Introduction - The typology of Joshua (Heb. 3-4)
This is our second week in these nine verses. Last week we looked at what an ideal biblical military would look like. And some of those principles will hopefully prove to be protections for our young women and men should a draft be instituted in the future. And, by the way, what I warned about actually happened this past week. The Senate version of the National Defense Authorization Bill sneaked in the same language as the previous year that would force women to sign up for the Selective Service Registry or be considered to be a felon. So last week's sermon is very relevant to our liberties. I think it was the main focus of the passage.
But since 93 New Testament passages apply the book of Joshua to typology and other things, I want to go through these verses a second time and pick up some additional lessons that we can learn.
Secondary lesson 1 - God delights in immediate, first-time obedience (v. 10a)
The first thing that I see is that Joshua obeyed God instantly and without question. Verse 10 says, "Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people." It doesn't say that he waited for weeks while he wrestled with the difficulty of God's commands in the previous section. No. As soon as God gave His marching orders, then Joshua followed them without question and without reservation.
And we should desire the same attitude for ourselves and for our children. And the way to train your children up in this kind of perspective is to make sure that your children obey the first time you ask them to do something and not after constant nagging. If God desires first time obedience in us adults, why not start training that in our children? It's a minor point, but I think one worth making.
And if you are having trouble with that, Gary Ezzo has some fantastic advice in his course on First Time Obedience. And if you prefer the Cliff Notes version, I've put Voddie Baucham's three steps in your outline. He says that children must do what they are told. They must do it when they are told. And they must do it with respectful attitudes. Joshua definitely had that with God.
Secondary lesson 2 - Prepping for contingencies should be a lifestyle (v. 11)
Another secondary lesson can be gained from verse 11
“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.’”
Why prepare if God had promised to give the land to them? Because God gives us what He has promised through means. There is the means of prayer, planning, and action. Some people don't prepare for emergencies, and their reason is, "I'll just trust God to provide if that happens." That's not trust. That's presumption. It's really as silly as taking God's promise to provide our daily food as an excuse for not putting the fork into our mouth. No. God uses means. He enables us to do things, but doesn't do them for us.
And while God did enable them to gain additional provisions through the spoil that they would later find in certain cities, God started with Jericho, a city where no spoil was allowed to be scavenged. And they marched around it for seven days. And yet, they didn't go hungry because they obeyed this order to prepare provisions.
And what was said for soldiers here is said for everyone else in many other passages. I’ll just read three. Proverbs 27:12 says “The prudent foresee danger, and take refuge, but the simple keep going, and suffer for it.” Proverbs 6:6-11 is another passage on preparation, but it says that such preparation should actually be a way of life whether there are national emergencies or. It says, "Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise." And what are the ways it wants us to imitate the ant? Without being goaded, the ant stores up food. And the lesson is, so should we. It says,
Prov. 6:6 Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, 7 Which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, 8 Provides her supplies in the summer, And gathers her food in the harvest. 9 How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? 10 A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to sleep — 11 So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, And your need like an armed man.
I'll give you one more. In Matthew 25:1-13, Jesus draws a contrast between the wise and foolish virgins. In this scenario, the five wise virgins made preparations for the coming of the bridegroom. And not knowing when he would come, they brought extra oil for their lamps - just in case. And it was a good thing they did so because the bridegroom came much later than was anticipated. Here's the thing - Jesus praises them for preparing for more than what was anticipated would be needed. In contrast, the five foolish virgins decided to not have extra oil. They brought just enough. When the bridegroom came much later than anticipated, the foolish virgins had run out of oil and they begged the wise virgins for some of their extra oil. Well, the wise virgins now didn't have enough to share. The wise virgins retained what extra they had for themselves, but did encourage the other virgins to quickly sell some assets to go buy some oil. But while the foolish virgins were quickly trying to buy the oil, the doors to the feast were closed, and the foolish virgins missed out on the feast. That parable would make no sense unless the concept of preparedness continued to be valid. Let me make six applications from that parable.
- First, it is wise to prepare for future contingencies, and it is foolish to presume that no contingencies will happen. It was normal to prepare for various contingencies in previous generations. For example, they didn't buy luxury items on debt presuming they would have the same stream of income in the future. Or as another example, it was normal to store up a year's supply of food because crops didn't grow in the winter. It used to be that everyone canned food for the coming months. We had to can food in Ethiopia, but my parents learned that from their parents, who learned it from the previous generation. Storing up a year's worth of food was just normal living. Storing up extra supplies of kerosene and other essentials was also normal. It is simply preparing for future contingencies.
- Second, even though the exact timing of shortages might be unknown, there are certain steps we can take to be somewhat prepared even for unknown contingencies.
- Third, the wise virgins were not rebuked for not sharing with the foolish virgins because the unanticipated delay meant that they only had enough for their own lamps (v. 9). Jesus was saying that you should not have the attitude that if shortages come, you will just live off of what the wise virgins have gathered. That's not being wise.
- Fourth, since it was “wise virgins” who told the foolish ones to reallocate their assets in order to buy the emergency supplies needed (vv. 9-10), we should assume the advice itself is wise. If you don't have adequate supplies for the next year, reallocate your other assets to make sure you have the essentials. To make it concrete - don't buy a TV if you don't have essentials in store.
- Fifth, doing the right thing (verse 10) when its too late (verse 11) can be disastrous. So that parable speaks against procrastination. When tornadoes or hurricanes come, those who are unprepared find that the stores are completely out of flashlights and other basics. It's too late to scavenge after the disaster hits because that's when everyone is scavenging necessities from the stores.
- And last, there is a balance between not wanting to be a burden to others and being self-sufficient so as to be able to help others. The wise virgins were able to help the bridegroom and his attendants. Galatians 6 gives that balance as well. Galatians 6:5 says, “let each one bear his own load.” But it also says, “bear one another’s burdens” Gal. 6:2). So we need to strive to do both - to do everything we can to bear our own burdens and to do that so effectively that we will be in a position to help others bear their burdens if they have tried to be responsible.
We recognize that not everyone will have the ability to do everything, but those with plenty are more likely to give joyfully to those who have less if the poor are not foolish virgins but have heeded Galatians 6:5 to the best of their ability. This is the whole point of the SALT Plan book by Chuck Bentley – to be prepared for disaster sufficiently so that we don’t have to scramble for our own needs but can be prepared to serve the needs of others. As covenanted believers, we are called to bear one another’s burdens. But we are also called to encourage each other to bear their own burdens and to be wise about the future (Galatians 6:5; see also Matt. 25:9; Prov. 25:12). That's what I am doing in this sermon.
And by the way, shortages might be closer than we realized. Ever since May of this year, electric-grid operators on the West Coast, East Coast, and even in the Midwest have been warning that there might be rolling blackouts this summer and later. If you don't have a backup generator, your food might spoil. If you have a chest freezer, it might last for three days. And maybe those blackouts won't be that long, but even some in the establishment are expressing extreme concern.
Nor are food shortages as crazy an idea as they used to be. While the Russia/Ukraine conflict may not have a direct impact on us (because we produce our own wheat) there are at least seven reasons that experts this year have begun predicting that we will see huge price increases on food and may even see food shortages later this year. One of the reasons that has frustrated even the establishment is that China is hoarding global food reserves like crazy. As of this month, they have gathered enough food to feed their entire population for two years - just from their reserves. And they keep hoarding. We are not sure why. Add to that the Supply Chain crisis that has been developing in the USA, the price of gas and diesel, potential diesel shortages later this year, the 96 large food processing plants that have mysteriously been destroyed in the last twelve months (and someone told me last week that the number had just gone over 100), and the bird flu, and you have at least the potential for shortages. Even the current administration is beginning to be nervous about a global food shortage.
Also keep in mind that we are the first generation in history that has not stored up at least some food for the winter. We are used to it always being in the store each week. What if it weren't? Maybe it will continue to be, but there is no skin off your nose if you follow in the footsteps of your grandparents. It really won't matter either way. It was a habit of life for them to prepare.
For those who don't have the money to prepare, I would say, "Are you really living within your means? Are you eating out? Are you buying new furniture? There are always ways to cut expenses." And if you can't prepare in every area, at least prepare in the basics of food, first aid, three months supply of your own essential medicines, a kerosene heater or some other form of non-electrical heat, and at least minimal security. That's not going overboard. That is normal preparations that have been done for centuries.
Obviously the preparation that these soldiers did was only for a few weeks of travel and warfare. But the principle is the same. They had provisions to take with them on a three day notice. Where did they get them? They didn't get them from Walmart. They got them from their own personal storage, and you can be sure they left plenty for their wives and children.
Secondary lesson 3 - the gift of Canaan is a type of the world that God wants us to evangelize and disciple
The third secondary lesson I want to share is actually based on the New Testament's repeated use of Joshua as a type of Jesus (the Greater Joshua). The name for Joshua and Jesus is exactly the same in the Greek. And the New Testament uses the book of Joshua as a symbol of Jesus conquering the world with the Gospel. Beale and Carson show 93 explicit allusions to the book of Joshua in the New Testament, many of which show that it wasn't just Joshua as a man that was a type. It was also his actions, the actions of Israel, the land of Canaan, the resistance of the Canaanites, the good things they found in the land of Canaan, and other things. There is a rich typology in this book. So let me make some applications to the Great Commission and New Testament living.
It was a gift of grace (cf. vv. 11,13,15)
First of all, Joshua reminds the people three times in these nine verses that the land of Canaan was a gift. It's designated a gift in verse 11 where Joshua says, "go in to possess the land which the LORD your God is giving you to possess." God is giving it. He repeats that two more times. Unless God blesses, our efforts are in vain. We don't just trust God for salvation. We trust God for everything we do. We are to walk in the Spirit and not in our own strength and wisdom.
But it couldn't be achieved without human responsibility (vv. 11,15)
But the next sub-point is that the land could not be gained without human responsibility and effort. God gives the land, but they are called to possess what He has given them. And this balance between divine sovereignty and human responsibility is displayed thousands of times in the Bible. My favorite verse is Philippians 2:12-13, which says that we can only work out what God has already worked in. We depend upon God to be responsible.
So applied to the Great Commission, all authority has been given to Jesus in heaven and an earth. On the basis of that authority and power, He says "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations..." We can't wait for Him to convert the world any more than the Jews under Joshua could wait for God to conquer Canaan. We must get active in evangelism and discipleship. So there is a balance between divine sovereignty and human responsibility in this typology. But let's dig deeper into the specifics. What is it that God gave them and gives us? They can be summarized under two labels: rest and land.
God gives us rest (v. 13 with Hebrews 3-4)
Verse 13 says that God was going to eventually give Israel "rest." Some people have said that the rest they enjoyed in Canaan typifies heaven. Others say it typifies salvation. But I believe it typifies the peace that comes from a godly civilization in the world. At least that's the way Hebrews 3-5 applies it. It's the end success of the Great Commission as all nations are discipled and are obeying all things that Jesus spoke. So Hebrews 3-5 speaks of Jesus taking the conquest of the world - not with a physical sword, but with the sword of the Word (the Bible). And we have a far vaster rest awaiting us than they did. Instead of that rest being found only in the land of Canaan, it will be found in the entire world.
So yes, the meek inherit the earth and dwell in it, but do they inherit that rest by being passive? No. Hebrews 4:11 says, "Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience." He isn't talking about diligence in entering salvation. That's a misapplication of that passage. The passage is based on the conquest of Canaan. He's talking about diligence in advancing the Great Commission by God's grace.
But the bottom line is that there is a rest coming from heaven to earth as the kingdom of heaven invades earth more and more and God's will is done on earth more and more as it is in heaven. That's what we pray for in the Lord's prayer. It will eventually become a world in which righteousness dwells and the rest being enjoyed in heaven right now, will be a rest enjoyed on earth forever and ever. That concept of rest is a glorious promise. It means that the Great Commission will be fulfilled eventually. It will not be a failure. And that means that all nations will become Christian nations and will observe everything Christ has commanded. We will have a Christian world. Hebrews promises that it will be a far more glorious rest than the rest that the Israelites eventually enjoyed in the land of Canaan. Eventually all things will be put under Christ's feet and every enemy will be made a friend.
God gives us land/earth (v. 13 with Ps. 25:13; 37:9,11,22; Matt. 5:5)
But that brings us to the promises of actual land or earth. Too many people explain that away. Verse 13 says, "The LORD your God is giving you rest and is giving you this land." He is promising two different things. Are we promised the land in the New Testament? Yes. Jesus said the meek shall inherit the earth. Romans 4:13 shows that the promise made to Abraham ultimately included the whole world. The good news of the Gospel is that God's grace goes far as the curse is found. It will eventually reverse thorns and thistles and death in the New Heavens and New Earth, but the conquest that leads to that is now. The Psalm Jesus quoted when He said that the meek shall inherit the earth is Psalm 37. That Psalm calls us to
Psa. 37:3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. 4 Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.
And it goes on to say that when we do that, here are the things God will bring to earth during history: He will bring shalom (which is the gradual reversal of the curse), God's embrace, full satisfaction, guidance, security, eternal life, societal wholeness, judgment of the wicked, justice, inheriting the earth, dwelling in the land forever, and abundance of shalom in the earth.
Paul is not exaggerating when he said that the promise that God made to Abraham was far more than Canaan. That was just a downpayment. Paul says that the full implications of the promise was that he would inherit the world. And without a future resurrection, that would be impossible because Hebrews says that Abraham still hadn't inherited the promise. It’s not just heaven; it’s earth Abraham has to inherit.
As Randy Alcorn points out so well in his fabulous book on Heaven, we were made to enjoy this physical universe and to explore this physical universe and to take dominion over this physical universe throughout eternity. So get used to doing it right now. God is not rescuing us from the physical. That concept is Greek Gnosticism. No, we are going to inherit the physical, and God is preparing us to that end through every scientific, ecological, agricultural, chemical, and other enterprise right now. We should glory in God’s creation. We should take dominion of God’s creation right now if that is going to be our inheritance forever in the New Heavens and the New Earth. We have a generous God, and earth is one of His wonderful gifts.
But Hebrews 3-5 says that we can easily miss out on inheriting the land if we are not faithful
But Hebrews 3-5 says that we can easily miss out on inheriting the earth just as the first generation of Israelites missed out under Moses. Hebrews 3 basically says that if we operate in our own fleshly strength like the Jews did when they attacked Ai in Joshua 7, we will not succeed. And if we are unfaithful like the first generation in the wilderness was, we won't succeed. And Hebrews 4 says that if we draw back from our calling, God will be angry and we will not enter our rest. Hebrews 4, verses 12-13 say that our sword is far more powerful than Joshua's, but if we don't use it, we will not succeed. It says,
Heb. 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.
He is saying that this Bible is far more powerful than any earthly sword. It has the power to turn nations upside down - just like the First Great Awakening turned England and America upside down. If we would start using God's Word once again in politics, in business, in every area of life like the Benham Brothers do, we would see a difference. Why? Because God's Word is powerful.
Instead, the church has sadly picked up the carnal weapons of the world, not the weapons which are mighty in God. Joshua and Judges will illustrate that conquest is not a guaranteed conclusion in any generation. God requires us to trust and obey. Verse 11 says that they had to cross over the Jordan and penetrate the land before they would see their rest. In the same way, Christians must penetrate every aspect of culture and take it back for King Jesus. Or at a very minimum, we need to develop a parallel culture and a parallel economy that is so good that it replaces the other one when it collapses.
Secondary lesson 4 - the Regulative Principle of Government does not just apply to the state
Let's move on to secondary lesson 4. We touched on the subject of the Regulative Principle of Government last week. That doctrine limits the power of the state. Praise God! It's a wonderful doctrine of liberty. It was because of the Regulative Principle of Government that the army had to disband when not needed (and you can see that in v. 15). But (as the Puritans pointed out) the Regulative Principle of Government doesn't just apply to the state. It also applies to the church. And the Puritans probably did the most consistent work in applying this doctrine. In a nutshell it is that families and individuals retain to themselves all rights, liberties, responsibilities, and ministries that God has not explicitly given to either state or church in the Bible. In other words, state and church have to justify everything they are doing from the Bible. If they did that, we would have an incredibly limited civil government and a much smaller footprint for the church than many churches currently have. That doctrine is the foundation for true liberty for the family and individual and it needs to be resurrected. It desperately needs to be resurrected.
Secondary lesson 5 - the age for war is also the age for adulthood
Another lesson is that the age for war that we looked at last week is also the age for treating guys and gals as adults in other contexts. It should be an age that we really celebrate. Of course, 20 wasn't all fun. Exodus 38:26 indicates that men began to be taxed at the age of 20. And Numbers 1 repeatedly says that males 20 years old and above were qualified for war. So not all of it was exciting. But it is basically the age for adulthood in the Bible. Leviticus 27 shows that this age was true for both males and females. When the nation was judged in Numbers 14, God did not place that judgment on anyone under twenty years of age. And the next generation proved themselves to be a worthy generation. Our church covenant gives several Scriptures that show that guys and gals should renew the covenant that their parents had made when they become 20. So on many levels age 20 is a hugely significant milestone.
So on the basis of that, let me suggest something. You can take it or leave it, but I would suggest that you make a far bigger deal over the twentieth birthday than over the thirteenth birthday. Talmudic Judaism did make a big deal about age 13 for guys and 12 or 13 for girls. They called that coming of age. But you don't find that in the Bible. Age twenty should be a year of celebration as our men and women join the ranks of adulthood. Congratulate Teddy and others who achieve their twentieth birthday. It is a hugely significant milestone and deserves more congratulation and celebration than it typically does. It's just a thought. It's far more Biblical than bar mitzvah.
Secondary lesson 6 - male and female distinctions continue outside of battle
Secondary lesson 6 is that the male and female distinctions we saw last week that barred females from serving in the army is a distinction that we see in other areas of life as well. Look at verse 14:
"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."
The males went into battle and the women stayed with the farms. There was a division of labor between men and women. Both were important. Both were needed. And there was zero gender confusion. It's my contention that we need to reestablish a beautiful biblical counter-cultural expression of what true gender identity looks like within God's kingdom. When gender confused people get converted, they will need an unambiguous and beautiful culture of two (and only two) genders that have clearly defined roles that make both absolutely essential to the kingdom. I think that is a legitimate application of this verse.
Obviously this was talking about the three tribes on the east side of the Jordan, who had already conquered their land. The west side had not yet been conquered, so there were no permanent homes for the women and children of those tribes to occupy until certain sections got conquered. This meant that the women and children of those tribes followed behind the army in tents. And those tents would keep moving along with God's tabernacle. Well, those women played a supportive role of prayer (and in some battles they probably prayed their hearts out), cooking meals, repairing damaged clothing, and in other supportive roles. They were somewhat shielded from the frontal assaults of war for two reasons: 1) They were needed in the home. 2) Second, God has not made women to be able to hold up under the constant attack of battle without losing some of their beautiful femininity. As I already mentioned, this past week the Senate has reintroduced a bill that would make it a felony for our 18 year old daughters to not sign up for the selective service of the military. But women don't flourish in that environment. They lose their femininity.
This morning I won't get into all the fine details and exceptions and nuances of what the Bible says that males and females can do. I got into that in my series on Women of Faith. But here's my main point - women should glory in their womanhood and not find value in trying to do what men can do - nor vice versa. Gender confusion is epidemic in America and even in the evangelical church, and it is critical that males and females glory in their gender distinctions and not fight against them. Elizabeth Elliott said it well in the title of her book, Let Me Be A Woman. There should be another book, Let Me Be A Man.
So where did gender confusion even start? Many scholars have demonstrated rather conclusively that it started with feminism. If you compare Gay hermeneutics and Feminist hermeneutics and you will see that they are identical. Hermeneutics is just the rules for interpreting the Bible. There is the normal grammatical/historical approach that we use (and Christ and the apostles used) for interpreting the Bible, and then there are dozens of weird hermeneutics invented by feminists, homosexuals, Marxists, and others that help people to explain away the clear meaning of the Bible.
Anyway, Bible believing scholars were warning decades ago that Feminist Hermeneutics would of necessity open the door to homosexual, trans-gender, androgynous hermeneutics, and other strange hermeneutics that have arisen in the past two decades. And here's the weird thing: these fake Christians in the LGBTQ+ movement approve of every hermeneutic except for the Biblical roles for men and women in family, church, and state. That shows the demonic nature of this controversy. They approve of every hermeneutic except the historic one. These new hermeneutics are a demonic fight against God's order. And they don't play fair. They will point to the occasional unbiblical and sinful abuses of male leadership in conservative churches in order to jettison God's order, but in the process have engaged in far greater abuse - such as approving sexual mutilation of children. Yes, there are so-called evangelicals today who are approving of doctors cutting off body parts of their gender confused children on some whim of the child. That is abuse.
It's like dominoes. Once one doctrinal domino falls, the others begin to fall. The only way to fight against demonic gender confusion of today is to renounce the demonic and joyfully (and without apology) submit to God's role relationships for male and female.
Secondary lesson 7 - God wants us to enjoy His good gifts (v. 15)
I want to end with one more lesson, and that is that God wants us to enjoy His good gifts. He is not stingy. He is not a killjoy. He is a generous God who loves to fill His people with joy and happiness. And any male leader worth his salt will imitate God by wanting his family to be filled with joy and to find fulfillment. Verse 15 says,
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.”
Notice those words, "and enjoy it." Don't read over those words hurriedly: "and enjoy it." Now, they could only enjoy it as they had already fulfilled their responsibilities in the context of trusting and obeying God.
Well, in the same way, Ecclesiastes says that enjoyment pursued apart from God's plan leaves one empty. But it also says that when God is part of all that we do, then our food, drink, a wife, riches, and other things becomes a stewardship trust, and when we are willing to be stewards, God enables us to thoroughly enjoy the good in our labor. Ecclesiastes 3:13 says, "every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God." Enjoying life is a gift of God. That’s why Solomon couldn’t enjoy life during his backslidden years. It's a gift of God. These Jews in Joshua 1 would not have been able to enjoy the land if they had rebelled like the previous generation. You can’t fully enter into the enjoyment of a flower, a sunset or poetry without God’s gracious help. Everything, including sweeping the floor can be a joy to do when you do it as a love service for God with a consciousness of His approving presence. In Ecclesiastes 2:24-25 Solomon says,
"There is nothing better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also I saw, was from the hand of God."
This is said by a man who found vexation in his labor because he failed to live life in God; under heaven; under God's Lordship. But if you are living life under heaven (under God's throne), it doesn’t matter what your circumstance, whether rich or poor, you can fully enjoy life.
Ecclesiastes 9 says, "Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your fleeting life." You see, God is not against pleasure. He wants us to enjoy life in all of its facets, all of our days. Ecclesiastes 11 says, "Truly the light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to behold the sun." Even the simple things like the sunshine brought him delight when he walked in fellowship with God.
That is one lesson that Hebrews 3-5 draws out from Joshua. It points out that enjoying life comes from a Christ-centered perspective. 1 Corinthians 10 uses the previous generation to say that when we don't have a Christ-centered perspective, we lose joy and begin grumbling even when God is generous.
When we seek happiness as an end in itself, we ironically end up losing it - it flits away from us. However, when we seek God as the end in Himself ironically He gives us the byproduct of happiness. Joshua shows us that happiness and enjoyment of life is a byproduct of serving God. The answer to the first shorter catechism question is, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.” May each one of us learn how to enjoy life by enjoying and obeying God. Amen