sees reality and in Him the believer does as well. If the believer tries to mix the achievements and attitudes of the world, that we have just seen, with the truth from God then he will be the most blind since he truly believes that he sees.


The wise man is the one who sees reality as it is, and who sees into the depths of things. That is why only that man is wise who sees reality in God.


To understand reality is not the same as knowing about outward events. The best informed man is not necessarily the wisest. In fact, there is a danger that precisely in the multiplicity of knowledge that one can lose sight of the essential.


The wise man of God knows that reality cannot be helped by even the purest of principles or by even the best of wills, but only by the living God.


The love of God does not withdraw from reality into noble souls secluded from the world. It experiences and suffers the reality of the world in all its hardness. The world exhausts its fury against the body of Christ. But, tormented, He forgives the world its sin. He didn't overthrow the world, but rather He subdued it by accomplishing reconciliation. This is the reality of God and every believer sees this and acts in its reality as a wise man with a simple vision.


In a manner which passes all comprehension God reverses the judgment of justice and piety, declares Himself the victim of judgment for the world, and thereby wipes out the world's guilt. There is no abyss of godlessness that God's love did not encompass.


We turn to the decisions of the believer in dealing with the world, others, circumstances, himself, and with God. The word of God calls this intensive judging. There is no contradiction here with the command to judge not.  


There is a judging that springs from the believer in union with God. It is a discerning of the proper action according to the will of God.


So then, it is proper to entitle this work in the soul as judgment, but it is not of the same fabric at all of the judgment of man.


1CO 2:14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.


1CO 2:15 But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no man.


"appraises" - avnakri,nw [anakrino] = to distinguish or to separate out so as to investigate (krino - judge) by looking throughout (ana - intensive) objects or particulars.


The spiritual man investigates, distinguishes, and discerns quite intensively and thoroughly, but what is he looking to see in his investigation? If he is in the realm of man's knowledge of good and evil, then he is looking to condemn or praise, reproach or approve, accuse or acquit. But if he is a spiritual man he is not looking for any such thing. The spiritual man is looking for the will of God for him towards the person or situation.


The natural man judges in order to condemn or praise while the spiritual man thoroughly investigates so that he may find the will of God in the situation.


The believer doesn't look at a situation and then when seeking the will of God go unconscious while God downloads the instructions and then the believer awakens with the knowledge to act. We study and study the word of God so that we become wise. The Holy Spirit teaches us and our conscience is filled with His will. When we see a situation from the standpoint of our own fellowship with God we can discern through the leading of the Spirit as to what the will of God is in the situation and so we act. We have a pure action and a singularity of action, which is the will of God alone.


An intense investigation of the will of God means that it is really necessary to examine what is the will of God, what is rightful in a given situation, what course is truly pleasing to God.


A Christian who is occupied with himself will never do this. All he sees is how everything around him effects him only and so he will not even think of others, never mind expending the energy to thoroughly investigate the will of God for them in the service of others.


This investigation of the will of God is totally voluntary. The believer has to decide that he is going to do so, and he will if he has decided that his Lord and his brothers and sisters are more important than himself.