Five Powerful Steps For The Promised Land

On the verge of crossing into the Promised Land the Israelites received vital directives for entering into, and possessing Canaan. What God told them can powerfully apply to each disciple of Christ.
Five Powerful Steps For The Promised Land
Source - Image owned, uploaded and copyrighted 2017 by the author, Peter P. Macinta (BrotherPete).

The Israelites were just mere months, perhaps even just weeks, away from crossing the Jordan River dry shod when God spoke through Moses, giving them vital instructions. They were to go in and possess the land that God had promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They were not militaristic, but predominately spiritual directives.

The historical account of Israel entering the Promised Land has potent spiritual applications for those who have surrendered to God through Christ. The land promised to the sons of Abraham in the Old Testament mainly does not represent heaven, but it represents vibrant and victorious living in Christ

while we sojourn on earth. There are blessings to enjoy, but there are “enemies” to be conquered until we leave this world.

The “promised land” of the true Christian includes truths like Romans 6:14, “For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” Everyone who believes in “name it and claim it” ought to name and claim that verse, yielding to Christ for His grace to do so. Another verse to describe the Christian “Promised Land” is Romans 8:37, “But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.”

The Good News to all of this is that Christ has already conquered our promised land. However, once we surrender to Him we must enter more and more into His life. As it is written in Philippians 2:12-13, “So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure."

In regard to the geographical territory He had promised to the Israelites God said, as recorded in Deuteronomy 4:1-2, “Now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the judgments which I am teaching you to perform, so that you may live and go in and take possession of the land which YHVH (The Existing One), the God of your fathers, is giving you. 2 You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of YHVH (The Existing One) your God which I command you.” These instructions by the Holy Spirit through Moses can apply to us possessing our promised land, the victorious life in Christ, in the following ways.

I. Listen

“Now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the judgments which I am teaching you . . .”

The Hebrew verb for “listen" can carry the idea of listening whereby you obey what you hear {1}. That is why years ago when I first wrote the outline I essentially had listen and obey as one point. However, we are in the 21st Century and with all the advancements in technology and social media many, if not most, have crowded their minds talking on phones, videos, chats, music and a host of other things.

Most do not realize it, but this is their sin nature, instinctively tuning out God, rejecting the multiple ways He attempts to reach each of us so that we might have life, and life more abundantly. Instinctively they are afraid to hear from God because He is both most holy and truly loving. In order to have abundant life we must let Him remove our sin and be in complete charge of us. No. The old human nature does not want that. Many hide behind religion, deluding themselves, thinking they are right with God. Some depend upon the sinner’s prayer, which does nothing unless you or I mean it and follow through every day.

But we ought to hear HIS statutes (laws, rules, ordinances), not the world’s. For example, the world, and the worldly minded in our church fellowships, will tell us we may d-ivo-rce {2} our spouse for certain reasons, and some even state if you do so you may marry someone else. I have written on this at another web site {2a}, but briefly at this point in this article people who promote such teaching promote a hypocritical Jesus Christ (if they think He actually gave permission for d--i-vorc-e). Ask yourself if Christ told us to forgive, if He forgave the woman caught in adultery, if Luke 16:18 is true, then why would He permit you or I to d-i-vo--rce our spouse? So, today we have hypocritical churches, denominations, and fellowships that teach us we can do mighty things in faith, but somehow we cannot find the power and grace of God to help our marriage.

A similar area is seen in the controversy generated by some when they heard that Vice President Pence refuses to dine alone with another woman other than his spouse (or perhaps a relative). One reason why he was mocked is because, again, instinctively the  unregenerate human nature wants to sin. Many who mocked him do not mind a little “eye candy” or porn now and then. Many cheat on their spouse by flirting. They actually enjoy being with coworkers for little extramarital social contact. Yet, here is one of a number of the statutes in God’s Word for Christians that addresses this issue: “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:22 Authorized Version).

We ought to hear God’s judgments, not the world’s. For the most part the world’s rulings on moral, ethical, spiritual, etc. issues is a slippery slope into the abyss of hell. But deeper than that is the world’s view that God will send no one to hell, or that most, if not all people, make it to heaven. It is nauseating for me to see people posting R.I.P. for those who supported homosexual marriage, sex changes, or those who were devoted to drugs, gossip, and the like.

Much of the world judges there are many ways to avoid hell, if it exists. Yet the judgment of God is clear: No one comes to Him unless they come in Christ (John 14:6). No one is good enough for heaven (Romans 3:10, 6:23) and each of us is condemned until we surrender to Christ (John 3:18, 16-17). The true knowledge and love of God enables us to accept all Who God is and all that He does.

With all of this we must listen to His teaching, that is, His teaching directly to us through Christ within us (if we are saved) and by His Holy Spirit. Each disciple needs to spend focused time reading and studying His written Word as well as meditating upon it throughout the day, putting what we have read and studied into practice for His glory, which will certainly bring us blessing. And while it is good as directed by the Holy Spirit to listen to the teaching of godly brothers and sisters in Christ, Jesus Himself must be our primary teacher. Be on guard about being attached to the teaching of others.

The account of Jesus’ visit to Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42) underscores the need for each of us not to be distracted from His presence and teaching every moment of our lives. Many can learn a lot from the example of the man who had a “legion of demons.” Once he was freed from the satanic {3} bondage he was found to be clothed, in his right mind, and sitting at the feet of Jesus. May everyone yield to the voice of Almighty God as recorded in Psalm 46:10 (AV), “Be still, and know that I am God.”

II. Obey

“. . . to perform . . .” ; “. . .  to do them . . .” (ASV)

Obedience is definitely underscored here because, as stated, the objective to obey was indicated earlier in the verse. When I was in Holy Bible institute one of our professors said that obedience to God was an expression of our love to Him. We live in a time when “cheap grace” is often taught. Anything goes and God will still forgive. However, if we are truly saved, at some point we will reach the level of devotion where we realize, and apply to our life that His grace means He lives through us so that we will obey Him.

When I hear of obedience to God I must think of “the Lord’s Prayer,” where we are instructed to pray (Matthew 6;10) “Your will be done in earth as it is in heaven.” I imagine there is no hesitation in heaven to do the will God. It is done speedily and without question. This sort of reminds me of the military. I have never been in it, but it seems to me all personnel are trained to immediately obey without question.

This is how it should be for each true Christian when it comes to the known, written will of God, and the sure directly spoken Word of God (by the Holy Spirit Himself) to a disciple’s heart. Depending upon their level of spiritual growth there may be a measure of hesitation, even reluctance, but this is in part the way a disciple hears the teaching of Christ and learns to obey. However there is a major difference between obedience in the military and obedience to God in that our obedience to God is to be based upon loving willingness as a coworker with Him.

III. Live

“. . . so that you may live . . .”

Immediately when preparing to apply this text to disciples today I must think that the idea to convey is to live now on earth with godly purpose and zest, and with Him for all eternity, with the objective of the latter. Wilson {4} lists around nine possible Hebrew words for “live” and only one carries a connotation of living forever. That is the Hebrew word being used in the above phrase.


So the Holy Spirit through Moses pointed out not only the temporal realm but also the spiritual, the eternal.

When the Israelites would enter the Promised Land they would have to face enemies. There would be times they would be attacked. But the indication in Deuteronomy 4:1 is, provided we follow the other directives of our text, we are not to be defeated by spiritual attack. In fact, given the revelations in Christ in the New Testament we ought to learn to even enjoy the difficult times of our life here on earth. We are to look at them as prompts to draw even closer to God.

Because Christ has already conquered, we can be content in Him if we are in His will. For example, before I came to Christ to me part of the good life would be enjoying the finest foods and the finest wines. Now, in Christ, I am tremendously content and very much enjoy oatmeal with a spice and a glass of cranberry juice at home.


IV. Possess

“. . . and go in and take possession of the land which YHVH (The Existing One), the God of your fathers, is giving you.”

Notice that “live” comes before taking possession. This strikes me as being similar to James 4:13-15, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ 14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.15 Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.’”

It is God’s will for every true disciple to live victorious in Christ on earth. Our possessions are not to possess us. We through Christ are to possess our possessions. In order to do so it is good to follow the words of the hymn that reflects the whole counsel of the Word of God, “All that thrills my soul is Jesus.”

Concerning the enemies, what might be reduced to temptations, troubles, and self, Christ has already conquered these. We must agree with, and partake in, His life. That would mean to die to self, and I would say self is really our worst enemy.

V. Fear

“You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of YHVH (The Existing One) your God which I command you.”

Again when I first did the outline I only used verse one and had only three points. However, I was strongly moved upon by the Holy Spirit to include verse two. After all when we look at the context we will see that verse two is definitely part of the instructions for entering into Canaan. And I was also moved upon the Spirit to use one word for this point: fear.

Fear is not all that acceptable in today’s society. By fear I mean, of course, fearing God, and sadly that phrase is not all that acceptable in most churches today. The emphasis is upon love. However, if we are going to call God “Father,” “Daddy,” “Papa,” we ought to keep in mind that as our Father He will discipline us (Hebrews 12:3-29). We also must remember that each disciple will stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

All of us, saved and unsaved, regenerated and unregenerated, must realize that very heavy judgment is pending upon the whole world and true disciples need to really take to heart that JUDGMENT WILL BEGIN AT THE HOUSE OF GOD (1 Peter 4:17). Think now He Who has called us to be holy does not mind in the least that we dabble in sin or believe the false notion we can remain in the love of God while not being like the Son?

Deuteronomy 4:2 deals with the Word of God. Predominately to us it would be the written Word but we must keep in mind that until Moses nothing was written, although His Word was already settled in heaven (Psalm 119:89). And while it is the written Word of God, the Holy Bible, it is also His Word spoken directly to our heart by His Holy Spirit, which will never contradict the written Word.

Far too many people take away or add to His Word. Beloved, His Word is not a tossed salad in the sense we can toss away what we do not like or judge to be against what we think His character is. We are not to add to it, like being presumptuous about what He would or might not allow us to do.

We live in dangerous times because, as it is written, men {5} shall be lovers of themselves (2 Timothy 3:1-2a). This is why we see a great abundance of “apostles” and “prophets” with a move afoot that Christians ought to listen to and obey them. No. The Body of Christ has One Who is head and One Whom we listen to, Jesus Christ Who died for us and ever lives for us.

I certainly believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Prophecy is one of them. However, true Christians are to judge prophets (1 Corinthians 14:29). And such prophetic utterances are not equal to the written Word of God. And while hearing false prophecies are dangerous for the Body of Christ, it is most dangerous for those who speak falsely, including speaking when God has not told them to speak. Christianity is not a game. The Judge is right at the door!

Along with this great abundance of prophets and apostles, new translations and versions of the Holy Bible are occurring in increasing frequency. A few of them are actually a help but most of them either add or take away from the ancient texts. Do not believe anyone that says all translations are the same. I have seen one such liar like that on Twitter, touting his PhD.

Would to God that every disciple would have a healthy, loving, fear of God. Call Him “Daddy,” “Father,” “Abba,” or “Papa,” but we need to solemnly respect Him because He did not give us His Son that we may remain in sin. Nay! It is that we would die to self and let the captain of our salvation live through us so we may possess the promised land in the light of Romans 6:14, enjoying real life now, and life eternal.

Notes:

{1} From an electronic version of Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance by James Strong incorporated in the Online Bible program, and so throughout the article whenever the ancient language is referred to and no other authority is cited.

{2} These words are purposely broken apart to avoid unwanted advertisements, and so throughout the article as needed.

{2a} More information can be had by visiting my “Marriage Pages” at https://oasisofhope.neocities.org/ma00.html .

{3} Not capitalized on purpose. Experts Column gives me the freedom to express myself in that way.

{4} Wilson, William: Wilson's Old Testament Word Studies (MacDonald Publishing Company, McLean, VA) p251

{5} Used in the proper traditional sensible sense, denoting all people, male and female. I could not care less about being politically correct.

This article was written in the form of a sermon (message) outline with comments. God willing by December 25, 2017 (hopefully much sooner), you should be able to hear the actual message (sermon) by selecting a link at http://www.sapphirestreams.com/life/audioM.html#M479 .

Unless otherwise noted all Holy Scripture is from the New American Standard Bible changing LORD to YHVH as it rightly should be when the text so indicates and adding “(The Existing One)” to readily express the meaning of His Name without making repeated explanations in articles. * = For other versions the spelling of some words is updated for our time in addition to changing LORD to YHVH as it rightly should be when the text so indicates.

Not responsible for any advertisements appearing with this article nor am I necessarily in agreement with any of them. The statements of this paragraph hold true not only for this article, but for everything I have placed on the Internet.



Article Written By BrotherPete

I am a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, having served over forty years as a pastor. I graduated from Northeast Bible College of Green Lane Pennsylvania and have a Bachelors Degree in Bible. I am enthused about the Word of God and how it can make a positive change in the life of anyone once it is teamed up with faith and the Holy Spirit. I am happily married. Visit www.sapphirestreams.com.

Posted on 23-11-2017 59 1

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  • nbillett  01-12-2017
    Increasingly immorality exists in our world. As true Christians and disciples of Christ, it is our duty to resist these type of waywardness. We are to name our intentions, claim them and place them at the feet of Christ.
    reply 1
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