THE PROMISED LAND
Taking The Land
Once again, as we look at the subject of the Promised Land, we remember that the Israelites had entered the Promised Land and were about to take the first city. They were able to do so because they had fulfilled all the necessary requirements.
The question is: Are you and I ready to take our Promised Land? Have we fulfilled the necessary requirements or are there still some issues we need to deal with before we can successfully take our Promised Land?
In case you are not exactly sure what I mean with your Promised Land, let me explain: Your Promised Land is your soul realm which is the area in which your mind, will and emotions reside. God desires for us to possess our soul realm so that we can become a people who have become whole in Him and are therefore able to bring healing to others. You see, when you were born again, your spirit man became a new creation as we can read in:
II Corinthians 5:17
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.
However, your soul realm still has issues of sin, brokenness, bondages which need dealing with. These issues are the places where we are “to set our foot” so God can give us these places. We have already learned that some of the requirements necessary for us to take our Promised Land are:
1. The need to know that we are a child of God through a genuine born again or born from above experience.
2. Water baptism as a sign of what has taken place in our spirit man.
3. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Another requirement is:
4. The need to make a survey of our Promised Land, as led by the Holy Spirit, so we know which areas in our lives need to be dealt with. We are to do this in prayer and reading of God’s Word, trusting the Lord to reveal issues in our lives which need to be restored.
The Israelites were told to do this, first of all by Moses, as we can read in:
Deuteronomy 1:22 where Moses said:
Then all of you came to me and said, “Let us send men ahead to spy out the land for us and to bring back a report about the route we are to take and the towns we will come to.”
This example was followed by Joshua in:
Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim. “Go, look over the land”, he said, “especially Jericho.”
And in Joshua 18:3-4
So Joshua said to the Israelites: “How long will you wait before you begin to take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your fathers, has given you? Appoint three men from each tribe. I will send them out to make a survey of the land and to write a description of it, according to the inheritance of each.”
A further requirement is:
5. The need to ask the Lord which particular area is to be dealt with and how it is to be dealt with. The Israelites used this strategy for they too needed to know which particular city they were to take and how this was to be done as we can read in:
Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Make seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, make all the people give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the people will go up, every man straight in.”
The next city they were to take was the city of Ai as we can read in:
Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged. Take the whole army with you, and go up and attack Ai. For I have delivered into your hands the king of Ai, his people, his city and his land. You shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king, except that you may carry of their plunder and livestock for yourselves. Set an ambush behind the city.”
So Joshua and the whole army moved out to attack Ai. He chose thirty thousand of his best fighting men and sent them out at night with these orders: “Listen carefully. You are to set an ambush behind the city. Don’t go very far from it. All of you be on the alert. I and all those with me will advance on the city, and when the men come out against us, as they did before, we will flee from them. They will pursue us until we have lured them away from the city, for they will say, “They are running away from us as they did before.” So when we flee from them, you are to rise up from ambush and take the city. The Lord your God will give it into your hand. When you have taken the city, set it on fire. Do what the Lord has commanded. See to it; you have my orders.”
Once again, God had given him a specific strategy for a specific place.
They had previously tried to take Ai but had been unsuccessful because of two reasons:
a. They had not asked God for His specific strategy as we can read in:
Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth Aven to the east of Bethel, and told them, “Go up and spy out the region.” So the men went up and spied out Ai. When they returned to Joshua, they said, “Not all the people will have to go up against Ai. Send two or three thousand men to take it and do not weary all the people, for only a few men are there.” So about three thousand men went up; but they were routed by the men of Ai, who killed about thirty-six of them. They chased the Israelites from the city gate as far as the stone quarries and struck them down on the slopes. At this the hearts of the people melted and became like water.
b. There was unconfessed sin, for they had not fully obeyed God when they took Jericho as we can read in:
The Lord said to Joshua, “Stand up! What are you doing on your face? Israel has sinned; they have violated My covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction.”
Having thoroughly dealt with these issues, they were then ready to hear God’s specific strategy for Ai, as we have already read in Joshua 8:1-8.
Likewise, you need to receive specific insights from the Lord regarding any issue. He wants you to deal with at a particular time and how it is to be done.
A final requirement is:
6. The need to make sure that every area gets properly dealt with so that the enemy cannot ensnare you afterwards in any way.
The Israelites were told by God to make sure the Promised Land was thoroughly cleaned up as we can read in:
I will establish your borders from the Red Sea to the Sea of the Philistines, and from the desert to the River. I will hand over to you the people who live in the land and will drive them out before you. Do not make a covenant with them or with their gods. Do not let them live in your land, or they will cause you to sin against Me, because the worship of their gods will certainly be a snare to you.
Similarly, you need to make sure that every area God brings to your attention is properly dealt with, so that the enemy can no longer ensnare you in that place.
The author of Hebrews wrote in:
Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.
And Paul wrote in:
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
And in Colossians 2:8
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.
Having shared with you all these points, I believe the time has come for us to begin to take our Promised Land. The first thing we are to do is to ask the Lord to begin to reveal to us things which hinder us from becoming the person God intends for you to be.
You see, in our lives things will have happened which will have caused a measure of pain, anger, unforgiveness. We may not even be aware of these things today, for many of these things may have happened quite some time ago. Nevertheless, they are very real in our lives and they still influence our thinking and behaviour. They may, in fact, have caused bondages in our lives. God desires to set us free from anything that may hinder our spiritual growth. He longs for us to become whole in Him.
Once the Lord has revealed the areas of brokenness, of bondages, He will then help us to pray through them one by one, so that He can apply His healing balm into these places. This will enable us to begin to walk in the freedom He has for us. Moreover, it will enable Him to use us as His instrument to bring His healing to others in the Body of Christ.