Life-Study of Joshua, Judges & Ruthby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
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:
Let us now consider the text of Wesley’s hymn:
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:
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:
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:
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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