Summary: Promise Land We have been set free . . . now what? It isn’t enough to break out of bondage unless we learn to move to blessed. In order to do so we must find and live in promise land!
Pt. 4- Promise Praise
40 years removed from being slaves. Turned into soldiers by the routine of ruts. Marching in the wilderness. Circling out of disobedience has put off the promise long enough. So, now Joshua has picked up the reins of leadership and has crossed the Jordan and Jericho has fallen. The first domino has toppled, and victories would continue for the next 7-10 years and 31 different kings have been dethroned until the people could rest in complete possession of the Promised Land.
We have identified our promises. You have written them down. You have pinpointed your participation. What you have to do to position yourself to receive. And now you have spent the last 7 days circling - targeting the last remaining strong hold, walled off area of your life in which a squatter - someone with history but no authority - has set up residence. The wall should have come down this week.
So, just like the Children of Israel it is time to now experience the fullness of the promise!
So, let's contrast a couple of things that we need to see so that we can possess the promises!
I want to first remind you of the occasion in Exodus 15 where the Israelites begin their journey into the wilderness and 3 days in, they have only found bitter water. So, in Exodus 15:24 it says the people grumbled to Moses. They cry out. In Exodus 16, a repeat performance but this time about food. They cry out for food and God sends manna and quail. And then again in Exodus 17, they are thirsty and cry out, grumble for water. Moses strikes the rock and water flows.
So, in each of these instances the Children of Israel are crying out to God for their basic needs. They cry out to God. Another way to say this is that they were making their petitions, or their needs known. That may be the most basic definition of prayer. I know they did it couched in complaining and grumbling. But let's be honest isn't that the tenor many of our prayers? The pain we are in at the moment bleeds into the tone of our petition. So, for just a second, let's cut them a little slack. If we are in dry, hot dessert day after day and no food or water on the horizon wouldn't our prayers start to sound similar to theirs. If we had been passed over at work for 2 years. If our hours are being cut. If we have been alone and everyone else around is finding true love. So, let's for the moment lay aside the tone and see instead this truth . . . before the promise is possessed, they prayed for what they needed.
Now, let’s fast forward to the end of the story. They have taken possession of the land. It is here that we find the contrast and learn the lesson.
Joshua is about to die. He knows it. He stands before the Nation of Israel and lists all of the things God has brought them through. He is leading up to reminding them of the covenants they have made to God and has them renew their dedication to God. In the statement he makes he says something that shows the difference between the wilderness and the Promised Land. He drives home that Canaan stood in stark contrast to the wilderness. Canaan was rich in agriculture. Notice what Joshua says!
Text: Joshua 24:13 (MSG)
“I handed you a land for which you did not work, towns you did not build. And here you are now living in them and eating from vineyards and olive groves you did not plant."
I have read this passage a number of times and failed to contrast it with how things worked in the wilderness so, I missed the lesson. Let me help us . . . We are moving into our Promiseland when
We learn to thank God for what we used to have to pray for.
Before they get to the Promised Land they had to pray and believe for food. When they get to Canaan, food is already there. In the wilderness they had to pray and believe for water. When they get to Canaan water was already there. They had to learn to change their prayers because the evidence of God's goodness was so apparent that they had to move to praise.
Do you see it. In the wilderness we have to cry out, pray, and petition. In Promiseland it is already provided. In the wilderness I had to pray to God for take care of all my bills. In Promiseland my bills aren't even a concern. In the wilderness I am crying out for healing. In Promiseland I am enjoying divine health. In the wilderness I petition God for peace. In Promiseland my mind is stayed on Christ, so peace is just normative. In the wilderness I was grumbling about my need for joy. In Promiseland I realize that if the Lord is in me so is joy and I simply walk in the strength of that Joy as a byproduct of Who is in me.