And it shall be, when thou art come in unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and possessest it, and dwellest therein; (Deuteronomy 26:1 KJV)
This verse begins a great discourse that are some of the final words of Moses to the children of Israel. It had been almost forty years since they had been miraculously delivered from lives of slavery to Pharaoh in Egypt. They had seen many things that are simply amazing. For the last forty years they had been marching toward a Promised Land. A land of “milk and honey”. A land to call their own.
For the last forty years they been miraculously fed, everyday (except the Sabbath). They drank water that flowed from a rock in the middle of the desert. For the last forty years they had seen the tangible manifested glory of God. He covered them with a cloud by day and He warmed and illuminated them with a pillar of fire by night. They had defeated powerful armies. They had received divine commandments. They had constructed the Tabernacle, the Ark of the Covenant and seen God move over and over again.
They basically lived with God, yet they were not in the Promised Land. Most believers in Christ can only imagine what it would be like to witness and experience the manifestation of God’s provision as described in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. The amazing thing is they were not in their Promised Land during this time. In fact, they were in the desert for forty years because the generation that was delivered from Egypt did not believe they could successfully possess the Promised Land.
The crowd believed ten men who saw the land God had promised and who had determined that they were incapable of possessing what God had promised. The crowd also heard the testimony of Joshua and Caleb who also saw the land but who believed that God was able to empower them to possess the land He had promised. The crowd sided with those who were basing their ability to inherit the promise of God on human strength (which in this case was not enough) instead of the men who believed that the same God who brought them out of Egypt could bring them into the Promised Land.
God refused to allow the generation who refused to possess The Promised Land from entering it. So, for forty years they idled in the desert while a new generation came to maturity, a generation ready to believe the promise of the Lord.
So, Moses begins his instructions to the people who were about to inherit the Promise by telling them in verse one to do three things:
- Come in
- Possess the land
- Dwell in the land
Moses goes on to talk about in detail how life will be in the Promised Land. The life of waiting, living in the desert completely provided for by God was going to change. There were going to be battles. There was going to be construction. There was going to be planting and harvesting. The time had come for the covenant that God had made with them to be realized. They would be abundantly blessed for doing things God’s way or they would be cursed for living their own way.
These seem like pretty straightforward instructions, and they are. I want to take a look at these instructions and relate them to our lives as followers of Jesus Christ.
I know it sounds simple but to come in to something new you have to come out of where you were. When Christ comes into our lives we come out of the Kingdom of Darkness and we are translated into the Kingdom of God. How does this happen? We are born again!
If we are going to live in the Kingdom of God following the Lord Jesus Christ we must be born again. We need to be born again to the bone. We need to be excited about coming out of our old lives and into life with Jesus.
As we do come in we find that God’s ways are not our ways. His Kingdom operates very differently than the one we have come out of. This kingdom operates on a paradigm that is diametrically opposed to and mutually exclusive from the kingdom you have come out of. The old kingdom taught us self-promotion, self-fulfillment and self,self, self.
Jesus comes to us with teachings that say things like to live, die. To be exalted, humble yourself. To get ahead, help and bless those who cannot promote you. He changes not only our spiritual experience but He changes everything about our lives, down to the way we think.
So, “Come In!” to God’s Kingdom, this is the place you want to be.
Possess the land
The Hebrew word that is translated “possess” means to drive out and spoil the previous inhabitants.
As we come into God’s Kingdom there is an immediate life change that the Holy Spirit makes inside of us. Our dead human spirit is recreated and we become alive unto God.
On the other hand our mind, will, emotions, memory and imagination need to be possessed. This is the part of our being referred to as our soul. It is this part of our life that needs to be transformed with the Word of God. We need to basically be reprogrammed in our soul.
Paul calls it the renewing our mind and pulling down strongholds. We use words like consecration, sanctification and holiness to describe this process. We become more like Jesus and less like the world as we possess His promises for our lives.
One of the keys to this process is to be filled with the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who changes us as we submit ourselves to the will and word of God. If we are going to live the life that God’s Word promises to believers in Christ we are going to need to be passionate about possessing the land. Get filled with the truth of God’s Word, pray, pursue holiness and allow the Holy Spirit to transform your mind, will, emotions, memory and imagination to be like Jesus. He will help transform our worldview into His worldview.
Dwell in the land
The Hebrew word translated Dwell means to build a house, dig a well and sow a seed; to take up residence.
Following Jesus Christ is not a seasonal event. God wants us to take up residence in His kingdom; to dwell in the land.
The ancient world was filled with nomadic raiders who would continuously travel from place to place seeking new resources. This is not the life that the Bible lays out for us. God’s plan is for us to be a permanent fixture in His kingdom. He wants us as residents; not simply raiders in need of heavenly resources.
So, how do you dwell in the land?
- You settle in and begin to not only believe the principles and promises of God but you begin to live by them.
- Get involved in the work of the kingdom. Dwell in the land by finding your role in fulfilling the great commission.
- Get involved in the economy of God. If God has our hearts He also has our wallets.
Life as a follower of Jesus is a life that is founded upon truths that never change but it is a life that is constantly evolving. We are the ones being changed while at the same time God uses us as instruments of His grace to be the catalyst for change in others.
- Come in. Get born again
- Possess the land. Start learning the Word, Pray and pursue righteous living
- Dwell in the land. Start living the Word, get involved in the ministry of the Word and become a financer of God’s Work in the earth.
As we journey through this process we move from church attenders who love Jesus to Disciples of Jesus Christ.
Whatever stage of the journey you find yourself be encouraged. God has more for our lives than our brains can comprehend or our imaginations can fathom.