New Wine for New Wineskins November 2011

By , October 31, 2011 12:14 pm


The Kingdom of Heaven in 2011

Part  9

Joshua 18: 2 – 3

2 There remained among the children of Israel seven tribes which had not yet received their inheritance.3 Then Joshua said to the children of Israel: “How long will you neglect to go and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers has given you?

Remember – we have already been given the land and so all that remains is for us to take it!


1 Now the LORD said to Joshua: “Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed; take all the people of war with you, and arise, go up to Ai. See, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, his people, his city, and his land.

Here it is again!  What is all that remains to be done when the LORD is giving you something?  To TAKE it!


Do not be afraid!  What is the crippler of faith?  Fear!  There is no fear in love!  Achan had sinned against love!  How do you sin against love?  By putting ourselves and our own interests first!  Most of the relationship problems in the world exist because the majority of people are not looking for someone to love – they are looking for someone to love them!  They begin from a position of feeling unloved at a base level which they don’t understand and so they search for someone who will love them!  The reality is that the sense of being unloved that they feel is caused by their lack of knowledge or belief regarding how much God loves them!  It is a manifestation of the orphan spirit – that is a human spirit that is devoid of the revelation of the Father’s love.

There is a popular song that has been around for many years and has been recorded by a variety of artists – including The Beatles – and achieved a measure of success in the music charts on both sides of the Atlantic.  It possibly originated as a country song and has all the heart-wrenching elements commonly associated with that genre.  The song is “Nobody’s Child” and the lyrics obviously strike a chord in the hearts of a large number of people judging by its enduring popularity.  The song’s chorus says, “I’m nobody’s child, I’m nobody’s child, I’m like a flower just growing wild. There’s no mommy’s kisses and no daddy’s smiles, Nobody wants me I’m nobody’s child“. Tragically, this could be the anthem of many in the church who are still afflicted by an “orphan spirit”.

Our deepest need to be loved can only be met by receiving our heavenly Father’s love!  That then equips us emotionally to no longer run around looking for someone to love us whilst we are in a condition where we are vulnerable to all kinds of abuse, but rather frees us to do what we were originally designed to do which is find someone to love!  We are free to give our love to someone else just like God gave his love to us!

When God – the only one that we are supposed to fear (reverence, worship) – says do not be afraid, or distressed, or anxious there is no need whatsoever to be afraid, distressed or anxious!  Sin is the absence of faith and is the fruit of a lack of the revelation of God’s love for us because faith – hearing and applying what God says – is activated, energised, expressed, and put to work – by love. Jesus said that those who love him obey him (because they trust in his declaration and demonstration of love for them), and so if you are doing what he said out of love for him you have absolutely no reason to fear.  You can wave goodbye to fear with all of its tormenting thoughts!

I knew my father loved me and as long as I was doing what I was told and behaving according to how I had been taught I had no fear in his presence or anxiety about encountering him, but if I knew I had been disobedient or that I had done something wrong I was afraid of coming face to face with him even though I still knew that he loved me. Why would we think it is any different in our relationship with our heavenly Father?  Scripture says that when our heart (where love resides) does not condemn us (for not walking in love) then we have confidence with God. And so, when the LORD says that he has given everything into your hand then that settles it and all that remains is to take it!

2 And you shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king. Only its spoil and its cattle you shall take as booty for yourselves. Lay an ambush for the city behind it.” 3 So Joshua arose, and all the people of war, to go up against Ai; and Joshua chose thirty thousand mighty men of valor and sent them away by night. 4 And he commanded them, saying: “Behold, you shall lie in ambush against the city, behind the city. Do not go very far from the city, but all of you be ready. 5 Then I and all the people who are with me will approach the city; and it will come about, when they come out against us as at the first, that we shall flee before them. 6 For they will come out after us till we have drawn them from the city, for they will say, ‘They are fleeing before us as at the first.’ Therefore we will flee before them.  7 Then you shall rise from the ambush and seize the city, for the LORD your God will deliver it into your hand.


The biggest hindrance to your destiny can be your history!  Just because the enemy defeated you before doesn’t mean that you can’t whip him this time!

Proverbs 24: 16

16 For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again

The LORD gives Joshua the strategy for taking Ai and Joshua passes it on to the people!  The LORD knew that the enemy would be confident of victory following the last attempt when they had sent the LORD’s army packing!  The awesome thing is that the enemy doesn’t know everything and so the people of Ai were unaware that Israel’s previous defeat had nothing to do with their military skill but with an internal weakness in the opposition that had now been dealt with!  Our enemy still struggles to get his head round the supernatural way that the LORD can deliver us from something that has kept us in defeat all of our lives!  He comes out confidently against us and ends up getting a sore head!

When you rise up to take possession of what the LORD has given you is when he delivers it into your hand!  God’s call is always an upward call – from faith to faith and from glory to glory!

8 And it will be, when you have taken the city, that you shall set the city on fire. According to the commandment of the LORD you shall do. See, I have commanded you.”


Joshua passes on the LORD’s commandment but the people have to receive it from him as his command.  This can often be a problem in the church.  The leader hears from the LORD and passes on what he has heard but all the people can hear is the leader.  They say something like, “When God tells us to do it, we will do it!”  They don’t acknowledge that God just spoke to them through their leader!  Even Jesus had this problem as his words were rejected by those who claimed to be under God’s authority!  It took a gentile centurion to get the revelation that delegated authority is just as powerful as hearing directly from the top!

9 Joshua therefore sent them out; and they went to lie in ambush, and stayed between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of Ai; but Joshua lodged that night among the people. 10 Then Joshua rose up early in the morning and mustered the people, and went up, he and the elders of Israel, before the people to Ai. 11 And all the people of war who were with him went up and drew near; and they came before the city and camped on the north side of Ai. Now a valley lay between them and Ai. 12 So he took about five thousand men and set them in ambush between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of the city. 13 And when they had set the people, all the army that was on the north of the city, and its rear guard on the west of the city, Joshua went that night into the midst of the valley. 14 Now it happened, when the king of Ai saw it, that the men of the city hurried and rose early and went out against Israel to battle, he and all his people, at an appointed place before the plain. But he did not know that there was an ambush against him behind the city. 15 And Joshua and all Israel made as if they were beaten before them, and fled by the way of the wilderness. 16 So all the people who were in Ai were called together to pursue them. And they pursued Joshua and were drawn away from the city. 17 There was not a man left in Ai or Bethel who did not go out after Israel. So they left the city open and pursued Israel.

The people follow through on the strategy that the Lord gave them through Joshua.

18 Then the LORD said to Joshua, “Stretch out the spear that is in your hand toward Ai, for I will give it into your hand.” And Joshua stretched out the spear that was in his hand toward the city. 19 So those in ambush arose quickly out of their place; they ran as soon as he had stretched out his hand, and they entered the city and took it, and hurried to set the city on fire. 20 And when the men of Ai looked behind them, they saw, and behold, the smoke of the city ascended to heaven. So they had no power to flee this way or that way, and the people who had fled to the wilderness turned back on the pursuers. 21 Now when Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had taken the city and that the smoke of the city ascended, they turned back and struck down the men of Ai. 22 Then the others came out of the city against them; so they were caught in the midst of Israel, some on this side and some on that side. And they struck them down, so that they let none of them remain or escape. 23 But the king of Ai they took alive, and brought him to Joshua. 24 And it came to pass when Israel had made an end of slaying all the inhabitants of Ai in the field, in the wilderness where they pursued them, and when they all had fallen by the edge of the sword until they were consumed, that all the Israelites returned to Ai and struck it with the edge of the sword. 25 So it was that all who fell that day, both men and women, were twelve thousand—all the people of Ai.


Jesus said that we live by every rhema that God speaks!  Our faith is designed to be active and current!  We are in a relationship – not a religion!  We are not performers of meaningless rituals – we are partakers of Divine life!  The rhema word is the logos made current and spoken into your life to equip to overcome in the situation or circumstance you are facing right now!

The LORD tells Joshua to stretch out his spear toward Ai.  There is always something that the LORD asks us to do that can sometimes seem insignificant in itself and yet it is our part in trusting/partnering with the LORD – it is our faith action that releases the power of God to do what only he can do!   We are his hands, his feet, his mouth, etc.  That is why we must hear and obey!  He says that if we are willing and obedient we will eat the fruit of the land!  He has told us that he has given us the land but there are people out there that he is going to tell us to lay our hands on so that he can heal them!  There are places that he is going to ask us to go, and words that he is going to ask us to speak! It is as Joshua stretches out his arm that the LORD’s arm is revealed!  Our ears have to be open to hear the specific instructions that the LORD gives as we follow the general instructions.  It is not enough just to have knowledge of the logos – we must be open to hear the rhema.

John 5: 39 – 40

39 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. 40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.

Tune in to his voice!

26 For Joshua did not draw back his hand, with which he stretched out the spear, until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai.


As long as Joshua’s spear was stretched out the battle was won!  He didn’t quit until Ai was completely destroyed!  Every idol in our nation must come down and the people of God must be delivered from their influence!  Remember – idols are the habitation of devils and the spirits in the idols take control of those who yield to their influence.  Alcohol (Scotch Whisky) is an example of a national idol that has drawn many Christians back under its influence because it has never been exposed for what it is!

28 So Joshua burned Ai and made it a heap forever, a desolation to this day. 29 And the king of Ai he hanged on a tree until evening. And as soon as the sun was down, Joshua commanded that they should take his corpse down from the tree, cast it at the entrance of the gate of the city, and raise over it a great heap of stones that remains to this day. Ai was completely routed, humiliated, and obliterated never to rise again! 30 Now Joshua built an altar to the LORD God of Israel in Mount Ebal, 31 as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded the children of Israel, as it is written in the Book of the Law of Moses: “an altar of whole stones over which no man has wielded an iron tool.” And they offered on it burnt offerings to the LORD, and sacrificed peace offerings. 32 And there, in the presence of the children of Israel, he wrote on the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he had written. 33 Then all Israel, with their elders and officers and judges, stood on either side of the ark before the priests, the Levites, who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD, the stranger as well as he who was born among them. Half of them were in front of Mount Gerizim and half of them in front of Mount Ebal, as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded before, that they should bless the people of Israel.


Joshua builds an altar!  It is one thing to receive victory from the LORD but it is another to remember to thank him for that victory!  Joshua knew that without the LORD they were nothing!  They had learned that lesson the first time they tried to take Ai! The altar that Joshua builds is made from whole stones – not stones that have been shaped and cut.  We are not to employ man-made methods or means that are so polished and slick that they have cut out the reality of the gospel in all of its raw power!  It is the same with our lives!  We can educate the simple faith out of people to the point where the message has become so intellectualised that it is of no eternal value whatsoever!

34 And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and the cursings, according to all that is written in the Book of the Law. 35 There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded which Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel, with the women, the little ones, and the strangers who were living among them.


It is important that we know the whole truth and not just half truths, and that we are familiar with all of Scripture and not just a few favourite Scriptures!  We must be fully equipped to discern between blessing and cursing so that we are able to cut off every manifestation of the curse and access all of the blessings!

We are to go and take the land that the LORD has given us and so we must take the whole word to the whole world regardless of generation or culture.  Salvation, healing, and deliverance are always culturally and generationally relevant!

How long will you neglect to go?  It is time to rise up and take the land that has been given to us!

Joshua 24: 13 – 15

13 I have given you a land for which you did not labor, and cities which you did not build, and you dwell in them; you eat of the vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant.’ 14 “Now therefore, fear the LORD, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD! 15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

Choose for yourselves whom you will serve!  Let’s respond in worship and thanksgiving and allow the LORD to work in us and prepare and equip us to fulfil our calling and commission!

It is time to see all of God’s people moving in all of God’s power and reaping all of God’s harvest in all of God’s world!

The kingdom of heaven in 2011!

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