(You can listen to this study by audio, and you can pause the audio to follow page links, then resume when you are ready. Please note that I use page links in lieu of references or footnotes for important details of this teaching.)
THE PROMISE OF GOD
The Bible verse you are about to read, from the Books of Numbers and Joshua, are
- Actual events,
- Prophetic instructions for all believers in Christ Jesus for all the ages, and they are
- A prophecy to be fulfilled in these Last Days.
These prophecies must be studied by prayer and fasting. Neglecting the significance of these verses, is to your peril.
God promised Moses and the Israelites a land that was flowing with milk and honey as an inheritance. The same is true for the Christ follower, today.
The short version of this story is that Joshua, Caleb and 10 other spies reconnoitered the land and found it was indeed rich with all the promises of God.
On their return, Caleb told the assembly that “We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it”.
The SIN of FEAR and DOUBT
However, the spies other than Joshua and Caleb brought a report of doubt, fear and rejection saying it would be impossible to defeat the inhabitants of that land.
This negative report of fear caused the entire nation to draw back and demand of Moses that they go back to the familiarity of Egypt.
THE PENALTY of SIN
God condemned that generation to die in the wilderness as mere shepherds of flocks and in the end, they would die, homeless, and “their corpses would lie in the desert”.
THE DREAM DELAYED
The Israelites did not see the opportunity of God’s Promise through God’s eyes. They were blinded by fear. They had their eyes fixed on the problems in the land and not on the Promises of God. They saw the impossibilities and rejected the possibility of possessing the Promises of God.
THE PROMISED DELAYED
The dream died and so did the people. The promises were forestalled for a future generation of people of faith. This is a prophetic truth for all ages.
Their descendants did obey God and inherited that Promised Land. And, Joshua warned them that if they turned away from God, He would bring upon them all the threats, until He has destroyed them from off the good land which He had given them. “When you transgress the covenant of the LORD your God, which He commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them, then the anger of the LORD will burn against you, and you will perish quickly from off the good land which He has given you.”
A PROPHECY FOR TODAY
We, in America, are face with a similar scenario, after many years in the land, we have transgressed our covenant and we have turned away from our God. Now, an enemy has invaded our land and God is threatening to remove us. We are shrinking back and surrendering the land God has given to us.
This did not begin at the National level. It began in our personal lives, in our homes and with our families. It has crept into our churches, our schools and finally into our government. It began with our neglect of God. Then, fear set in and evil now rules our once great nation.
And now, just as the sons of Israel did as Joshua commanded, we here in America must do the same – or perish.
- We must take up “twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan”, just as the LORDspoke to Joshua.
The Number TWELVE, typically means perfection or authority, often used in a context of government. For instance, because Jacob has 12 sons, they form the 12 tribes of Israel. There are also 12 minor prophets that ‘dot the text’ of the Old Testament.
The number TWELVE makes a special appearance in Revelation, showing the authority and perfection of God’s kingdom
(TWELVE, more often than not, tends to represent the outcome of something good. The new Jerusalem, for instance, is replete with the number TWELVE (12 stars in a crown, 12 gates, 12 angels, 12 foundations, 12 Apostles, 12 pearls, 12 kinds of fruit, 12 furlongs measurement of the city.)
Jesus spoke, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Jesus then summoned His disciples and gave them authority.
Likewise, we are to take authority by the Great Name of Jesus He will, through us, bind up the brokenhearted, proclaim liberty to captives, freedom to prisoners, and to proclaim the favorable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; God will grant those who mourn a garland instead of ashes, oil of gladness instead of mourning, a mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. Then we will be called oaks of righteousness,
We will be the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified. Then we will rebuild the ancient ruins, we will raise up the former devastations; and we will repair the ruined cities and the desolations of these many generations.
- Just as Joshua set up twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan at the place where the feet of the priests who carried the ark of the covenant were standing, so are we to become firmly established in His Name and in His Cause.
We are to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. We must have put on the full armor of God, so that we will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
For our struggle is against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, we will take up the full armor of God, and resist evil, and we will stand firm.
Now is the day, like the day of Joshua, we must hurry and cross our ‘Jordan’ which is the demarcation between living in the Kingdom of God and perishing. We remain within the our ark of salvation, which is Jesus, dressed in battle array, equipped for war, going for battle before the LORD to the desert plains of Jericho.
Numbers 13:1, “Then the LORD spoke to Moses saying, Verse 2, “Send out for yourself men so that they may spy out the land of Canaan, which I am going to give to the sons of Israel; you shall send a man from each of their fathers’ tribes, every one a leader among them.” Verse 3. So Moses sent them from the wilderness of Paran at the command of the LORD,
Numbers 13:25, “When they returned from spying out the land, at the end of forty days, verse 26, they proceeded to come to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation of the sons of Israel in the wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; and they brought back word to them and to all the congregation and showed them the fruit of the land. Verse 27. Thus they told him, and said, “We went in to the land where you sent us; and it certainly does flow with milk and honey, and this is its fruit.
Verse 28. “Nevertheless, the people who live in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large; and moreover, we saw the descendants of Anak there. Verse 29. “Amalek is living in the land of the Negev and the Hittites and the Jebusites and the Amorites are living in the hill country, and the Canaanites are living by the sea and by the side of the Jordan.”
Verse 30. “Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it.”
Verse 31. But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us.” Verse 32. So they gave out to the sons of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone, in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size. Verse 33. “There also we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”
Numbers 14:1. “Then all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. Verse 2. All the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron; and the whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! Verse 3. “Why is the LORD bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become plunder; would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?” Verse 4. So they said to one another, “Let us appoint a leader and return to Egypt.”
Numbers 14:26. “The LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, Verse 27, “How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who are grumbling against Me? I have heard the complaints of the sons of Israel, which they are making against Me. Verse 28. “Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the LORD, ‘just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will surely do to you; Verse 29, your corpses will fall in this wilderness, even all your numbered men, according to your complete number from twenty years old and upward, who have grumbled against Me. Verse 30. ‘Surely you shall not come into the land in which I swore to settle you, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun. Verse 31. ‘Your children, however, whom you said would become a prey—I will bring them in, and they will know the land which you have rejected. Verse 32. ‘But as for you, your corpses will fall in this wilderness. Verse 33. ‘Your sons shall be shepherds for forty years in the wilderness, and they will suffer for your unfaithfulness, until your corpses lie in the wilderness. Verse 34. ‘According to the number of days which you spied out the land, forty days, for every day you shall bear your guilt a year, even forty years, and you will know My opposition. Verse 35. ‘I, the LORD, have spoken, surely this I will do to all this evil congregation who are gathered together against Me. In this wilderness they shall be destroyed, and there they will die.’”
THE PROMISE PURSUED
Joshua 1:10 “Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, verse 11, “Pass through the midst of the camp and command the people, saying, ‘Prepare provisions for yourselves, for within three days you are to cross this Jordan, to go in to possess the land which the LORD your God is giving you, to possess it.’”
Verse 12. “To the Reubenites and to the Gadites and to the half-tribe of Manasseh, Joshua said, verse 13, “Remember the word which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, saying, ‘The LORD your God gives you rest and will give you this land.’ Verse 14. “Your wives, your little ones, and your cattle shall remain in the land which Moses gave you beyond the Jordan, but you shall cross before your brothers in battle array, all your valiant warriors, and shall help them, verse 15, until the LORD gives your brothers rest, as He gives you, and they also possess the land which the LORD your God is giving them. Then you shall return to your own land, and possess that which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you beyond the Jordan toward the sunrise.”
Verse 16. “They answered Joshua, saying, “All that you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. Verse 17. “Just as we obeyed Moses in all things, so we will obey you; only may the LORD your God be with you as He was with Moses. Verse 18. “Anyone who rebels against your command and does not obey your words in all that you command him, shall be put to death; only be strong and courageous.”
Joshua 3:1. “Then Joshua rose early in the morning; and he and all the sons of Israel set out from Shittim and came to the Jordan, and they lodged there before they crossed. Verse 2. At the end of three days the officers went through the midst of the camp; verse 3, and they commanded the people, saying, “When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God with the Levitical priests carrying it, then you shall set out from your place and go after it. Verse 4. “However, there shall be between you and it a distance of about 2,000 cubits by measure. Do not come near it, that you may know the way by which you shall go, for you have not passed this way before.”
Verse 5. “Then Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you.” Verse 6. And Joshua spoke to the priests, saying, “Take up the ark of the covenant and cross over ahead of the people.” So they took up the ark of the covenant and went ahead of the people.
OBEDIENCE – THE PROMISE DELIVERED
Joshua 4:8. “Thus the sons of Israel did as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, just as the LORD spoke to Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Israel; and they carried them over with them to the lodging place and put them down there. Verse 9. Then Joshua set up twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan at the place where the feet of the priests who carried the ark of the covenant were standing, and they are there to this day. Verse 10. For the priests who carried the ark were standing in the middle of the Jordan until everything was completed that the LORD had commanded Joshua to speak to the people, according to all that Moses had commanded Joshua. And the people hurried and crossed; verse 11, and when all the people had finished crossing, the ark of the LORD and the priests crossed before the people. Verse 12. The sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh crossed over in battle array before the sons of Israel, just as Moses had spoken to them; verse 13, about 40,000 equipped for war, crossed for battle before the LORD to the desert plains of Jericho. Verse 14. “On that day the LORD exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel; so that they revered him, just as they had revered Moses all the days of his life.”
You can read “the rest of the story” yourself. Joshua and Caleb and the Israelites, over a period of many years and through many battles, capture the Promised Land.
Finally, read this part of Joshua’s old-age farewell address:
THE PROPHECY AND PROMISE FOR TODAY
Joshua 23:14 “Now behold, today I am going the way of all the earth, and you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one word of all the good words which the LORD your God spoke concerning you has failed; all have been fulfilled for you, not one of them has failed. Verse 15. “It shall come about that just as all the good words which the LORD your God spoke to you have come upon you, so the LORD will bring upon you all the threats, until He has destroyed you from off this good land which the LORD your God has given you. Verse 16. “When you transgress the covenant of the LORD your God, which He commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them, then the anger of the LORD will burn against you, and you will perish quickly from off the good land which He has given you.”
I pray we all meditate on this, ruminate on it, let is seep deep within our minds and hearts, so His Word is fulfilled in and through us and we can experience and do all that He has promised.
Your Brother and Friend,