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.
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.”