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. 2 - Promise Participation
We have had a good vantage point to reflect on what has taken place in the incredible exodus of over a million slaves who had been in brutal bondage for over 400 years in Egypt. History allows us to see from the perspective of overview. We get all the facts at once. However, can you imagine experiencing it firsthand? Think about each of the miracles they have witnessed. Week after week a plague that buckles the knees of an unchallenged ruler. And after 430 years of bondage, what must have seemed like almost overnight, slaves are now free and not only free, but now wealthy because on the way out of Egypt they plunder the Egyptians. All because they have a promise of their own land that flows with milk and honey. So, they begin the march to their promise.
I will state here in the beginning that God is not interested in you visiting your promise. That is all the spies taught us. When Moses sends the spies out to examine the Promised Land they come back after a visit but never inhabit the promise. In order for us to do more than have a promise we must learn these valuable lessons so that we can inhabit and live in promise land.
There are many occasions in this journey that today's lesson was taught to this group of slaves who are becoming soldiers. I want to examine two distinct times that I hope we will learn from. The classroom setting begins in the wilderness and the lesson concludes in the Promise Land. Let's see if we can see the contrast and learn. I am convinced that this lesson may be the most missed lesson and the result is it is also the one that when unlearned causes us to miss our promise.
Text: Exodus 14:6-10, 13-16 (TLB)
So Pharaoh led the chase in his chariot, 7 followed by the pick of Egypt’s chariot corps—600 chariots in all—and other chariots driven by Egyptian officers. He pursued the people of Israel, for they had taken much of the wealth of Egypt with them. Pharaoh’s entire cavalry—horses, chariots, and charioteers—was used in the chase; and the Egyptian army overtook the people of Israel as they were camped beside the shore near Piha-hiroth, across from Baal-zephon. As the Egyptian army approached, the people of Israel saw them far in the distance, speeding after them, and they were terribly frightened and cried out to the Lord to help them.
But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand where you are and watch, and you will see the wonderful way the Lord will rescue you today. The Egyptians you are looking at—you will never see them again. The Lord will fight for you, and you won’t need to lift a finger!” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Quit praying and get the people moving! Forward, march! Use your rod—hold it out over the water, and the sea will open up a path before you, and all the people of Israel shall walk through on dry ground! (Just as a side note - some of us have prayed long enough. Quit meditating and march!)
Joshua 3:6-8, 14-17 (TLB)
Joshua said to the priests, “Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on ahead of the people.” So, they took it up and went ahead of them. And the LORD said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses. Tell the priests who carry the ark of the covenant: ‘When you reach the edge of the Jordan’s waters, go and stand in the river.’”
So, when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (that is, the Dead Sea) was completely cut off. So, the people crossed over opposite Jericho. The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD stopped in the middle of the Jordan and stood on dry ground, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.
Joshua 4:10-13 (NIV)
Now the priests who carried the ark remained standing in the middle of the Jordan until everything the LORD had commanded Joshua was done by the people, just as Moses had directed Joshua. The people hurried over, and as soon as all of them had crossed, the ark of the LORD and the priests came to the other side while the people watched. The men of Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh crossed over, ready for battle, in front of the Israelites, as Moses had directed them. About forty thousand armed for battle crossed over before the LORD to the plains of Jericho for war.