Awesome Hands – part 160: “Be strong and of a good courage”

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Awesome Hands – part 160

“Be strong and of a good courage”

November 30, 2019

This awesome hands study marks the end of one journey and the beginning of a new one for the people of Israel.

With this mentioning of the word hand, we find ourselves reading about the death of Moses and the birth of Joshua of Nun leading the people of Israel into the promised land.

Being that we will be primarily reading out of Joshua today, I wanted to make sure we read the two times that hands are mentioned here at the end of Deuteronomy 34.

Deu 34:5  So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD.
Deu 34:6  And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day.
Deu 34:7  And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.
Deu 34:8  And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days: so the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended.
Deu 34:9  And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the LORD commanded Moses.
Deu 34:10  And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face,
Deu 34:11  In all the signs and the wonders, which the LORD sent him to do in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to all his land,
Deu 34:12  And in all that mighty hand, and in all the great terror which Moses shewed in the sight of all Israel.

Moses was mourned for 30 days which tells us there is always a price for the flesh to be mourned. It isn’t something that we just suddenly get over when we discover that our old man is dying.

Obviously, Moses was physically dead, but in type and shadow we all do the same for the old lives we once lived when we finally come to realize what our calling truly entails - life coming forth from death.

The children of Israel could not go forth toward a land that flows with milk and honey until the old man died.

Before Moses died, there was the very important act of Moses making sure the children of Israel knew whom they should follow. Moses laid his hands on Joshua and the children of Israel hearkened unto him.

Notice though that this act was directed by the Lord because we are told that Joshua “did as the Lord commanded Moses.

This is nothing different than what we are told by Paul since he shows us the same pattern.

1Co 11:1  Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

Our next mentions of the word “hand” is found in Joshua 2. However, we must properly set the scene for what Israel is doing leading up to chapter 2.

Jos 1:2  Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.
Jos 1:3  Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.
Jos 1:4  From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast.
Jos 1:5  There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
Jos 1:6  Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.
Jos 1:10  Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying,
Jos 1:11  Pass through the host, and command the people, saying, Prepare you victuals; for within three days ye shall pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land, which the LORD your God giveth you to possess it.

I think it is important to read chapter one because it shows us that the Lord prepares our steps way before we are ready to walk them.

We see the death of Moses, which was a heavy thing to endure for Israel, and now the Lord is sending the Israelites to the promised land.

In type, this is very telling for how it is the Lord deals with us. The “old man” Moses is mourned for 30 days. Jesus was “about 30” when His ministry started which started after He was baptized and went into the wilderness for 40 days to be tempted of the devil.

Baptism is representative of the old man dying in this type and shadow.

Luk 3:21  Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,
Luk 3:22  And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.
Luk 3:23  And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,

Likewise, the Israelites are about to cross the river Jordan and be “baptized” in type and shadow.

Before they go into the land, Joshua sends two men to spy out the land.

A harlot named Rahab helps them by concocting a plan to help them survive this spy mission they are involved in. This story is better than any James Bond 007 movie you can watch today 😊

The next mentioning of the Hebrew word “yad” is not mentioned until verses 19 and 24, but this whole chapter is a really good read. So, we are going to read most of it and talk about the finer details throughout the rest of this study.

Jos 2:1  And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot's house, named Rahab, and lodged there.
Jos 2:2  And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, Behold, there came men in hither to night of the children of Israel to search out the country.
Jos 2:3  And the king of Jericho sent unto Rahab, saying, Bring forth the men that are come to thee, which are entered into thine house: for they be come to search out all the country.
Jos 2:4  And the woman took the two men, and hid them, and said thus, There came men unto me, but I wist not whence they were:
Jos 2:5  And it came to pass about the time of shutting of the gate, when it was dark, that the men went out: whither the men went I wot not: pursue after them quickly; for ye shall overtake them.

Now, we have the king of Jericho sending for Rahab to find out where these spies are. It would be kind of hard to miss this huge gathering of people just across the river which could be on the march at any time.

Therefore, it is not a stretch to imagine that this king was having the Israelites watched to see what their next move was.

Notice that Rahab lies to the king and tells Jericho that she doesn’t know where these men are. Her life and her entire house are now in peril due to what is happening, and I am sure we can all imagine what it must have felt like to be in such distress.

On one side, you have the nation you live in demanding you tell them where the spies are that just lodged in your house, and on the other, you have two men representing what is about to be an invading army come to take over the land.

Indeed, Lord deliver me in my distresses is a relatable mindset here for Rahab!

Jos 2:6  But she had brought them up to the roof of the house, and hid them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order upon the roof.
Jos 2:7  And the men pursued after them the way to Jordan unto the fords: and as soon as they which pursued after them were gone out, they shut the gate.
Jos 2:8  And before they were laid down, she came up unto them upon the roof;

I can’t help but think of Matthew 10 when Jesus tells us to “fear not therefore”.  In Matthew 10, Jesus is telling His disciples that they will face persecution because He faced persecution among other things.

He tells them this so that they can understand, that as the master is, so are the followers.

Mat 10:23  But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.
Mat 10:24  The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.
Mat 10:25  It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?

What Jesus is telling them is meant to comfort them because “the unknown” really bothers us mere mortals. We really struggle with the unknown in anything we are dealing with. We, as humans, struggle with the “what if’s” of life.

Jesus, knowing this about His disciples, tells them in Matthew 10 what will happen when you follow Him indeed. He also tells us what mindset to have.

You might be asking yourself how this relates to Rahab and the two spies? Well, the spies go into a strange land at the command of Joshua and they suddenly find themselves being very close to being caught very close to when they started spying out the land. Then, you have Rahab on the other side of the equation who is stuck behind a rock and hard place. I’d say they all had reason to be in distress. Their lives were all in immediate danger.

Yet, we are told by Jesus:

Mat 10:26  Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.
Mat 10:27  What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.
Mat 10:28  And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Mat 10:29  Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
Mat 10:30  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Mat 10:31  Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

Now we find our harlot Rahab on a rooftop with the spies of the Lord, and we are about to hear her preach a little bit. We are going to hear her speak about what she knows to be truth starring her in the face.

Jos 2:9  And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you.
Jos 2:10  For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed.
Jos 2:11  And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.

Preach it sister, preach it. “For the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath” is saying something coming from this harlot woman who is NOT an Israelite in the flesh.

Yet, she still knows what is happening and she is preparing for the inevitable day of the visitation of the Lord with His armies. What then is left to do? She prays.

Jos 2:12  Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the LORD, since I have shewed you kindness, that ye will also shew kindness unto my father's house, and give me a true token:
Jos 2:13  And that ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.

Yes, she doesn’t pray to the Lord, I know. Yet, she prays to the spies right in front of her because this is what she is able to do. I’d say she is showing a lot of faith here. She is asking for a deal.

She is doing whatever it is that is needed to preserve her house in the face of what is sitting on her proverbial doorstep.

So yes, she prays to these two ambassadors for Israel. It is much like the centurion solder speaking with Jesus. Let us enter into the “village of comfort”, Capernaum.

Luk 7:1  Now when he had ended all his sayings in the audience of the people, he entered into Capernaum.
Luk 7:2  And a certain centurion's servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die.
Luk 7:3  And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant.
Luk 7:4  And when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, saying, That he was worthy for whom he should do this:
Luk 7:5  For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue.
Luk 7:6  Then Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof:
Luk 7:7  Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed.
Luk 7:8  For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.
Luk 7:9  When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

See, harlot Rahab knows she is not anything special and she certainly knows that she is a part of the country that is being visited by the people of God.

She is about to be besieged, unlike the centurion soldier, but both scenarios find these people in one of the hardest to deal with distresses – imminent death.

One is on the rooftop, and one sends outside of his house to find the people of God. In both cases, these people go outside to find what they need to help those inside.

This is simply just an acknowledgment that what is needed is found outside their current households, countries and comfort zones. In other words, they need the Lord.

They acknowledge the current truth of the reality they are in and then they search out a way to remedy it with the help of the Lord.

Jos 2:14  And the men answered her, Our life for yours, if ye utter not this our business. And it shall be, when the LORD hath given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with thee.
Jos 2:15  Then she let them down by a cord through the window: for her house was upon the town wall, and she dwelt upon the wall.
Jos 2:16  And she said unto them, Get you to the mountain, lest the pursuers meet you; and hide yourselves there three days, until the pursuers be returned: and afterward may ye go your way.

Again, we see a process being worked by the Lord. When we are looking for a prayer to be answered by the Lord, and we pray for it “according to thy will”, accepting whatever the will of the Lord is in the matter, then it will be answered accordingly. This should give us rest enough to be still and know God because He is in control.

The spies continue to prepare for what this “deal” entails.

Jos 2:17  And the men said unto her, We will be blameless of this thine oath which thou hast made us swear.
Jos 2:18  Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father's household, home unto thee.
Jos 2:19  And it shall be, that whosoever shall go out of the doors of thy house into the street, his blood shall be upon his head, and we will be guiltless: and whosoever shall be with thee in the house, his blood shall be on our head, if any hand be upon him.
Jos 2:20  And if thou utter this our business, then we will be quit of thine oath which thou hast made us to swear.
Jos 2:21  And she said, According unto your words, so be it. And she sent them away, and they departed: and she bound the scarlet line in the window.

We have to use a little imagination at this point and know that Rahab was then on a mission to inform all of her household what was about to transpire.

We don’t know if she went and told her family about what happened or if she simply cooked everyone a gigantic meal so that they were all under her roof that night.

However, she knew what the conditions of the deal were and when Israel goes about conquering this area, those people had to know to stay in the house or else they would be slain.

Above and beyond that, we do not know what she did in order for her house to be saved, but we know it was.

Jos 2:22  And they went, and came unto the mountain, and abode there three days, until the pursuers were returned: and the pursuers sought them throughout all the way, but found them not.
Jos 2:23  So the two men returned, and descended from the mountain, and passed over, and came to Joshua the son of Nun, and told him all things that befell them:
Jos 2:24  And they said unto Joshua, Truly the LORD hath delivered into our hands all the land; for even all the inhabitants of the country do faint because of us.

We don’t find out later what happened to Rahab until chapter 6, but I will quote the verse here to let us know the result.

Jos 6:25  And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father's household, and all that she had; and she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day; because she hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.

The Lord alone is faithful. Thankfully, He imparts to us His faith so that we can joy in being faithful to the Lord also. Without faith we can not please Him; yet, He gives us that very faith to please Him.

Heb 11:6  But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Heb 10:23  Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised 😉

Heb 11:31  By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.

Indeed, what more can I say than what the author of Hebrews says about faith?

Heb 11:32  And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:
Heb 11:33  Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,

And a few verses later:

Heb 11:39  And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:
Heb 11:40  God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

Yet, in all this Faith alone is dead. Isn’t that something? Does that sound blasphemous? Well, it isn’t blasphemous, and we just read a whole story with it in this example of Rahab.

Jas 2:20  But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
Jas 2:21  Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
Jas 2:22  Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
Jas 2:23  And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
Jas 2:24  Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
Jas 2:25  Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?
Jas 2:26  For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

What then are the works that must accompany Faith? The “works” are many, but they are all the works of the “hands” of the Lord which has been talked about at length in the past so many studies in the awesome hands series.

2Th 1:10  When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.
2Th 1:11  Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:
2Th 1:12  That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

1Pe 1:17  And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:

1Pe 1:21  Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.
1Pe 1:22  Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:
1Pe 1:23  Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

It is easier said than done, as is with most things in this life, but loving God with all our heart, soul strength and mind, and loving out neighbor as ourselves goes hand and hand with unfeigned love of the brethren with a pure heart.

That is all that is needed to possess the work of faith with power, “That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you”.

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