THE PROMISED LAND
The Born Again Experience
Having studied the subject of the Promised Land in more general terms, we will now begin to look at that subject in greater detail.
The first verses we will look at are:
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.”
You could well ask the question: “Who is this Moses who had died?
And who is this Joshua? And who are these people, these Israelites?
These people, these Israelites, are the descendants of a man named Abram whom God had called to leave his country. Can you imagine God telling you one day to pack up and just go to another country? You and I might well be saying to God “Excuse me, God, how can I do possibly do that? It is simply not a good idea to ask me to go somewhere else and then not even tell me where I am to go. I mean, You just want me to be led by You day by day? God, that is too much to ask….
We could well imagine Abram responding in the same way, but he didn’t, which was truly amazing. Let’s turn to:
The Lord had 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 peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
So Abram left as the Lord had told him….
After Abram had left his country, God met him another time when He told him that his descendants would end up in a foreign country. We can read this in:
As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. Then the Lord said to him, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and ill-treated four hundred years.”
This is exactly what happened. Through a set of circumstances, Abram’s grandson Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel as we can read in:
Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.”
He ended up in Egypt with his entire family where they lived for 430 years as we can read in:
Now the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt was 430 years.
Towards the end of that time God raised a man named Moses to lead the people out of Egypt as we can read in:
The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of My people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey – the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached Me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring My people the Israelites out of Egypt.” But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”
And this is what happened: God did take the people out of Egypt in order to bring them into the Promised Land. However, He knew that, even though they had come out of slavery, they may not yet be ready for any battles, so He did not lead them via the shortest route, but via the desert road as we can read in:
When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt. So God led the people around by the desert road towards the Red Sea…”
What did happen, however, was that the Egyptians pursued them in order to bring them back to Egypt, back into slavery, as we can read in:
When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds about them and said, “What have we done? We have let the Israelites go and have lost their services!”
So he had his chariot made ready and took his army with him.
Nevertheless, it was that very same day that the Lord saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptian as we can read in:
That day the Lord saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore.
Let me begin to apply that to your lives, for just as God saved the Israelites miraculously, so God has saved each one of you miraculously when you became a child of God by forgiving your sins through the sacrificial death of His Son Jesus on the Cross. At that time, you too came out of Egypt, your place of slavery to sin.
And, just as the Israelites were followed by the Egyptians to take them back into slavery, our enemy the devil, the god of this world whose kingdom you were part of before you became part of the Kingdom of God, may have tried to entice you back into bondage but, in your case too, God is there to help you not to get back into slavery. Let’s look at some scriptures to back up what I have just said.
A. Sacrificial death of Christ through which we received forgiveness of our sins.
1 Corinthians 15:3-4
For what I (Paul) received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.
B. We have entered the Kingdom of God.
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 is come from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
C. We have come out of the Kingdom of Darkness.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
D. We are no longer ruled by the god of this world.
II Corinthians 4:3-4
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
E. We are not to be brought back into bondage by him.
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.
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. 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.
Therefore, if you want to successfully take our Promised Land, you need to be born again. However, that is only the first step. Other steps need to be taken, which we will discuss in later parts of this study.