POSSESS THE LAND Part 1 by Doug Fortune
“Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, Pass through the host, and command the people, saying, PREPARE you victuals; for within THREE DAYS ye shall pass over this Jordan, to go in to POSSESS the land, which the Lord your God giveth you to possess it.” (Joshua 1:10-11) In this verse, we are joining the children of Israel at a very crucial time in their history. It is the onset of a new era, a brand new day in their unfolding destiny. Moses is dead, they are under new leadership and they are about to face the greatest challenges and rewards they have known as a nation. May I submit to you that WE, the Church, are in a very crucial time in our history? It is the onset of a new era, a brand new day, the Third Day in our unfolding destiny. The law-based ‘one-man-show’ leadership that Moses represents is dead, we are under a new leadership of corporate anointing, birthed from relationship rather than law, and we are about to face the greatest challenges and rewards we have known as a ‘holy nation’. Because of these remarkable parallels, I believe there is much to glean from the account in the book of Joshua.
In our illustration, we can find our context in the book of Deuteronomy as it states, “…so the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ENDED. And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the Lord commanded Moses.” (Deuteronomy 34:8-9) Friend, the days of weeping and mourning for ‘the way things used to be’ are ENDED! As we press into our ‘promised land’, we must understand that there is not a map, we’ve never been here before, but we do have a compass to give us direction; “…for ye have not passed this way heretofore.” (Joshua 3:4) Things will never again be ‘the way things used to be’. And why is that?… because it’s a NEW day, it’s the Third Day.
“Moses my servant is dead; now therefore ARISE, GO OVER this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.” (Joshua 1:2) I see a three-fold pattern emerging from our illustration, however it is predicated upon the understanding that ‘Moses is dead’. We cannot bring the old ways into the New Day. It is time to (1) arise, (2) go over, and (3) possess the ‘land’.
ARISE… GO OVER … POSSESS…
It is time to arise to a higher perspective. You see, in our illustration the prevailing mentality of the children of Israel in the wilderness was a ‘meet OUR needs’ mentality. It was always ‘all about them’ and their needs, and never about the purpose of God in possessing the land He had given them. Unfortunately, we see the very same scenario in the Church today. We try to entice people into the Church by promising to meet their needs. We tell them that “God is here to meet your needs.” May I declare to you that God is NOT here to meet YOUR needs?… He is here to be GOD! You are here to meet His need, to meet His desire, and His desire is to have intimate fellowship with mature sons and daughters in His image and likeness! Friend, it’s NOT about you… it’s NOT about me… never has been, never will be. It’s always been ‘all about Him’! “In Him we also were made [God’s] heritage (portion) and we obtained an inheritance; for we had been foreordained (chosen and appointed beforehand) in accordance with His purpose, Who works out everything in agreement with the counsel and design of His [own] will, So that we who first hoped in Christ [who first put our confidence in Him have been destined and appointed to] live for the praise of His glory!” (Ephesians 1:11-12 Amplified Bible) Until we can rise above this ‘meet OUR needs’ mentality, we will continue to wallow in the mire of ‘self’. May I shock you by saying that we could perhaps learn something from some of the ‘cults’ we see in the world today? Most of them, misguided as they may be, challenge people to a ‘higher purpose’ and demand that they ‘forsake all’ in order to join. Hmmm… for some reason that may sound a bit familiar; “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his [own] father and mother [in the sense of indifference to or relative disregard for them in comparison with his attitude toward God] and [likewise] his wife and children and brothers and sisters–[yes] and EVEN HIS OWN LIFE also–he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not persevere and carry his own cross and come after (follow) Me cannot be My disciple.” (Luke 14:26-27 Amplified Bible) It is time to arise to a higher perspective, a higher purpose, to “press toward the mark for the prize of the HIGH CALLING of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14)
GO OVER …
“And it came to pass after THREE DAYS, that the officers went through the host; And they commanded the people, saying, When ye see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place, and GO AFTER IT.” (Joshua 3:2-3) It’s the Third Day, and as the popular slogan says, it’s time to ‘just DO IT’! It is time to “remove from your place”, to come out of our comfort zones and GO AFTER IT! Friend, there is one thing that stands between us and our ‘promised land’… it is time to go over Jordan! But what does this ‘Jordan’ represent? The word translated as Jordan, yarden in Hebrew, means a descender. It is from the Hebrew word yarad, which means to descend, literally to go downwards, to bring down, subdue, take down. Everybody has a ‘Jordan’. It’s that thing in your life that has the potential to pull you downwards, it’s the thing could easily ‘take you down for the count’. My question is: What is your ‘Jordan’? Most of us know exactly what it is, and we avoid it like the plague! I know what you’re thinking about now, “NO WAY am I even going there, Doug!” May I declare to you that you will never enter the fulfillment of your ‘promise’ until you cross your ‘Jordan’. There’s just no way around it.
The thing we must remember is that God does not expect us to ‘go it alone’. In our illustration they carried the very Presence of the Lord into the Jordan with them. “And it came to pass, when the people removed from their tents, to pass over Jordan, and the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people; And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest,) That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam…” (Joshua 3:14-16) The Lord Himself will face your ‘Jordan’ with you… but you MUST carry His Presence into the waters. Do not try to face your ‘Jordan’ alone, relying on your own strength. You will certainly drown in the tumultuous currents. However, as you carry His Presence into “the brim of the water” you will find something remarkable begin to happen. You see, when His Presence is brought into your ‘Jordan’, when His Presence is brought into your difficult situation, His sovereignty displaces the troubled waters. There is only room for HIM. In our illustration the Jordan was backed up to the city called Adam. My friend, when you carry His Presence into your ‘Jordan’, even carnality (Adam) that seeks to drag you down must bow to His sovereignty; “When He utters His voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens, and He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth. He makes lightnings for the rain and brings forth the wind from His treasuries.” (Jeremiah 51:16 Amplified Bible)
Something we MUST understand however, is that the tumultuous waters did not begin to recede while the priests merely stood at a distance, comforted by the safety of dry land. Imagine for a moment that we are the priests carrying the ark that day, marching towards the rushing waters of the Jordan. Ten feet away… waters still rushing… hmmm, am we SURE God is going to come through? Five feet away… waters still rushing… hmmm, are we REALLY sure God is going to come through? Toes getting wet… waters still rushing… hmmm, can we REALLY believe God is going to come through? Do you get the picture? Just as it was for them, even so I believe it is for us. The troubled waters will not begin to recede until we march right into our ‘Jordan’ and face it head-on. You see, the REAL question is: Can we BELIEVE Him? “For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. But with whom was He grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware He that they should NOT enter into His REST but to them that BELIEVED NOT? So we see that they could not enter in because of UNBELIEF.” (Hebrews 3:16-19)