Life-Study of Joshua, Judges & Ruth

Life-Study of Joshua, Judges & Ruthby Witness Lee

ISBN: 0-87083-743-5
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry

Currently in: Chapter 11 of 33 Section 1 of 3





Scripture Reading: Josh. 13—17

Within God’s economy there is such a thing as the allotment of the land. After Joshua took possession of the land, God commanded him to allot the land that had been possessed and even the land that had not yet been possessed, because in God’s eyes all the land was for Israel. In this message we will begin to consider the allotment of the land. In particular, we will endeavor to see the intrinsic significance of the allotment of the good land.

In His wisdom, God did not allot the good land as a whole to all the children of Israel. Rather, He allotted the land, that is, Christ, to the different tribes. All the tribes were not the same; they were different.

In Genesis 49 Jacob, the father of the twelve tribes, blessed each of his sons in the form of a prophecy (see Life-study of Genesis, Messages 98-107). Jacob’s blessing of Judah reveals that God considered Judah a threefold lion: a lion’s whelp, a mature lion, and a lioness (v. 9). As a whelp he could grow and become strong, as a lion he could fight, and as a lioness he could produce. Benjamin was a ravenous wolf (v. 27), and Dan was a serpent on the way, biting the horses’ heels to frustrate God’s people from going on (v. 17). Zebulun was a haven of ships (v. 13), and Naphtali was a hind let loose (v. 21).

Because the tribes were different, God could not give the same land in the same way to every tribe. All the tribes were possessors of the land, but the tribes possessed particular portions of the land according to what they were. The top portion of the land was allotted to Judah. Dan was allotted a portion, but they did not dispossess the occupying Canaanites. They were God’s people, yet in their actions they were in the principle of God’s enemy.

The fulfillment of this type of the allotment of the land is among us today. We all have the same Christ, but we experience Christ in different ways. The land (Christ) we possess is according to what we are.

In Leviticus 1 Christ is unveiled as burnt offerings in five types: a bullock, a sheep from the flock, a goat, a turtledove, and a young pigeon. These items typify just one Christ, but they were offered according to the offerer’s ability, indicating that our experiences of Christ differ in both size and kind. The size and kind do not depend on Christ but on our experience and enjoyment of Christ. Whereas the Christ experienced by Paul was typified by a bullock, the Christ experienced by many believers today is typified by a pigeon.

Christ is also unveiled by the three kinds of meal offerings in Leviticus 2: fine flour, a wafer, and grain that remains in the ears. If we are weak and cannot eat the wafer, we can eat the fine flour. As we grow we can experience Christ as the wafer. The apostle Paul was fully mature and full of energy. He was one who ate the grain. Once again we see that there is only one Christ—one Christ in many types and sizes—but we may experience Him in different ways and in different degrees as fine flour, a wafer, and grain.

The intrinsic significance of the allotment of the land is that the possessors of the land are different. This indicates that the experience of Christ among God’s people is not the same. In God’s ordination the good land is allotted to His people in different degrees. The New Testament clearly tells us that “God has apportioned to each a measure of faith” (Rom. 12:3). We are also told that “all the members do not have the same function” (v. 4). Therefore, God gives grace to each member according to its function in the Body (Eph. 4:7). This is God’s ordination and the divine allotment.

Our hymnal, which was compiled in 1963 and 1964, illustrates this allotment. I would ask you to compare John Nelson Darby’s hymn on the exaltation of Christ (Hymns, #127) with Charles Wesley’s hymn on the incarnation of Christ (#84). Here is the text of Darby’s hymn:

  1. Hark! ten thousand voices crying,
        “Lamb of God!” with one accord;
    Thousand thousand saints replying,
        Wake at once the echo’ng chord.

  2. “Praise the Lamb!” the chorus waking,
        All in heav’n together throng;
    Loud and far each tongue partaking
        Rolls around the endless song.

  3. Grateful incense this, ascending
        Ever to the Father’s throne;
    Every knee to Jesus bending,
        All the mind in heav’n is one.

  4. All the Father’s counsels claiming
        Equal honors to the Son,
    All the Son’s effulgence beaming,
        Makes the Father’s glory known.

  5. By the Spirit all pervading,
        Hosts unnumbered round the Lamb,
    Crowned with light and joy unfading,
        Hail Him as the great “I AM.”

  6. Joyful now the new creation
        Rests in undisturbed repose,
    Blest in Jesus’ full salvation,
        Sorrow now nor thraldom knows.

  7. Hark! the heavenly notes again!
        Loudly swells the song of praise;
    Through creation’s vault, Amen!
        Amen! responsive joy doth raise.

Let us now consider the text of Wesley’s hymn:

  1. Hark! the herald angels sing,
        “Glory to the new-born King;
    Peace on earth and mercy mild;
        God and sinners reconciled.”
    Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
        Join the triumph of the skies;
    With angelic hosts proclaim,
        “Christ is born in Bethlehem.”

  2. Christ, by highest heav’n adored,
        Christ, the everlasting Lord:
    Late in time behold Him come,
        Offspring of a virgin’s womb.
    Veiled in flesh the Godhead see,
        Hail th’ incarnate Deity!
    Pleased as man with man to dwell,
        Jesus our Immanuel.

  3. Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!
        Hail the Sun of righteousness!
    Light and life to all He brings,
        Ris’n with healing in His wings:
    Mild He lays His glory by,
        Born that man no more may die;
    Born to raise the sons of earth;
        Born to give them second birth.

  4. Come, Desire of nations, come!
        Fix in us Thy humble home:
    Rise, the woman’s conqu’ring seed,
        Bruise in us the serpent’s head;
    Adam’s likeness now efface,
        Stamp Thine image in its place:
    Final Adam from above,
        Reinstate us in Thy love.

As we compare these two hymns, we see that Darby’s hymn is higher than Wesley’s. This indicates that Darby’s experience of Christ as expressed in his hymn was higher than Wesley’s as expressed in his hymn. Although both Darby and Wesley experienced Christ as a bullock, Darby’s bullock was larger than Wesley’s.

If we go on to compare their experiences of Christ with the experience expressed in Hymns, #551, we will see that this hymn expresses a much lower experience of Christ:

  1. I’ve believed the true report,
        Hallelujah to the Lamb!
    I have passed the outer court,
        O glory be to God!
    I am all on Jesus’ side,
    On the altar sanctified,
    To the world and sin I’ve died,
        Hallelujah to the Lamb!

        Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
        I have passed the riven veil,
        Here the glories never fail,
        Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
        I am living in the presence
            of the King.

  2. I’m a king and priest to God,
        Hallelujah to the Lamb!
    By the cleansing of the blood,
        O glory be to God!
    By the Spirit’s pow’r and light,
    I am living day and night,
    In the holiest place so bright,
        Hallelujah to the Lamb!

  3. I have passed the outer veil,
        Hallelujah to the Lamb!
    Which did once God’s light conceal,
        O glory be to God!
    But the blood has brought me in
    To God’s holiness so clean,
    Where there’s death to self and sin,
        Hallelujah to the Lamb!

  4. I’m within the holiest pale,
        Hallelujah to the Lamb!
    I have passed the inner veil,
        O glory be to God!
    I am sanctified to God
    By the power of the blood,
    Now the Lord is my abode,
        Hallelujah to the Lamb!

The hymns in our hymnal are arranged according to theological order and according to spiritual experience. Of the original 1080 hymns in our hymnal, approximately 700 were selected from many different hymnals. Among these hymns there was something lacking concerning the all-inclusive and all-extensive Christ, the compound life-giving Spirit of Christ, the divine life, and the church. To fill this lack, we composed more than 200 new hymns on Christ, the Spirit, life, and the church. Consider, for example, Hymns, #499:

  1. Oh, what a life! Oh, what a peace!
    The Christ who’s all within me lives.
    With Him I have been crucified;
    This glorious fact to me He gives.
    Now it’s no longer I that live,
    But Christ the Lord within me lives.

  2. Oh, what a joy! Oh, what a rest!
    Christ now is being formed in me.
    His very nature and life divine
    In my whole being inwrought shall be.
    All that I am came to an end,
    And all of Christ is all to me.

  3. Oh, what a thought! Oh, what a boast!
    Christ shall in me be magnified.
    In nothing shall I be ashamed,
    For He in all shall be applied.
    In woe or blessing, death or life,
    Through me shall Christ be testified.

  4. Oh, what a prize! Oh, what a gain!
    Christ is the goal toward which I press.
    Nothing I treasure, nor aught desire,
    But Christ of all-inclusiveness.
    My hope, my glory, and my crown
    Is Christ, the One of peerlessness.

The words of this hymn are simple, but they are very rich concerning the experience of Christ as life. This shows that the hymns in the Lord’s recovery are full of truth and touch the experience of Christ in a rich way, indicating our rich divine allotment.

Hymns are poetry, and every poem is an expression of the writer’s sentiment. The word sentiment means more than just a feeling. This word implies feeling, realization, understanding, and appreciation. The more we consider our sentiment, the more we will have the burden to write poetry. The kind of sentiment expressed in a particular hymn is a measure of that writer’s enjoyment of Christ; it indicates the “size” of the Christ experienced and enjoyed by that writer. Thus, Wesley wrote his hymn on the incarnation of Christ according to his sentiment, and Darby wrote his hymn on the exaltation of Christ according to his sentiment. Both hymns were written according to the measure of the Christ enjoyed by the writers.

At this point I would like to say a word concerning Hymns, #132, a hymn on the exaltation of Christ written by me according to my sentiment:

  1. Lo! in heaven Jesus sitting,
        Christ the Lord is there enthroned;
    As the man by God exalted,
        With God’s glory He is crowned.

  2. He hath put on human nature,
        Died according to God’s plan,
    Resurrected with a body,
        And ascended as a man.

  3. God in Him on earth was humbled,
        God with man was domiciled;
    Man in Him in heav’n exalted,
        Man with God is reconciled.

  4. He as God with man is mingled,
        God in man is testified;
    He as man with God is blended,
        Man in God is glorified.

  5. From the Glorified in heaven
        The inclusive Spirit came;
    All of Jesus’ work and Person
        Doth this Spirit here proclaim.

  6. With the Glorified in heaven
        Is the Church identified;
    By the Spirit of this Jesus
        Are His members edified.

  7. Lo! a man is now in heaven
        As the Lord of all enthroned;
    This is Jesus Christ our Savior,
        With God’s glory ever crowned!

If we consider what this hymn says regarding Christ’s being God mingled with man, His putting on human nature, His dying according to God’s plan, His resurrecting with a body, His ascending as a man, His sitting in the heavens, and His being crowned with God’s glory, we will realize that this hymn is full of truth and enlightenment. This hymn is an expression of my holy, heavenly, and spiritual sentiment; it is an expression of the Christ whom I know and whom I have gained, experienced, and enjoyed.

We have seen that the intrinsic significance of the allotment of the good land is that we, the possessors of the land, experience the one Christ in different ways. Let us now consider the details concerning the allotment of the land described in chapters thirteen through seventeen.

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