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Tag Archives: the promised land in Canaan

Crossing Over From the Old into the New

Not everyone understands their calling in life. Others wrestle with clarity, struggling to ascertain where they belong and what they should do. As for Joshua, this decision was clear, take over as Israel’s new leader. Joshua’s first assignment, lead God’s chosen people into a promised land, Canaan. However, a river and a wall stood before Israel. The only way to complete their journey was to cross over from the old into the new.

Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, 11 “Go throughout the camp and command the people, saying, ‘Prepare your provisions, for within three days you are to cross this [river] Jordan, to go in to take possession of the land which the Lord your God is giving you to possess [as an inheritance],’” Joshua 1:10-11.

If you have ever moved, families tend to amass, collect and hoard an excessive amount of possessions. Garage and yard sales are a common way to purge your house from unnecessary items. Yet, there are subtle things such as beliefs, ideals and viewpoints that individuals develop without much thought. Some of these mindsets are contrary to the Bible, opposing the commandments, decrees and precepts of God. Thus, as Israel crossed over the Jordan River, they needed to undergo a procedure, a spiritual purging.

So put to death and deprive of power the evil longings of your earthly body [with its sensual, self-centered instincts] immorality, impurity, sinful passion, evil desire, and greed, which is [a kind of] idolatry [because it replaces your devotion to God]. Because of these [sinful] things the [divine] wrath of God is coming on the sons of disobedience [those who fail to listen and who routinely and obstinately disregard God’s precepts], Colossians 3:5-6.

The Israelites didn’t have access to a physical book or the ability to foresee the addition of a New Testament. Nor could Joshua warn Israel about the sinful nature. In the passage above, the apostle Paul details what must occur if you want to cross over from your previous life into a new relationship with God. The first step involves a new mindset from earth toward heaven. The second involves discipline, purging yourself from ungodly practices that you have picked up from others. This battle never ends as imperfect people will continue to disobey God in one form or another. However, as you strive to keep in step with God, the Holy Spirit serves as a spiritual counselor to enable you to cross over from the old into the new.

by Jay Mankus

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Seduced

The term seduced is usually applied to an unwilling participant who is beguiled, enticed and lured into some sort of sexual encounter.  This leaves a victim feeling betrayed, used and violated.  Beyond physical attractions, individuals can also be seduced by alcohol, drugs, fame, food, impulses, pornography, power, shopping, technology and wealth.  One of God’s greatest concerns in the Old Testament was that Jews would be seduced by high places, centers for Canaanite idol worship scattered throughout the Middle East.

And they have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command, nor did it come into my mind, Jeremiah 7:31.

This connection became clear to me after reading an article written by a member of the Billy Graham Association.  High places is mentioned 117 times in the Bible; derived from the Hebrew word “hamah” referring to mountaintops.  In nearby hills, mountains and peaks, open-air altars on elevated knolls were built to pay tribute to pagan and secular gods.  When Israel entered the promised land in Canaan under Joshua’s leadership, God commanded his people to destroy and tear down these places.  Unfortunately, a lack of thoroughness left many behind as ancient idols slowly and subtly seduced God’s people year after year, unable to stay away.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places, Ephesians 6:12.

Today, with a click of a mouse, tap on your phone or voice to Alexia, the internet, a.k.a. the world wide net comes alive.  While this technology was created to advance, expand and further human development, new high places are erected daily.  Fueled by spiritual forces of evil, demons regularly seduce curious and vulnerable souls just like Eve succumbing to Lucifer’s reasoning.  This seduction often goes unnoticed until sin becomes full blown, leaving a trail of devastation and destruction.  Sure, there is forgiveness, grace and mercy, but humans don’t always see eye to eye, abandoning broken relationships to start anew.  Despite how far one may fall, in God’s eyes no one is too far gone.

by Jay Mankus

 

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