Four centuries of Egyptian bondage, followed by forty years of wilderness wandering, then the Glory days. God spoke, Joshua listened, and the Glory Days began. The Jordan River opened up. The Jericho walls fell down. The sun stood still. Evil was booted. Homeless wanderers became hope-filled homesteaders. The Lord gave the land. The Lord gave rest.
How could this movement from Egypt to the Promised Land apply to us?
Egypt: Hebrews enslaved to Pharoah. Represents our days before salvation, enslaved to sin.
Wilderness: The defeated Christian life. Characterized by grumbling, anxiety and desire to be slaves again. Didn’t believe the Lord could give them what He promised. Out of Egypt (slavery), but Egypt wasn’t out of them.
Promised Land: The victorious Christian life. By Jesus’ grace and power, we were freed from our old life. “We are more than conquerors.” Romans 8:37. Canaan is a life defined by grace, refined by challenge, and aligned with a heavenly call. We serve out of our giftedness and delight in the Lord.
There were 2 key characteristics that allowed Joshua to lead God's people into the Promised Land.
1. REMEMBERING led Joshua to faith and obedience
- From the first mention of Joshua in the Bible, it was very important to God that Joshua REMEMBERED. Joshua was the lead soldier in the wilderness battle with the Amalekites. When Moses' hands were raised they were winning, but when they dropped the Amalekites would be winning. After the victory, the Lord asked Moses to write the story on the scroll as something to be remembered and make sure Joshua hears it.
- When God called Joshua to lead His people into the Promised Land (Joshua 1), Joshua could have responded with “I can’t”. Moses was dead, 2 million people inexperienced in battle, and the Canaanites eat people like them for breakfast. But, Joshua Remembered that God could do the miraculous. He trusted God's Word, and believed that God had already blessed them and chose to live into that blessing.
- Joshua had faith because God declared He was giving them the land, not might give, you must conquer, must prove yourself worthy, must earn or purchase! Transaction had already happened. When we give our life to Christ, He “has blessed (us) with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” (Eph. 1:3) Not will bless, might bless, or someday could possibly bless. 2 Cor 5:17, God will “equip you with all you need for doing his will” (Heb 13:21), “God has given us everything we need for living a godly life” (2 Peter 1:3). These Promises are for us!
- God offered the inheritance to the people of Moses’ day, but they didn’t take it. They chose the wilderness- self-preservation and grumbling. We don’t want to make the same mistake. Joshua took God at his word and set about the task.
- What are our Jerichos that keep us from Promised Land living? Does a stronghold (a false premise that denies God’s promise) have a strong hold on you? Ask God to reveal it.
- I could never forgive that person (stronghold of resentment)
I could never recover or change (stronghold of defeat)
Bad things always happen to me (stronghold of self-pity)
I have to be in charge for things to go right (stronghold of pride)
I don’t deserve to be love (stronghold of rejection)
I must be good or God will reject me (stronghold of performance)
I’m only as good as I look (stronghold of appearance)
My value is based on my possessions (stronghold of materialism)
“The enemy does not have to kill you to destroy your witness… all he has to do is disorient, distract, disengage, distance you, disable you, deactivate you…. From your calling." Gary Barkalow, It’s Your Call: What Are You Doing Here?
2. STEEPED IN GOD’S WORD
- God was equipping Joshua for the mission of a lifetime. Command given? Read the Word of God. (Joshua 1:8) He gives us the same word. Open our Bibles, most important tool for spiritual growth.
- Desire to leave the wilderness for the Promised Land? Trust in God, engage the Bible, meditate on it day and night, think and rethink about it, let it be your guide and go-to book for questions, the ultimate authority in your life. “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free” John 8:32. Truth saves us from guilt, fear, anger, and reconfigures our heart.
- Do we have Scripture on the walls of our heart? On the walls of our home? By our kitchen sink?
Like a mom sending her child off to school, bending down low, looking them in the eye, “Remember what God has done. Remember who you are. Remember whose you are.”
Content from Max Lucado’s book, “Glory Days: Living Your Promised Land Life Now.”