Kingdom come the final v.., p.18
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       Kingdom Come: The Final Victory, p.18
 

         Part #13 of Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye
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  “Well, yes, amen and amen!” Joshua said, again miraculously able to be heard by all. “Thank you, children! Caleb and I thank you. You are right that the Lord’s anger was aroused. He made Israel wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation that had done evil in His sight was gone. You know, many people believe the wilderness journey simply took that long, but from the Scriptures you know that the forty years were a punishment for their lack of faith. If you trace our journey on a map, you’ll see that we simply wandered around, getting nowhere.

  “Now, believe me, I know the story you want me to get to, and I promise I will tell it. But let me ask Caleb here to take you back to when he and I first met and labored together. It may be hard for you to believe, but we were once children, just like you. Now don’t laugh. We were!”

  Caleb stepped forward. His voice was reedier than Joshua’s but just as loud and understandable. “Joshua and I were born in Egypt, while our parents and all the children of Israel were slaves. Even the adults, our parents and aunts and uncles, were called children, because they were the children of God, His chosen people. Joshua and I experienced everything the rest of our tribes went through in the wilderness after escaping. Joshua proved to be a mighty man of valor, serving as a commander in the great war against the Amalekites. He also ministered to our leader, Moses, when he went up Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments from the Lord.

  “One day the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the children of Israel; from each tribe of their fathers you shall send a man, every one a leader among them.’

  “So Moses sent us from the Wilderness of Paran according to the command of the Lord, all of us men who were heads of the children of Israel. That included Joshua, who was then known as Hoshea until Moses changed his name, and me. He told us, ‘Go up this way into the South, and go up to the mountains, and see what the land is like: whether the people who dwell in it are strong or weak, few or many; whether the land they dwell in is good or bad; whether the cities they inhabit are like camps or strongholds; whether the land is rich or poor; and whether there are forests there or not. Be of good courage. And bring some of the fruit of the land.’

  “I was glad he added that last, because it was the season of the first ripe grapes. So we went up and spied out the land from one end to the other. When we came to the Valley of Eshcol—which is not far from Hebron—we cut down a branch with one cluster of grapes so large we had to carry it between two of us on a pole. We also brought some of the pomegranates and figs.

  “We finally returned from spying out the land after forty days, bringing back word to Moses and his brother, Aaron, and all the congregation of the children of Israel, and we showed them the fruit of the land. We told Moses in front of all the others, ‘The land where you sent us truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large.’

  “Now I could see that this report troubled the people. And while the report was true, I believed God was in this and wanted us to proceed. I quieted the people before Moses and said, ‘Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.’

  “But some of the others who had gone with me said, ‘We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.’ And they gave the children of Israel a bad report, saying, ‘The land devours its inhabitants, and all the people are of great stature. We saw giants and we were like grasshoppers compared to them.’

  “Now, children, while this may have been an exaggeration, it was close to the truth. Still I believed we were to trust God for the victory and follow Him into the land. But all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, ‘If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness! Why has the Lord brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?’

  “So they said to one another, ‘Let us select a leader and return to Egypt.’

  “Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel. But Joshua and I tore our clothes and spoke to the children of Israel: ‘The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land which flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us. Do not fear them.’

  “But the people wanted to stone us! Then the glory of the Lord appeared in the tabernacle before all the children of Israel.”

  The children jumped up and cheered, surprising Caleb and making him look to Joshua, who urged him to continue. The children sat again.

  “Then the Lord said to Moses: ‘How long will these people reject Me? And how long will they not believe Me, with all the signs which I have performed among them? I will strike them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and I will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they.’

  “And Moses said to the Lord, ‘Then the Egyptians will hear it, for by Your might You brought these people out from among them, and they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that You, Lord, are among these people; that You, Lord, are seen face to face and Your cloud stands above them, and You go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night.

  “ ‘Now if You kill these people, then the nations which have heard of Your fame will speak, saying, “Because the Lord was not able to bring this people to the land which He swore to give them, therefore He killed them in the wilderness.” ’

  “And Moses continued, ‘I pray, let the power of my Lord be great, just as You have spoken, saying, “The Lord is longsuffering and abundant in mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He by no means clears the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation.” Pardon the iniquity of this people, I pray, according to the greatness of Your mercy, just as You have forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.’

  “Now, children, do you know what God did? He changed His mind. Yes, it happens, and this story proves it. The Lord said, ‘I have pardoned, according to your word; but truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord—because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice, they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it.’ ”

  Joshua stepped forward. “Now let me tell this part, my brother. God continued to speak to Moses, saying, ‘But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it.’ ”

  Again the children leaped to their feet, clapping and cheering, but now both Joshua and Caleb held up their hands for silence. “There is so much more we want to tell you,” Joshua said, smiling. “Please sit.”

  Caleb spoke again. “Then Moses went up to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, across from Jericho, and the Lord showed him the land. And the Lord said, ‘This is the land of which I swore to give Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, “I will give it to your descendants.” I have caused you to see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there.’

  “Now, children, Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab. He was one hundred and twenty years old, but his eyes were not dim nor his vigor diminished. We children of Israel wept for Moses for thirty days.

  “Can you guess whom the Lord chose to be the next leader of the children of Israel?”

  Many kids shouted, “You!” and othe
rs yelled, “Joshua!”

  “Some of you are right,” Caleb said. “Joshua was full of the spirit of wisdom. It came to pass that the Lord spoke to Joshua, Moses’ assistant, saying: ‘Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all these people, to the land which I am giving to them. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the River Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your territory. No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

  “ ‘Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.’

  “Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, ‘Pass through the camp and command the people, saying, “Prepare provisions for yourselves, for within three days you will cross over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land which the Lord your God is giving you to possess.”’

  “Joshua told the people, ‘Remember the word which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, saying, “The Lord your God is giving you rest and is giving you this land.” Your wives, your little ones, and your livestock shall remain in the land which Moses gave you on this side of the Jordan. But you shall pass before your brethren armed, all your mighty men of valor, and help them, until the Lord has given your brethren rest, as He gave you, and they also have taken possession of the land which the Lord your God is giving them. Then you shall return to the land of your possession and enjoy it, which Moses the Lord’s servant gave you on this side of the Jordan toward the sunrise.’

  “They answered Joshua, saying, ‘All that you command us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. Just as we heeded Moses in all things, so we will heed you. Only the Lord your God be with you, as He was with Moses. Whoever rebels against your command and does not heed your words shall be put to death. Only be strong and of good courage.’

  “Joshua sent out two men to spy secretly on Jericho. So they went and came to the house of a harlot named Rahab and lodged there. And it was told the king of Jericho, ‘Behold, men have come here tonight from the children of Israel to search out the country.’

  “So the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, ‘Bring out the men who have entered your house, for they have come to search out all the country.’

  “But the woman took the two men and hid them and said, ‘Yes, they came to me, but I did not know where they were from. And as the gate was being shut, when it was dark, the men went out. Where they went I do not know; pursue them quickly, for you may overtake them.’ But she had brought them up to the roof and hidden them with the stalks of flax.

  “As soon as those who pursued them had gone out, they shut the gate. Now before they lay down, she came up to them on the roof and said, ‘I know that the Lord has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the Amorites on the other side of the Jordan, whom you utterly destroyed. Our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.

  “ ‘Now therefore, I beg you, swear to me by the Lord, since I have shown you kindness, that you also will show kindness to my father’s house, and give me a true token, and spare my father, my mother, my brothers, my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.’

  “The men answered, ‘Our lives for yours, if none of you tell this business of ours. And it shall be, when the Lord has given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with you.’

  “Then she let them down by a rope through the window, and the men said, ‘When we come into the land, bind this line of scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down.’

  “When they returned, they said to Joshua, ‘Truly the Lord has delivered all the land into our hands, for indeed all the inhabitants of the country are fainthearted because of us.’

  “Then Joshua rose early in the morning, and they set out from Acacia Grove and came to the Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they crossed over. So it was, after three days, that the officers went through the camp; and they commanded the people, saying, ‘When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests, the Levites, bearing it, then you shall set out from your place and go after it. Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure. Do not come near it, that you may know the way by which you must go, for you have not passed this way before.’

  “Then Joshua said to the priests, ‘Take up the ark of the covenant and cross over before the people.’

  “And the Lord said to Joshua, ‘This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. Command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant, “When you have come to the edge of the water, you shall stand in the Jordan.” ’

  “So Joshua said to the children of Israel, ‘By this you shall know that the living God is among you, and that He will without fail drive out from before you all your enemies: Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is crossing over before you into the Jordan. And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of the Lord of all the earth shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters shall be cut off, and they shall stand as a heap.’

  “And, children, so it was. When we set out to cross over the Jordan, and the feet of the priests who bore the ark dipped in the edge of the water, the flow was cut off, and we crossed over opposite Jericho on dry ground.”

  The children were cheering again, but Joshua held up a hand for silence.

  Caleb continued, “The Lord spoke to Joshua, saying, ‘Take for yourselves twelve men, one man from every tribe, and command them to take for themselves twelve stones from out of the midst of the Jordan from the place where the priests’ feet stood firm.’

  “Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of the Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests who bore the ark of the covenant stood, and we hurried and crossed over. About forty thousand prepared for war crossed over before the Lord to the plains of Jericho.

  “You see, on that day the Lord exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel, and we feared him as we had Moses. And Joshua commanded the priests, saying, ‘Come up from the Jordan,’ and when the soles of their feet touched dry land, the waters of the Jordan returned and overflowed all its banks.

  “We came up from the Jordan and camped in Gilgal on the east border of Jericho. And those twelve stones we took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up in Gilgal. Then he spoke to the children of Israel, saying, ‘When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, “What are these stones?” you shall let your children know, saying, “Israel crossed over this Jordan on dry land”; for the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed over, just as He did the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed over.’

  “And, young ones, here is why. Are you listening? ‘So all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of the Lord, that i
t is mighty, that they may fear the Lord their God forever.’ Will you vow to do that? Will you? Raise your hand if you will.”

  All over the athletic field, youngsters raised their hands, and many waved.

  “All right, we’re getting to the story you’ve all been waiting for, and I know you want to hear it from the man himself.”

  More applause as Joshua traded places with Caleb.

  “We had been in the wilderness for more than forty years by now, and it was time to possess the land. We camped in Gilgal on the plains of Jericho. We ate of the produce of the land, unleavened bread and parched grain. The manna from the Lord ceased the day after we had eaten of the land, and we ate the food of the land of Canaan that year.

  “One day I looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite me with His sword drawn. I went to Him and said, ‘Are You for us or for our adversaries?’

  “He told me he had come as Commander of the army of the Lord. I knew who He was. Do you? He sits on the throne in the temple even today. I fell on my face and worshiped, and said, ‘What does my Lord say to His servant?’

  “The Commander of the Lord’s army said, ‘Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.’ And so I did.

  “Now the people of the city of Jericho knew we were nearby, and so it was locked up tight, no one going in or coming out. The Lord said, ‘See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor. You shall march around the city, all you men of war, once every day for six days. And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets.

 
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