Monday, October 26, 2009

The Promised Land - Breaking Down Strongholds

Series on The Promised Land

So, now we have our spiritual armour firmly in place.  No?  Time to go back and put it on.  Now, time to slay the dragon. Time to drive our personal enemies out of our spiritual promised land flowing with milk and honey.

When Moses was still leading the Israelites toward Canaan, he knew that enemies lurked there and God’s people would have to wage war in order to drive them out of the land that God had promised to them. The first order of business was to send spies to evaluate the enemy territory.

“These were the names of the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land. And Moses called Oshea the son of Nun Joshua. And Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said to them, ‘Go up this way, southward, and go up into the mountain. And see the land, what it is, and the people that live in it, whether it is strong or weak, few or many. And see what the land is that they live in, whether it is good or bad; and what cities they dwell in, whether in tents or in strongholds;” (Number 3:16-19)

And this was the answer the spies brought back to Moses and all the people:

“And they told him and said, ‘We came to the land where you sent us, and surely it flows with milk and honey. And this is the fruit of it. However, the people that dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are walled, very great. And also we saw the children of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south, and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains. And the Canaanites dwell by the sea and by the coast of Jordan.” Numbers 13:27-29

The Israelites faced many enemies who were very well established in the land and who did indeed live in strongholds. A stronghold is “a fortification, castle, or fortified city; a fenced or walled fortress.”

The warfare that was ahead of this bunch of weary travelers, of whom there were no formally trained warriors since most grew up in the desert, save maybe Moses since he grew up in the Pharaoh’s house, but that was 80 years past.

But one of the spies, Caleb, “stilled the people before Moses and said, Let us go up at once and possess it. For we are well able to overcome it.” (Numbers 13:30)

And then were the poo-pooers. “But the men that went up with him (Caleb) said, ‘We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.’ And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched to the sons of Israel, saying, The land through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eats up those who live in it. And all the people whom we saw in it were men of stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, of the giants. And we were in our own sight like grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.” (Numbers 13:31-33)

All these men saw the same land, the same people. All of them were certain of heart that they could not wage a successful warfare on these giants. But one man, Caleb, had faith that they could.

But the Israelites believed the majority. They were the majority, so they must be right, right? And once again, they regretted they had not died back in Egypt – the land of slavery from which God had delivered them. And they began to grumble against Moses.

But Joshua and Caleb tore their robes at the faithless response to the Israelites. The two of them spoke to multitudes and reminded them that they were not just rebelling against their leader, they were rebelling against God. God had promised this land to them and the pair knew that God kept His promises, if they would only follow Him.

And even in the rebellion and provocation of the people that God loved so much, He remained faithful to be with them.

So, what did it take to bring down those strongholds, and what will it take to bring down the strongholds that the enemy has long set up in our own minds and hearts that keep us from entering into a spiritually victorious life? Not one always free from attacks, but one in which we dwell with our God in peace with all trust and faith and joy in Him? One that is free of those walls that keep us from fully entering in to a life flowing with milk and honey, flowing afresh daily with the Holy Spirit Himself.

We’ll see next time.

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Thanks for sharing!