Deuteronomy 1:21 – Behold, the LORD thy God hath set the land before thee: go up and possess it, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath said unto thee; fear not, neither be discouraged.
Moses reminded the people why they had been wandering in the wilderness for forty years.
He reminded them that God had set the land before them to possess it. They were excited at first. However, when the spies returned with their report, the people lost their confidence. They murmured against the Lord. They became discouraged and disheartened. As a result, for forty years they had wandered. In many ways, the command to possess the land reminds us of how we were told to reach the world for Christ. If we, as Christians, had continued doing what others had done in the New Testament church, we could have evangelized this world for Christ. Now, we look at our country and our world, and we see the terrible condition. The condition of our world has made us disgruntled; yet, we have the method that God gave to us to reach the world with the Gospel. Unfortunately, we, just as the children of Israel, have made excuses and allowed things to stop us from fulfilling the Great Commission our Saviour gave to us. There are various aspects found in Deuteronomy 1:21 that Moses brought to the people when they were first commanded to go in to possess the land. We will apply these to our responsibility to reach the world for Christ.
BEHOLD, THE LORD THY GOD HATH SET THE LAND BEFORE THEE:…
Is this not what Jesus did before He ascended? He talked about all nations. He spoke of preaching …the gospel to every creature. He put the world in front of His people for us to possess with His Gospel. The world is not lost because it cannot be reached. The world is lost because we do not see the world as God sees it. We do not see it before us as a responsibility, an obligation, or even an opportunity. The land is before us. The entire world awaits us. We must first see it as Moses commanded the people to see it.
…GO UP AND POSSESS IT,…
Jesus said, …Go ye into all the world,… Just as they were commanded to go up and to possess, we are commanded to go out and to proclaim. We have stayed home when we should have gone out. The journey to the entire world begins with reaching our own Jerusalem and Judaea and then extending into Samaria …and unto the uttermost part of the earth. It is ours if we will obey. That does not mean there will not be battles. It means that we have been given the command to evangelize the world for Christ.
…AS THE LORD GOD OF THY FATHERS HATH SAID UNTO THEE;…
It is not called the Great Suggestion. It is called the Great Commission because we have been commissioned to take the Gospel to the entire world. Many churches never see souls saved and never send missionaries to foreign fields because they have not taken our commission from God seriously. Ours is a Heavenly commission, a divine order; and we are to obey it.
More than any other command in the Bible, we are told to …fear not,.. Time and time again, as God’s people obeyed God’s commands, they were told to fear not. Why would we fear when we have nothing but Heaven to gain? We fear what people will say. We fear rejection. We fear persecution. We fear sacrifice. We are filled with so many fears; however, God has commanded us not to fear. We have not been given the spirit of fear. A world is lost without Christ while, in our fear, we refuse to …go up and possess… the land for Christ. Of course, there will be sacrifices. Those sacrifices may include giving our lives for the Gospel. The Bible tells us that if we lose our lives for the sake of the Gospel, we have gained our lives. There is no loss when we give our lives to Christ.
…NEITHER BE DISCOURAGED.
This is what causes many people to fail in proclaiming the Gospel. We become weary in our well-doing. We do not see the results or the growth that we expect. Ours is not to measure our success. Ours is to proclaim the Gospel and not to become discouraged. Discouragement does more to stop Christians from proclaiming the Gospel than any other thing. We are so easily discouraged by rejection. We are so easily discouraged when we see no visible results. We want to plant today and reap today, but we must be willing to wait until …due season… We cannot be weary. The souls of men are perishing while we are worrying about being discouraged.
Moses’ words to the people are appropriate for us today. God has not given us a little plot of land where we live so that we can be content with our possessions. He has given us a greater vision and a greater purpose. He has given us the world to reach for Him. Why pursue so little when the opportunity is so great? Perhaps, just as the children of Israel, we are so consumed by Egypt or the things of the world that we have lost sight of the greater cause of proclaiming …the gospel to every creature.
Pastor Neal, through his preaching and his counseling, displays the compassionate heart of a pastor, follows the true leading of the Holy Spirit, and expresses a fervent desire to see lost souls come to know Christ. It is his ultimate desire to see the greater Jacksonville area reached for the cause of Christ and for revival to come to Northeast Florida.