Josh. 1:1 After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, it came to pass that the LORD spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, saying: 2 “Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them—the children of Israel. 3 Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses. 4 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. 5 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. 6 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. 7 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. 8 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. 9 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.”
Introduction - Tying this book in with the flow of the Canon
Today I am beginning a series of sermons on the book of Joshua. I've already given a broad overview of this book in my Bible Survey series. So I won't repeat what I said in that sermon. But let me take about 7 minutes to introduce you to the book as a whole before we dive into the first nine verses.
This book is divided into four major parts. And if you look at your outline you can see those four major sections on the theme portion (or the third line) of the Joshua chart.
The first 5 chapters deal with the spiritual preparations that were needed before Israel would be ready to conquer the land. The second major section is chapter 6:1 through chapter 13:7, and it deals with the conquest of Canaan. The third major section is chapter 13:8 to the end of chapter 21, and it deals with settling into the land. And the fourth section is chapters 22-24, which shows what will be spiritually needed if they are to retain the land in future generations. So the whole book can be summarized in four words - entering, conquering, settling, and retaining.
And the application of just those four headings should be obvious. If we are to take back America, we must go through each of those four steps once again. If the church is a holy ghetto that never interacts with the world, we will never conquer. Just as Joshua could not conquer the land until he entered the land, the church will never conquer America unless it once again penetrates every facet of society with the law and the Gospel - not on the world's terms, but on God's terms.
And the pietistic, two-kingdom, retreatist church has failed to do that. We have failed to be salt. We have abandoned true Biblical politics and have settled for the world's way of handling things. We have failed to apply the Bible to business, economics, education, science, and other areas. Instead, the land of Canaan has penetrated the church and made virtually every area of Christianity's existence to be corrupted by the world. No wonder the Lord is not blessing us. You look at the counseling that Christians go to - it's the wisdom of man with a few Bible verses occasionally sprinkled in. It's pluralism. You look at education - it's government schools, or if it is Christian education, its often secular thinking being taught by Christian teachers. On whatever topic you might think of, Canaan has entered the church rather than the church entering Canaan with the Law and the Gospel.
The second part of this book is conquest. If we are to regain America, we must aggressively seek to bring every thought into captivity to King Jesus. But Paul said that the only way we can do that is by putting down the weapons of the world and picking up the spiritual weapons that God has authorized us to use. And my organization, Biblical Blueprints, is about those spiritual weapons and tools. 2 Corinthians 10:2-6 is basically an application of part two of the book of Joshua. Paul says,
2 But I beg you that when I am present I may not be bold with that confidence by which I intend to be bold against some, who think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.
That's Joshua part 2 in a nutshell.
What's part 3? Well, once all humanism has been identified, exposed, and torn down (and we are not even remotely near that stage in America), we can enter the third stage of this book, which is settling in with the Gospel and the Law and living out the Biblical blueprints positively. You tear down (that's part 2) so that you can rebuild (that's part 3). Can you imagine the blessings America would begin to experience once everything we do is Biblical? It would be tremendous.
But the last section of the book warns the Israelites over and over again that once you've conquered you can't sit on your laurels. We must keep pressing into God and we must pass on the principles and passions and vision to the next generation. The Puritans in early America were successful on levels one, two, and three, but they failed on level four by teaching paganism to their children rather than radically Christian education. They embraced classical education. That was their demise. That's why their experiment did not last. The only way to retain the land that has been possessed is by passing on the heritage. So the last section of the book gives us what is critical if covenant succession is to happen. So that’s the big overview picture.
But it is also important to see how Joshua builds on the foundation of the Pentateuch. Without the Pentateuch they wouldn't have had the tools for success. And I have given another chart of how each book of the Pentateuch formed the foundation that Joshua built upon.
Genesis shows Transcendence - that everything begins with God, who had no beginning. He is the maker of the covenant. He is the Lord of life. We don't start with man's mind; we start with God's mind. So Genesis shows that the foundations for everything come from God.
Exodus shows the representatives of God in family, church, and civics. And representation is the second part of all covenant documents. Humans must represent God faithfully - whether those representatives are in family, church, or state.
Leviticus (which we saw was the book of holiness) gives the ethics for Israel, both moral and ceremonial. And its message is about God's upward call for their lives. Both Gospel and Law draw us into closer intimacy with God. And when you are united to God, you have His blessing and His power standing behind your endeavors.
Numbers shows God's sanctions, or the fourth part of the covenant. These are His punishments for disobedience and His rewards for obedience.
And Deuteronomy gives the blueprints for all of life. It shows what must be in place if we are to live Christianly in the land generation after generation. It's the basis for covenant succession.
Well, Joshua takes it one step further into inheritance.
But then Judges shows what happens when covenant succession is not taught. People fall away. Maturity is not automatic. It must be systematically trained into the very fibre of our children's lives. So there is a very logical flow in Genesis through Judges.
And today and next week we are going to look at the first nine verses of this book. Next week we will go in more detail verse by verse - drawing out some other lessons, but today I want to give an eagle's eye view of seven inescapable concepts that are embedded in these verses. These seven words are precious to the covenant keeper and are dirty words to the covenant breaker. But whether loved or hated, these seven words represent seven inescable concepts. You may try to escape from them, but you will never succeed, because God has built these truths right into human existence.
Servanthood (v. 1)
The first precious word, or dirty word (depending on your perspective) is servanthood. Verse 1 makes clear that both Moses and Joshua were called to service. It says,
After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, it came to pass that the LORD spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant…
There are two Hebrew words for servant in that verse. Moses was an eved servant who wasn't building his own empire; he was there to represent God alone and to serve God alone. He was a humble man. He had a servant's heart. And Joshua was a sharat servant, or a menial servant. Moses had a servant’s heart, and Joshua is described as being a servant's servant. Like Christ, he spent many years working for another person. And next week I will dig into that a little bit more.
But why do I call this an inescapable concept? Aren't there a lot of lazy people who refuse to serve? Yes there are. But God guarantees that if we do not submit to serving Him, we will automatically start coming under bondage to something else. Servanthood or slavery is inescapable. The book of Joshua shows the kind of dominion that can be taken when we have servant’s hearts, and the book of Judges shows the kind of bondage God’s people can find themselves in when they lose a servant’s hearts. But one way or another you are going to be serving a task master - a good one or a bad one.
For example, in Judges, when God's people lost a willingness to serve the Lord, God brought them into various kinds of bondage - bondage to fellow Jews, bondage to Canaanites, bondage within the family, bondage to state tyranny, bondage to Satan, bondage to their fleshly sins. Judges is such a vivid portrayal of what happens when you refuse to be a servant to God. Automatically you will become a servant to something else that is not in your best interests. It is never a question of whether you will serve or will not serve. Men are made to serve. The moment someone says that he is not going to serve God on a given issue, he is at that moment serving something else. He is not a free man.
Please turn to Romans 6:16-19. I would like you to see this for yourselves because this is such a foundational concept, yet such a misunderstood one. Romans 6. Paul shows how sin and righteousness is always a slavery issue - always. Romans 6:16-19:
Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Paul says that slavery is an inescapable concept. The moment you free yourself from being a slave to serve God’s commands, you immediately become a slave to serve sin’s demands, and those demands keep getting stronger and stronger; the bondage keeps getting stronger and stronger, making it more and more difficult to escape. There is no neutrality when it comes to sin - either righteousness gets easier and easier or sin becomes more and more enslaving.
And by the way, it’s not just pornography addicts, drug addicts, or alchohol addicts who are in bondage. Scripture portrays pride, lying, laziness, insecurity, greed, and other sins as forms of bondage. The hardest part is getting people to recognize their bondage - that they are serving something. For some people it is serving the praise of others - which they are always longing for. Christ told the Pharisees that they were in bondage and needed to be freed. Their response is fascinating. They were in total denial of their true state. They said,
“We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can you say, ‘You will be made free’?”
They failed to recognize that they were outwardly in bondage to Roman tyranny - and state tyranny is frequently a judgment of God. And they were in inwardly in bondage to sin. Christ told them, "Most assuredly I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin." And spiritually, Christ said they were also slaves to Satan. He said, "You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you will do." There is no middle ground. This is why we call each of these concepts "inescapable." Don't chaffe at being a bondslave of God. Embrace that bondservice. It is the only slavery that liberates us. That may seem like a contradiction, but it is not. I liken it to railroad tracks. As long as a train is enslaved to the tracks it was made for, it has liberty, power, speed, and usefulness. But when it seeks to be liberated from the tracks for which it was made, it gets mired in the mud and loses its liberty, power, speed, and usefulness. So there is a liberating servanthood and a servanthood that makes us ineffective. But there is always servanthood.
Eschatology (vv. 2-5)
The second inescapable concept that we will see throughout this book is eschatology. Eschatology is simply the doctrine of future things. What does our future look like? In verses 2-5 God gave Joshua some eschatology. He guaranteed that Joshua's future was the total inheritance of the land - if Israel would believe His promises.
And everyone has a doctrine of future things. If you are not preparing for food shortages this year, you are either too poor to do so or you have a different view of the immediate future than I do. Your view of the future affects how you act right now. Dispensationalists frequently will not make long term plans for children, for finances or anything else because they typically don’t think they will be around much longer. Others who have been disillusioned with Dispensationalism's failed predictions often cynically ignore the study of Biblical eschatology and they call themselves pan-millennialists (it will all pan out in the end, so who cares). They claim not to have a view of the future, but they do. Their view of the future is that the future is unimportant and irrelevant, and therefore it makes them present oriented and almost as bad off as the present-oriented pessimillenialists. You always have some view of the future. And that view of the future will always impact how you live.
Consider the former generation of Israelites. In fact, why don't you turn there. Turn to Numbers 13. The spies were sent into Canaan to spy out the land, and the information they brought back was very accurate. It just selectively left out the promises of God as being relevant facts. Let’s start reading at verse 26:
Num. 13:26 ¶ Now they departed and came back to Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the children of Israel in the Wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; they brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land. Num. 13:27 Then they told him, and said: “We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. Num. 13:28 “Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there. Num. 13:29 “The Amalekites dwell in the land of the South; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan.” Num. 13:30 ¶ Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” Num. 13:31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” Num. 13:32 And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. Num. 13:33 “There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”
The ten spies were getting their view of the future from reading the newspaper and analyzing gallop polls, and statistical analysis of the odds. Caleb’s eschatology in contrast was gained from God’s promises. Look at chapter 14:7-9:
Num. 14:7 and they spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying: “The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. Num. 14:8 “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.’ Num. 14:9 “Only do not rebel against the LORD, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the LORD is with us. Do not fear them.”
The point is that there were two sources of eschatology. One was from the Bible and the other was from man's evaluation. But both impacted behavior. You ignore Biblical eschatology to your peril. The beautiful Postmillennial eschatology of the Scripture is a stabilizing force that motivates people to serve God. When I became a postmillennialist, it revolutionized my faith. It gave me faith, hope, encouragement, and zeal. So all of these points are tied together.
Dominion (v. 3)
The third precious word (or dirty word for some) is "dominion." There are Christians who don’t like that word dominion even though it occurs 56 times in the Bible. Genesis 1:26 calls us to take dominion over the earth and all that is in it. And Psalm 8 says that in redemption Jesus enables us to do that. Well, where is the concept of dominion here?
Verse 3 says, "Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses." To put your foot upon something was symbolic of taking dominion over it. Thus, in the book of Ruth, when there was a transfer of property, the owner gave his shoe to the person who owned it. When a city was conquered, the conqueror frequently would hurl his shoe over the city as a symbol of his dominion over it. That by the way is what is meant by Psalm 60:8 and 108:9 when the future Messiah is prophesied as saying, "Over Edom I will cast My shoe…" That was Christ's way of promising to take dominion over Edom. When Romans 16 promises to crush Satan under our feet, God was promising that Satan’s dominion would be broken and all his realm would be placed under our feet or under our righteous dominion.
Now, many Christians revolt against the idea of dominion. But we need to ask them whose dominion they prefer? The dominion of Christ or Satan? The dominion of the righteous or the wicked? It is not a matter of dominion or no dominion. Dominion is inescapable. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said,
"You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot of men."
To be trampled underfoot of men means that Christians will experience the cruel dominion of men. And that is what has happened in America - a land that has now imposed abortion, sodomy, indoctrination, cancel culture, and other Satanic things. For salt to be under the feet of men is not a good dominion at all. But to be under the feet of Jesus, is bliss. We should always rejoice in the dominion of King Jesus. Only He can enable any human dominion to be a blessing rather than a curse. And of course, the Dominion Mandate given in Genesis 1 was intended to be a blessing. And Psalm 8 promises that Christ will not only re-enable godly dominion, but will ensure that the dominion taken by the righteous is a liberating and beautiful dominion, not an ungodly one; not an oppressive one. But there will always be some kind of dominion. Our goal should be to make sure it is a liberating dominion under Gospel and Law.
Antithesis or boundaries (vv. 4-9)
Another word that is often resisted is antithesis or boundaries. God set boundaries for Adam and Even - and they immediately stepped over those boundaries. God gave boundaries in verses 4-9 of our passage. There were physical boundaries and there were ethical boundaries. God sets boundaries for business, marriage, child rearing, civil government, and really, every area of life. And for God there is no gray area. All is either right or wrong, black or white. Christ is the line that separates between the thief on the left and the thief on the right. Over and over in His life it says that the people were divided over Him. Too many Christians don’t like that division. They want unity at all costs and so they try to blur the line of antithesis to make more people feel more comfortable. But without the antithesis being clearly articulated, the covenant is destroyed and we become like the backslidden Israelites in Judges. There is no area of life where God’s boundaries or antithesis should not be seen.
But if unbelievers are always trying to erase that line of antithesis; if they hate antithesis, why do I say that the concept is inescapable? Because God made man to need antithesis - to need lines, boundaries, and distinctions. It is just that it will be drawn at different places. Ours is a culture that pretends to tolerate all viewpoints and to be pluralistic - in other words to have no antithesis. But you know what? Pluralism only argues for toleration as long as the pluralists are not in power. The moment they are in power, they begin to engage in a cancel culture (which we are now seeing big time), and in imposing their will with brute force (because that’s all they have - they don’t have a concept of grace changing people; and we have been seeing this brute force under the recent covid tyranny). And it’s not surprising to see them recently establishing the Disinformation Governance Board in the Department of Homeland Security (which sounds like Orwell's book, 1984). Christians are being increasingly marginalized, persecuted and treated as outside the scope of what can be tolerated in the schools, courts, military, or any other public realm. Why is every view except the Biblical one tolerated? Why is pluralism so intolerant of Christianity? Because antithesis is inescapable. If you think there is no antithesis out there, I challenge you to try an experiment. Go to your next sensitivity training seminar at work and when they deal with women’s issues, give the Bible’s opinion on role relationships and see if it is tolerated. It won't be. When they deal with homosexuality, mention the Bible's views on homosexuality and see if you keep your job. There is always an antithesis. It is inescapable. And it has been utterly foolish for Christians of the past generation to have abandoned the antithesis that God has laid down in His law. When the Bible says that a given sin should also be a crime, that is a line in the sand that God draws. And when Christians are embarrassed by that line, they have already chosen a different standard for antithesis - the world's antithesis. And it's not going to go well for them. There is no neutrality possible. Christians must once again boldly stand for God's antithesis (as stated in His law) and for no other.
Unless Christians once again do so there can be no dominion; there can be no advancement of Christ’s kingdom. That’s why the Moral Majority was an utter failure and did not have a lasting impact upon America. That's why the Christian Coalition was just as much of a failure - they were embarrassed by the law of God. Now, unbelievers very clearly define what they mean by the antithesis. You know what Mark Zuckerberg believes by antithesis. You know what Jack Dorsey means by antithesis. We shouldn't be surprised that our YouTube channel got put into YouTube jail. That's no surprise. They are just applying the world's antithesis - and the world's antithesis is much less tolerant and freedom loving than the Bible's antithesis; much less. So, again, all of these points rise and fall together.
At a strategy meeting of the American Humanist Association, the speaker said that most forms of Christianity are not dangerous to their globalist goals because most Christians are embarrassed by Biblical law, have no hope for the future (since they think things will inevitably get worse and worse), have no faith for victory, and have no antithesis. The only group that they said was dangerous was Reformed Christian Reconstructionism. And the guy had obviously read Bahnsen, Rushdoony, Gary North, and others. He said that these guys were the most dangerous force in America. And the weird thing about it is that we are such a tiny minority that you would think they could safely ignore us. But no, this speaker knew that they could not ignore us because we gladly embrace these seven inescapable concepts. So in that meeting they were strategizing on how to demonize this Puritan worldview in the media, in seminaries, and in every avenue they could think of. The church must once again embrace God's antithesis or God will make us suffer under the world's much harsher antithesis. Later in this book we will see that God's antithesis is the only basis for maximum liberty and freedom. The world's antithesis eventually suffocates people.
The Presence of a God (vv. 5,9)
The fifth inescapable concept is the presence of some god - either the true God or some god of our own fashioning who pretends to have God’s attributes. God tells Joshua in verse 5: "as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you." In verse 9 God says, "do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." But when God is rejected by a culture, the need for some god's presence does not diminish. Instead, it is almost always replaced by the state. The state tries to relieve every fear and worry, and the citizens clamor for more state regulations of everything that they fear. How many times have you heard people say, "There needs to be a law against that." They say in effect to the state, "Do not leave me nor forsake me. Make sure you are with me and support me wherever I go." Over the course of history, when people have valued and depended upon God’s presence, there was a very limited small civil government. But when people backslide from God, the state always and automatically fills that vacuum. Why? Because trusting something as god is an inescapable concept. Let me list seven parallels between God and the modern state - including the United States.
• First, God is omnipresent. Psalm 139 is a beautiful Psalm of praise to God for His omnipresence. He is everywhere. God is the womb, on the earth, under the earth, in hell, in heaven. He is everywhere. That is omnipresence. He knows what you are doing in secret. But He also knows your anguish of heart and cares. And it is a comforting doctrine.
Well, when God is rejected, the state tries to be omnipresent by inserting itself into every aspect of our lives. Glance through the comprehensive rules that keep getting written by the hundreds of Federal agencies that monitor your food, vitamins, public speech, medical history, travel, education, radio waves, phone lines, workplace safety, etc., etc., and you will see that they are fast trying to become present everywhere. There are at least some leaders who have expressed the importance of preventing overpopulation by limiting the number of children that Americans can have - thus invading the bedroom. They can now easily listen to everything going on in your homes through your cell phones. A bill keeps getting introduced to provide for the Federal government monitoring private gardens, food storage, and people's diets. And it's not just in our country. Many countries are seeing the same thing happen. I'll use Chile as one example. A recent analysis of Chile's intrusions into the private sphere was titled "The Omnipresent State." It says,
The State has stealthily become omnipresent, concentrating the power and making decisions for us. It has not only interfered in the provision of goods and services that are more efficiently produced by the private sector, but also pronounces itself as to what we should eat, what we can smoke, the music we want to hear, and which days we can drive our cars. Moreover, the government has announced a bill that aims at changing the relation of the State towards children, considering them as self-sufficient individuals, thereby weakening the role of parents in their upbringing.
And as you read the rest of the article that documents the omnipresence of the state in their lives you get the impression that the state promises to never leave them nor forsake them. We need to realize that statism is the biggest idol in modern history. It is a stronghold that needs to be pulled down.
• Second, God is omniscient (which means He knows all things). And as a kind of counterfeit god, the state tries to know all things - through spy networks, intelligence gathering, interference with the internet, invasion of privacy in banking, commerce, telecommunications and in other ways. The state as god tries to be omniscient. Even with VPN it is virtually impossible to purchase crypto without the state knowing about it and wanting to control it and tax it. Do a search for articles on the "omniscient state," and you will see articles from many countries complaining that their civil governments are seeking to be all-knowing overseers of everything we say and do. They want files on your medical history, your spending habits, your social scores, your conversations, and other things. It is a desire to be like God. When men reject God, they always substitute another god - and often that god is the state. This is why I say it is an inescapable concept. Something will fill the vacuum. And if it isn't the state, it may be science. How many times are we told not to question what science says about face masks, or the vaccines, or global warming? There is always a higher authority that knows better than you do. And it doesn't matter how many scientists have a different opinion than the ones that state is favoring, they will still say, "Science says..."
• Third, God has the final say, and the tyrannical god-like state tries to be the final say. Our Federal Government doesn't even like the Constitution to be above them and they have successfully ignored its restraints for all of my lifetime and most of my parent's lifetime. And it isn't just the Democrats who violate the constitution; most Republicans do too. There is nothing above the state in their opinion. Well, that's a god-like attribute.
• Fourth, God is all powerful, and the state tries to be more and more powerful through centralization. Ludwig von Mises wrote an insightful book called "Omnipotent Government." But while libertarians can recognize the God-like characteristic of omnipotence that characterizes the modern state, their attempts to de-fang the state will not work as long as they reject the true God. God will ensure that it will not work because He is disciplining the country for unfaithfulness.
On December 10 of last year, the Libertarian Party of Georgia wrote an article, "Deprogramming the Cult of the Omnipotent State." It had a lot of good points in it, showing how the state now has almost all the features of a suffocating cult. It started by saying,
“We, the members of the Libertarian Party, challenge the cult of the omnipotent state and defend the rights of the individual.” This is the first sentence of the official “Statement of Principles” for the Libertarian Party, a document first adopted in 1974. While some find the language of this statement to be rather extreme, an in-depth examination reveals that there is truth in the comparison of radical, big-government devotion and collectivism to cult-like behavior.
Steven Hassan, a mental health counselor specializing in mind control and cults, developed a tool for assessing organizations against this type of authoritarian control. Using research and theory developed by a number of experts, he put together the BITE Model to characterize specific methods that institutions use to exercise undue influence over human beings. An acronym for Behavior, Information, Thought, and Emotional control, this model describes how each of these areas are used to manipulate individuals in order to impose authority.
A close look at these methods reveals undeniable parallels to government entities, corporate interest groups, and the media that support them. While they have been in place for decades, these practices have rapidly escalated over the past couple of years.
But have the libertarians been able to de-fang the state? No. Scripture presents a tyrannical state as one of God's tools to discipline a country and to discipline God's people. Until the church wakes up and joyfully embraces these inescapable concepts, God will continue to push our noses into the poop (so to speak) to train us. If you fail to submit to the true God, God will force you to feel the oppression of your false god - the state.
• Next comparison: God is Savior, and the State tries to be savior. Read Rushdoony’s book, the Messianic Character of American Education, and you will have your eyes opened if you doubt it. And both Joshua and the book of Judges exemplify all of these points that I am talking about today.
• Next, God is law giver, and the state tries to take over that function.
• Next, God is in providential control of all things, sustaining and keeping them, and the state inevitably tries to control every sector and sustain every sector. Even ancient Egypt and Rome tried to get into welfare, housing, food distribution and other sectors.
On every level, there is the impulse of the state to take the place of God, and this is a book that shows what needs to be in place before statism can be de-fanged. It will only happen through repentance over using carnal weapons and faith to use God's spiritual weapons. As long as the people prefer the state's presence and the security of slavery, statism will stick around. God will ensure that it sticks around. But He can immediately overturn statism if Christians will repent.
Covenantal inheritance (vv. 7b, 8b)
I’ll skip over covenantal inheritance, except to say that you can’t avoid passing something on to the next generation, whether good or bad. And we need to think keenly about what it is we want to pass on to them if we are to be effective in dominion. Dominion is something that takes many generations, and without putting planning and forethought into inheritance, we are doomed to failure. Proverbs says that the godly pass on a heritage to their children’s children. Inheritance is not just money. It involves values, character, habits, perspective and other things that can only be gained through continual contact with the parents in home education. We must think about inheritance.
Infallibility or authority (vv. 7-8)
Lastly, infallibility or authority is inescapable. And actually, Rushdoony wrote an entire book on that inescapable concept. Verses 7-8 make the law of God the authority from which no one can deviate to the right hand or the left. If you can't deviate from it, that makes God's law infallible. But we find out very quickly in Judges what happens when the Bible’s infallibility is rejected. Immediately, alternative authorities are trusted. It may be an alternative religious authority, or scientific authority, or your own mind, or a politician that is going to make America great again - and if you disagree with him you will be in trouble. But there is always going to be a trust in some authority of the creature if the authority of the Creator is rejected. Right now the CDC has become an infallible authority for many people in the area of medicine. And it doesn’t do any good to show that the CDC has changed it’s mind or that it is a political tool - people will still ferociously insist that we trust it. That’s what Facebook keeps doing to me.
I debated whether to even cover these seven issues, because this is not nearly as exegetical a sermon as the others in this series will be. But I believe that if these concepts which undergird the other doctrines of this chapter are not firmly grasped and followed, Christianity will not be successful in taking the land. These seven concepts must be loved, and they must be seen as inescapable so that any time we are tempted to avoid them we will know that it is impossible - we might as well embrace them properly. To repeat these points:
- It is not a question of servanthood versus no servanthood, but whom do you serve? As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
- It is not a question of eschatology versus no eschatology, but are you willing to have your view of the future framed by the Bible alone and not by man and not by circumtances. As for me and my house, we are going to be like Joshua and Caleb.
- Third, it is not a question of dominion versus no dominion. The choice is satanic dominion or the dominion of Jesus. Are you willing to allow pagans to continue to control your lives or will you welcome the limited government that true Christians should value? As for me and my house, we embrace God's call for a Biblical theocracy which limits church authority and limits state authority and gives maximum liberty for everyone.
- Fourth, it is not a question of antithesis or no antithesis, but who defines the antithesis: God or man? As for me and my house, we refuse to be intimidated by the antithesis of the world, and we gladly and unapologetically embrace the antithesis of the Bible - cancel culture or no cancel culture.
- Fifth, it is not a question of God’s presence being depended upon. All men depend upon some god. The question is, are the attributes of God being blasphemously stolen by the state or not? All men need to somehow trust these attributes of God or they would not be able to function. But sadly, they tend to attribute these attributes to the state. As for me and my house, we will let God be God and refuse to allow any creature to assume God's attributes.
- Sixth, it is not a question of inheritance or no inheritance. It is guaranteed that you will pass on an inheritance to your children, but is it money or debt; is it a godly inheritance or a sinful one; is it a Biblical worldview or a pagan one? As for me and my house, we will do all in our power to pass on a godly heritage to our children's children.
- Seventh, it is not a matter of infallibility or no infallibility. All men trust something implicitly. The issue is, how reliable is your authority? If it is your puny mind, you are in trouble. If it is some human creature who came onto the scene a few years ago and will pass out of this world in a few more, you are in trouble. Only the infallibility of the Bible is 100% trustworthy. As for me and my house, we will affirm only one infallible standard - the Bible. All else we will treat as subject to error. So help us God. Amen.