Joshua and Judges: Joshua's northern campaign, part 3; Jos 11.
Title: Joshua and Judges: Joshua's northern campaign, part 3; Jos 11.
Announcements / opening prayer:
Joshua did all that the Lord had told him.
To obey all that God demands takes a heart of devotion and commitment to Him alone. Such a heart far outweighs any ritual or procedure.
1Sa 15:16 Then Samuel said to Saul, "Wait, and let me tell you what the Lord said to me last night." And he said to him, "Speak!"
1Sa 15:17 And Samuel said, "Is it not true, though you were little in your own eyes, you were made the head of the tribes of Israel? And the Lord anointed you king over Israel,
1Sa 15:18 and the Lord sent you on a mission, and said, 'Go and utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are exterminated.'
1Sa 15:19 "Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord, but rushed upon the spoil and did what was evil in the sight of the Lord?"
1Sa 15:20 Then Saul said to Samuel, "I did obey the voice of the Lord, and went on the mission on which the Lord sent me, and have brought back Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites.
Self-justification: Doing a part of the will of God while pursuing the flesh and imagining that the former justifies the latter.
1Sa 15:21 But the people took some of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the choicest of the things devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to the Lord your God at Gilgal."
1Sa 15:22 And Samuel said,
"Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
As in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
And to heed than the fat of rams.
1Sa 15:23 "For rebellion is as the sin of divination,
And insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
He has also rejected you from being king."
By saying this, Samuel did not reject sacrifices as worthless; he did not say that God took no pleasure in burnt-offerings and slain-offerings, but simply compared sacrifice with obedience to the command of God, and pronounced the obedience of greater worth than the sacrifice.
To perform sacrifices without obedience is rebellion. Example: serving another person without love.
If I were to do things for another or open my home to them or feed and clothe them, or pray for them, or any other number of things I could do in service of others and I do so without agape love in my heart then I am rebelling against God.
And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
I would be treating God's virtue as vain and meaningless by just going through the motions.
Sacrifices without obedience to the commandments of God are utterly worthless; in fact, are displeasing to God, Psa 50:8ff; Isa 1:11ff; Jer 6:20.
Offering the sacrifice was a form of OT worship. In worshipping God for His grace and faithfulness it would be utterly preposterous to not offer your own obedience.
Every person follows something. It is the essence of the human conscience that we follow a goal or a desire. The flesh, the world, and the kingdom of darkness have desires that they follow. These range from very basic animal instincts to more sophisticated ones. So then, to not obey God is to obey something or someone else. For a person to say that he worships God while simultaneously not obeying God makes his claim false and it becomes just lip service.
Then the Lord said,
"Because this people draw near with their words
And honor Me with their lip service,
But they remove their hearts far from Me,
And their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote,
This had become the conscience of the leadership of Israel at the time of Christ's advent.
"You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying,
'This people honors Me with their lips,
But their heart is far away from Me.
'But in vain do they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.'
How does one worship God without obedience? What does disobedient worship look like? It would look like a person going through the motions, and eventually, his true desires will be revealed. Yet nothing is ever hidden from God.
"But he who kills an ox is like one who slays a man; He who sacrifices a lamb is like the one who breaks a dog's neck; He who offers a grain offering is like one who offers swine's blood; He who burns incense is like the one who blesses an idol. As they have chosen their own ways, And their soul delights in their abominations,
But yet, they keep right on offering the sacrifices. There is a reason for the sacrifice and it is not justification for sin. When they offered the animal they were to know that it meant an incredible sacrifice for the coming Messiah who was innocent of all sin and that they were submitting to Him in obedience.
In sacrifices, a man offers only the strange flesh of irrational animals, whereas in obedience he offers his own will, which is rational or spiritual worship.
Rituals are also irrational if the meaning behind them is not known and loved. Our one ritual in the church is just juice and crackers; inanimate, unthinking, things that are unable to obey anything. And this is all it will be to anyone who does not know and love the Lord. But to the believer who loves the Lord and the sacrifice of His body and the sacrifice of His fellowship with the Father so that He would become the perfect substitute, taking the judgment of God away from us and onto Himself, and loves the new covenant in His blood that this sacrifice has earned for us, then the Lord's Supper is a priceless time of thankfulness as well as a reminder of why it is Him that we follow and obey, and therefore worship.
Everything we do in worship of the Lord must be done in the real and very deep meaning of the reason God has graciously blessed us with this work.
Why do you serve? Why do I serve you with teaching? Why do you encourage another? Why do you give? Why do you show mercy and love? If a believer can't answer that then he is just doing things for the sake of doing them and likely he is only looking to some reward he may receive, which can simply be that he imagines that doing stuff will keep divine discipline away from him, or there is some material reward, but the real reward in the work is the work itself. To not understand this is to just do things for the sake of doing them and when the desires of the flesh interfere with the doing, there will be no doing, because there is no real motivation.
Rom 12:3 For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.
Rom 12:4 For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function,
Rom 12:5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
Rom 12:6 And since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let each exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith;
Rom 12:7 if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching;
Rom 12:8 or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
If service, in his serving means that the believer sees serving as the true reward in the act of serving and he is not looking for anything else. This would mean he would have to love serving, and there is only one way in which such a virtue is realized, and that is by knowing the Lord and loving the Lord.
As we saw extensively in our leadership study that the way of the Lord is serving. It is the Master's master principle. The greatest among you shall be your servant. Did He serve so that He could get something else? To do so is to strip the word "serve" of all its meaning, for that is serving self in the end.