Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: Everything you see around you has a rightful owner. Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: This earth belongs to God. Now, it’s a prodigal planet. It’s a runaway planet. It’s a planet that has ascribed allegiance to God’s enemy, to Satan himself. But God says, “The earth is Mine and all that fills it. It all belongs to Me.”

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Tuesday, October 28, 2014.

God called Joshua to battle, taking back land for the people of Israel. But that land didn’t really belong to those enemy nations, and it didn’t belong to Joshua afterwards.

Identifying the rightful owner has some big ramifications in your life, which Nancy will explore, continuing the series "Lessons from the Life of Joshua (Part 11): Waging and Winning Spiritual Battles." 

Nancy: We’ve been looking at Joshua chapters 10, 11, and 12 and getting some principles about spiritual battles that we fight down here on earth. I’ve been meditating on this passage in my own personal quiet time and the Lord has just been speaking to me in some sweet ways. The other morning as I was in this passage, some things stood out to me that I want to share with you today.

If I were to title this section, I would say The Earth is the Lord’s and Jesus Shall Reign. That’s what stood out to me, and I want to show that to you in these chapters. Let me read first to you, to get us started, several verses from Joshua chapter 10. I’m picking excerpts here so why don’t you just listen instead of trying to follow. Listen to this description. It’s detailed and a little bit lengthy, but I want you to get the feel of what’s happening here.

Verse 29, I’m starting with in Joshua 10.

Then Joshua and all Israel with him passed on from Makkedah to Libnah . . . . And the LORD gave it also and its king into the hand of Israel. . . . Then Joshua and all Israel with him passed on from Libnah to Lachish . . . . And the LORD gave Lachish into the hand of Israel . . . . Then Horam king of Gezer came up to help Lachish. And Joshua struck him and his people, until he left none remaining.

Then Joshua and all Israel with him passed on from Lachish to Eglon. . . . And they captured it on that day . . . . Then Joshua and all Israel with him turned back to Debir and fought against it and he captured it with its king and all its towns.

So Joshua struck the whole land, the hill country and the Negeb and the lowland and the slopes, and all their kings. . . . And Joshua captured all these kings and their land at one time, because the LORD God of Israel fought for Israel. Then Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to the camp at Gilgal (vv. 29–43).

Now what you see in that description is just this swath of destruction that Joshua and the armies are making. It’s really interesting to read this with a map in front of you, which you’ll find in some of your study Bibles. You can find this in various resources on the Internet where you just watch the cities. It’s like dominoes here. One city after another after another after another, and they are just falling one after the other.

You see it not only in the passage I read, but in all three of these chapters. Chapter 12, which is a summary, gives the names in fast order of thirty-one kings whose cities Joshua decimated under God’s instruction.

Now some of what I’m reading here I realize is uncomfortable for modern ears. It’s hard for many to understand why God would have commanded and authorized this kind of destruction of “innocent people.” We’ve dealt with this in some of the earlier sessions, so I won’t go over that concept further except to just remind us that this land belonged to God.

The people in the land, the Canaanites, who have been given opportunity to repent, who have been given opportunity to receive God’s mercy and to believe God’s Word, had rejected God, had rejected His truth, had rejected His offer of mercy. Only a very few, such as Rahab in Jericho, were spared because they believed God.

The others were righteous subjects of God’s anger and His wrath because they had resisted God. They had resisted His law. They were unholy people. They were unrighteous and God was righteous in bringing His judgment to bear.

The land belonged to God. As I read this passage, I thought of Psalm chapter 24, verse 1, “The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof.” Some translations say, “all that fills it.” It’s all the Lord’s. “The world and those who dwell therein, for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers” (v. 1–2). He is the creator. He is the originator. He is the owner.

This earth belongs to God. Now, it’s a prodigal planet. It’s a runaway planet. It’s a planet that has ascribed allegiance to God’s enemy, to Satan himself. But God says, “The earth is Mine and all that fills it. It all belongs to Me.” And those who refused to submit to His reign and His rule came under His righteous judgment.

There’s something else I see in this passage. Not only is the earth the Lord’s and we see the conquering mode that Joshua was in, which shows the downfall ultimately of all of the enemies of the Lord. But in Joshua, as we’ve said repeatedly through this series, we have a picture, a type, of Christ. Christ who is coming to reign and to rule over this world. Christ who will one day judge all the nations.

There are many Scriptures that make this point for us. I think of Psalm chapter 72, verses 8–11.

He shall have dominion also from sea to sea,
And from the River to the ends of the earth.
Those who dwell in the wilderness will bow before Him,
And His enemies will lick the dust.
The kings of Tarshish and of the isles
Will bring presents;
The kings of Sheba and Seba
Will offer gifts.
Yes, all kings shall fall down before Him;
All nations shall serve Him.
(NKJV)

It was that passage, by the way, that motivated the hymn writer, Isaac Watts, in the 1700s to write these words: “Jesus shall reign where’er the sun does His successive journeys run. His kingdom stretched from shore to shore, ‘til moons shall wax and wane no more.”

Jesus shall reign. The earth belongs to Him. It is His, and He will have dominion. We see in the Scripture that Jesus, our heavenly Joshua, is coming to exercise God’s wrath and God’s vengeance on all who refuse to repent, all who refuse to receive His mercy.

So what we’re seeing in this passage I just read in Joshua where one after another he’s just knocking out these enemy territories. It’s a picture of what is going to happen when Jesus Christ comes to earth to reign and to rule.

Remember that passage in Revelation 19. I have referred to it often on Revive Our Hearts because it’s such a powerful picture of what we have to look forward to.

Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. . . . From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty (vv. 11, 15).

We serve a risen, reigning Christ who one day will come to this earth and will take back what rightfully belongs to Him. And that means there will be judgment, because there are many who will never have bowed the knee to that point. But Christ will come on that white horse with his sword, the Word of God, to reign and to rule over all the nations.

We think of certain nations today as being so powerful and certain kings and potentates and prime ministers as being so powerful; certain world systems, certain false religions as being so powerful. Hardly a day passes that I don’t get in my inbox news reports of a church that’s being persecuted by some of these regimes in other parts of the world.

It looks like the powers of Satan and Hell and darkness are overcoming the kingdom of Christ and the kingdom of light. But I want to tell you, Satan’s victory that he seems to have is short lived. His time is short. Revelation tells us actually that when he realizes his time is short, he redoubles his efforts. He becomes more intense.

I think that’s what we’re seeing in our world today. It’s the birth pangs getting closer and closer together, closer to the return of Christ. We see Satan just writhing and saying, “I want this world.” But we know that the world belongs to Christ. It is His, and He will come to reign and to rule.

Those who refuse to repent, whether they be individuals or nations, will be forced to bow and then will come under the eternal judging righteous hand of God. Christ, our Joshua. We see in Joshua illustrated what one day we will see lived out worldwide as the nations and the individuals who refused to believe the gospel and repent will come under the righteous wrath of God.

Now let me show this to you from another vantage point in this same passage. In Joshua chapter 10, remember the battle of Gibeon where there were five southern kings whose armies came together against Israel. We talked about that in the last few sessions. At one point in the battle, the five kings fled from the battle. They left their armies; they deserted, and they went and they hid in a cave. Joshua says in verse 18, “Roll large stones against the mouth of the cave and set men by it to guard them.”

Then Joshua says to his troops, to his armies, “Don’t stop here to deal with the kings. Roll the stones there so the kings can’t get away, but then you go and pursue your enemies, pursue these armies.” Then after pursuing them, wiping out the armies, Joshua returned to the cave.

We come to verse 22:

Joshua said, "Open the mouth of the cave and bring those five kings out to me from the cave." . . . And when they brought those kings out to Joshua, Joshua summoned all the men of Israel and said to the chiefs of the men of war who had gone with him, "Come near; [and I want you to notice this next phrase] put your feet on the necks of these kings." Then they came near and put their feet on their necks. And Joshua said to them, "Do not be afraid or dismayed; be strong and courageous. For thus the LORD will do to all your enemies against whom you fight” (Josh. 10:22, 24–24).

Now as the passage goes on we see that the five kings were executed. But I want to stop and just ponder that phrase for a few moments about Joshua and his soldiers putting their feet on the necks of these pagan kings who were anti-God. These were the enemies of God.

In that culture in the ancient world, conquering kings would put their feet on the necks of the kings that they had conquered. This was a symbol of victory over the kingdoms represented by those kings. It was a symbol that the enemy had been brought into complete submission. The enemy had been vanquished. You know what that word means. It means utterly overcome. The enemy is under the feet of the conquering king.

Well, it was just amazing to me as I meditated on that passage, just a little phrase—“put your feet on the necks of these kings.” I started to think of all the times that that phrase reappears in other parts of Scripture or that concept. Let me just show you several.

Psalm 110, verse 1, is a verse, an Old Testament reference, that is quoted by Jesus and by the apostle Peter in the New Testament. Scripture says,

The LORD
[that is Jehovah]

says to my Lord:
[a reference to Christ, the divine King]

Sit at my right hand
[that’s a picture of the ascended position of Christ to the place of honor, sitting on a throne as He is ascended in heaven]

until I make your enemies your footstool.

So what is Jesus doing in heaven today? He’s sitting at the right hand of the throne of God. He’s in an ascended, reigning position, but there’s still a future time coming when all His enemies will be put under His feet.

You read this in Hebrews chapter 10, verse 12: “When Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins [Where did He do that? At the cross], he sat down at the right hand of God.” He died. He was buried. He was raised from the dead. He ascended to heaven. He sat down at the right hand of God. What’s He doing? Waiting from that time until His enemies should be made a footstool for His feet.

Now what’s the picture here? Christ died. He was raised. He ascended. He’s sitting at the right hand of God and He’s waiting. He’s waiting for a future time when His enemies will be made a footstool for His feet. When He will put His feet on the necks of His enemies. It’s saying the time is coming when Christ will return to earth as the conquering king. At that point all creation will bow at His feet and acknowledge Him as Lord.

But it’s an interesting thought to me that in the meantime, though Christ is active, He’s interceding on our behalf. He is very engaged in what’s going on here in this world. It's interesting to me that He’s seated. While all this battle is going on down here in the world, while Satan is writhing, while Satan is trying to get the upper hand, while sin and those who are anti-God are exerting their worst against Christ, what is He doing? He’s sitting down.

That says to me that Christ is not stressed about this battle. He’s not stressed about the opposition of those who reject Him. It grieves Him. He is wanting to show mercy. He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. He is interceding. He is active. But He’s not bent out of shape about this battle.

That’s a good picture for me because it’s hard for me to sit in my seat sometimes and there are a lot of things in this world that bring me up out of my seat. There are times when we have to get onto the battle field. It’s not always a time to be sitting.

But the picture of the resurrected, ascended, reigning Christ sitting at the right hand of the throne of God—it’s saying He’s got everything under control. He’s waiting. He is waiting until that time when God says, “Get on Your horse. Go down with Your sword and bring the end of all things to pass as you judge those who have refused to repent and Your enemies will be made Your footstool.”

Ephesians 1 tells us that God

Raised him [Christ] from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church (Eph. 1:20–22).

That says that not only is His reign future, but in fact now He is the head of all things. All things are under His feet. He’s just letting some of those things have their final say before He comes to show them that they have no power at all.

So we see here the exaltation of Christ. His absolute authority and headship. And Joshua in the Old Testament just gives us a little picture, a taste, a glimpse. He’s a type of Christ, our reigning head, who has put all things under His feet and who reigns as head over all things.

I love that passage in 1 Corinthians, chapter 15. It’s a similar one, but let me read it to you. It says,

Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For "God has put all things in subjection under his feet." . . . When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God be the all in all (1 Cor. 15:24–28).

What an incredible picture that is. Christ at the end of all things will come and conquer and reign and rule over all the kingdoms of this world, and then He’ll give the kingdom to His Father. The Father has put those things in subjection to Christ. Christ will say, “Here it is, Father. I’ve put My feet on the necks of those who have rejected Your authority, those who have rebelled against You, those who would not come for mercy, those who refused Your offer of mercy. I’ve brought them into subjection. Every knee is now bowing and every tongue is confessing that Jesus Christ is Lord. Father, Yours is the kingdom.”

Then Jesus Himself will say to the Father, "I submit to You. I am under Your authority. That God may be all in all." It’s the ultimate subjection. All things in heaven and earth and even Christ Himself will put Himself in subjection to the Father. Now Christ is equal with God. We don’t understand how all that works, but you see that the end of all things will be bringing all things in heaven and on earth in subjection to the obedience and the lordship of God, the Father.

There’s another Old Testament passage that I love that speaks to this whole issue. It really paints the picture. It’s Psalm chapter 2. Psalm 2 is a coronation psalm. It is a psalm that would often be read or sung at the crowning of a king. But in the New Testament this psalm is frequently quoted, and it’s often applied to Christ, God’s anointed King. It shows the picture of the conflict between earth’s kingdoms and the kingdom of Christ.

But as you read this psalm, there is no question about the outcome of the battle. You’re familiar with that psalm:

Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against his Anointed One.
“Let us break their chains,” they say, ”and throw off their fetters.” The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.

Then he rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, “I have installed my King [King Jesus] on Zion, my holy hill.”

I will proclaim the decree of the LORD: He said to me, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father. Ask of me, [King Jesus] and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.

You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.” Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth.

Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. [But] Blessed are all who take refuge in him (Ps. 2:1–12 NIV).

You see the story there? This is the redemptive story. It’s the story of God’s exalted king. It’s the story of kings of this earth, and those kings may be the Jerichos within our own hearts. The rebellion within our own hearts. The rebellion in this world. It all exalts itself against the knowledge of Christ.

But God says, “I’m in charge. You can conspire all you want. You can come against Me all you want. You can martyr all the believers. You can exert Your influence and your power in this world, but I have set my King on Zion, My holy hill. I’ve given the earth to Him as His possession,” even as God gave the promised land to Joshua and to the Israelites.

God said, “The earth is Mine and all that fills it.” And King Jesus is going to come to the earth and under God’s authority He will reign. He will rule. And He will dash to pieces like a clay pot all those kings and rulers of the earth that did not fear Him, that rejected His right to rule and His authority.

But there’s this hope. There’s this promise. There’s this glorious expectation that we have. Blessed are all who take refuge in Him. Trust in Him. Believe the gospel. Repent and be saved. Look to Christ and be saved all the ends of the earth.

All the ends of the earth are offered that gospel invitation. You are offered that gospel invitation. If you’ve never believed in Christ, do it now. Bow the knee, for the day will come when He will put all His enemies under His feet.

Well, the end of the story is not yet, but it’s the hope we live with. Revelation chapter 11,

Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever." And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying, "We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign" (vv. 15–17).

So we sing with Isaac Watts of old, “Jesus shall reign forever and ever.” Amen? Amen.

Leslie: God owns it all. Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been showing what that means to your day-to-day life. That message is part of a series called "Lessons from the Life of Joshua (Part 11): Waging and Winning Spiritual Battles." The story of Joshua shows us so many things: how to be strong and courageous in the Lord, how to obey God’s plan, how to finish well to the end of our days. We’re covering all these themes and many more in this major study of Joshua. To hear any of the programs you’ve missed, visit ReviveOurHearts.com. The series on Joshua will continue into the first couple weeks of November.

This kind of deep-level Bible teaching for women is what listeners have come to expect from Revive Our Hearts. We’re able to continue bringing you the program because of listeners who support the ministry financially. For the rest of this week, when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any size, a special thank you gift will come your way.

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Are you leaving an inheritance to those coming behind you? You don’t have to have a lot of money to leave a valuable inheritance.

Nancy: We need to let God determine our inheritance, let Him determine our lot in life. Joy in life does not come from getting to choose your own circumstances. Joy comes from choosing God as our inheritance. That's how we get joy.

Leslie: Leaving a godly legacy, tomorrow, on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version.

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