Israel’s pursuit of the Promised Land is a picture of the believer’s pursuit of the happiness of God. John 15:1-2.

Class Outline:

Title: Israel’s pursuit of the Promised Land is a picture of the believer’s pursuit of the happiness of God. John 15:1-2.


John 15:1 I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.


John 15:2"Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit.


John 15:3"You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.


John 15:4"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me.


John 15:5"I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing.


John 15:6"If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch, and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.


The believer who abides in Christ is constantly on the move to conquer more ground and to follow the standards of doctrine to higher and higher ground. Israel was never done conquering so that she may settle down to some utopian idea of peace. She always had to conquer and defend and she could only do so by submitting to the will of Yahweh, which unfortunately for her and fortunately for us, she did not do with any consistency. 


There is a difference between what you know and what you truly possess. Real happiness and communion with Christ cannot be imitated or simulated.


And so, we turn to Israel’s history.


When we look at Israel’s recorded history, we are not looking so much at the individual, but the nation as a whole. Each individual Jew had to make his own decision to believe on the saving work of the Lamb, the Messiah, who would come in the future. Yet as a nation, we are examining Israel’s link to prosperity and happiness.


No believer in any dispensation can lose his salvation, but he can lose his communion with Christ and therefore lose his only source of true prosperity.


ROM 11:21-22

for if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will He spare you. Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God's kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.


So we will look at Israel’s history in increments. Tonight we start with the Exodus that entered the Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua, after 40 years in the desert.


History of Israel part 1.


This is in no way an exhaustive history, but in generality this will be taught over time so that you will have an idea of the dealing of Israel with God and God with Israel.


THE EARLIEST REFERENCE TO THE ISRAELITES IN ANY RECORD OUTSIDE the Old Testament occurs in an inscription on a pillar set up about 1220 B.C. by Merneptah, king of Egypt, to celebrate several victories won in the course of his reign. Among other claims to have conquered neighboring peoples, he boasts:


 “Israel is desolate; it has no seed left.” King Merneptah of Egypt, 1220 B.C.


If Merneptah’s claim had been well founded, there would be no story of Israel to tell. But ancient commanders, like their more recent successors, were prone at times to overestimate the scale of their victories.


 [map 1]


After finally leaving Kadesh-barnea, where they spent 39 years, the Israelites of the next generation were finally ready to invade the land. They went east around the southern tip of the Dead Sea, where ages ago Abram was blessed by Melchizedek, and passed through Edom, Moab, and Ammon without hostility. However in the northern Trans-Jordan they invaded the Ammorite kingdoms of Silon and Og. 


Then Moses died andthe leadership was bestowed on Joshua who crossed the Jordan River from the east with his army, the tabernacle, the Ark of the Covenant, and the Mosaic Law.


After sacking Jericho, Joshua’s army took city after city until they possessed much of the land to the north in Galilee, the central lands, and the south near Jerusalem. However, Jerusalem remained in the hands of Canaanites for another 200 years.


[map 2]


The lands were divided amongst the tribes without a central government. And there were some very surprised and unhappy Canaanites who would constantly be a nuisance, but if Israel continued to follow God and the justice of the Mosaic Law - a formula for success, then they would prosper.


Mosaic Law was a huge advantage for Israel since within its pages were laws for a free-market, provision for the poor, justice in personal conflicts, personal hygiene, and most of all it lead a person to the knowledge of the Messiah.


God provides advantages for His people. His people have to exploit those advantages.


Happiness in time for the believer in any dispensation always depends on a conditional covenant and therefore hinges on the believer’s positive decisions.


Positional promises to the believer are unconditional like the indwelling Spirit, eternal life, and union with Christ etc.


This was the time of the judges who were periodically raised up by God to settle disputes and pronounce judgment in Israel. Deborah was one of the most famous and most successful.


By rising up judges God helped the Jews in all matters and there was no need for a central government or monarchy.


It wasn’t long before Israel forgot her covenant bond with Jehovah and lacked the unity needed for strength amongst the tribes. They also inter-married with Canaanites, which God forbid them to do, and natural result was that they took Canaanite religion, fertility rituals, and worshipped Baal to the point where they considered Jehovah just another Baal. They became weak.


The Canaanites constantly looked to conquer the lands that they lost and one people, the Midianites or Ishmaelites, were a real problem and caused much hardship by invading and destroying crops. These were the people that Gideon, the youngest of the least family in the tribe of Manasseh, defeated with his 300.


There was a resurgence of patriotism after Gideon’s victory and some of the people wanted Gideon to be king and begin a hereditary monarchy like their neighbors, which he rightly refused. They had God and the Law. If they abided by the Law they would have prospered greatly.


Being like their neighbors was too much out of keeping, in Gideon’s judgment, with the ideals which they had learned in the wilderness.


Let Yahweh alone be acknowledged as King in Israel; let Him use as His agents not one particular family but the man whom from time to time He might choose and endow with special powers to rule His people and defend their cause. And this Jehovah did by rising up various judges.


One of Gideon’s sons, Abimelech by name, did not share his father’s scruples about kingship and after his father’s death he exterminated his father’s family and reigned as king in Shechem.


He was the son of a Canaanite woman and had been brought up with his mother’s relatives at Shechem. It was Gideon’s error to marry a Canaanite woman.


After his father’s death he attempted to succeed to his power, exterminating most of the other members of Gideon’s family in the process. For three years he reigned as king from Shechem, but his kingdom did not extend beyond Western Manasseh.


His subjects soon grew tired of him, and he met his death in trying to put down their revolt.


One never prospers by rejecting God’s providence. Right now you have exactly what He wants you to have, the greatest of which are the boundaries of His plan.


This all occurred between 1300 - 1100 B.C.


John 15:1 "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.


We have the present active indicative of eimi - I keep on being, the true vine.


 ‘true’ is the adjective, a)lhqinoj[alethinos] which means true, trustworthy, faithful, dependable, and genuine. Jesus Christ is the true and dependable source of prosperityhappiness.


Significant to the use of the vine analogy is wine production which was often associated with happiness in the ancient world.


Our Lord’s first miracle, turning water in earthen vessels (representing the word of God in man) to wine in the same vessels (representing perfect happiness in man). When the wine was given to the head waiter he said: