By Ronald E. Harper
Now that we understand that the Promised Land is not eternity or heaven, what can we learn from this knowledge? Let us take some time to look at the Promised Land to see how we may apply this to our lives and our Christian walk today.
The first battle of the Promised Land was the battle of Jericho. The children of Israel were instructed on what was required to win the battle. (Please note that discipline and obedience were required. These were just a couple of the things which were learned in the wilderness.) It is found in Joshua 6:3-5. “And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days. And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets. And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.” Can you imagine the inhabitants of Jericho laughing from their watchtowers? “Here they come and there they go again. Maybe they can’t find the gates!”
The first lesson we see is one of obedience. We must follow the command of the Lord. We must do it His way! Would the walls have fallen if the children of Israel had shouted before the seventh time on the seventh day? Would the walls have fallen if they had not shouted at all? They were required to follow the commands of God, even in the face of the enemy. It did not matter if the enemy was laughing at the strategy which God was using. Many times we don’t understand why God commanded us to do certain things. We are just required to obey. The world may laugh at us and criticize us. Just obey the Word of the Lord.
The next lesson to observe is the timing of praise. They were not told to shout after the walls fell. The shouts of praise would bring the walls down. This was something King David was familiar with. Read Psalm 122:1. “A Song of degrees of David. I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.” David did not wait until the worship leader sang his favorite song. The priest did not have to say the “right thing.” His joy began at the very moment he began to prepare to go to the house of God.
The next battle was the battle of Ai. This battle was lost because a man named Achan had disobeyed the command of the Lord. He had taken spoils from the battle of Jericho and hidden them in his tent. As a result, thirty-six men of war died (Joshua 7:5). This can be the cost of disobeying the Word of God. It will usually affect others in the battle. Note that the ultimate cost affected the wife and children of Achan. They were all stoned and all of their property was destroyed by fire (Joshua 7:24-25).
Just as obedience to the voice of God brings blessings, disobedience brings judgment. The prophet Samuel told King Saul, “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king” (I Samuel 15:23). Note the words of David in Psalm 51:16-17. “For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, 0 God, thou wilt not despise.”
God has promised to supply all of our needs. Look at Philippians 4:19. “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Note the vast difference between this statement and what King David spoke of in Psalm 37:4. “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” God has promised to supply the needs of His children, just as He did in the wilderness for the children of Israel. Look for a moment at Ephesians 3:20. “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” (I once heard Bro. Dennis West point out that Paul placed four superlatives in a row to demonstrate the total, absolute, and immeasurable power of our God to supply our needs. Note the words: exceeding abundantly—above all.) Now, read Matthew 7:11. “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” God will take care of His children. But David told us that if we delight ourselves in the Lord, He will also give us the desires of our hearts. God will either give us what we desire or give us new desires.
What does the Promised Land mean to the Christian today? The Promised Land can represent many things to many people. However, it is clear that the promises of God are for those who choose to cross the Jordan. Each of the tribes had its own territory. Each tribal territory had its own borders and distinct terrain. But they all had to cross the Jordan. My promises will be different from your promises. Your blessings will be different than mine. However, we should all want to share a commitment to God and cross the Jordan together.
In conclusion, the message of the Promised Land is clear. There is growth and there are many blessings available to those who will cross the line. There will be obstacles to overcome and battles to fight. However, the promise of the inheritance of God’s blessings is reserved for those who will not be afraid to commit to settle into what God has in store for them.
The above article, “Promised Land” is written by Ronald E. Harper. The article was excerpted from Harper’s book The Power of Crossing Jordan.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.