The Promised Land
We’ll begin this study by reading from Joshua 1.
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.
And Joshua 1:7-9
Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified: do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
Let me give you the background story to these verses.
In Genesis 12:1-4a: God called a man named Abram to leave his country.
The Lord said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.
I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you;
I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse;
And all the peoples of the earth will be blessed through you.”
So Abram left, as the Lord had told him…
Abram had a son named Isaac (Genesis 21) and Isaac had two sons named Esau and Jacob (Genesis 25). Jacob had twelve sons, one of whom was Joseph (Genesis 29, 30,35) Joseph ended up in Egypt having been sold as a slave by his brothers (Genesis 37). However, he eventually became the second most important person in Egypt.
(Genesis 41). Because of a famine, his entire family joined him in Egypt, where they settled down in Goshen (Genesis 42-47).
Approximately 400 years later, Moses was born. God called him to take his people, the Israelites, back to the Promised Land (Exodus 2-4).
However, the Israelites were afraid to enter the Promised Land, so God did not allow that generation to enter the Land, but had them wander in the desert for forty years until that generation had died out (Numbers 13- 14).
When we get to the Book of Joshua. all those belonging to the older generation had died and God was ready to take the next generation into the Land. Entering into the Promised Land would mean a completely different lifestyle. In the desert, food had provided for them by God on a daily basis. (Exodus 16) and their shoes and clothing never wore out (Deuteronomy 8).
However, once they entered the Promised Land, they were to take responsibility for the land (Deuteronomy 7).
The Israelites were the people of God, including the generation that had been too afraid to enter the Promised Land. Therefore, they had had to wander in the desert for another forty years where He continued to provide for all their needs without any responsibility on their part.
Likewise we, as believers, are the people of God. The question is: Are we like those Israelites who were too afraid to enter the Promised Land?
You see, like these Israelites, we too have left our Egypt behind when we became a child of God when we were born from above, born again (John 3), and God intends for us to enter our Promised Land. However, He knows that in order for us to be able to enter we have to be equipped, empowered. Otherwise we will not be able to deal with the issues we will have to face once we enter our Promised Land.
Many Christians never enter the Promised Land God has for them. They always remain in the “desert” where God does take care of them for He loves them even though they miss out on much that He has for them.
You may wonder what I mean when I mention that we are to be equipped, empowered, before we should enter our Promised Land.
Let’s first of all look at:
Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you.” And with that He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
At that moment they received the Holy Spirit but they were not yet ready for the task ahead of them. They needed to be further equipped, empowered, as we can read in:
Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift My Father promised, which you have heard Me speak about.
And in Acts 1:8
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
This happened at the day of Pentecost as we can read in:
All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
At that moment they were equipped, empowered, for their God-given task. You could say they were equipped to take their Promised Land, they were empowered to go to the places God had called them to. God wants us to know that each one of us as a believer needs that same kind of equipment, empowerment, in order for us to successfully take our Promised Land. Therefore, we first of all need to receive the Holy Spirit, which happens when we accepts Jesus as our Lord and Saviour.
We can see this in John 3:5-8
Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the Kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at My saying, “You must be born again”. The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
Once we are born of the Spirit we receive the Holy Spirit as those disciples did. He now resides within us. However, just as the first disciples needed to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, so they could take possession of their Promised Land, we too need to be baptised into the Holy Spirit in order for us to have the Power necessary in our lives to take our Promised Land. Although in the case of the Israelites their Promised Land was a literal place, in our case God wants us to look at our Promised Land in a symbolic sense and see it as our soul realm.
And the places we are to take are the issues we need to deal with within our soul realm which is the residence of our mind, will and emotions for, though we are born of the Spirit and our spirit has come alive to God, our soul realm may still have many issues of sinful habits, of brokenness which need dealing with one thing at a time.
God means for us to become mature believers, in every area of our lives. This can only be done little by little as led by the Holy Spirit so we can become whole in Christ. The tools the Holy Spirit will use are prayer and the Word of God as we can see in:
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing, and perfect will.
This will take time, just as God told the Israelites it would take time to take their Promised Land as we can see in:
The Lord your God will drive out those nations before you, little by little. You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once, or the wild animals will multiply around you.
This is a very important principle in God’s Word and we must allow God to do His work in us the way He intends to, according to His perfect timing as Paul wrote in:
Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
God does not want us to be afraid to take our Promised Land as the Israelites were as Paul wrote to Timothy in:
II Timothy 1:7
"For God did not give us a Spirit of timidity, but a Spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline" or, as the King James Bible says, a sound mind.
Are you ready to begin to take your Promised Land as led by the Holy Spirit?