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Monday, December 16, 2013

What It Means to be Filled with the Holy Spirit # 47

The Natural Man Receiveth Not the Things of the Spirit (continued)

Beloved, as those who are saved by God's grace, we are blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies in Christ. However, we must keep in mind that there is also a great spiritual warfare taking place in the heavenlies; and that is because there is a realm in the heavenlies, an unseen realm that is outside of the realm that is in Christ, and in this realm which is not in Christ, are spiritual wickednesses (Eph. 6:10-18). And the goal of these spiritual wickednesses is to stop us from living in the reality of that which we have in Christ.

When Joshua became old and his time was short to lead the armies, God instructed him to divide up the land between the tribes of Israel, even though there was still much land to be possessed. Now we know that the generations to follow did not drive out the enemy from their land; the Book of Judges is the sad history of that. Their failure can be summed up in two statements found in Judges 3:7, and in Judges 21:25. "And the children of Israel did [the] evil in the sight of the Lord."  "...every man did that which was right in his own eyes."

1. "And the children of Israel did [the] evil in the sight of the Lord ..." [Hebrew = "the evil"]. "The evil" was the forbidden evil of idolatry, "the evil" of settling down and intermarrying with the Canaanites, which led to their serving the gods of the Canaanites, and this ultimately led to slavery and great bondage. We find the New Testament  counterpart of "the evil" in Colossians 3:5, which tells us that "covetousness," the greed of the natural man, the defying of self, the preeminence of self, is the source of idolatry. And the other reason for their failure to possess their inheritance and drive out the enemy confirms this 2. "... every man did that which was right in his own eyes." This statement is the last statement in the Book of Judges, and it sums up the whole history of God's people failing to possess and occupy the land of their inheritance. Every man did what was right in his own eyes; in other words, each one of God's people allowed their natural man to govern their lives. Their natural man got tired of the war and their natural man began to reason that there was an advantage in allowing the enemy to dwell with them in the land. Consequently Judges 1:28 tells us, "And it came to pass, when Israel was strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute, and did not utterly drive them out." Their natural man's reasonings caused them to forget the lesson they had leaned at Ai (Joshua 7); for Israel was only strong when they wholly depended upon the Lord, and did not mix in any way with the inhabitants of the land.

So the anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and He said, "I also will no longer drive out before them any of the nations which Joshua left when he died, in order to test Israel by them, whether they will keep the way of the Lord to walk in it as their fathers did, nor not." Now these are the nations which the Lord left, to test Israel by them (that is, all who had not experienced any of the wars of Canaan; only in order that the generations of the sons of Israel might be taught war, those who had not experienced it formerly.) These nations are: the five lords of the Philistines, and all the Canaanites, and the Sidonians, and the Hivites... and they were for testing Israel, to find out if they would obey the commandments of the Lord ... (Judges 2:20-23; 3:1-4).

The Philistines had changed their tactics since Abraham's time, they now made open war with the children of Israel and put them in bondage whenever possible. Remember, the Philistines represent that which is antichrist, and they could only overcome God's people when the Lord's people allowed the natural man to govern their lives. Judges 1);6 tells us that because Israel did evil again, "the evil" of idolatry, the Lord delivered them into the bondage of the Philistines.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 48)

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