Israel went through 3 stages in entering (possessing) their Promised Land (God’s best).
(1) Egypt - the Land of not enough.
(2) The Wilderness- the Land of just enough.
(3) The Promised Land - of more than enough.
The experiences of Israel are recorded for our benefit because our salvation is parallel to theirs. We learn from their successes and failures. In salvation we made our Exodus by the Blood of the Lamb (Jesus) from the kingdom of darkness into new-life. But only by believing and obeying the Word can we enter into our Promised Land.
We have a wonderful Promised Land spread out before us:
2Cor 1:20: “For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God.”
2Peter 1:3,4: “His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness... by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature.” God gives of Himself (the divine nature) to us.
Romans 8:32: “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”
Ephesians 1:3: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (through His death and resurrection).
1John 3:2: “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”
This speaks of SHALOM (wholeness in spirit, soul, body, relationships and finances; nothing missing or broken) as our inheritance through the Blood of Christ: “Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses) and carried our sorrows (pains); yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace (SHALOM) was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:4,5). Through the New Covenant these blessings are ours, paid for in full in the Blood of Christ, but we must possess them through faith. We have a better Covenant than the Old, so it must include all the blessings of the Old (like healing and prosperity) plus much more.
Jesus came preaching the full Gospel of SALVATION, HEALING and DELIVERANCE, the restoration of what man lost in the Fall:
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD" (Luke 4:18,19).
We see in the Book of Acts how the early Church came into the Promised Land of salvation, healing, fullness of the Spirit, fruitfulness in ministry. But as Church History progressed the Church gradually lost more and more land as it fell into various errors. In the Dark-Ages the Bible had become a closed book, hardly read or understood, but over the last few hundred years the Church has gradually been taking back that land that had been lost.
1. The Bible was made available in our own language to be read by all (not just the priests) and become the centre and authority for our faith.
2. This led to the recovery of the truth of salvation by grace through faith alone not by our works.
3. This led also to the priesthood of all believers which means that we can come to God ourselves through Jesus Christ, not through priests or saints. The Priesthood does not mediate salvation.
4. Water-Baptism (Immersion) for believers was recovered by the Ana-Baptists, instead of the unscriptural tradition of baby-sprinkling which had replaced it.
5. Later on this rediscovery of the Bible led to a revival of world-missions and evangelism
However the Protestant Reformers did not go all the way. In particular the Protestant Churches were guilty of accepting a false-doctrine of Cessationalism - that healings and miracles, the Baptism and gifts of the Spirit had passed away (ceased) with the apostles. God did not want to do that any more! He healed in the O.T, in Jesus Ministry, in the Book of Acts, in the Millennium but not now. This rejection of God’s power and the ministry of the Holy-Spirit is unscriptural, a clear case ofunbelief (tradition) nullifying the Word of God. As a result Protestant denominations fell into deadness and liberal theology - even denying all the miracles in the Bible, like the virgin-birth and the resurrection.
6. From 1900 the Pentecostal movement restored the truths of the gifts of the Holy-Spirit, like tongues, prophecy, miracles and healing.
In 1960 the Charismatic movement brought these truths into the historic churches. The church is still repossessing her promised land, but it’s always been hard for the pioneers because of overcoming centries of unbelief and false Church traditions.
In our life we must make the same journey of possessing the promises: salvation, baptism in water and the Spirit, healing and you have to overcome not only natural unbelief but also the unbelief of false doctrines that have controlled the church-world. Our attitude should be: “Not that I’ve already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and
reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this attitude”(Phil3:12-15).
Let’s find out from Israel what it takes to enter in (Numbers 13,14; Joshua 1).
1. Israel failed to enter in first because of UNBELIEF (believing what you see or feel above the Word). Since the Word was not strong in them, they were overwhelmed by the giants (obstacles) they saw with their eyes. Instead they should have said: “Yes, there are giants but God said He gave us this land and that He is with us as we possess it and He is greater than these giants.”
Hebrews 4:1-3,11,12 gives a New-Testament commentary: “Since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come
short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard. For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: "So I swore in My wrath, `They shall not enter My rest,’ although His works were finished from the foundation of the world.” Let us therefore be diligent (labour) to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. For the Word of God is living and powerful...”
2. Then they failed a second time (Numbers 14:39-45) because of PRIDE - the number one killer of spiritual life. They thought they could do it without God’s help. When you start thinking you’re on a higher plane (almost perfect, got it all sussed, reduced the Christian life to a formula of do’s and don’ts), you slip into losing your dependance on God. There is a danger if you are used a bit by the Lord making you think you’re special and are the reason it worked (see Luke 10:17-20). You start thinking: ‘Look at me’- rather than giving all the glory to the Lord. Living by faith is a daily complete dependance on God. Without His help you’ll fall flat on your face and go nowhere.
3. Joshua shows us how to possess the Land (Joshua 1:5-9). Israel had failed because of UNBELIEF (‘God can’t have given me the land, it can’t be God’s will because of all the giants’)and PRIDE (‘I can take the land by my own efforts and ability.’) Joshua’s success was through strong FAITH in the promise (giving
him courage to take action) and HUMILITY (realising that in taking every step forward to possess the Land success completely depends on God).
The Promise of God’s Presence was the basis for his success (v5):
"No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you.”
God then repeated instuctions (COMMANDS and PROMISE) to Joshua four times!:
(1) BE STRONG in faith,
(2) BE COURAGEOUS to act,
(3) then you’ll have GOOD SUCCESS.
"(1) Be strong (in faith, believing the promise in your heart that God is with you to put you over, as you go forth) and
(2) of good courage (to act on the Word and possess the land) for
(3) to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to give them” (v6).
(1) Only be strong and
(2) very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the Word of God; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that
(3) you may prosper wherever you go” (v7).
v8 explains how we can be (1) so we can do (2) so that we can have (3):
"(1) This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night (DEUTERONOMY is the primary book of preparation for entering the Land used by both JOSHUA and JESUS), that
(2) you may observe to do according to all that is written in it.
(3) For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have
Have I not commanded you?:
(1) Be strong
(2) and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed (to act on the Word) for
(3) the LORD your God is with you wherever you go (to give you victory -v9)"
Like Joshua we ENTER and POSSESS the Land one piece at a time.
When we take one part of the land then we can see more areas to conquer and so on. We must always be moving forward in faith. How?
1. Find the promise(s) that covers your case and put your foot on the promise: "Whatever things you desire when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them” (Mark 11:24).
2. Stand your ground, saying: “I believe I’ve received, it’s mine.”
“Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to STAND against the wiles of the devil...Take up the whole armour of God, that you may
be able to WITHSTAND in the evil day, and having done all, to STAND” (Eph 6:10-13). Don’t let the giants scare you off but tell them to be removed (Mark 11:23). Deal with them as David did with Goliath. Don’t be afraid of them. Realise it’s you who has a covenant with God and that God is with you. He is not of God and is under the judgement of God. Take your stone (the promise of God), run at him and sling your stone saying: ‘It is written.’
(1) STEP on it, receive the promise by faith, and (2) STAND on the Word until it manifests.
These 2 stages are in Hebrews 10:36: “Do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through (1) faith and (2) patience inherit the promises.”
And: “You have need of (2) patience, so that after you have done (1) the will of God (believe you receive the promise), you may receive the promise (in your experience)” (Hebrews 6:12).