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The Promised Land

First Baptist Church https://fbcbartow.org

“The Promised Land”

Series: A Journey through the Old Testament [on screen]

Rev. Matthew C. McCraw, EdD

First Baptist Church, Bartow, Florida

July 4, 2021

Introductory Comments:

We are continuing our series called “A Journey Through the Old Testament.” We’ve covered the major events in the Old Testament from Creation to the giving of the Law. Today, we’re going to learn about the Promised Land. [on screen]

We’ll be spending the bulk of our time in the Old Testament book of Joshua, which is the sixth book in the Bible. 

We’re going to look at the major elements from this story, the major truths we learn, and how the Gospel speaks to us through the story of the Promised Land. 

Before we do, let’s pray together and ask God to speak to us. 


We’re not going to cover every aspect of this story but we can first look at the . . .

I. Major elements[on screen]

1. As the people of Israel left Egypt, they were without a home. [on screen]

They were wanderers. In fact, they wandered in the desert for 40 years, mostly due to their hard-heartedness and unfaithfulness to God. 

The people didn’t fully trust God’s promises and they didn’t obey His law, so they wandered without a home for 40 years. That’s a long time! In fact, every grown man who was there when they left Egypt would pass away and not be permitted into the Promised Land, except two men: Joshua and Caleb. 

Numbers 14:22-23 tells us about this: 22 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 ten times and did not obey me, 23 will ever see the land I swore to give their ancestors. None of those who have despised me will see it. [on screen]

However, God did have a home prepared for the people. That takes us to our second major element:

2. God promised a future land and home to His people (Joshua 1:1-5). [on screen]

God had promised this land to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. At the time Joshua was leading the Israelites, God’s promise still stood for Israel. 

Read Joshua 1:1-5. (Read in paper Bible)

The land that God promised was roughly from the Nile River all the way up to the Euphrates River, extending from the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. So, this is how the modern-day area looks on a map, [show first picture on screen] And this is roughly the area that was the Promised Land. [show second picture on screen]

Next, remember that . . .

3. Moses and Aaron were not permitted to enter the Promised Land (Numbers 20:1-12). [on screen]

As I’ve already mentioned, all the men who were alive at the time of the Exodus from Egypt were not permitted to go, not even Moses and Aaron. 

Not only were the people of Israel hard-hearted and unfaithful at times, but Moses and Aaron were too, at times. 

Church, all of us are hard-hearted and unfaithful at times, aren’t we? God continues to show His grace to us time again as He did with Moses and Aaron. Yet, sometimes there are consequences to our unfaithfulness, as there were with Moses and Aaron. 

So, the people have a new leader (he’s my favorite Old Testament character, by the way). The new leader is Joshua!

4. Joshua led the people into the Promised Land (Joshua 1-12). [on screen]

Joshua was the assistant of Moses, even spending some time with Moses on Mt. Sinai. 

Joshua is now God’s man to lead the people. 

Read Joshua 1:1-2, 6-7 (Read in paper Bible)

Entering the land was not easy. 

The people had to cross rivers, fend off attacking armies, deal with unfaithfulness in their midst, and more. 

They also sent spies into the land and those spies were in danger. The spies were protected by a prostitute named Rahab. Rahab would later be remembered for her faithfulness to God’s people and her help towards God’s people. 

Over and over, God told Joshua and Joshua told the people, “Be strong and courageous.” They needed to remember to be strong and courageous. They knew they were doing what God led them to do, so they needed to stay focused and faithful. 

Listen, church: when we know that God has called us to a task, we also must remain strong and courageous! We must be focused and faithful!

So, Joshua led the people as a warrior leader and they conquered several cities, including Jericho, Ai, Makkedah, Libnah, Lachish, Eglon, Hebron, Jarmuth, Gezer, Debir, Geder, Hormah, Arad, Adulam, Bethel, Tappuah, Hepher, Aphek, Lasharon, Madon, Hazor, Shimron-meron, Acshaph, Taanah, Meggido, Kedesh, Jokneam, Kor, Goiim, and Tirzah (ok, let’s say them together now). 

Listen to what God’s Word says concerning this. Read Joshua 11:18-20 (Read in paper Bible)

After they entered the land . . . 

5. The Promised Land would be distributed to the different tribes of Israel (Joshua 14-21). [on screen]

Each tribe of Israel would receive an inheritance of the land, except the tribe of Levi because they would serve as priests throughout the entire land. 

Imagine the joy, church: the people have not only been set free from bondage in Egypt, but now they each have their own lands and own inheritance in the land promised by God. 

Finally, . . . 

6. The people made a covenant to worship God (Joshua 24:14-26). [on screen]

Read Joshua 24:14-26 (Read in paper Bible)

All seemed well for Israel and they renewed their covenant with God. 

Joshua makes it very clear that God expects faithfulness from them. When the people turn to God, they will experience the goodness of God. When the people turn away from God, they will experience the consequences of their sin. 

We’ll have to see what happens in the weeks to come. 

Now, let’s discover the . . .

II. Major truths[on screen]

1. God does not forget His promises. [on screen]

Read Joshua 21:45 (Read in paper Bible)

As with the people of Israel, God will keep all of His promises concerning the Church and concerning you. God is faithful. He keeps His promises.

Not only does God not forget His promises, but . . .

2. No one can stand against the power of God. [on screen]

Listen to what we read in Isaiah 14:27: The Lord of Armies himself has planned it; therefore, who can stand in its way? It is his hand that is outstretched, so who can turn it back? [on screen]

Listen, church: if God is doing something, nothing or no one can stand against His power! He is absolutely powerful and wonderful!

That leads to the next truth:

3. God’s people must trust God. [on screen]

We can trust God because of who He is, what He has done, and what His future promises are. 

This is important for us to realize as well: it’s always better for us to trust Him. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways know him, and he will make your paths straight.” [on screen]

The final truth for us to remember is that . . .

4. Receiving God’s promises may require effort and courage. [on screen]

Things were not easy for the people of Israel as they entered the Promised Land. Those who entered the Promised Land grew up wandering in the desert because of the sins of their parents. They had to fight literal battles to receive God’s promises. They had to deal with the sins of people in their midsts. 

Yet, God had something in store for them! They received that which was promised to them because they trusted God and they did what God called them to do to receive their promises. 

Sometimes, we want God to just drop blessings in our laps but we don’t want to do what He’s already told us to do to receive those blessings. 

We want to have a godly marriage, yet we don’t want to love our spouse sacrificially. We want to have godly children, but we don’t teach them the ways of God. We want a godly country, yet we continue to reward godless behavior in our politicians. We want a church that others are willing to come to, but we aren’t willing to give up our preferences. We want a growing church, yet we aren’t willing to share the Gospel with those who don’t know God. We want to have good neighborhoods, yet we ignore the needs of our neighbor. We want God to provide for us, yet we’re irresponsible with our finances. We want God to give us the perfect future spouse, yet we don’t know how to take care of ourselves and function as a normal adult. We want unity in our church, yet we are unwilling to forgive. We want our parents to trust us, but we continue to disobey and disrespect them. I could go on, but that’s probably enough. 

Listen, church: God has promises and blessings in store for you, but more often than not, He doesn’t just drop them in your lap. He’s called you to be faithful to Him and to receive them by doing what He’s already instructed you to do. 

As with Israel going into the Promised Land, so also, we must be faithful to do all that God has commanded us and let us see how He blesses us. 

Finally, . . .

III. The Gospelspeaks[on screen]

1. God still conquers evil and provides rest. [on screen]

God worked miraculously in the Old Testament to conquer evil and provide rest for His people. 

Listen, church: that was just a taste of what was to come. 

Jesus said in John 16:33, “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.” [on screen]

Jesus also said in Matthew 11:28-30, “28 Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” [on screen]

2. The Promised Land was just a shadow of what is to come. [on screen]

Here’s a sneak peek for you: the people of Israel would not stay safe and sound in the Promised Land. They would be conquered and dispersed many times. Even today, as some descendants of Israel rest in a land similar to what Joshua entered, there is instability. Rockets are literally raining down on the land because of sin, selfishness, and political unrest. 

Listen, church: the Promised Land that Joshua and the Israelites entered was just a small taste of the real Promised Land that God has reserved for His true people. 

Jesus made it clear in John 14:2 that He is going to prepare a place for His followers. Jesus has promised something better for us!

Hebrews 16:14 reminds us of this. It says, “For we do not have an enduring city here; instead, we seek the one to come.” [on screen]

Revelation 21:1-2 describes this Promised heavenly place, “1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 I also saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband.” [on screen]

I love this next section of Revelation 21. Here’s the Promised Land for those of us who are followers of Jesus. Verses 3-4 say, “3 Then I heard a loud voice from the throne: Look, God’s dwelling is with humanity, and he will live with them. They will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them and will be their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; grief, crying, and pain will be no more, because the previous things have passed away.” [on screen]

Concluding Thoughts:

The Promised Land was a fulfillment of God’s promise to His people. 

In fact, here’s our bottom line, which nicely summarizes this truth:

Bottom Line: The Promised Land was a demonstration of God’s provision for and faithfulness to His people[on screen]


God continually shows us in His Word that He is faithful. Listen, church: He will continue to be faithful. 

God continually shows us in His Word that He is powerful. Listen, church: we will see even more power from God in days to come. 

God continually shows us in His Word that He fulfills promises. Listen, church: God has more promises that He wants to fulfill in your life and in the life of His people. 

Be encouraged. Be moved to faithfulness. Be moved to be a better follower of Jesus. 

Challenge yourself this week in the following ways:

Weekly Challenge: [on screen]

1. Remember the promises of God[on screen]

Learn the promises of God through knowing His Word, the Bible, and then hold onto those promises. Spend some time this week focusing on the promises of God. 

2. Commit to being strong and courageous. [on screen]

You can have faith in the Word and work of God! Don’t be passive (don’t do nothing), don’t be intimidated (don’t be scared), don’t be apathetic (don’t not care), don’t be lazy; be strong and courageous!

Practice doing so this week and commit to do so from now on. 

3. Covenant to be faithful to the Lord. [on screen]

As the people entered the promised land, they committed to being faithful to God. Joshua said, “choose this day whom you will serve.”

Well, take some time this week and choose whom you will serve. Will you be faithful to the Lord?


Have you recognized and received the promises of God? It starts with recognizing and receiving the forgiveness of God found in Jesus Christ.

(Gospel presentation)

(closing prayer)

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