The Promised Land
I’ve been reading in the Books of Joshua and Judges the past couple weeks, and following how the Israelites handled the transition from the time of the leadership of Moses, through the leadership of Joshua, into the Judges period. Primarily looking at Joshua.
I imagine all of us here know the story of Israel. Moses leading the people of Israel out of bondage from Egypt, wandering in the wilderness for 40 years because of their sins and lack of faith, then coming to a point where God was allowing them to move into the promised land.
So today I would like to speak to us about our promised land. It maybe capturing or recapturing our lives; moving into the land that God has set before you that you should have taken long ago, or maybe it is new land, and for the church its bringing Kenosha into the promised land. It is all about new beginnings or about waiting for the promises of God that have been revealed to you from the Holy Spirit or what someone has spoken over your life in Jesus name.
So let’s begin by reading the ending of Moses’ life from Deut. 34. We know that Moses was a deliverer of Israel. He received the law from God for God’s people, and we know that God through Moses was following up on the promises and covenants that He gave to Abraham years earlier that He was going to make Abraham’s descendants into a great nation and the land he stood on in Canaan. So concerning Moses death:
“ So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, as the Lord had said. 6 He buried him in the valley in the land of Moab facing Beth-peor, and no one to this day knows where his grave is. 7 Moses was 120 years old when he died; his eyes were not weak, and his vitality had not left him. 8 The Israelites wept for Moses in the plains of Moab 30 days. Then the days of weeping and mourning for Moses came to an end. 9 Joshua son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands on him. So the Israelites obeyed him and did as the Lord had commanded Moses.”
A few things stood out to me from this verse that has nothing to do with my sermon that I have to talk about quickly. “Moses eyes were not weak, nor was his strength gone.” I thought that interesting. Moses was not allowed to go into the promised land because of his sin of anger, so I guess God didn’t want a 120-year-old divine prophet hanging out in a valley by himself, so He took him.
Also another thing that stood out was that Joshua was filled with the spirit of wisdom by the laying on of hands by Moses. That still happens today. Okay, back to Israel after the death of Moses.
Now the leadership of this group was now in the hands of a trusted, and trained warrior, Joshua. Moses the great leader is gone. Here is the new guy.
So on to the Book of Joshua, Chapter 1 starting with verse 1.
1 After the death of Moses the Lord’s servant, the Lord spoke to Joshua[a] son of Nun, who had served Moses: 2 “Moses My servant is dead. Now you and all the people prepare to cross over the Jordan to the land I am giving the Israelites. 3 I have given you every place where the sole of your foot treads, just as I promised Moses. 4 Your territory will be from the wilderness and Lebanon to the great Euphrates River—all the land of the Hittites—and west to the Mediterranean Sea.[b] 5 No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. I will be with you, just as I was with Moses. I will not leave you or forsake you.
6 “Be strong and courageous, for you will distribute the land I swore to their fathers to give them as an inheritance. 7 Above all, be strong and very courageous to carefully observe the whole instruction My servant Moses commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right or the left, so that you will have success wherever you go. 8 This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to recite[c] it day and night so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do. 9 Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
There is some comparison to be seen here. Seeing Joshua leading his people into the promised land is similar to Jesus, who opened the door for His people to be led into the promised land of eternal life.
Joshua’s name meant in the Hebrew, “Jehovah, my salvation”. His name was pronounced Joe Shoe A, and in the Book of Numbers he is named Jehoshua. I just keep calling him Joshua, but Joshua with God’s guidance and power conquered six nations and thirty-one kings during his time as the leader of Israel. Pretty impressive.
Joshua believed what the Lord told him as he took the reins of the nation of Israel, and Israel prospered. Just to think that Joshua started out as a Hebrew slave in Egypt, and ended up leading a nation of up to 2M people until his death at 110 years.
Joshua listened to Moses, then he listened God, then Israel took the land that God had established as a covenant to Abraham hundreds of years earlier.
When God establishes a covenant with His people. He does not break His promises. Ever.
God is the same today. When He has spoken to us, and said He would do something. He will do it. It is upon us to obey, and believe.
And it doesn’t strike me too hard to understand what God is doing today with this church and its people and what He is calling His church in Kenosha to do in this community. Kenosha of sorts is our promised land. We live here in this area. God established this church as well as others in this city and region to take it.
Wednesday at the Pastor’s prayer, the Holy Spirit prompted me to read out Joshua Chapter 1, what I previously read. God wants to take the city of Kenosha back. All of it. Every block, every neighborhood, every street, every person. Everything. Just as Joshua and the children of Israel fought for the promised land, He wants us to fight for this land too.
But our battle is not against flesh and blood, it may seem like that sometimes, but it isn’t. Our battle will not be with the physical sword or spear or other physical weapon, even though we feel sometimes like we need one.
Our battle is using the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. “Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.”
When I was reading and praying out this scripture to the pastor’s, the Lord was saying that everywhere we put our feet He will give to us. Not only in the physical, but in the Spiritual. When we pray to take the land, we will receive it. But it will be a battle. But as with Joshua, and Israel, the Lord says “no one will be able to stand up against you. I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.” And those are strong words.
And the next thing the Lord says to us just as He did to Joshua, “be strong and courageous” in verse 6. He says again, “7 Above all, be strong and very courageous to carefully observe the whole instruction My servant Moses commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right or the left, so that you will have success wherever you go. 8 This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to recite[c] it day and night so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do. 9 Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Pretty straight forward. We must obey His Word, and believe it. Be strong and courageous, but be strong and courageous in the Word and promises of God. “Do not let the book of instruction depart from your mouth.” We are to know the Word, and speak the Word, and live the Word, and not be afraid or discouraged in this battle of life because God is with us.
The generation of Israelites that arrived at the Jordan River was the chosen generation. They reaped the rewards and benefits of the land after conquest. As I think of today, of the many that have gone before us, those who prayed and tarried to see Kenosha come to the Lord, they have created a foundation for this generation to reap the benefits.
There are Joshua’s and Caleb’s today who are still alive, who believe that God will do what He said He would from past prophecies given in this city. They stood and saw giants in the land, because they are here, but they knew that with God, all things are possible, and if God is for us, who can be against us. So they prayed holding the ground against the giants waiting for more Joshua’s and Caleb’s to come into the land to stand with them. Wanting all to cross the Jordan and fully take the land as God intended.
But for us to cross the Jordan, preparation must take place. Joshua told the people after the Lord spoke to him “to get ready.”
Then Joshua like Moses 40 years before, sent spies into the land. Well, we know our land, we know the corruption of it. We know what we are up against. But we also know that when God tells you to take the land, He will set a path to the taking of the land, “but” He sends us to take it.
In Chapter 2, Joshua gave orders to the people that when they saw the Ark of the Covenant and the priests leaving to cross the Jordan, they were to follow it. The Ark of the Covenant was where the Presence of the Lord was, and as the Israelites looked at it, “the Ark was the manifestation of God's physical presence on earth (the shekhina)” which is God’s presence, His Kingdom, His immanence and dwelling place in the created world”, in their eyes.
Joshua said to follow it, “then you will know which way to go since you have never been this way before.”
From Chapter 3:4. Joshua who had heard from the Lord, from the presence of the Lord, knew which way to go. There are many of us who do not know where they are going, but since the presence of the Lord is in us, like Joshua, we must ask which way to go and the Lord through His Holy Spirit will tell us which way to go. God has not changed. We must be willing to ask, because sometimes we don’t for many reasons. We must wait for the answer, which we hate to do because we hate waiting, but waiting builds perseverance, but when given direction, we need to go.
When you think about it, the people who Joshua led had been wondering around the wilderness for some time. All they knew was wandering. But they knew that God supplied their needs, because of manna falling from heaven. They knew that God went before them because of the Cloud by day and pillar of Fire by night. But now they were entering new territory. They were in a place they had never been before. The manna stopped, and the cloud and pillar were gone. So now they are in a position to believe and trust in what they have seen, and what they were being told.
We must believe in what we have been told and taught by the Word of God, and the revelation that we have received from the Holy Spirit, and what we have seen the Lord do. And I guess this sermon tonight is not just about taking the land for the people of Kenosha for the Lord. Praying it in, or loving it in, or being Jesus out there, to manifest the Kingdom of God here. It is also about us and our lives here being victorious, allowing God to take the land of our hearts, by believing in His Word and His promises.
Being victorious in the fact that we have overcome the world like Jesus did.
In John Chapters 15-16, Jesus is teaching His Disciples, that He is the true Vine, that they should abide in that vine.
He speaks about the Holy Spirit that He would guide them in all truth, and to believe that if we ask the Father for anything in His name. Yes, in the Name of Jesus. He will give it to us.
In John 16:33, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
So as Jesus overcame this world, with faith, and trust, in the Holy Spirit, we can too. But again, it takes something on our part to live out that realization in our lives that all things are possible with God no matter the circumstances or the tribulation or the time it takes to reach a destination. We need to take Jesus to heart.
When Joshua and Caleb went out to spy the land they saw the giants like the other 10 men. But their outlook was totally opposed with the 10. They knew that their God was much larger than these giants. They knew like they had seen in the past that God could remove those giants for His people. Joshua and Caleb knew that it took faith in their God, and them having confidence in the word that God gave to Moses about the future of their people. There was a covenant, and God keeps up His end of the covenant. And even though the ten men basically got scared and gave up because what they physically saw and caused Israel to wander 40 years, Joshua and Caleb because of their belief, got to enter the promised land, the other died in the wilderness.
Let us not die in the wilderness because of our fear of the unknown, or us not being will to wait for God to complete His covenant with us. Some of us are standing at the Jordan. There are giants on the other side. The possibility of the giants taking us out may be huge when looking with eyes of flesh. Maybe to us there are mountains on the other side, and the mountains look too high to climb. Maybe we have been waiting for something for what seems to be forever, and we want to give up. Maybe we have given up.
But what did the Lord say? What did He say?
“I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
“Be strong and courageous.”
‘Don’t let My Word depart from your mouth, do everything written in it, and you will be prosperous and successful.”
Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.
We will not faint we will not grow weary in the walk. We follow His presence, like Israel followed the Ark. The Presence knows which way to go. We obey, we believe, we listen, then we act. The promise land then comes alive in our lives, then like Israel we have peace.
Jos 21:43 “Thus the LORD gave to Israel all the land that he swore to give to their fathers. And they took possession of it, and they settled there.
Jos 21:44 And the LORD gave them rest on every side just as he had sworn to their fathers. Not one of all their enemies had withstood them, for the LORD had given all their enemies into their hands.
Jos 21:45 Not one word of all the good promises that the LORD had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.”
That promise is for us today. God always fulfills His promises to us. Let us cross the Jordan into the Promised Land together, in our own lives, and for the lives of others, and take this City for the Lord.