Sunday – April 19, 2015
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 Mediterranean Sea in the west. No one will be able to stand 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, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Book of Joshua 1
God is giving Joshua instructions about how he would have to behave as from the time they get into the Promised Land.
That was necessary because it was imperative that the people of Israel be successful.
God was teaching him how to be victorious.
The people who left Egypt had rejected this new lifestyle despite the fact that Joshua and Caleb were different.
Now there is a new generation.
We should look at their example. They made mistakes and went astray. They missed God’s purpose.
Although they had been free from Egypt, they decided not to follow God’s commandments.
God is telling Joshua something like this: they have missed they mark, but you and this generation cannot. You are in charge of people. Influence them. There are men and women under your authority, so you have to lead them into my will.
First I want to ask some questions:
What made them get lost?
The problem was that they missed God’s instructions. And they got contaminated.
How can I know I have not been contaminated by the same things that touched the people of Israel.
We know there would be problems, Joshua knew that. However, God had shown them His wonders and miracles. But the people of Israel was blind because of the blindfold of the system they had been in.
Have you ever wondered why attacks of the enemy come to you?
If you have been suffering the attacks of the enemy it is because you are under the Lord’s wings.
The ones who are being ruled by the devil do not suffer the enemy’s attacks.
If your life has no pressure, it is time to wonder if it is because the devil does not care much about you. However, when I dedicate myself to being someone irreproachable I will surely have pressure on me.
If you are willing to live for God and to be faithful to him, then you will suffer the pressures of hell.
If you are a mother and you want to be faithful to the Lord, you are an employee and you want to be honest, you are a father and you want to be a correct man. Then you will be attacked.
Joshua and Caleb were attacked like anyone else. But they did not give in to the pressures of the world, the system and the devil.
Let us see what the enemy did in the past and what he is doing today:
“In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And the Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the articles from the temple of God. These he carried off to the temple of his god in Babylonia and put in the treasure house of his god. Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility — young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians.”
Book of Daniel 1
This time in the History of Israel the king of Babylon decided to attack and destroy the country. Daniel was chosen by this King. He was young, intelligent, skilled. Of course the king took adults to Babylon too. However, let us focus on the young.
John, the apostle, uses three categories which I believe are spiritual: the children, the young and the fathers. The children are the newly converted ones, the young are those who are strong and willing to work, the fathers are the experienced Christians.
Caleb said he was strong when he was 80. But was he so strong? Of course not. He was wise! He was skilled. He wan a father.
Let us read what the apostle says:
” I am writing to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name. I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, dear children, because you know the Father. I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one.”
I John 2
So first we see that the system of this world attacks those who want to live for God, especially the young.
Secondly, the devil wants the best ones. Nebuchadnezzar chose the best people to go to his land. People who wanted perfection. Of course we are far from it, but we want it, through God. He also wanted good looking people. It means that the system of this world wants to steal the lives of those who have anointing. Just like Jezebel who wanted to kill the prophets of God.
Those young men were also intelligent. They were wise. The wise ones fear the Lord. Those who know that in order to have victory they have to count on the Lord. He wanted people who had discernment and who were skilled.
In summary, the skilled ones, the strong ones, the ones who had discernment and the intelligent ones were the target of the enemy King.
So the ruler of the system wants the best.
Remember Job. The devil asked for permission to attack Job, the finest man on the face of the Earth.
So the system of this world wants to destroy the noble ones, the pure ones, the best. Do not get discouraged. Be strengthened in the Lord.
But the system of the world offers something too. What can Babylon offer?
I would like to tell you about some ministrations that the system of Babylon tried to impose on those men.
They are the same ministrations that the system of the world today offers us so as to stop us from living according to God.
Let us remember Daniel.
Then the king said that if Daniel told him the meaning of the writing on the wall he would be granted great things.
“Now I have heard that you are able to give interpretations and to solve difficult problems. If you can read this writing and tell me what it means, you will be clothed in purple and have a gold chain placed around your neck, and you will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom.” Then Daniel answered the king, “You may keep your gifts for yourself and give your rewards to someone else. Nevertheless, I will read the writing for the king and tell him what it means.” Daniel 5
Let us see the attacks:
1. A change in teaching.
“Let us teach you the language of the other group.
The system of this world wants to kill the spirit and leave the letter. But the letter kills and the spirit gives life.
Pagan festivals – a way to change the mind of the Christians. Even churches have been adopting some of those.
Can a Christian go to the sepulcher of a family person and weep on All Souls Day?
Can a Christian celebrate Halloween?
Do not adopt worldly teachings.
2. A change in clothing
The king said that Daniel would be clothed in purple, have a necklace crafted by a pagan one.
Today people want the clothes of this world not us.
A gold chain around the neck. A ring on the finger – This is an imitation of what God offers to give us.
The system of this world offers a position of importance.
What kind of answer do we expect from a person who fears the Lord?
Daniel’s answer was:
“You may keep your gifts for yourself and give your rewards to someone else.”
What does it mean? I do not want to be ministered by you.
I do not want to receive money. I want to reveal the will of God.
We do not want to live according to the System.
3. A change in the food
“The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service.”
Food. What does it mean in the New Testament?
“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.”João 4:34
The problem is not the food itself. It was the God behind the food.
The disciples threw at Jesus an innuendo: that he should change his food. But his food was God, Himself.
Secondly, a change in the wine.
Why should we be filled with the Holy Spirit, instead of wine? Because wine is connected to joy, and our joy is the Lord.
4. A change in name.
A name used to carry the person’s personality or according to a purpose the parents had for the child.
When Daniel and the other young people were taken to that foreign land, they had their names changed.
A name carries a purpose.
These were the changes they made to the young men:
Daniel = God is my judge, was changed into Belsazar, which is Bel is my protector Hananiah = a present form God, instead, Sadrach illuminated by the sun god.
Mishael = who is like the Lord, instead his name was changed into Mesach ‘who is Sesak’?
Azariah = whom God helps, instead his name was changed into Abdnego ‘servant of Nego’
We cannot be served or ministered by the system of this world.
The king of Babylon wanted to minister to the lives of those young man.
The devil wants to change the purpose of God for your life.
The devil wants to offer you things so that you do your will.
He offers important positions.
There are nice things the world offers, but they are good for today, not for eternity.
Money, corruption, power, positions.
Do not do what you want, young man.
Do not accept what the world offers you.
They will tell you it is good.
It could be good today, but how about the future.
We have to reject the ministration of the world.
What do I bring into my life?
What do we offer people with our own lives.
Be careful with those who lay hand on your head.
Be careful with who is counseling you.
We have to be like Daniel, make people change their opinion about God. He himself was not changed:
“Then King Darius wrote to all the nations and peoples of every language in all the earth: “May you prosper greatly! “I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel. “For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end.He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.” So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.” Daniel 6
Just like what God promised Joshua.
Turn away form the wine, the food, the necklaces of this system.
Pray to the Lord.
Lord, help me overcome the ministrations of this world.
They offer me things everyday, but like Daniel I reject it. I do not want to be contaminated.
Message preached in the New Life Church
Sunday evening – April 19, 2015
Niterói, Rio de Janeiro
May God richly bless you
Marcos Paiva, Pastor and MD