Genesis 13:14-17 And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.
Joshua 1:2-6 Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast. There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.
Now, before I get accused of taking anything out of context, I will clarify and state that I believe these passages are literally referring to the land of Israel - the land that God first promised to Abraham, and then later led Joshua, the leader of Israel, to go in and take possession of.
Many times I have thought about how the Promised Land represents our victory in Christ and the Canaanites represents the sins in our lives that the Lord wants us to conquer through faith in Him. (See these two studies for a look at these types in Scripture: Rest For Your Souls - The Rest Of Victory In Christ, Conquering The Canaanites In Your Life) Because of looking at these types and related passages, I have also become convinced that these commands to Abraham and Joshua also picture something spiritually to us - not in physically or even spiritually claiming actual land or some geographical area (as some would claim is the application, though I am convinced does not fit Scripture) - that will one day be fulfilled literally during the Millenial reign of Christ when the nation of Israel (Abraham's descendents) will finally dwell in and own all the land they were promised. I believe the spiritual application of these passages is something entirely different.
We are promised all spiritual blessings in Christ:
Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
I believe the land we are to claim are the promises found in God's Word. We are to go through the land of the Scriptures, walk about the length and breadth of them - From Genesis To Revelation - find the promises that the Lord wants to give us, and then claim them by faith. How many believers do this? Not enough from what I have seen! There are many promises and passages that the average Christian is woefully ignorant of - yet those very same promises and passages would have helped them so much in the battles or struggles they faced day by day!
Too many people want to find satisfaction and fulfillment outside of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word - as if these weren't enough to equip us for the Christian life. Yet I find that this is exactly what we need - a living, vital relationship with Christ and a heart that meditates on and digs into His Word.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
Perfect means to make complete. It is only the Scriptures studied and applied through the wisdom of the indwelling Holy Spirit that have the power to equip us for all that we will face in our Christian walk, in our service, in our witness for Christ.
Notice the following passage:
2 Peter 1:3-4 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
2 Corinthians 1:19-20 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea. For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.
The Old Testament saints lived by the promises of God - some they saw fulfilled in their lives, others (like the promise of inheriting the land, the promise of the coming Messiah, the promise of the future resurrection, etc.) they did not see - but these promises were or would be fulfilled nonetheless; some during the course of their lives (such as promises regarding daily provision, guidance, protection, etc.), and some much later - during Christ's first or second comings (such as promises regarding His complete atonement for our sins, His covenants and His reigning from Jerusalem, His judging of their enemies, etc.). Hebrews chapter eleven is an excellent passage showing the victory of OT saints through faith - and we have their examples to learn from:
Hebrews 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
Hebrews 11:32-38 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
These promises of God contain all that we need to live the victorious Christian life through faith - everything from grace and strength to daily provision and guidance; from forgiveness and peace of mind to intimacy with our Heavenly Father.
For further thought, consider these sevenfold promises:
1) The promise of closeness with God through being separated from evil unto Him:
2 Corinthians 6:14-18 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said,
a) I will dwell in them,
b) and walk in them;
c) and I will be their God,
d) and they shall be my people.
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing;
e) and I will receive you,
f) And will be a Father unto you,
g) and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
The very next verse gives us this exhortation:
2 Corinthians 7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
2) The promise of having everything we need to do the good works that the Lord has prepared for us to do (see Ephesians 2:10):
2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:
When was the last time you walked spiritually through the Promised Land - or should I say, the Land of Promise? When was the last time you searched through the Scriptures, looking through the length and breadth of God's Word for promises that applied to the situations you were currently facing, and then claimed them by faith? Isn't it about time you took another stroll? There are more promises waiting to be discovered! Claim some today!
Hebrews 6:12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
God's precious promises are tried,
In the furnace of life - they are purified.
Every single promise of the Lord is true;
Test them yourself and watch Him come through.
For these precious promises there are conditions;
For this treasure, not everyone can stake a claim.
God's precious promises are only for His children -
For whosoever has called upon the Saviour's name.
For Noah's family, there was the rainbow,
For Abraham, there was his greatly beloved son,
For every child of God, there's perfect peace of mind,
blessings innumerable, and victories to be won.
In Jesus Christ, all these promises abound;
In the pages of His holy Word they are found.
They have been purified in this furnace of earth,
Test them yourself and discover their worth!
Poem written April 8th/02
Devotional June 21st/06
For more studies in Genesis (with Genesis as the springboard):