Part II                                      

                                                         Taking A Survey

As we continue our study on the Promised Land we will remember that the Israelites had left Egypt and had begun their journey through the desert. Eventually the day arrived when they were to take possession of the Land as we can read in:

Deuteronomy 1:19-36

Then, as the Lord our God commanded us, we set out from Horeb and went towards the hill country of the Amorites through all that vast and dreadful desert that you have seen, and so we reached Kadesh Barnea. Then I said to you, “You have reached the hill country of the Amorites, which the Lord our God is giving us. See, the Lord your God has given you the land. Go up and take possession of it as the Lord, the God of your fathers, told you. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged”. Then all of you came to me and said, “Let us send men ahead to spy out the land for us and bring back a report about the route we are to take and the towns we will come to”. The idea seemed good to me; so I selected twelve of you, one man from each tribe.They left and went up into the hill country, and came to the Valley of Eshcol and explored it. Taking with them some of the fruit of the land, they brought it down to us and reported, “It is a good land that the Lord our God is giving us”. But you were unwilling to go up; you rebelled against the command of the LORD God. You grumbled in your tents and said, “The Lord hates us; so He brought us out of Egypt to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us. Where can we go? Our brothers have made us lose heart. They say, “The people are stronger and taller than we are; the cities are large, with walls up to the sky. We even saw the Anakites there.” Then I said to you, “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. The LORD your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the desert. There you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place. In spite of this you did not trust in the Lord your God, who went ahead of you on your journey, in fire by night and a cloud by day, to search out places fir you to camp and to show you the way you should go. When the Lord heard what you said, He was angry and solemnly swore: “Not a man of this evil generation shall see the good land I swore to give to your forefathers, except Caleb son of Jephunneh. He will see it and I will give him and his descendants the land he set his feet on, because he followed the LORD wholeheartedly.”

Or as we can read in:

Numbers 13:33b

We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.

So what had happened? The people had become too afraid to enter into the Promised Land even though God had told them to do so. Consequently, God sent them back into the desert where they wandered for the rest of their lives. Now remember, they were His children and He continued to take care of their needs by feeding them manna on a daily basis and their clothing never wore out as we can read in:

Deuteronomy 8:3-4

He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years

Was this God’s intention for them? No, His intention for them was to possess the Promised Land. However, they were unwilling to do so because they lacked faith in God’s enabling power to overcome the obstacles they would face once they entered the Promised Land. So God had no choice but to leave them wandering in the desert, for in their fearful condition they were unable to take the Promised Land, since they were not willing to rely on the Power of God which was available to them to fulfil their God-given destiny. 

What does that say to you as His people who have come out of your Egypt? God desires for you to take your Promised Land and He has made His Power available to you to overcome any obstacle you might come across when you begin to take your Promised Land. However, you could be like that generation of Israelites who never even entered the Promised Land because of fear, so God would have no choice in your case either but to leave you to wander in your desert just as the Israelites had to wander in the desert for the rest of their lives. You realise, of course, that this is not God’s plan for you. On the contrary, as we can read in:

Jeremiah 29:11

“For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

It is up to each one of you to say to God: “Yes, God, I want whatever You have for me, regardless of the cost, not because we are able in our own strength but because of your enabling Power which You have made available to me.”

The next generations of Israelites were like that. They were willing to enter the Promised Land under their new leader Joshua.

We have already read these verses, but let’s read them again. 

Joshua 1:1-3

After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant: “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them – to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses.”

Now God had made a promise to Moses forty years before and He had not forgotten, for God is a faithful God as we can see in:

II Timothy 2:13

If we are faithless, He will remain faithful, for He cannot disown Himself.

God’s promise was that He would give them every place where they set their foot.

God did not say that He would give them every place. No, He would only give them the places upon which they set their foot. This is a very important principle. They had to know that things were going to be different from now on. In the desert God had not made such demands on them but now they had to become responsible for their role in possessing the Land while they had to trust God for His enabling Power to be successful in every step they took. While giving them His promise that He would give every place they set their foot, at the same time He gave them a warning regarding the inhabitants of the land. This too is a very important principle for us to remember if we are to permanently possess our Promised Land. Let’s look at:

Exodus 23:31-33

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 you 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 against you.

What does that mean for you? I believe that God wants you to be like that generation of Israelites in that you too are to be ready and willing to take your Promised Land, for He promises that through His enabling Power you will be given every place you set your foot, or, to put it in another way; you will be more than conquerors through Christ as we can read in:

Romans 8:35-39

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered”.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate me from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

At the same time God warns you that you are not to hold on to anything which is not of Him in your Promised Land so that you will not be ensnared by it.

The writer of Hebrews says it so well in Hebrews 12:1b

…..Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles...

Another very important principle which Joshua brought up was the necessity to make a survey of the land before possessing it as we can read 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. Then they will return to me.”

Likewise, you are to make a detailed survey of your Promised Land so you will not be caught out by anything you did not expect to find there, but you will be fully prepared to possess it as the Lord leads you. 

As I have already explained, in your case, your Promised Land is your soul realm, that part of you in which your mind, your will and your emotions reside. You are to pray and ask the Lord if you are still holding on to any brokenness, hurts, anger, frustrations, bondages so that you can be set free from these things. That is the kind of survey you are to take to help you in your spiritual growth.

Part III