And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God. – Genesis 17:8 ESV
So that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. (Galatians 3:14,29) Lets first consider Dr. J Vernon McGee’s belief that the Promised Land does NOT represent Heaven, like many believe- but represents the place where we should be living down here. Just like the Israelites, we are at choice; we can live in the wilderness, and many believers do, but we are to be living down here in Canaan. The Wilderness is NOT FUN, the wilderness march is not easy, but it does tend to require more dependence on God. However, God desires us to walk with Him, and in the land of Canaan that is where we are blessed with all spiritual blessings. As we know through Romans 8:28 God will use ALL things for our good to grow us into the likeness of Christ. So even though many choose to live in the wilderness on this planet, God still uses that choice for our good and HIS GLORY. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. (Deuteronomy 8:3)
Leader, God told Joshua, what He told Moses and what HE is telling us. Every place the sole of your foot shall tread upon, to you have I given it, as I spake unto Moses. (Joshua 1:3) God was saying to them, and to us, “It is yours, go in, possess, and enjoy that which you take”. I do not know what the actual figure is, but the Israelites took only a small part of what they could have possessed and today they are still paying the price. How about you? Are you living in the wilderness of God, even though He has been working to get you into the PROMISED LAND? Why would the Israelites settle for so much less than God desired for them? Why do we settle for so much less that God desires for us? It is because of the WILES of the ENEMY. God knows ALL. It is impossible for God to learn anything, otherwise he would lack perfect knowledge; OMNISCIENCE, and thus cease to be God. God knows our frame, He knew us before we were in the womb; see Psalm 103:14, Jeremiah 1:5. We settle because we get attacked by our three enemies, just like Joshua, who had a threefold blockage to break. In the Promised Land Joshua encountered these formidable enemies. Immediately ahead of him stood Jericho, it was central, and it was fortified by those GREAT WALLS. Then just beyond that stood little Ai, which he underestimated and had to deal with again. To the South, was an alliance, he must face the Gibeonites. The 3 enemies of Joshua are the same enemies of every Christian; The World, the flesh and the devil, that is what the three cities represented then, and the three enemies that we must face today.
Conduit; And the LORD said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor. (Joshua 6:2) Joshua was a man of war and he knew strategy, but God said you will do it my way! The defeat of Jericho and her impenetrable walls was done by the Lord’s method and NOT MAN’S method. That is the same way we must battle the world, God’s way, not our way. Ai, the second Promised Land city the Israelites attacked, was believed to be an easy victory since spies reported it had so few people (Joshua 7:2 – 3). Joshua, therefore, sends a force of only 3,000 men to overtake the city. To the army’s surprise, they are not only repelled but also suffer the loss of thirty-six lives! We cannot take the flesh battle lightly- if we do we will lose that war. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. (Galatians 5:17) Now it is on to GIBEON. The people of Gibeon, who had recently lied and tricked Joshua into a peace agreement with them (see Joshua 9), now call upon him to save them! God reveals to Joshua that not only should he help the Gibeonites but also that the enemy will be delivered into his hands (Joshua 10:8). The Lord not only allows fear to come upon Jerusalem’s king and his allies, he also miraculously rains huge hailstones upon their heads killing many of them! Then, in one of the most unique Biblical miracles, God causes the sun to slow , stand still-in the sky in order to allow more time for his people to complete their victory (Joshua 10:12 – 14)! God is showing us, we cannot defeat the devil on our own. He is a wily foe, and sometimes works in alliance with other believers- unknowingly. Then Satan brought disaster upon Israel, for he made David decide to take a census. (1 Chronicles 1:21) Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.” (Matthew 16:23) King David and Peter the apostle, both great men of God who were used by the devil- unknowingly. There is one group of people who always knew who Jesus was- demons. We cannot fight the devil on our own, we are powerless, but he, and they, must respond to the name and blood of Jesus. There are no deals to be made with the devil, and there is no power, outside of the name and blood of Jesus that can defeat the devil! Joshua and the Israelites faced the same three enemies that we face today in our PROMISED LAND: The World, the flesh and the devil! The only way to win, is to SUIT UP and WORD UP! Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. (Ephesians 6:11, Romans 13:13-14) Soldier on!