【Bible Study】Joshua 08: Blessings and Curses Determine Victory and Defeat
Bible Study: Joshua
- 【Bible Study】Joshua 00: Introduction
- 【Bible Study】Joshua 01: You Will Lead The People To Inherit The Promised Land
- 【Bible Study】Joshua 02: Anyone Who Seek God Will Also Inherit The Promised Land
- 【Bible Study】Joshua 03: God Will Honour His Established Leaders On The Way of Possessing the Land
- 【Bible Study】Joshua 04: Commemorating the Works of Our God
- 【Bible Study】Joshua 05: God is Our Victorious Marshal
- 【Bible Study】Joshua 06: God Has Already Put the Enemy in Our Hands
- 【Bible Study】Joshua 07: The Devoted Things are the Cause of Failure in Spiritual Warfare
- 【Bible Study】Joshua 08: Blessings and Curses Determine Victory and Defeat
- 【Bible Study】Joshua 09: All Who Do Not Resist God Will Survive
- 【Bible Study】Joshua 10: All Those Who Are Enemies of God Will Perish
- 【Bible Study】Joshua 11: Left Nothing Undone
- 【Bible Study】Joshua 12: Live Victoriously on Earth
- 【Bible Study】Joshua 13: There Are Still Very Large Areas of Land to be Taken Over
- 【Bible Study】Joshua 14: Follow God Wholeheartedly, and You Will Acquire the Promises
- 【Bible Study】Joshua 15: Be Bold Enough to Ask God
- 【Bible Study】Joshua 16: Enter the Promise Land Need a Resolute Attitude
- 【Bible Study】Joshua 17: Properties are Obtained Through Striving and Seizing it
- 【Bible Study】Joshua 18-19: Inheriting the Promised Land
- 【Bible Study】Joshua 20: Designate the Cities of Refuge
- 【Bible Study】Joshua 21: Not One of All God's Good Promises Will Fail
- 【Bible Study】Joshua 22: Do you truly trust in God?
- 【Bible Study】Joshua 23: Warning the Israelites the Consequences of Turning Away from God
- 【Bible Study】Joshua 24: You Shall Serve God Wholeheartedly
- 【Bible Study】Joshua 25 Conclusion: Serve God Wholeheartedly
The main topic of Joshua Chapter 8 is that blessings and curses determine victory and defeat. As we do Bible studies, we must learn to study carefully to understand the nature of things. It would be awful not to understand the nature of things, especially when reading God's Word!
For example, if we read from the first chapter of Joshua to the eighth chapter, what can we learn from it? We must grasp nature, not just the superficial things.
Sometimes brothers and sisters become so rigid after reading the Bible that they can only grasp some superficial phenomena. Joshua led the Israelites around the city of Jericho, and a pastor read this and taught the people to go around and around a place, but it didn't help much afterwards. Therefore, when we read the Bible, we should not be rigid in grasping only superficial phenomena.
If we grasp the nature, you'll find that the natures are blessings and curses! There is a book that I particularly like; there are volumes one and two, called Blessings and Curses. That was written when I led the Bible study of the book of Deuteronomy. The book of Deuteronomy is a good book that explores the matter of blessings and curses.
If we grasp the blessing and the curse, if we dig deeper, we will grasp the most natural thing, which is if we keep and obey the word of God, we will be blessed, and if we disobey the word of God, we will be cursed.
If you keep and obey the word of God, you don't need to panic or fear, because God himself will lead us to victory. Brothers and sisters, if Joshua had led the Israelites to the land of Canaan to do business, would God have given him victory? Definitely not.
This is why we often fall into the appearance of a problem. If Joshua had led the Israelites into the land of Canaan to do business, he would have been killed and defeated! Why? Because that was not God's plan! But we have many brothers and sisters who pray about this kind of thing all the time.
If you are from another church, you will find that we put a lot of emphasis on blessings and curses, but the emphasis on blessings is essentially an emphasis on keeping the word of God. So what is the emphasis on keeping and obeying the word of God, and what is it further down the line? It's to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength! If you love God to the point of insanity, how can you not keep and obey the word of God? The relationship between man and God is very important!
By this chapter, we can already see that the Israelites took the city of Ai, not because the Israelites had many soldiers, or because their warriors were great, or because they had laid an ambush, or because they used some kind of brilliant ploy to lure the people of Ai out.
Because these are all technical aspects of things. But you say the technical aspects of things have no use? Yes, but that is definitely not the essence. If there are still devoted things among the Israelites, if there are still many people among the Israelites who do not keep God's word, then the army is useless, no matter how well organized, no matter how strong, no matter how much Zhuge Liang they have.
The blessing and the curse hold the key to the outcome of our battles, whether we win or lose! That's why in verses 30–33 of this chapter, it says:
Then Joshua built on Mount Ebal an altar to the LORD , the God of Israel, as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded the Israelites. He built it according to what is written in the Book of the Law of Moses—an altar of uncut stones, on which no iron tool had been used. On it they offered to the LORD burnt offerings and sacrificed fellowship offerings. There, in the presence of the Israelites, Joshua wrote on stones a copy of the law of Moses. All the Israelites, with their elders, officials and judges, were standing on both sides of the ark of the covenant of the LORD , facing the Levitical priests who carried it. Both the foreigners living among them and the native-born were there. Half of the people stood in front of Mount Gerizim and half of them in front of Mount Ebal, as Moses the servant of the LORD had formerly commanded when he gave instructions to bless the people of Israel. (Joshua 8:30-33 NIV)
Brothers and sisters, if you can understand blessings and curses, many questions will no longer need to be asked. Why are you not successful in business? Why are you in so much debt? Why do you have so many family members who have cancer? The reason you fell into such a difficult situation is closely related to blessings and curses.
Some people ask, "What about you?" I'm not God; I can't replace God, and I can't change God's word. I'm just speaking to you according to God's word that we are to surrender to God's spiritual law of blessings and curses. It is not because I am a paragon of blessings, and it is not because I am a paragon of cursing, but because this is how God's word is, and this is how we put God's word into practise in our lives.
I think the attack on the land of Canaan was definitely in the plan of God. So, brothers and sisters, are you in God's plan? I can tell you from the bottom of my heart that no matter what, we are going to do it in God's will. As you can see, no matter what prayer we pray, we always end with the words, "Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." God's kingdom will not come anywhere else, but it will come upon us; it will come on the ground where our feet are planted! This is to fulfil God's will.
The Doctrine of MingDing is about God having a great plan for us, and this plan is our destiny. Did God send us here to find a wife? For work? Is it for the purpose of having children? No, it is to fulfil God's will in you.
Then, is it God's will to provide for your parents and take care of your wife and children? It is part of God's will, but it is not the most important will! The most important will of God is for us to be a blessing to all nations on earth, which is stated in Genesis 12:1–3, which God spoke to Abraham. So once we grasp the essence, we know what we came to this world for.
I sent a brother to the airport, and before he took off, I invited him to dinner, and I told him with all my heart to destroy all dreams in the world! Worldly ambitions are futile! The only thing that can help us is to walk in God's plan and be blessed by God! Blessings and curses are too important for us!
If a person is cursed, whatever he does is doomed to failure. Some people say, "No, look, they are cursed, but they are doing well in business!" You know the devil can add to a person's wealth! Does this mean that the word of God has been abandoned? The word of God is not discarded. So when you look at it, you will find that blessings and curses are crucial things, and if you grasp the essence, will it still be difficult to understand?
If you have a deep curse in your family, I urge you to begin breaking that curse in yourself!By all means choose to keep and obey the word of God, and by all means begin to let the word of God be engraved in your heart; this is to grasp the essence.
Then let's look at the city of Ai. From Joshua chapter 1 to chapter 8, you will find that the Israelites first crossed the Jordan River by God and were then circumcised in that place, which is the equivalent to a minor operation on men. After the operation, they could not fight. And it was because of God that the enemy did not attack while they were in pain and incapable of fighting.
Later, when Joshua was about to attack the city of Jericho, he saw a mighty angel ahead of him and asked him, "Are you here to help us, or are you here to help our enemies?" The angel replied, "I am to be the marshal of the LORD's army." This is God! Our God is our marshal, and it is God's will to accomplish this; even if we kill all the people in the city of Ai, that is still God's will. In fact, you should know that the people in this place have done a lot of evil and have been storing up anger for themselves for a long time.
If you are a good person, you may identify good and evil with God. If you sympathise with these people, how are you going to accomplish God's plan? Our God is not Santa Claus; don't mess with him.
Our God does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation. I think one characteristic of this city of Ai was that there was not a single Rahab in the city. There was at least one Rahab in Jericho; does this little city of Ai of 12,000 people all go against the Israelites? Had they not heard the story of Rahab? I think they should have heard something about it.
If that was the case, why did they go against the Israelites? In fact, they were fighting against God! We brothers and sisters should never identify good and evil with God. If you are a good person, you will not understand why God killed and destroyed this whole city. In fact, it is said in Deuteronomy 9:5 that it is not because of your righteousness or your integrity that you are going in to take possession of their land, but on account of the wickedness of these nations, the LORD your God will drive them out before you. That was God's plan.
When I went up on the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant that the LORD had made with you, I stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights; I ate no bread and drank no water. (Deuteronomy 9:9 NIV)
God wanted to destroy the land of Canaan through the Israelites because the people of the place were too wicked, and this was God's judgement on that land, and it will be fatal if we sympathise with those who are being judged. Brothers and sisters, if you observe all the things on earth, you will find that they all have to do with blessings and curses.
Of course, some of you may counter me by saying, "No, look at the blind man in the Bible! The disciples of Jesus asked him, "Was this man cursed because of his own sin, or the curses of his father?" or the sins of his ancestors? But Jesus said, 'This man came to show the glory of God." Although Jesus said that the man was born blind, he came to show the glory of God, not so that we might forget about blessings and curses, but so that we might begin to see the glory of God. Blindness is a bad thing, but when it comes to God, He will lead us to see his grace and mercy. God healed the blind man in order to reveal the glory of God. So, brothers and sisters, begin to see the victories and defeats of the Israelites along the way. The battle before was the defeat of the Israelites, and the battle after was the defeat of the people of Ai.
Brothers and sisters, the key to the defeat and victory of the Israelites in their battle with the people of Ai is whether we are walking in the will of God. Think about it: is this what we need to conclude to grasp the essence of this issue? We must exercise extreme caution in our ministry and never attend to trifles while ignoring the essentials. What does it mean to attend to trifles and neglect the essentials? It means to abandon the fundamental and pursue the minor.
After killing the people of Ai, Joshua built on Mount Ebal an altar to the LORD, the God of Israel, and wrote on a stone a copy of the law of Moses. Why? Because he read these words every day, that is, the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy, which were the spiritual assets that Moses left to Joshua, He turned to Deuteronomy 27 and saw:
On the same day Moses commanded the people:
When you have crossed the Jordan, these tribes shall stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph and Benjamin. And these tribes shall stand on Mount Ebal to pronounce curses: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan and Naphtali.
The Levites shall recite to all the people of Israel in a loud voice: (Deuteronomy 27:11-14 NIV)
He got to that place and did this thing, and I found that there are many people who will have this situation: "Oops, I accidentally forgot." I don't know why the memory is so bad. They don't forget other things, but they forget when it comes to the key things, like following and keeping the word of God.
You can see how Joshua kept obeying the word of God, and after he won, he read out all the words of the law, the blessing and the curse, on Mount Ebalu and Mount Gerizim, as God had commanded Moses and as God had commanded himself, thus taking all the eyes of the people away from the technical things.
A lot of people think about the technical side of things, but the victory had nothing to do with that javelin. Yes, it was God who commanded Joshua to hold out the javelin to the people of Ai, but it doesn't matter; what matters is to keep and obey the word of God.
Joshua moved the Israelites' attention away from the javelin, the ambush, and so on, to look at the blessings and curses. I often get very emotional when I meet a Christian whose child has autism and whose mother has Alzheimer's disease. And I wonder, "Would a blessed person be like this?" "Would a victorious Christian be like this?" Absolutely not.
Brothers and sisters begin to know that blessings and curses determine victory and defeat, so wherever I go, I will recount what God has done. I still want to pass on another idea: do we brothers and sisters know what we live for? Are you walking in the plan of God? Are we, as brothers and sisters, living a simple and easy life? Or are we living a life of destiny?
If you are not walking in God's plan, God has no way to give you revelation, and He will not command you to hold out the javelin toward the people of Ai, because it is useless; you are not in God's plan at all. If we live in God's plan and do things according to His will, it is called destiny.
We live for God and die for God; that is the natural order of things, and what determines the failure of things is blessings and curses. Joshua was thinking about God's word day and night; he would not say he accidentally forgot; there is no such thing! So what did God say to Joshua in the first chapter of the book of Joshua? It goes like this:
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. (Joshua 1:6–8 NIV)
If you ask me, "How do I live a victorious life?" I would say: Keep and obey the word of God! Do you understand? So we must not focus on the appearance of things. The essence is to keep and obey the word of God. I often hear brothers and sisters ask, "How do I pray?"
In reality, what matters is not how to pray but how to break free from the curse.One sister had to come to see me because she thought I was a good shepherd. In fact, when I talk about the good shepherd, I am not asking you to go to a good shepherd to pray; I want you to get up and become a good shepherd.
Many people only think about their own things, but the problem is, if you are a very selfish person, even if I minister to you, it is useless, because I have ministered to many selfish people, and in the end, they are still what they are. Because when people live under curses, they don't know that it is because they didn't keep and obey the word of God.
Please do not think that it will be different just because you are a Christian. It doesn't matter if you're a foreigner or a native; the curse is the same. Also, do not think that because you are a Christian, you can be blessed naturally. Blessing has nothing to do with whether or not you are a Christian; it is entirely dependent on how well you keep and obey God's word.
It is our heart's desire to be a resounding Christian, to keep and obey God's word, act in God's will, and to keep and do whatever God commands us. Many of us are contaminated by false myths, and what I can't stand is when God declares a curse clearly, and then a group of people say it's their culture. That's your culture, not God's word! Should Christians keep their culture or the word of God?
"Cursed is anyone who makes an idol—a thing detestable to the LORD , the work of skilled hands—and sets it up in secret."
Then all the people shall say, "Amen!" (Deuteronomy 27:15 NIV)
It is a big thing to dishonour your parents! I repeat here that many people are blessed for taking care of their parents, and many people are cursed for not taking care of their parents. For if we identify good and evil with our parents, can we not identify good and evil with others?
"Cursed is anyone who dishonours their father or mother."
Then all the people shall say, "Amen!" (Deuteronomy 27:16 NIV)
Our parents raised us, and you ended up saying, "I can't let taking care of my mom affect my life, right?" Just because your husband said, "I married you, not your mother," But before you married her, wasn't it her mother who raised her? I am telling you to honour your parents, not out of human moral ethics but because it is the word of God. Anyone who dishonours their parents will be cursed. Honoring your parents is an important indicator of the Ten Commandments.
"Cursed is anyone who moves their neighbor’s boundary stone."
Then all the people shall say, "Amen!" (Deuteronomy 27:17 NIV)
Many people are cursed just because they take advantage of others.
"Cursed is anyone who leads the blind astray on the road."
Then all the people shall say, "Amen!"
"Cursed is anyone who withholds justice from the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow."
Then all the people shall say, "Amen!"
"Cursed is anyone who sleeps with his father’s wife, for he dishonors his father’s bed."
Then all the people shall say, "Amen!" (Deuteronomy 27:18-20 NIV)
A curse is when you normally have a good life and then one calamity can throw you back to square one, make all your hard work for nothing, or put an end to your life. We must not succumb to the curse, brothers and sisters. If you fall into the curse, either the end will be drawn for you or you will be sent back to the starting point.
In all my years of believing in the Lord, I have seen cases of curse after curse, and this is what happens to Christians who do not win. I stood beside their coffins and told myself i my heart, "Keep the word of the Lord your God, love God, and love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength, forever and ever!"
I often tell myself, "Don't love the world!" It is very simple to live in the world, that is, to keep and obey the word of God, and to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. I think Joshua must have spoken to the Israelites about Deuteronomy 28. Verse 1–14 are about blessings, and everything after verse 14 is about curses, so I'll talk more about curses, because you can't touch them. If you touch, you'll end up in a coffin, and that will be tragic.
Everyone should read Deuteronomy chapter 28, the section about curses. If man does not know the glorious and fearful name of God, and does not keep and obey the word of God, God will bring upon you and upon your descendants plagues and the heaviest and longest sicknesses.
Can brothers and sisters love the Lord your God with all their hearts and souls? It's just a choice, and it's not hard to choose, because it's the choice of gaining benefits, and it's the choice that is extremely cost-effective. Don't think that you can take advantage of people. You take a small advantage, and you will receive a small curse. Don't ever think that you live by that little thing; live by the blessing!
How good it would be if people had blessings! If people have curses, they can't even drink cold water without stuffing their teeth! Brothers and sisters should think carefully, no matter what; do not become the enemy of God, do not fight against God. You ask me, "How do you see blessings and curses?" It is by looking at what you have experienced in your life that you can surely draw something from it. If you observe the history of your family, you can conclude something. Never consider a lack of stock investment or poor execution to be a technical issue.
This battle was not fought well; that punch was not swung well, so I failed. That is due to blessings and curses, observance and non-observance, love for God or lack thereof, and the person is cursed if he does not love God.
I have been told by many Christians that there is no curse in the New Testament! Knowing that the books of Joshua and Deuteronomy are never without the word curses, I believe ignorance is a tragedy. Many people struggle with the curse; how long will they struggle? That is something that will last until you perish!
So I call the heavens and the earth to share with you the blessings and curses that Joshua proclaimed on Mount Ebalus and Mount Gerizim, and I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that you will be blessed and saved, and that you will walk in the path of blessing and not in the path of cursing, because that is not a path at all!
I want you to know that you should enter into the will of God, walk in the will of God, and then love the Lord, our God, with all your heart, soul, and strength. I always say: It is a very simple thing to live." It is simple, not because of anything else, but because no matter how you live, you will live and live and die.
If you see through it, you can live simply. If you don't see through it, keep making money as if you can't live without it. But remember, money can't solve everything. That's why curses and blessings are the key!
The LORD will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom. (Deuteronomy 28:13 NIV)
How nice does that sound? Don't forget the fundamentals! By all means, get the essence. not because of how good we are, but because we keep and obey the word of God.
So there is no need to fear or panic. In every battle and struggle, we will see the mighty arms of God constantly manifested. One thing I take great comfort in is knowing our God while I am alive, and I thank God for that! Because He often manifests His power through me, and I can't wait for the brothers and sisters among us, no matter what you do, to be able to repent from our sins, turn back to God, and learn to be a blessed person!
Often someone else would read the Bible for me, and he would say, "Look, it says so in the Bible, so this is how you are going to minister to me." I said, "That's good." He said, "But why don't you do it?"
The words of the Bible are not for you to ask me, but for you to rise up like me and begin to minister; do you understand? Because even if I minister until the day I die, there will still be people who need to be ministered to, but if I can train groups of disciples, all like Jesus Christ, won't that be a blessing to many?
After reading God's words, I hope the response of brothers and sisters is not to demand others but to demand themselves. So no matter who or what you are, remember one thing: the blessings and curses that God pronounces can be life-threatening!
I think if you are willing to be a blessed person, start to rise up with me, take on God's destiny, and then become a blessing to all the nations on earth, fight against the devils, release the captives, and let God's people see God's glory through us, so how can you not be blessed? We can be at the top, not the bottom, the head, not the tail, because we are the ones who keep and obey the word of God.
May the LORD bless you!