How do you win
the Christian's Promised Land? How can you be
victorious in your walk with Christ?
God is faithful to His
promises. The Book of Joshua stresses the truth of
the everlasting steadfast faithfulness of God. God
is faithful to His word.
The book of Joshua opens
with a change of command. The great giver of the
Law, Moses, is dead. God brings about a change in
leadership for the new nation. Moses was a great
lawgiver, statesman and founder of the nation.
Joshua is a great commanding general, a fearless
conqueror and warrior. Moses was a patient leader of
the people. Joshua was a take charge leader who
commanded the people to "rise, go over this Jordan."
Moses formed a discovery committee; Joshua gave a
command to take the land.
God allowed Moses to see
the land from a distance, but he was not allowed to
go in and possess the land. God declared to Moses
"you broke faith with Me . . . because you did not
treat Me as holy in the midst of the sons of Israel"
(Deuteronomy 32:51). Moses threw a fit and lost the
"The Lord said to Moses
and Aaron, 'Since you did not trust in Me, to treat
Me as holy in the sight of the sons of Israel, for
that reason you shall not bring this assembly into
the land which I have given them'" (Numbers 20:12).
Deuteronomy 34:5-9 says:
"So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the
land of Moab, in accordance with the word of the
Lord. And He buried him in the valley in the land of
Moab, opposite Beth-peor; but no one knows his
burial place to this day. Although Moses was 120
years old when he died, his eyesight was not dim,
nor had his vigor left him. So the sons of Israel
wept for Moses in the plains of Moab for thirty
days; then the days of weeping and mourning for
Moses came to an end. Now Joshua the son of Nun was
filled with the spirit of wisdom, because Moses had
laid his hands on him; and the sons of Israel
listened to him and did as the Lord had commanded
Joshua's original name
was Hoshea (Numbers 13:8; Deuteronomy 32:44) which
means "salvation." Moses changed Hoshea's name to
Joshua or Yehoshua. Joshua means, "Yahweh is
salvation." Joshua will deliver God's people by the
power of Yahweh. Yahweh alone is our salvation. The
Greek form of this name is "Jesus." "You will call
His name Jesus, [Yehoshua, Joshua], because He will
save His people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21).
GOD HAS A PLAN FOR ISRAEL
He also has a plan for
God's plan for Israel was
to go in and take the Promised Land.
There was a
Israel did not conquer
the land for forty years because of unbelief.
Numbers chapters thirteen and fourteen are the
tragic story of unbelief. Two of the twelve spies
said, "God gave us the land; let's go take it!"
Caleb said, "We should by all means go up and take
possession of it, for we shall surely over come it"
(Numbers 13:30). If the Shekinah glory of
Yahweh had not appeared in the Tabernacle, "all the
congregation of Israel would have stoned them with
The minority report was
ready to claim the promises of God and take the
land. The majority report was evil. They were
faithless having lost the vision in a few days time.
The minority report measured the giants in the land
against God. The majority report could only
see their own frail humanity against a land of
giants. Ten of the spies evaluated God by their
circumstances. Caleb and Joshua, interpreted the
circumstances through the eyes of a sovereign God.
After forty years of
wandering in the wilderness, the children of Israel
found out that the inhabitants of the land were
scared to death of them. Can you imagine that? Rahab
the harlot informed the two spies forty years later
that the people of the land had for forty years been
afraid of the Israelites. They had heard of God
delivering them at the Red Sea and other feats. The
giants whom Israel feared at Kadesh-barnea had been
afraid of the people of Israel for forty years.
Moses had to die.
Moses had to die before
they could enter the Promised Land. G. Campbell
Morgan said, "Moses had to die. The death of Moses
was necessary to progress into the land. Moses led
you out, but he could not lead you in. Joshua led
you in but he could not give you rest." Rest
depended on an even greater giver of rest. "We must
discover Him in spiritual communion."
"Now it came about after
the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, that the
Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ servant,
saying, Moses My servant is dead; now therefore
arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people,
to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons
of Israel" (Joshua 1:1–2).
"Moses is dead" and God's
work is not going to end. The LORD is their leader.
He issues the command. "Now therefore, arise, cross
this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land,
which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel."
It is time to go in and
take the land (v. 3). It is their land. God gave it
to them. "Every place on which the sole of your foot
treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to
Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon, even as
far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the
land of the Hittites, and as far as the Great Sea
toward the setting of the sun will be your
territory" (vv. 3-4).
Only during the golden
age of Kings David and Solomon did Israel's greatest
expansion include these boundaries.
God led Israel around in
the wilderness. It was an eleven-day journey to the
Promised Land that took forty years to accomplish in
the flesh! They were going in circles of unbelief
for forty years.
Don't miss it; the land
was theirs. It had been theirs for forty years!
Because of their unbelief, they had failed to take
the land. "I have given it to you." The original is
in the perfect tense. It is completed action. It is
a prophetic perfect meaning the action is so sure to
come to pas that it could be written as if it had
already happened. It was already their land. God
gave it to them.
God has given us
everything in Christ.
Many Christian scholars
through the centuries have pointed to the
similarities in application between the Book of
Joshua and Paul's letter to the Ephesians.
Moreover, God has given
us everything in Christ. "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, just as He chose us in Him
before the foundation of the world, that we would be
holy and blameless before Him" (Ephesians 1:3-4).
Are we entering in and conquering the land?
God has "blessed us with
every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in
Christ." Every believer is blessed with all
spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.
But how much of our inheritance have we appropriated
by faith? How much have we claimed? How much
do we enjoy in our daily Christian life? Why do we
want to settle for second best when God want to give
us His very best?
It is one thing to have
the title to an inheritance, but entirely different
thing to make it your own in practice. How often we
fail to enter into and enjoy that which God has
given to us in His Son.
How tragic that we go
around in circles of the flesh while God seeks to
wean us off our selfish lifestyle.
God wants to lead us into
the Christian's Promised Land of Canaan. God's
purpose for Israel was a land filled with "milk and
honey." He was going to provide all their needs. It
is the beautiful picture of the Spirit–controlled
life. It is the life God intended for every
Christian to live. There are no exceptions. You can
have every bit of the spiritual life in Christ that
you want. God will not give you more than you are
ready and willing to take. It is possessing the life
of fullness of Christ. Canaan makes a beautiful
analogy of our full salvation in Christ. It is the
portion for every believer. God is leading His
people to the goal. That goal is Christ likeness.
His goal is to conform us to the likeness and
character of His Son. Let's not be content for a
wilderness experience. We don't have to stay in the
wilderness. He brought us out so He might bring us
in to Canaan. Are we content to stay on the easy
side of Jordan? God has the best for those who will
walk by faith and enter into His abundant life.
Second best is for those who will not take His best.
Stake your claim. Go in
and take possession of all God has given you in
Christ. All of the Lord Jesus Christ is mine at
conversion, but I possess only as much as I claim by
faith. The great saints were all receivers. They
received the promises of God. Go ahead take
possession by faith! The Promised Land is typical of
what we have in Christ. Alexander Maclaren reminds
us, "God gives more than we take, and we are content
to occupy but a corner of the broad land which He
has given us." It is only as we take this
place of identification with Christ practically that
we enter into and enjoy our present inheritance with
God has a plan for
Israel. God will fulfill His promise for Israel.
That promise depends on their walking by faith.
GOD'S PROMISE TO ISRAEL
I will be with you.
Yahweh says, "I will be
with you." The promise hasn't changed in forty
years. He is the same God; it is still His word. One
wag said, "When God spoke, He didn't stutter. He
said precisely what He meant and He meant what He
said." Another wag answered, "If God didn't mean
what He said, why didn't He say what He meant."
The LORD God said, "No
man will be able to stand before you all the
days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I
will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake
you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall give
this people possession of the land which I swore to
their fathers to give them" (vv. 5-6). The guarantee
of success is the Lord's unfailing presence and
means God's provision.
God's promises means
God's provision. Ask the Lord for strength and
encouragement. He will make you strong. Obey His
message and instruction as you find it in His Word.
The Lord is with you. He has promises to go before
you. Commit yourself to Him in full surrender and
watch Him guide and provide. Make a commitment to
follow Him in every area of your life. This is His
money back guarantee. The LORD guarantees success.
"I will be with you."
Remember that there are
giants in the land! The giants are still there, and
in forty years, there are more of them. God says,
"No man will be able to stand before you all the
days of your life." Not even giants. Not even
Watch how the author of
Hebrews applies this passage to us in our day.
Do you have any giants in
your land? You are no different from the children of
Israel. Hebrews 13:5-6 is a direct application for
you and me. "Make sure that your character is
free from the love of money, being content with what
you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never
desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” so that we
confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not
be afraid. What will man do to me?”
Jesus said, "Lo, I am
with you always, even until the end of the age."
Moreover, "He is the same yesterday, today, and
forever." He changes not. His promises abide because
He abides. God is faithful. God is able. God is
going to do it!
Are you standing on the
integrity of His Word? Are you resting your faith on
what He says in the Bible?
Who is the giant in your
life? "No man will be able to stand before you."
What is your giant? It may be a person, may be your
job, coworker, a powerful temptation, the
circumstances in you face, a difficult situation at
school, or in the home. Why will your giant not be
able to stand?
Just as I have been
with Moses and Joshua.
"Just as I have been with
Moses, I will be with you [put your own name here];
I will not fail you or forsake you" (v. 5). Just as
I have been with Moses I will be with you Wil Pounds
I will not fail you or forsake you.
It is a walk of faith.
Verse six reminds us to "Be strong and courageous,
for you shall give this people possession of the
land which I swore to their father to give them."
The message is repeated in verses 7, 9, 18. "Be
strong and courageous" (v. 6). "Only be strong and
very courageous" (v. 7). "Have I not commanded you?
Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be
dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever
you go" (v. 9). "Only be strong and courageous" (v.
18). It is hard to miss, isn't it?
God requires faithful
obedience from us. "Only be strong and very
courageous; be careful to do according to all the
law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not
turn from it to the right or to the left, so that
you may have success wherever you go" (v. 7). If we
love Him, we will obey Him.
You want success in your
Christian life? It is not "name and claim" false
theology. It is trust and obey His Word. It is a
life in fellowship with your Lord.
Meditate on God's
In fact, here is the
where Joshua found his courage and strength. Verse
eight says, "This book of the law shall not depart
from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day
and night, so that you may be careful to do
according to all that is written in it; for then you
will make your way prosperous, and then you will
have success." When was the last time you got into
God's Word and just chewed around on it like a dog
gnawing a bone?
That is what this word
"meditate" means. It is like an old dog chewing away
on a bone. You can hear him off in the distance
gnawing away. He makes noises as he chews. The word
for "meditate" means "to speak with oneself" in a
low voice as is often done by those who are musing,
to contemplate, to have in mind, to purpose." It
comes from the idea of "murmuring or muttering." It
is the low voice of persons talking to themselves.
When we meditate, we read over the texts to
ourselves in half aloud reading and re-reading. This
is the way you get to the good stuff in God's Word.
It settles down into the mind and you begin to think
biblically. You think the way God thinks.
No where in the Word of
God are we allowed to cut our minds free and let
them float away to meditate upon whatever might
enter into them. It is always an objective
meditation upon God's Word. Let your mind run loose
and Satan will give you a great meditation! One you
will forever regret.
You will never be strong
and courageous in the Christian life if you do not
spend time meditating on God's Word. You have to get
into it and wrestle with it, meditating and
memorizing it and making it as your own. Confident
faith comes from meditating on God's Word. Paul
said, "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the
word of Christ."
God has a plan for
Israel, and He has a plan for you. God will fulfil
His promise to Israel and in your life. What is the
preparation we need to fulfill that promise?
How do you go in and
possess the land? There is only one way; it is by
Joshua commanded the
people to get ready (vv. 10-11). "Pass through the
midst of the camp and command the people, saying,
'Prepare provisions for yourselves, for within three
days you are to cross this Jordan, to go in to
possess the land which the Lord your God is giving
you, to possess it'" (v. 11).
Joshua didn't sit there
and whine, "Well it's been forty years, so what is
another month or two?" Joshua has been waiting for
forty years! He has been ready and patiently waiting
all these years. Let's go!
What is your battle
plan in your spiritual battle?
Do you have a battle plan
in your fight against the devil? God has made
provision for you in your battle against Satan. Have
you followed through? The Apostle Paul had a battle
plan that he shared with us and it works. "Be strong
in the Lord, and in the strength of His might."
Sounds like Joshua. It is not, it is Paul in
Ephesians 6:10. "Put on the full amour of God, that
you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of
the devil" (v. 11). "Therefore, take up the full
armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the
evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm"
(v. 13). Don't go running out to do battle with your
enemy without your armor on. Arm yourself with
Christ. He is the armor of God. He is truth. You
don't find spiritual truth anywhere else. "I am the
way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the
Father, but through Me." He is your righteousness.
There is no other righteousness that will satisfy
God. He gives you His righteousness in place of your
self-righteousness. Christ is my righteousness. He
is my peace, my shield of faith, my helmet of
salvation, the living Word of God. And don't forget
to pray, Paul says.
Joshua commanded his
people to get ready to cross over in three days. God
says to us get ready to cross over. How do we
prepare to go into a more intimate relationship with
Christ? Paul helps us in our preparation in 2
Corinthians 10:5–6. "We are destroying
speculations and every lofty thing raised up against
the knowledge of God, and we are taking every
thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we
are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your
obedience is complete."
Paul writes in Galatians
2:20, "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is
no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and
the life which I now live in the flesh I live by
faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave
Himself up for me."
We must reckon on who we
are in Christ. Take a stand on your eternal position
in Christ. Paul told the Colossians, "For in Christ
all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and
in Him you have been made complete" (Colossians 2:9,
10). To the church at Rome he wrote, "Be constantly
counting upon the fact that you are dead to sin, but
alive to God in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 6:11). "Even so
consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to
God in Christ Jesus.
All of these resources of
heaven are available to us today. "I can do all
things through Christ who strengthens me. . . and my
God shall supply all your needs according to His
riches in glory in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:13, 19).
We take possession by taking one step at a time.
Did you say, let's cross
the Jordan in three days? Man this is flood season.
This river is in the spring run-off and it is a mile
wide raging torrent. It is muddy, brown, yuck. We'll
all get killed.
No. Joshua and Caleb had
been there at the Red Sea and saw God open up the
Sea and let them pass through on dry ground. They
could say, "I saw God do it! And I will see Him do
If we are going to cross
into the Christian's Promised Land there must be
personal accountability. Are you willing to pay the
Verses 12-15 are
parenthetical. They are in response to a compromise
Moses made with half of the tribe of Manasseh, the
tribes of Reuben and Gad. They had chosen to remain
East of the Jordan and not go in and conquer Canaan.
The concession is found in Numbers chapter 32. They
appear to be content with their self-interests. They
like the fertile, lush cattle land of Bashan, Gilead
and Moab. They were content to stay the norm and
were not concerned about the abundant Promised Land.
They will keep their promise, but will go back to
the old life at the first opportunity. History shows
they were always getting in trouble with the enemy.
This was always the first territory invaded by the
enemies of Israel. That was a terrible price to pay
because they chose not to enter into Promised Land.
When Assyria came calling on the Northern Kingdom of
Israel these were the first tribes they defeated.
The land east of the
Jordan is a place of indulgence. It is still
wilderness. It is not the Promised Land.
They have their kin in
our day who would rather remain focused on making a
fair living rather than entering into a mature,
intimate love relationship with Christ. The cost is
too much for them to bear.
On what level do
you choose to live the Christian life?
On what level do you
choose to live the Christian life? Some believers
enjoy the blessings of Canaan. They go in and
conquer the ugly, deceitful, ungodly, selfish sinful
territory of the Hittites. However, some chose to
live in the wilderness of sin in a half-hearted
commitment in easy land. They remain east of the
Jordan and do not enter in and possess the land.
They live in compromise with Moses, tolerating
sinful flesh and making flimsy excuses for their
selfish lifestyle. Christ calls us out of the
self-centered condition into our Christ-centered
position. On what level do I choose to live Christ?
The Apostle Paul
challenges us to "test yourselves to see if you are
in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not
recognize this about yourself, that Jesus Christ is
in you––unless indeed you fail the test" (2
Corinthians 13:5). "As you therefore have received
Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him" (Colossians
Where are you in your
relationship with Christ? Are you halting at the
Jordan? Are you afraid to trust Jesus for your daily
victory? Have you drunk at some muddy, bitter waters
for so long you can only wander around in the
bitterness of self-defeat? I pray you will not be
content to live east of Jordan in a half-hearted
Joshua teaches us that
strength comes out of our weakness and dependence.
The only think that will keep you is your sense of
constant need of God's presence.
God's promises means
God's provisions. God promised the land and He would
provide it. You take it by faith. You experience the
life of Christ for every living moment in the same
way you became a Christian. You believed the death
of Jesus Christ for your sins. It was a step of
faith. The same faith that got you out of sin and
unbelief gets you into the land. "As therefore you
have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so live in Him"
(Colossians 2:6). You take God at His word. "Abide
in Me, and I in you." Learn how to lean on the power
of God's Word.
The longer I live and
minister the more I am convinced it is not how you
begin the Christian life, but how you end it. Don't
get me wrong, everyone one of us is dead in our
trespasses and sins, and no one can enter into the
kingdom of God except by a spiritual birth. God
raises the dead! Far too many are content just to
enter in the Christian life and keep one foot in
heaven and one in self. God has something better. I
refuse to be an average Christian. I want to be a
member of the company of the committed. It is a
choice I made, and it is a choice I hope you will
make, too. If you are not satisfied with your
Christian life, it is because you haven't really
wanted any more. You can have all of Christ you
want. "Every place where the sole of your foot will
tread upon I have given to you."