The Israelite journey (from their enslavement in Egypt to the conquest of Canaan through the book of Joshua) serves as an illustration and model to help me better understand my personal relationship with God.
1 Corinthians 10:11 Now these things happened to them as examples, and they were written as a warning to us, on whom the ends of the ages have come.
Focusing on the Israelites'disposition towards God and God’s perspective of them will help me draw parallels (and contrasts) with my personal life and my attitude towards God. .
Read about the enslavement of the Israelites in Egypt if you are unfamiliar with the story. This lesson covers the book of Exodus up through Joshua 24.
Regarding Exodus 3:7-8a Point #1 below) A detail often overlooked in the episode of the burning bush, is what God revealed to Moses about His intended dealing with the Israelites. He had a two-step plan for them. The first step was to take them OUT OF Egypt. The second step was to take them directly INTO the Promised Land, the chosen place of His blessings. It was never God’s intention for them to forfeit His blessings in Canaan and consequently spend a fruitless time in the desert.
Discuss the parallels between God’s deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt (their enslavement) and God’s deliverance of me from what I was enslaved to, before I became a believer. Am I wandering in a spiritual desert, or am I living in my Spiritual Promised Land?
In Exodus 12, the Passover event (Point 2 below) note the emphasis of the substitutionary principle discussed in Lesson 1-3, Salvation Principles.
As needed, discuss the crossing of the Red Sea and the giving of the Law (10 Commandments).
God’s dealing with the Israelites at the Jordan River and their attitude towards Him is very significant. As I read Numbers 13 and 14, (Point 5, page 151) emphasize God’s desire for the Israelites to trust His promises about His good intentions and plans for them in Canaan, the special destination where He wanted to bless them. It needs to be understood from the Scriptures that God only wanted to bless His children, the Israelites. There is no evidence of any wrongdoing on God’s part, yet the Israelites, as believers, still refused to consider Him trustworthy. Their unwillingness to trust in His character was based on illogical human reasoning. (Prov. 3:5-6) Are there parallels in this episode to my Christian journey?
Verses Related To the Israelite Journey
1) The Israelites had been in bondage in Egypt for about 430 years, when God spoke to Moses at the burning bush and revealed to him His two-step plan.
Exodus chapters 1-10
Exodus 3:7–8 Then the Lord said, “I have observed the misery of My people in Egypt, and have heard them crying out because of their oppressors, and I know about their sufferings. I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and to bring them from that land to a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey ...
Ezekiel 20:5-6; Say to them: This is what the Lord God says: On the day I chose Israel, I swore an oath to the descendants of Jacob’s house and made Myself known to them in the land of Egypt. I swore to them, saying: I am Yahweh your God. On that day I swore to them that I would bring them out of the land of Egypt into a land I had searched out for them, a land flowing with milk and honey, the most beautiful of all lands.
Exodus 12:40 The time that the Israelites lived in Egypt was 430 years.
2) God sent judgments against the Egyptians. The last one was the “Passover.”
Exodus 12:21-23 Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go, select an animal from the flock according to your families, and slaughter the Passover animal. Take a cluster of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and brush the lintel and the two doorposts with some of the blood in the basin. None of you may go out the door of his house until morning. When the Lord passes through to strike Egypt and sees the blood on the lintel and the two doorposts, He will pass over the door and not let the destroyer enter your houses to strike you.”
Exodus 12:29-31 Now at midnight the Lord struck every firstborn male in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the prisoner who was in the dungeon, and every firstborn of the livestock. During the night Pharaoh got up, he along with all his officials and all the Egyptians, and there was a loud wailing throughout Egypt because there wasn’t a house without someone dead. He summoned Moses and Aaron during the night and said, “Get up, leave my people, both you and the Israelites, and go, worship Yahweh as you have asked.”
Exodus 12:41 At the end of 430 years, on that same day, all theLord’s divisions went out from the land of Egypt.
Hebrews 11:28 By faith he instituted the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn might not touch the Israelites.
3) God divided the Red Sea and delivered Israel from Pharaoh’s army.
:21-22 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The Lord drove the sea back with a powerful east wind all that night and turned the sea into dry land. So the waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with the waters like a wall to them on their right and their left.
:23-25 The Egyptians set out in pursuit—all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen—and went into the sea after them. Then during the morning watch, the Lord looked down on the Egyptian forces from the pillar of fire and cloud, and threw them into confusion. He caused their chariot wheels to swerve and made them drive with difficulty. “Let’s get away from Israel,” the Egyptians said, “because Yahweh is fighting for them against Egypt!”
:26-28 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may come back on the Egyptians, on their chariots and horsemen.” So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at daybreak the sea returned to its normal depth. While the Egyptians were trying to escape from it, the Lord threw them into the sea. The waters came back and covered the chariots and horsemen, the entire army of Pharaoh, that had gone after them into the sea. None of them survived.
I Corinthians 10:1-2 Now I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Mosesin the cloud and in the sea.
Hebrews 11:29 By faith they crossed the Red Sea as though they were on dry land. When the Egyptians attempted to do this, they were drowned.
4) God appeared at Mt. Sinai, and gave the Ten Commandments and the Law.
Exodus 19:18-20 Mount Sinai was completely enveloped in smoke because the Lord came down on it in fire. Its smoke went up like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain shook violently. As the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him in the thunder.…
Exodus 24:12 The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to Me on the mountain and stay there so that I may give you the stone tablets with the law and commandments I have written for their instruction.
5) The Israelites arrived at the River Jordan, where they had to make a decision. Was God trustworthy? Would He take care of them? Could they believe His promises, or was the risk too great? Twelve men, one from each tribe of Israel, were given a preview of Canaan by God.
Numbers 13 (See also Deut. 1:20-25)
:1-2 The Lord spoke to Moses: “Send men to scout out the land of Canaan I am giving to the Israelites. Send one man who is a leader among them from each of their ancestral tribes.”
:23 When they came to the Valley of Eshcol, they cut down a branch with a single cluster of grapes, which was carried on a pole by two men. They also took some pomegranates and figs.
:25-29 At the end of 40 days …They brought back a report for them and the whole community, and they showed them the fruit of the land. They reported to Moses: “We went into the land where you sent us. Indeed it is flowing with milk and honey, and here is some of its fruit. However, the people living in the land are strong, and the cities are large and fortified.…”
:30 Then Caleb … said, “We must go up and take possession of the land …”
:31-33 But the men who had gone up with him responded, “We can’t go up against the people because they are stronger than we are!” So they gave a negative report to the Israelites about the land: … “The land we passed through to explore is one that devours its inhabitants, and all the people we saw in it are men of great size.…”
:1-4 (an illogical argument, built on groundless human reasoning) Then the whole community broke into loud cries, and the people wept that night. All the Israelites complained about Moses and Aaron, and the whole community told them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt, or if only we had died in this wilderness! Why is the Lord bringing us into this land to die by the sword? Our wives and little children will become plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” So they said to one another, “Let’s appoint a leader and go back to Egypt.”
:5-9 (a logical argument, based on faith in God’s promises) … Joshua … and Caleb … tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite community: “The land we passed through and explored is an extremely good land. If the Lord is pleased with us, He will bring us into this land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and give it to us. Only don’t rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land, for we will devour them. Their protection has been removed from them, and the Lord is with us. Don’t be afraid of them!”
:10-12 While the whole community threatened to stone them, the glory of the Lord appeared to all the Israelites at the tent of meeting. The Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people despise Me? How long will they not trust in Me despite all the signs I have performed among them? I will strike them with a plague and destroy them.…”
:13-16 But Moses replied to the Lord, “The Egyptians will hear about it, for by Your strength You brought up this people from them. They will tell it to the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that You, Lord, are among these people, … If You kill this people with a single blow, the nations that have heard of Your fame will declare, ‘Since the Lord wasn’t able to bring this people into the land He swore to give them, He has slaughtered them in the wilderness.’”
:17-19 “So now, may my Lord’s power be magnified … Please pardon the wrongdoing of this people, in keeping with the greatness of Your faithful love, just as You have forgiven them from Egypt until now.”
:20-25 The Lord responded, “I have pardoned them ... Yet as surely as I live and as the whole earth is filled with the Lord’s glory, none of the men who have seen My glory and the signs I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tested Me these 10 times and did not obey Me, will ever see the land I swore to give their fathers. None of those who have despised Me will see it. But since My servant Caleb has a different spirit and has followed Me completely, I will bring him into the land where he has gone, and his descendants will inherit it.”
:26-35 Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron: “How long must I endure this evil community that keeps complaining about Me? I have heard the Israelites’ complaints that they make against Me.” Tell them: “As surely as I live, this is the Lord’s declaration, I will do to you exactly as I heard you say. Your corpses will fall in this wilderness—all of you who were registered in the census, the entire number of you 20 years old or more —because you have complained about Me. I swear that none of you will enter the land I promised to settle you in, except Caleb …and … Joshua ... I will bring your children whom you said would become plunder into the land you rejected, and they will enjoy it. But as for you, your corpses will fall in this wilderness. Your children will be shepherds in the wilderness for 40 years and bear the penalty for your acts of unfaithfulness until all your corpses lie scattered in the wilderness. You will bear the consequences of your sins 40 years based on the number of the 40 days that you scouted the land, a year for each day.…”
:36-40 So the men Moses sent to scout out the land, and who returned and incited the entire community to complain about him by spreading a negative report about the land—those men who spread the negative report about the land were struck down by the Lord. Only Joshua … and Caleb … remained alive of those men who went to scout out the land. When Moses reported these words to all the Israelites, the people were overcome with grief. They got up early the next morning and went up the ridge of the hill country, saying, “Let’s go to the place the Lord promised, for we were wrong.”
:41–45 But Moses responded, “Why are you going against the Lord’s command? It won’t succeed. Don’t go, because the Lord is not among you and you will be defeated by your enemies. The Amalekites and Canaanites are right in front of you, and you will fall by the sword.…” But they dared to go up the ridge of the hill country, even though the ark of the Lord’s covenant and Moses did not leave the camp. Then the Amalekites and Canaanites who lived in that part of the hill country came down, attacked them, and routed them as far as Hormah.
6) The following passages express God’s perspective of the Israelites, and the Israelite’s perspective of God.
a) Nehemiah relates God’s faithfulness and the Israelites’ self-dependent disposition (not surrendering to God's Lordship).
:7-12 You are Yahweh, the God who chose Abram … You found his heart faithful in Your sight, and made a covenant with him to give the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Jebusites, and Girgashites—to give it to his descendants. You have kept Your promise, for You are righteous. You saw the oppression of our ancestors in Egypt and heard their cry at the Red Sea. You performed signs and wonders against Pharaoh, all his officials, and all the people of his land, for You knew how arrogantly they treated our ancestors. You made a name for Yourself that endures to this day. You divided the sea before them, and they crossed through it on dry ground. You hurled their pursuers into the depths like a stone into churning waters. You led them with a pillar of cloud by day, and with a pillar of fire by night, to illuminate the way they should go.
:13-15 You came down on Mount Sinai, and spoke to them from heaven.… You provided bread from heaven for their hunger; You brought them water from the rock for their thirst. You told them to go in and possess the land You had sworn to give them.
:16-21 But our ancestors acted arrogantly; they became stiff-necked and did not listen to Your commands. They refused to listen and did not remember Your wonders You performed among them. They became stiff-necked and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt. But You are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in faithful love, and You did not abandon them. Even after they had cast an image of a calf for themselves and said, “This is your God who brought you out of Egypt,” and they had committed terrible blasphemies, You did not abandon them in the wilderness because of Your great compassion. During the day the pillar of cloud never turned away from them, guiding them on their journey. And during the night the pillar of fire illuminated the way they should go. You sent Your good Spirit to instruct them. You did not withhold Your manna from their mouths, and You gave them water for their thirst. You provided for them in the wilderness 40 years and they lacked nothing. Their clothes did not wear out, and their feet did not swell.
b) The Psalmists relate God’s faithfulness and the Israelites’ self-dependent disposition (carnality).
:12-16 He worked wonders in the sight of their fathers in the land of Egypt, ... He split the sea and brought them across; … He led them with a cloud by day and with a fiery light throughout the night. He split rocks in the wilderness and gave them drink as abundant as the depths. He brought streams out of the stone and made water flow down like rivers.
:17-19 But they continued to sin against Him, rebelling in the desert against the Most High. They deliberately tested God, demanding the food they craved. They spoke against God, saying, “Is God able to provide food in the wilderness?”
:20-25 “Look! He struck the rock and water gushed out; torrents overflowed. But can He also provide bread or furnish meat for His people?” Therefore, the Lord heard and became furious; then fire broke out against Jacob, and anger flared up against Israel because they did not believe God or rely on His salvation. He gave a command to the clouds above and opened the doors of heaven. He rained manna for them to eat; He gave them grain from heaven. People ate the bread of angels. He sent them an abundant supply of food.
:26-31 He made the east wind blow in the skies and drove the south wind by His might. He rained meat on them like dust, and winged birds like the sand of the seas. He made them fall in His camp, all around His tent. They ate and were completely satisfied, for He gave them what they craved. Before they had satisfied their desire, while the food was still in their mouths, God’s anger flared up against them, and He killed some of their best men. He struck down Israel’s choice young men.
:32-37 Despite all this, they kept sinning and did not believe His wonderful works. He made their days end in futility, their years in sudden disaster. When He killed some of them, the rest began to seek Him; they repented and searched for God. They remembered that God was their rock, the Most High God, their Redeemer. But they deceived Him with their mouths, they lied to Him with their tongues, their hearts were insincere toward Him, and they were unfaithful to His covenant.
:38-43 Yet He was compassionate; He atoned for their guilt and did not destroy them. He often turned His anger aside and did not unleash all His wrath. He remembered that they were only flesh, a wind that passes and does not return. How often they rebelled against Him in the wilderness and grieved Him in the desert. They constantly tested God and provoked the Holy One of Israel. They did not remember His power shown on the day He redeemed them from the foe, when He performed His miraculous signs in Egypt and His wonders in the region of Zoan.
Psalm 81:10-16 “I am Yahweh your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.” “But My people did not listen to Me; Israel did not obey Me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own plans. If only My people would listen to Me and Israel would follow My ways, I would quickly subdue their enemies and turn My hand against their foes.” But He would feed Israel with the best wheat. “I would satisfy you with honey from the rock.”
Psalm 105:36-45 … Then He brought Israel out with silver and gold, and no one among His tribes stumbled. Egypt was glad when they left, for the dread of Israel had fallen on them. He spread a cloud as a covering and gave a fire to light up the night. They asked, and He brought quail and satisfied them with bread from heaven. He opened a rock, and water gushed out; it flowed like a stream in the desert. For He remembered His holy promise to Abraham His servant. He brought His people out with rejoicing, His chosen ones with shouts of joy. He gave them the lands of the nations, and they inherited what other peoples had worked for.…
:7-12 Our fathers in Egypt did not grasp the significance of Your wonderful works or remember Your many acts of faithful love; instead, they rebelled by the sea—the Red Sea. Yet He saved them because of His name, to make His power known. He rebuked the Red Sea, and it dried up; He led them through the depths as through a desert. He saved them from the hand of the adversary; He redeemed them from the hand of the enemy. Water covered their foes; not one of them remained. Then they believed His promises and sang His praise.
:13-18 They soon forgot His works and would not wait for His counsel. They were seized with craving in the wilderness and tested God in the desert. He gave them what they asked for, but sent a wasting disease among them.…
:19-20 At Horeb they made a calf and worshiped the cast metal image. They exchanged their glory for the image of a grass-eating ox.
:21-23 They forgot God their Savior, who did great things in Egypt, wonderful works in the land of Ham, awe-inspiring acts at the Red Sea. So He said He would have destroyed them—if Moses His chosen one had not stood before Him in the breach to turn His wrath away from destroying them.
:24-27 They despised the pleasant land and did not believe His promise. They grumbled in their tents and did not listen to the Lord’s voice. So He raised His hand against them with an oath that He would make them fall in the desert and would disperse their descendants among the nations, scattering them throughout the lands.
c) Isaiah relates God’s faithfulness.
Isaiah 63:11-14 Then He remembered the days of the past, the days of Moses and his people. Where is He who brought them out of the sea with the shepherds of His flock? Where is He who put His Holy Spirit among the flock? He sent His glorious arm to be at Moses’ right hand, divided the waters before them to obtain eternal fame for Himself, and led them through the depths like a horse in the wilderness, so that they did not stumble. Like cattle that go down into the valley, the Spirit of the Lord gave them rest. You led Your people this way to make a glorious name for Yourself.
d) Stephen relates God’s faithfulness and the Israelites’ self-dependent disposition (carnality).
Acts 7:36-44 This man led them out and performed wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, at the Red Sea, and in the wilderness 40 years.… He received living oracles to give to us. Our ancestors were unwilling to obey him, but pushed him away, and in their hearts turned back to Egypt!… “Our ancestors had the tabernacle of the testimony in the wilderness, …
e) Paul relates God’s faithfulness and the Israelites’ self-dependent disposition (carnality).
1 Corinthians 10:1-5 Now I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from a spiritual rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ. But God was not pleased with most of them, for they were struck down in the wilderness.
7) The Second Group Of Israelites Chose To Enter Into Canaan.
a) God had made a covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob, promising to give the chosen land of Canaan to them and their descendants forever.
:1-3 The Lord said to Abram: “Go out from your land, your relatives, and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.…”
:7-9 Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “I will give this land to your offspring.”
Genesis 13:14-18 … the Lord said to Abram, “Look from the place where you are. Look north and south, east and west, for I will give you and your offspring forever all the land that you see.… Get up and walk around the land, through its length and width, for I will give it to you.” …
Genesis 17:1-8 When Abram was 99 years old, the Lord appeared to him, “... I will establish My covenant between Me and you, and I will multiply you greatly.” “… I will keep My covenant between Me and you, and your future offspring throughout their generations, as an everlasting covenant to be your God and the God of your offspring after you. And to you and your future offspring I will give the land where you are residing—all the land of Canaan—as an eternal possession, …”
Genesis 26:1-6 The Lord appeared to him (Isaac) and said, … “stay in this land as a foreigner, and I will be with you and bless you. For I will give all these lands to you and your offspring, and I will confirm the oath that I swore to your father Abraham. … I will give your offspring all these lands,…”
Genesis 28:10-22 Jacob … reached a certain place and spent the night there … And he dreamed: A stairway was set on the ground with its top reaching heaven, and God’s angels were going up and down on it. Yahweh was standing there beside him, saying, “I am Yahweh, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your offspring the land that you are now sleeping on.…” When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” He was afraid and said, “What an awesome place this is! This is none other than the house of God. This is the gate of heaven.” … and named the place Bethel,
:9-11 God appeared to Jacob again … and He blessed him. God said to him: “Your name is Jacob; you will no longer be named Jacob, but your name will be Israel.” So He named him Israel.…
:12-15 I will give to you the land that I gave to Abraham and Isaac. And I will give the land to your future descendants.…
b) Moses reminded them of where they had been and where they were going.
Deuteronomy 8:1-10 (See also Deut. 2:7)
:1-6 …“Your clothing did not wear out, and your feet did not swell these 40 years. Keep in mind that the Lord your God has been disciplining you just as a man disciplines his son. So keep the commands of the Lord your God by walking in His ways and fearing Him.
:7-10 For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with streams of water, springs, and deep water sources, flowing in both valleys and hills; a land of wheat, barley, vines, figs, and pomegranates; a land of olive oil and honey; a land where you will eat food without shortage, where you will lack nothing; a land whose rocks are iron and from whose hills you will mine copper. When you eat and are full, you will praise the Lord your God for the good land He has given you.
Deuteronomy 11:10-12 “For the land you are entering to possess is not like the land of Egypt, from which you have come, where you sowed your seed and irrigated by hand as in a vegetable garden. But the land you are entering to possess is a land of mountains and valleys, watered by rain from the sky. It is a land the Lord your God cares for. He is always watching over it from the beginning to the end of the year.”
c) From the beginning they needed to rely on God, not on self. This was an important step of faith.
Joshua 3:13-16 “When the feet of the priests who carry the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, come to rest in the Jordan’s waters, its waters will be cut off. The water flowing downstream will stand up in a mass.” When the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carried the ark of the covenant ahead of the people. Now the Jordan overflows its banks throughout the harvest season. But as soon as the priests carrying the ark reached the Jordan, their feet touched the water at its edge and the water flowing downstream stood still, rising up in a mass … and the people crossed opposite Jericho.
d) The crossing was memorialized. (Symbolic)
Joshua 4:1-9 (See also 4:19-24)
:1-4 After the entire nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the Lord spoke to Joshua: “Choose 12 men from the people, one man for each tribe, and command them: Take 12 stones from this place in the middle of the Jordan where the priests are standing, carry them with you, and set them down at the place where you spend the night.”
:5-7 … so that this will be a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ you should tell them, ‘The waters of the Jordan were cut off in front of the ark of the Lord’s covenant. When it crossed the Jordan, the Jordan’s waters were cut off.’ Therefore these stones will always be a memorial for the Israelites.”
:8-9 The Israelites did just as Joshua had commanded them. The 12 men took stones ... They carried them to the camp and set them down there. Joshua also set up 12 stones in the middle of the Jordan where the priests who carried the ark of the covenant were standing. The stones are there to this day.
e) God re-instituted circumcision, and the Passover was celebrated.
Joshua 5:2-9 At that time the Lord said to Joshua, “Make flint knives and circumcise the Israelite men again.” So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the Israelite men.... This is the reason Joshua circumcised them: All the people who came out of Egypt who were males—all the men of war—had died in the wilderness along the way after they had come out of Egypt. Though all the people who came out were circumcised, none of the people born in the wilderness along the way were circumcised after they had come out of Egypt. For the Israelites wandered in the wilderness 40 years until all the nation’s men of war who came out of Egypt had died off because they did not obey the Lord. So the Lord vowed never to let them see the land He had sworn to their fathers to give us, a land flowing with milk and honey. Joshua raised up their sons in their place; it was these he circumcised. They were still uncircumcised, since they had not been circumcised along the way. After the entire nation had been circumcised, they stayed where they were in the camp until they recovered. The Lord then said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the disgrace of Egypt from you.” Therefore, that place is called Gilgal to this day.
Joshua 5:10 While the Israelites camped at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho, they kept the Passover on the evening of the fourteenth day of the month.
f) The pillar of fire and the pillar of cloud were no longer mentioned once they entered the Promised Land. It was now a “faith” walk, not a “sight” walk.
g) They immediately began receiving God’s prepared blessings.
Joshua 5:11-12 The day after Passover they ate unleavened bread and roasted grain from the produce of the land. And the day after they ate from the produce of the land, the manna ceased. Since there was no more manna for the Israelites, they ate from the crops of the land of Canaan that year.
Exodus 16:35 The Israelites ate manna for 40 years, until they came to an inhabited land. They ate manna until they reached the border of the land of Canaan.
h) God had already prepared the way for them.
Joshua 2:8-11 (Rahab told the two spies) … “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and everyone who lives in the land is panicking because of you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the waters of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to … the two Amorite kings you completely destroyed across the Jordan. When we heard this, we lost heart, and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on earth below.”
Exodus 15:14-16 When the peoples hear, they will shudder; anguish will seize the inhabitants of Philistia. … the inhabitants of Canaan will panic; and terror and dread will fall on them.
i) Why did God want to destroy the inhabitants of Canaan?
Deuteronomy 9:4–6 … the Lord will drive out these nations before you because of their wickedness. You are not going to take possession of their land because of your righteousness or your integrity.…
Deuteronomy 18:9-12 “When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not imitate the detestable customs of those nations. No one among you is to make his son or daughter pass through the fire, practice divination, tell fortunes, interpret omens, practice sorcery, cast spells, consult a medium or a familiar spirit, or inquire of the dead. Everyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord, and the Lord your God is driving out the nations before you because of these detestable things.
Ezra 9:10-12 … the commands You gave through Your servants the prophets, saying: “The land you are entering to possess is an impure land. The surrounding peoples have filled it from end to end with their uncleanness by their impurity and detestable practices. …”
j) They met the Commander of the Lord’s army, who was there to direct and fight their battles.
Joshua 5:13-15 When Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in His hand. Joshua approached Him and asked, “Are You for us or for our enemies?” “Neither,” He replied. “I have now come as commander of the Lord’s army.” Then Joshua bowed with his face to the ground in worship and asked Him, “What does my Lord want to say to His servant?” The commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.
Deuteronomy 20:3-4 (Moses had given God’s promise to Israel) … ‘Listen, Israel: Today you are about to engage in battle with your enemies. Do not be cowardly. Do not be afraid, alarmed, or terrified because of them. For the Lord your God is the One who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.’
Acts 7:45 … the nations that God drove out before our fathers, …
Acts 13:19 then after destroying seven nations in the land of Canaan, He gave their land to them as an inheritance.
Note: the conquest of Canaan took about 7 years.
k) Some years later, after having conquered the land of Canaan, the 2nd group of Israelites testified of God’s faithfulness and blessings - what He had originally intended for the 1st group.
Joshua 21:44-45 The Lord gave them rest on every side according to all He had sworn to their fathers. None of their enemies were able to stand against them, for the Lord handed over all their enemies to them. None of the good promises the Lord had made to the house of Israel failed. Everything was fulfilled.
Joshua 23:14 … you know with all your heart and all your soul that none of the good promises the Lord your God made to you has failed. Everything was fulfilled for you; not one promise has failed.
Joshua 23:3 …and you have seen for yourselves everything the Lord your God did to all these nations on your account, because it was the Lord your God who was fighting for you.
Overview of My Christian Journey diagram.
In this part of the lesson we want to draw parallels between the Israelite journey and the Christian journey. This overview of the Christian journey is identical to the picture of the Israelite journey we just discussed.
The first group of Israelites represents Point #6 - the abnormal Christian life. If I find myself living in the spiritual desert, just like the first group of Israelites who wandered for 40 years in the desert, it is not because God wants me there but because like they, I am forfeiting God's place of blessing. God blesses the place that He has chosen. It doesn't matter how much we plead and ask God to bless the place where we choose. God wants me to go to the place that He chooses and He says He will bless me.
In the Old Testament, Canaan was the place where God told the Israelites they will enjoy His blessing.
God tells me that “I have a place and if you trust me by faith than I will bless you there.”
Point #1 is before I became a Christian which is equivalent to the Israelites in bondage in Egypt.
Point #2 is salvation. This is equivalent to the Passover in Egypt. The Israelites trusted God when they left Egypt through the event of the Passover.
Point #3 is baptism. This is equivalent to the crossing of the Red Sea.
Point #4 has to do with the giving of the Law. The law serves to expose my true nature. It exposes the fruit of my sinful nature. Is the law good or bad? Do we like the law? Is the law intended to save anybody? No. A trap is to think that God's expectation for me is the law. But that is not God's expectation.
Point #5 is Lordship, a decision to relinquish my independence and this is equivalent to the crossing of the River Jordan, going into the place of God's blessing.
Point #6 represents the first group of Israelites God had intended them to be living in the Promised Land and that was Canaan. Those living in #6 in the desert were walking a site walk. God was taking care of them, but they did not have faith.
Point #7 represents the Spiritual Promised Land is a faith walk. God says the just shall live by faith. The Christian life is a faith walk - not trust or faith in ourselves but faith in God.
New Testament Verses Related to the CHRISTIAN Journey
1) God’s call to enter the place of His blessing (the Spiritual Promised Land) is still valid for me today.
Hebrews 3:16-4:1 For who heard and rebelled? Wasn’t it really all who came out of Egypt under Moses? And who was He provoked with for 40 years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And who did He swear to that they would not enter His rest, if not those who disobeyed? So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief. Therefore, while the promise to enter His rest remains, let us fear that none of you should miss it.
Hebrews 4:9–11 Therefore, a Sabbath rest remains for God’s people. For the person who has entered His rest has rested from his own works, just as God did from His. Let us then make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall into the same pattern of disobedience.
Ephesians 2:1-3 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you previously walked according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler who exercises authority over the lower heavens, the spirit now working in the disobedient. We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also.
Ephesians 2:12 At that time you were without the Messiah, excluded from the citizenship of Israel, and foreigners to the covenants of the promise,without hope and without God in the world.
Romans 3:9-18 What then? Are we any better? Not at all! For we have previously charged that both Jews and Gentiles[b] are all under sin, as it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one. There is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away; all alike have become useless. There is no one who does what is good, not even one. Their throat is an open grave;they deceive with their tongues. Vipers’ venom is under their lips. Their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and wretchedness are in their paths, and the path of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.
2) The following verses from the letter to the Hebrews provide a New Testament perspective of the Old Testament example of the Israelites.
:1-6 Therefore, holy brothers and companions in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession; He was faithful to the One who appointed Him, just as Moses was in all God’s household. For Jesus is considered worthy of more glory than Moses, just as the builder has more honor than the house. Now every house is built by someone, but the One who built everything is God. Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s household, as a testimony to what would be said in the future. But Christ was faithful as a Son over His household. And we are that household if we hold on to the courage and the confidence of our hope.
:7-11 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, and saw My works for 40 years. Therefore I was provoked with that generation and said, “They always go astray in their hearts, and they have not known My ways.” So I swore in My anger, “They will not enter My rest.”
:12-15 Watch out, brothers, so that there won’t be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart that departs from the living God. But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception. For we have become companions of the Messiah if we hold firmly until the end the reality that we had at the start. As it is said: Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.
:16-19 For who heard and rebelled? Wasn’t it really all who came out of Egypt under Moses? And who was He provoked with for 40 years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And who did He swear to that they would not enter His rest, if not those who disobeyed? So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.
:1-5 Therefore, while the promise to enter His rest remains, let us fear that none of you should miss it. For we also have received the good news just as they did; but the message they heard did not benefit them, since they were not united with those who heard it in faith (for we who have believed enter the rest), in keeping with what He has said: So I swore in My anger, they will not enter My rest. And yet His works have been finished since the foundation of the world, for somewhere He has spoken about the seventh day in this way: And on the seventh day God rested from all His works. Again, in that passage He says, “they will never enter My rest.”
:6-8 Since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news did not enter because of disobedience, again, He specifies a certain day—today—speaking through David after such a long time, as previously stated: Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts. For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day.
:9-11 Therefore, a Sabbath rest remains for God’s people. For the person who has entered His rest has rested from his own works, just as God did from His. Let us then make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall into the same pattern of disobedience.
:12-13 For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart. No creature is hidden from Him, but all things are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account.
:14-16 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens—Jesus the Son of God—let us hold fast to the confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time.
:1-3 For every high priest taken from men is appointed in service to God for the people, to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he is also subject to weakness. Because of this, he must make a sin offering for himself as well as for the people.
:4-11 No one takes this honor on himself; instead, a person is called by God, just as Aaron was. In the same way, the Messiah did not exalt Himself to become a high priest, but the One who said to Him, You are My Son; today I have become Your Father, also said in another passage, You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek. During His earthly life, He offered prayers and appeals with loud cries and tears to the One who was able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverence. Though He was God’s Son, He learned obedience through what He suffered. After He was perfected, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him, and He was declared by God a high priest in the order of Melchizedek. We have a great deal to say about this, and it’s difficult to explain, since you have become too lazy to understand.
Hebrews 5:12 – 6:12 (referring to spiritual growth from immaturity to maturity and fruitfulness.)
5:12-14 Although by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the basic principles of God’s revelation again. You need milk, not solid food. Now everyone who lives on milk is inexperienced with the message about righteousness, because he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature—for those whose senses have been trained to distinguish between good and evil.
6:1-6 Therefore, leaving the elementary message about the Messiah, let us go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, faith in God, teaching about ritual washings, laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And we will do this if God permits. For it is impossible to renew to repentance those who were once enlightened, who tasted the heavenly gift, became companions with the Holy Spirit, tasted God’s good word and the powers of the coming age, and who have fallen away, because, to their own harm, they are recrucifying the Son of God and holding Him up to contempt.
6:7–12 For ground that has drunk the rain that has often fallen on it and that produces vegetation useful to those it is cultivated for receives a blessing from God. But if it produces thorns and thistles, it is worthless and about to be cursed, and will be burned at the end. Even though we are speaking this way, dear friends, in your case we are confident of the better things connected with salvation. For God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you showed for His name when you served the saints—and you continue to serve them. Now we want each of you to demonstrate the same diligence for the final realization of your hope, so that you won’t become lazy but will be imitators of those who inherit the promises through faith and perseverance.
3) As a believer I am warned not to follow the Israelite’s example.
1 Cointhians 10:1-14
:1-5 Now I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from a spiritual rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ. But God was not pleased with most of them, for they were struck down in the wilderness.
:6-10 Now these things became examples for us, so that we will not desire evil things as they did. Don’t become idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, the people sat down to eat and drink, and got up to play. Let us not commit sexual immorality as some of them did, and in a single day 23,000 people fell dead. Let us not test Christ as some of them did and were destroyed by snakes. Nor should we complain as some of them did, and were killed by the destroyer.
:11 Now these things happened to them as examples, and they were written as a warning to us, on whom the ends of the ages have come.
Summary of the Characteristics of the Two Groups
Characteristics of a "Promised Land" Experience
Hebews 4:9-11 Therefore, a Sabbath rest remains for God’s people. For the person who has entered His rest has rested from his own works, just as God did from His. Let us then make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall into the same pattern of disobedience.
Joshua 21:44-45 The Lord gave them rest on every side ... None of their enemies were able to stand against them, for the Lord handed over all their enemies to them. None of the good promises the Lord had made to the house of Israel failed. Everything was fulfilled.
Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Ephesians 5:31-32 … a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This mystery is profound, but I am talking about Christ and the church.
Matthew 13:23 “But the one sown on the good ground—this is one who hears and understands the word, who does bear fruit and yields: some 100, some 60, some 30 times what was sown.”
Characteristics of a "Desert" experience
1 Corinthians 10:11 Now these things happened to them as examples, and they were written as a warning to us, on whom the ends of the ages have come.
Hebrews 3:19-4:1 … So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief. Therefore, while the promise to enter His rest remains, let us fear that none of you should miss it.
Matthew 13:22 … these are the ones who, when they have heard, go on their way and are choked with worries, riches, and pleasures of life, and produce no mature fruit.
1 Corinthians 3:15 If anyone’s work is burned up, it will be lost, but he will be saved; yet it will be like an escape through fire.