Claiming Our Inheritance
“Surely the land whereon thy feet have trodden shall be thine inheritance, and thy children’s forever, because thou hast wholly followed the Lord my God. Lo, I am this day four score and five years old. As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me, as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in. Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the Lord spake in that day.”—Joshua 14:9–12
Now , that is the history of God’s dealings with the men who wholly followed the Lord. You remember the story, how the Jews came out from Egypt, led by the hand of God, through the leadership of Moses. They crossed the Red Sea through the power of God, they came to the bitter waters, which were made sweet, they were led on by a pillar of cloud by daytime, an umbrella from God, and a pillar of fire by night, God’s special electric lighting system for His own people. Then they came to Kadesh-barnea, and God said, “This is the land that I have promised you and given you for your inheritance. Now go in and possess it.”
Caleb and Joshua and ten other men went up into the land to spy it out, and Caleb and Joshua came back delighted. Their hearts were filled with the joy of the Lord and with praises to God in providing so wonderful a land. They said, “It flows with milk and honey, and we have brought back some of the grapes from Eschol.”
I believe Joshua and Caleb were the fellows that carried that big bunch of grapes, and I think they set it down a few times, and took a grape apiece, and said, “It tasted so good we will never go back on this country.” The only people who really hunger for their inheritance from God are the folks who have tasted a few of the grapes ahead of time, and when they have had a little taste of it you cannot drive them away.
I had a little pup once who turned into a “yaller dog,” as ravenous a dog as you ever saw. I went out with a lovely sandwich one day, and he came smelling around, and I gave him a piece of it, and he swallowed the piece. I stood looking over the fence kind of dreamily, and the first thing I knew he was smacking his lips, looking up for more. He had eaten the whole thing while I was dreaming.
Whenever a person sees that God has a way, that God provides, that God has a method and is ahead of us, and is anxious that we might enter into the good works before ordained, and that He has a marvelous program, and that it is all mapped out and it is our business to believe God and enter into it—when once a person has caught a whiff of this life, they are never satisfied to go back to any sort of fleshly effort.
I don’t know what you may think, but it seems to me that, as truly as God prepared an inheritance for the children of Israel, He has prepared this lot for us. You can say what you please, but I haven’t a bit more sense than to believe it.
I don’t believe any man can look back over the past three years in The Moody Church without saying “God.” I don’t believe you can say “man,” you have to say “God.” God prepared something for us and kept this lot vacant for, lo, these many years. Strange, in a great, bustling city like Chicago, that He should hide behind these billboards the whole of this lot and not let anything build on it through these years! As truly as God prepared the land of Canaan (not with such importance; I don’t mean to be sacrilegious, in that regard), but I believe that, just as definitely as God prepared Canaan for the Israelitish people, God prepares things for the men and women who trust Him on this Earth. It all settles down to one question, and that is a question of faith. God has bound us up to the question of faith. He has prepared our inheritance and asks us to take it by faith.
The verse that says, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,” might use the word inheritance for salvation. Suppose a man has a rich father, the father dies and leaves his will and his fortune to his son. Is the son going to work out his living? No. He works out his inheritance, his salvation that the father has prepared ahead of time, so he won’t have to work. What does the boy do? He goes to court and has the will probated, and sees to it that what his father left him he gets. The way for you to work out your salvation is when God has provided your salvation in Christ Jesus, for you to walk up to the devil and say, “I am going to have it, and you cannot hold it back.” By faith we plant our feet on all that Jesus has bought for us and never move until it is ours.
If God has provided a life of victory in the Holy Ghost, you don’t have to work for it. It isn’t your struggle. What is your business? To say to the devil and all his host, “God, through His precious Son, has provided this life for me, and I dare to take it against every intruder, and against all the onslaughts of the enemy. I take, and thank God, He undertakes.”
This is the way God works for us. We cannot work it out like a man might take a piece of marble, and with his chisel and hammer work at it until he carves something out. God never intended for us to carve ourselves a career this way; God never intended that any church should have to make its own plans; God intended that He Himself should be the planner, and He could cut something, and then lay it before His people and say to them, “Now will you accept this by faith? Will you lay hold on the promises of God and trust Him?”
Look at the thing that confronts these men as they reach Kadesh-barnea ready to enter into Canaan-land. The ten spies came back and said, “There are giants; there are strong fenced cities, and their fences reach to heaven, and we will never get over them. We can never get around the giants. It is a hard land to take. It flows with milk and honey and has all sorts of luscious things, but you cannot get it.”
I want to know this morning upon what kind of a basis they started that kind of reasoning. What right had they to look at the giants or the fenced cities or at any kind of an obstacle? Let me ask them a question, as the ten spies came up before the people: “Now, men, Caleb and Joshua believe God, why don’t you?”
“But the giants are there and the fenced cities. It is a great undertaking.”
All right, I will ask you a question: Was the Egyptian deliverance a great undertaking? You 600,000 men, besides women and children, were in slavery in the land of Egypt with the whips on your backs. You could not say your souls were your own. You were making bricks without straw; your loved ones were oppressed and your wives and families in slavery. Isn’t it a fact that a few months ago you folks were in slavery, 600,000 of you? What did you use in the way of shrapnel and guns? What did you use in the way of mighty power to ever come out from under the power of a monarch like Pharaoh, yet every chick and child walked out with bracelets and earrings and gold and jewels of all kinds and provisions? How did you walk out? Did you free yourselves?
“Well, no, we didn’t.”
“Well, then, how did you get out?”
“God let us out.”
“What was the simple method that let you out?”
“We slew a lamb and put the blood on the doorposts.”
I can laugh and say, “That was a silly thing to do, wasn’t it?”
“Yes, but it worked. The angel of death went through that land and the first born child in every home died, from the palace to the dungeons, and even the first born of every beast. All over Egypt was the death scourge, from the king on his throne to the cattle in the field, but we who had put the blood on the doorpost walked out without a death.”
“How did you get out?”
“We got out by the power of God.”
“Yes!! Why don’t you go into your inheritance past the giants by the power of God? What right have you to come to this stage of the journey and say, ‘We can’t go in?’ You never worked before. Why say now, ‘We have to fight the giants?’”
Where did you get this kind of philosophy, you folks that have been saved by the blood of Jesus? What right have you this morning to walk up against the flesh in your own strength? What right have I, fleshly as I might be? If any man despised the flesh, I hate and loathe and despise mine today, and, bless God, I don’t have to fight it. I have One, thank God, that can undertake and that gives the victory. I don’t have to fight it, it is mine to let go and let God do for me what He started out to do for me in the beginning.
There is a life of victory by trusting Jesus Christ and His power alone. By what authority, by what right, by what reasoning, can these ten men turn to this multitude and say, “We cannot take our inheritance!” when their mighty God had delivered them from Egypt?
The Power Of Our God
Turn again to those ten men and ask, “By what power of hydraulics did you turn back the waves and march through on dry ground? What wind could you cause to blow to push back the Red Sea and let 600,000 men through, besides the women and children? How could you get through in such an emergency as that? You didn’t work it out, did you? Did you get your pails and go to baling out the Red Sea?
It was an obstacle you faced, and you had no trust in yourselves, but you cried, and howled, and murmured, and complained, and Moses said, “Stand still,” and do what? “And see the salvation of God.” “Stand still, believe God and watch the salvation of God.”
Every man knows that the waves went back and you went across, and when Pharaoh’s army, your great enemy, came up behind, it was drowned in the depths of the sea. Did you drown them? Did you let down the waves? Was it by your work that this was done?
All that multitude that were marching would have to answer and say, “We did nothing. It was all the work of the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, and because of His promise to us and to our children. It was God’s promise that did the work.”
“Then you did not do it?”
I want to say to you that God is looking for a church and a class of people in the day in which we live who will say before God, “Away, away, away with the common Earth processes that we have now of calling on the world to come and help us do things. Let us believe our God, that it shall be even as He said to us in the beginning.”
God is looking for a class of people who can believe Him and demonstrate before a city, before the world, that it pays to pray and trust God, and God will undertake. God has a way where we have no way, and when we get through we cannot look at the thing that has been done and say, “We did it,” but we turn around and praise God.
After Pharaoh’s host had been drowned, the people held a great jubilee. They grabbed their trombones, and their pans and old timbrels, and tambourines, and bass drums and bass viols, and some of them took dough-pans like the ones we pass around for the offering, that they had to carry things in. They grabbed everything that could make a noise, and there on the shore of the Red Sea they danced and sang and hollered and yelled, and I imagine there was a good deal of emotion going around. I think you would have said, “This whole crowd is as crazy as a loon.”
What were they shouting about? Because they in their mighty power had closed the waters over their enemy, the army of Pharaoh? No, sir. They were shouting the praises of God, saying, “It is God who has drowned the horses and their riders in the depths of the sea—our God.”
The world is looking for a class of people today who are shouting about what their God can do. Yes, sir, men are looking for it. Going into all kinds of isms today, because the church at large is praising man for his achievements, and not looking to God.
If we know the truth of God, the second coming of Jesus Christ, and see the program, and see the rot and the leaven working through the whole lump, and know that the leaven is sin—then in God’s name what is the good of knowing He is coming unless we purge out the leaven that is among us? Absolute lack of faith is the thing that makes the rot of our times, and God said of the Laodicean church, which thought itself strong, and said, “We are rich and have need of nothing,” that they had need of faith, and said, “Buy of me gold tried in the fire.” That is the trouble with our age, they will not believe in what God can do, but praise men for what they can do.
The old-fashioned revival meeting had as its mark the praise of the power of Jesus Christ—men praising God—and now one of the marks of nearly all of our church work is the praise of men. But God every once in a while makes an opportunity for Himself, where He can show what He can do, and get the praise. One man prayed in the committee this morning, “What we need is to preserve the supernatural.” We are living in the day of materialism and naturalism, and man has taken the praise but God is pleading, “Trust me and see what I will do. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, and prove me, now herewith saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”
A man said to me this week as I came out of our noon theatre meeting, “Rader, you certainly take up a lot of money at that tabernacle.”
I said, “There is a lot of it yet that ought to be scooped up before God can do what He wants to do. There are tithes that are not in.”
While the world is money-mad, in God’s name let us show what we can do in the way of sacrifice. Not one of you could ever throw your faces up to God and say you were ever hurt by giving. You have been blessed, and you know it. He has tried to teach us how to give this last few years. The world says, “Yes, you will talk about God, but won’t let go of your coin.” Thank God, they cannot throw that against us.
God is going to show the world that He has a class of people without millionaires and rich men, a crowd of people that can shame folks in the name of Jesus, by giving, and He pours back blessing we haven’t room enough to receive; and it is our business at every turn of the road to preserve the supernatural. Let God get us into the corner, into the place where we can trust God, and see what mighty things He is able to do.
These ten men could not stand before Moses and say they had ever produced any of God’s blessings themselves. We could have said to them, “When you came to the bitter water three days after the camp meeting revival on the shores of the Red Sea, where you danced over your great victory, what did you do? Your children were crying, and your animals wanted water, and the 600,000 men and the others wanted a drink, could you sweeten the water? What did you do?”
The answer would have to be, “God spoke to Moses and said, ‘Cut down that tree,’ and God sweetened the waters of Marah.”
Yes, thank God, we might run up against the bitter things of the devil, and against bitter disappointment, but God cut down the tree of life, Jesus Christ, and He became dead, and He threw Him into the bitter water of our life, and He paid for all its sin and sweetened life for you and for me. What sacrifice could we not make for such a Christ as this?
Oh, beloved, it is not by the sweet things the world gives that we are happy this morning, but because He has been in our lives, and has taken the bitterness and the punishment of our sin, and we have drunk the sweet waters of eternal life. Our hopes are not here. “A tent or a cottage, why should we care, they are building a palace for us over there.” I know it, and you know it, and thank God we are going to prove to men and women that look on in these days that men and women can give up earthly things that they might have heavenly things.
Caleb stood out against the crowd, and Joshua stood out against the crowd, and they stuck. They were that wonderful minority in the world. We believe in this country that the country is run by majorities, but, oh, friend, it is run by minorities. A few people who have an idea stick for it, and die for it, and live it with all their hearts, and after a while the majority hears that the minority believes something, definitely, passionately, with all they have behind it, and then the majority elects the minority and says, “Go ahead and do it.” It is the minority that God calls, a few people who stand up and say, “God will work. Let us give Him a chance. Let us trust Him.”
Oh, if men and women absolutely believe God, the devil and all his gang has to run, and get out of the way. God longs to have The Moody Church and the people of the congregation absolutely yielded and trusting. Many of you are as loyal to this work as if you were members. I do not know why you do not belong. I hear your good testimonies, but that is your own business, and we are not laboring for an earthly organization, but for Jesus and His body in this city and throughout the world. It is not simply to build a church building. We are not here for that business, but thank God we come here because we want to worship God, and want to see God in His might and power do His work. We love the things of faith and the things of reality that are in Christ Jesus—if God can get us to have faith He will do wonders. He only asks, “Will you, a few people, stand, and having done all to stand, trusting God, proving that God hears and answers prayer?”
Thank God for the prayer meetings that have been going on in our work throughout the past weeks. New prayer meetings break out all the while, and there hasn’t been a night this week that some one hasn’t come to me and suggested having a prayer meeting—that is, leaders of new groups asking for a prayer meeting place. Isn’t that a splendid sign? What does it mean? It means the people are not coming with some scheme and saying, “I think, Mr. Rader, if we work it this way it will do.” No, it is saying, “Let’s ask God to work.”
Caleb came to Joshua and said, “Joshua, I am ready for my inheritance. God has promised it, and I am going to have it, and I am going to have it according to the original contract. You understand what God said to me in the beginning, don’t you?”
It is a wonderful thing to keep the vision God gives us in the beginning, and God has given us in the beginning this motto for this place of God. He gave it for the old church and for the new one, and for our work here, “Ever welcome to this house of God are strangers and the poor.” Thank God that the poor have the Gospel preached to them. We are not after highbrows, and if you get a little bit peeved because of the kind of seats we have, and the kind of folks we have, if you don’t like humanity, but like the poodle dog variety, goodbye, go ahead, we’ll pray for you, but we won’t change our Gospel for you. We don’t want that gang around. If that is the kind you want, you will not be toadied to in a place like this. We have one thing to do, and that is to get out the message of salvation in Jesus Christ, where there is neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free, rich nor poor, black nor white, educated nor uneducated, but the children of men through the precious shed blood of Jesus Christ, His beloved Son, are cleansed and made part of the body of Jesus Christ.
If you have skirts that have to be pulled aside, take them somewhere else, for we stand here on the merits of Jesus, and not on what we have or what we know, as far as this world is concerned. Oh, God put us on this lot, where the multitudes of men go by, that they might find the Son of God that takes the aching, bleeding hearts of men and women, and puts the Balm of Gilead in their bosoms, and gives them a joy above all the joy that the world can give or take away.
God help you to put your money, and power, and talents, and prayers upon some kind of a work in these days where the Gospel of Jesus Christ is going out to the multitudes of men and women. Put it where men and women are giving all to Jesus.
Mr. Woolley and myself walked into a committee room this week, and some man asked me if I was going to preach again that afternoon. He said, “How did you get your lunch? How many times a day do you preach?” I know he is a friend of mine and he meant well, but why should it be a strange thing to preach all the strength a man has? In God’s name, aren’t men going to hell? If I have to be the pastor of a people that won’t throw everything they have into it, in God’s name I will go to the street and start a new church tomorrow, and have people that will go all the way through with God.
But I am persuaded of you that you will go the limit in God’s work. I thank God for such a people as this. I praise Him that you have not kicked because the meetings have gone on night after night, and we had extra noonday meetings or afternoon meetings, but have said, “Yes, by all means, that we might save some.”
I want to stand before Jesus with the blood of no man’s soul on my garments. I don’t want to have a sofa pillow under my head, and people saying nice things about me, and stand before Jesus and have Him show me the crowd and say, “Paul, you could have gotten them if you had gone after them.” By God’s grace, I will give everything to go after them and do all in my power to get men and women to come to this beautiful, wonderful Jesus of ours. Caleb said, I am as strong this day as the day in which Moses sent me.”
You know, my friend, the men of God that are laboring all they can for Him don’t wear out. It is wonderful how He keeps them, and the amount of energy God has put into their lives. A man will go on for the devil and drink whisky and spoil his home and spend a fortune and live to between fifty and sixty in that kind of life, and all his energy given to the devil, and people say, “That’s too bad,” but when people want to give everything that they are to Jesus, and just be sold to Him, bondslaves to Him, the world comes and wants to put the pussyfoot on you and the soft pedal and say, “Ease down. Take it easy.”
One of the temptations of the devil is to try to get us to take it easy. Here is a man working a theatre bill afternoon and evening. He has to make up his trunk, mend his clothes, get his laundry together, do all his business on the run, and change his hotel twice a week, and get his tickets and get on the road and go, and he acts the year around, and they call him an artist, and he seems to have plenty of time; but if men of God want to do something every night, and have a continuous bill going all the time for Jesus, the people hold up their hands in horror and say, “Isn’t that too bad? They will wear out.”
If the devil can succeed on that kind of business, we will go in for it. If men will do that for humanity’s amusement, thank God we can work more than that for the salvation of humanity. If you want a sofa pillow, go some place else. I know this is a hard enough place to sit down in; and if you want to keep your shoes shined you wouldn’t stand around in this “Michigan carpet.” Your wife has to say, “Turn down the collar of your breeches and get that sawdust out.” She knows you have been among the shavings. You love the place and this kind of work, or you wouldn’t be here. Many of you have been saved here, and the majority of you have been blessed here by the presence of God, and want to see this work go on.
Caleb said, “I am as strong as the day when Moses sent me.” Now, here is the climax of this chapter, this next statement of Caleb in the 12th verse, “Now, therefore, give me this mountain.”
Do you know, my heart, when I read that, leaped for joy. Oh, I wanted to get hold of Caleb and hold a regular old-fashioned time of shouting. I tell you, he is a wonder! He had gone into the wilderness journey with that crowd of people, with his faith laid in the promise God made forty years before, and now he straightens his shoulders and says, “I am as strong as I ever was. This mountain has the Anakim (giants) in it and the fenced cities are around there. Now, God, give me that greatest task of my life, give it to me.”
Oh, let us say, “Lord, give us a mountain!” Why didn’t Caleb say, “Well, I am getting old, and have a good many children, and am settling down, and think I would like a little home over near Paradise Valley, where the vines grow nice and there are no wolves around, and no giants. Now, Lord, I trusted you in the early days; won’t you let me have ease and give me a little vine-covered cottage?”
Oh, I like an old fellow like Caleb, who says, “God, I want that mountain.”
“If the Lord is with me, I will drive out the giants, as God has said.”
Thank God for such a spirit as that. I met an old man at Ocean Grove, eighty-one years of age, who sat there on the platform, and no man was as great an encouragement as that old fellow. He would get hold of my hand, and feel of my face, and say, “You are young, young, and have vigor yet. Just appreciate it—just appreciate it.”
One morning before I left he took both my hands and, looking up, he said, “Paul, can you believe it? In the night time I feel like I am young again, and I find myself preaching. Oh, I wish I were young again.” Oh, I love a spirit like that. Let’s say, “God, don’t make it easy for me, but give me the big task and get behind me yourself to do it, and show the world what God can do through a yielded life.”
Oh, we are taking a great big responsibility onto ourselves. But, oh, what a God we have to do it for us. This lot is a mountain, but how many have the kind of a spirit that will say, “Oh, God, give us the mountain. It is a big task, but, Lord, we will take it.” How many will say that? “Lord, whatever you lay upon me, I want the spirit of Caleb this morning. There may be giants, everything to conquer, but, Lord, give us the mountain.” How many of you say that?
Now, Lord, Thou hast seen us as a rising multitude, and we want to dedicate ourselves to this proposition. This lot, through these years, has been held and our feet are on it this morning, and you have said to Caleb, “Every place that your feet shall tread, that I have given to thee.” We take that promise this morning. Our feet have trodden in and out and over this dirt for two years, and now, Lord, we want it. We have purchased it, and we want the money for it, that we might clear it, and that it might be Thine without a dollar against it. To this proposition we dedicate ourselves. Put on us whatever load you ask us to take, and we have risen to say we will take it, Lord. So, O God, speak to each one of our hearts, and do what thou wilt with us, for Jesus’ sake, for it will all have to be done by Thy power and for Thy glory. Amen.