Life-Study of Joshua, Judges & Ruthby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this life-study of the books of Joshua, Judges, and Ruth, we are concerned not with history but with learning from the types how to gain Christ and enjoy Him. The history contained in these books is a great type that shows how God’s elect can gain and enjoy the good land, which is a complete and all-inclusive type of Christ. Even the small details show us the secret of gaining and enjoying Christ, just as in our daily life something as small as shopping for an article of clothing can be a factor in whether or not we obtain Christ and enjoy Christ.
When we were saved, we were brought into a fellowship of the Divine Trinity with His redeemed and regenerated people. From that time God and we have been in a fellowship. First John 1:3 says, “That which we have seen and heard we report also to you that you also may have fellowship with us, and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.” This fellowship is between the apostles and God and between the believers and the apostles. The full salvation of God is in this fellowship. It is in this fellowship that we can gain what God has given us, that is, the Son of God given to us by God as our allotted portion.
If we remain in this fellowship, we will have the way to gain and enjoy Christ. If our fellowship with God is cut off, we will lose our enjoyment immediately. Concerning this, the Lord Jesus uses the word abide and speaks of our abiding in Him as the vine (John 15:4). The vine is a figure of the all-inclusive Christ under God’s cultivation. As long as the branch abides in the vine, there is fellowship. But once a branch ceases to abide in the vine, the branch is cut off, becomes barren and dry, and loses the enjoyment of the riches of the vine (vv. 5-6).
The fellowship of life is not a rough matter but is very fine. Even a little word spoken with an improper attitude is enough to cut us off from the fellowship of life.
Our enjoyment of Christ is essential. Our fellowship can speed up the turning of the great wheel of God’s move in the universe. But if we are cut off from the fellowship just a little, God’s economy will not be able to go forward for a period of time. Therefore, we need to be careful every day and in every detail, keeping ourselves in the enjoyment of Christ all the time. Then God’s economy will be able to go forward.
In Revelation 22:20 the Lord Jesus said, “I come quickly,” but today there is no sign that He is coming, because the wheel has not had an adequate opportunity to turn. If the saints in the Lord’s recovery take care of all the items of the intrinsic significances of the books of Joshua, Judges, and Ruth, the Lord will be able to come back much sooner. However, doing things without taking care of the inner feeling, the sense of life within, may delay the Lord for a longtime.
The rebellion that took place in 1959-1965 in Taiwan delayed the Lord very much. When we began the ministry there in 1949, we increased nearly a hundred-fold in just a few years. Since the rebellion the rate of increase has never been the same. The recent rebellion in the recovery has also delayed the Lord and, in certain respects, hindered the move of the wheel of God’s economy. For this reason, I have been stressing the intrinsic significances in Joshua and Judges. I have been doing this not only to show that God has given us Christ as the good land but also to show how we can possess and enjoy this land for generations to come.
Being saved is easy, but remaining in the fellowship with God to enjoy Christ is not easy. Many fundamental Christians preach that Christ, the Son of God, is the Savior of sinners, but they may know very little, if anything, about the fellowship with the Triune God.
At this juncture, let us consider the situation of Israel as it is presented in Judges 17 and 18. In their degradation Israel became chaotic in three ways: in government, in worship, and in morality. They had no government, no administration. God’s tabernacle was at Shiloh, and the high priest had the Urim and Thummim, but there was no administration. Judges 17 and 18 reveal the abominable chaos in the children of Israel’s worship. Micah set up a house of gods in his home. His mother consecrated silver to Jehovah to make an idol and a molten image. Micah then set up a house of gods, made an ephod and teraphim, and consecrated one of his sons to be his priest. The ephod signifies the authority of God, without which no one can worship God. Later, Micah consecrated a Levite to be his house priest, paying him a salary of ten pieces of silver a year plus an array of clothing and his food. In those days the Danites robbed Micah of his idol, the ephod, the teraphim, and the molten image with his priest, and with them they set up another worship place in the city of Dan, while God’s tabernacle remained in Shiloh. The result was two worship centers—the proper one with God’s tabernacle at Shiloh and the improper one in Dan. That was the chaos of the children of Israel in their worship.
We may apply this picture to the present situation of Christianity. Today’s Christianity has many “houses of Micah,” the most prominent of which is the Roman Catholic Church. The Roman Catholic Church has set up idols, made its own “ephod,” and set up its own priests. According to the New Testament all those who are born of God should be priests (1 Pet. 2:5, 9), but Catholicism has hired its own priests and set up a hierarchy under a pope. In principle, Catholicism is the same as the house of Micah in Judges. The state churches, the denominations, and many of the independent groups are also houses of Micah, full of idols as replacements of Christ.
Not everything in Christianity is wrong, but everything is a mixture. It is like the woman who hid leaven in three measures of meal until the whole was leavened (Matt. 13:33). The meal signifies Christ as food for God and for His people. The leaven signifies evil things (1 Cor. 5:6, 8) and evil doctrines (Matt. 16:6, 11-12). Micah’s mother offered something to God, but her offering to God was mixed with the leaven of idolatry. Today the same mixture and chaotic situation exists in Christianity.
Let us now turn to Judges 17 and 18 and consider what these chapters have to say regarding the abominable chaos in Israel’s worship.
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