The Lordship of the Holy Spirit (continued)
What a profound difference there is between man-made 'conquests' (?) - shall I say, man-made revivals - and the work of the Holy Spirit! What a difference! This book of Joshua is the book of mighty differences. The difference here is such that it just leads man right out of it. He cannot reckon with this thing, he has no place in it, it is simply beyond his powers of calculation. The Lord has precipitated His people into a realm where it is altogether different from man's way of doing things. When the Holy Spirit is Lord you have not got to organize something to get it going. You have not got to plan and devise and scheme, in order to get something going, to make a work of God, to make a revival. It just goes. It is the going of heaven. And it requires you in that position - it requires this absolute government of the Holy Spirit. In every man-made activity there is always the 'earth touch' - means or methods or people, or all that paraphernalia, to guarantee its success - and the thing goes with a lot of noise and a lot of creaking, and it has to have a tremendous amount of human support, and at any moment it may fade out, if you do not prop it up with something more; it will collapse if you do not.
Never is it like that in a work of the Spirit. But that earth touch - that is the point. The earth touch always means death, always means arrest. The absolute Lordship of the Holy Spirit demands that the earth touch be finished with - and that is what is meant by Joshua being commanded to take the shoes from off his feet. "What saith my lord unto his servant?" 'Go and conquer the land, go and take possession, go and lead the people in'? Not at all. 'Take your shoes off.' You get your shoes off, Joshua, and all the rest will follow. You destroy the earth touch, and see what will happen. You will only have to walk around Jericho. That is not how men would do it. Think of the tremendous campaign that would have been organized to capture Jericho if left to men! No, get your shoes off and see what happens!
If you question that interpretation, you have only to see what happened where he put his shoes on, or where Israel put their shoes on, a little later. What happened at Ai? What happened with the Gibeonites? They had got their shoes on, they touched earth: the result - arrest, compromise, limitation. Get your shoes off and keep them off. The principle of the heavenly is the principle of the Holy Spirit's moving on, is the principle of spiritual fullness. 'Put off thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is heavenly ground.' You have no standing here; the earth has no place here, the world has no place here, men have no place here. This is sacred and sanctified to heaven. From this point heaven takes over. Yes, even from the great instrument raised up to serve the Lord, heaven has taken over. Sovereignty in choice of a instrument never means that sovereignty gives place to human strength. It never condones wrong in the instrument. That works out even with Joshua and Israel, for Joshua, as we said earlier, is representative of all the saints and all the servants of the Lord.
The Holy Spirit Committed to God's Purpose
But notice this answer that came to his inquiry - "Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?" Which? For us? For them? For this? For that? 'Nay; I am not for this or for that, I am not for you or for them: I am for the Lord's purpose'. That is the real content of the answer. 'I am not for people, whoever they are: I am for the Lord's purpose. I am not for this work or that work that you are trying to do for the Lord. I am for the Lord's purpose, I am committed to the purpose of God - the eternal purpose.' "Nay; but ..." Oh, if only we could get the force of that in everything! We are wanting the Holy Spirit to sponsor our movements our work, our ministry. We are asking the Holy Spirit if He is 'for us.' He will never say He is. There is a sense in which the Lord is for His people. "If God be for us ..." But there is another sense in which the Lord says, 'I am not for you but for My purpose in you and through you; not for you, as you, in behalf of Israel, or Joshua the sovereignly chosen and anointed; I am not for you, I am committed to the purpose of God.'
My point is that we must identify the ground and object of the Holy Spirit's committal. We must know what the Holy Spirit is committed to. There is so much planning and arranging for the Lord, and so much failure on the part of the Lord to come and take it up and fulfill it. How much there is today in the world that is being arranged, planned and programmized for the Lord. It does not seem to go. The Lord does not seem to be committing Himself to it. That is just the point. We must identify the object of the Holy Spirit. The object of the Holy Spirit is not to do something and make something on the earth, not to set up something upon, and linked with, this earth which has 'shoes' on it. To establish something here is not His object at all. The Holy Spirit is committed to something that is absolutely heavenly, and His whole object is to detach everything, in a spiritual and inward way, from this earth. That must be shown more fully, perhaps, presently; but note that it is most important to know what it is that God will commit Himself to. He will not commit Himself to anything that is attached to this earth. He will only commit Himself to that which is attached to heaven.
(continued with # 30 - "The Holy Spirit With a Drawn Sword")