We will walk like the men and women in the Bible walked (Hebrews 11:8–40). God gave them promises that in many ways did not seem to happen, so they could have felt mistreated. Consider what Moses and Joshua went through. They were told to lead the people from Egypt into the Promised Land. But everyone started murmuring, and things did not go exactly right between God and the people. Instead of just eleven days, they had to wander in the wilderness for forty years. Imagine spending a lifetime not getting what God had promised. The people murmured and complained, but Joshua and Moses did not have that response. That takes a lot of faith! What did they do? They obtained promises (Hebrews 11:33). Moses contended with God until he saw the Lord, and he came down the mountain glowing in the glory of God (Exodus 33:18, 34:29). He did not enter the Promised Land, but God entered him.
When you think about the heart of these people, you begin to understand the idea of obtaining promises. Joshua determined, “If I can’t enter the land, then I’m going to live in His presence in the tent of meeting” (see Exodus 33:11). God begins with a promise that is usually about something on a physical level. He promised Israel, “I’m going to take you into a beautiful land flowing with milk and honey. You’re going to inherit cities that are filled with grain, wine, oil, and other tremendous things. I’m giving you this land.” Everything in that promise was about natural things that God was going to give them. Although it did not seem to happen, we know the prophecies are that it will happen. It will happen when they receive a new heart and a new spirit. By the time they get there, they will not just be possessing a land; they will know the Lord. God declared, “They will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them” (Jeremiah 31:34).1 That is what Moses pursued, “I want to know You. Let me behold Your glory.”
Joshua had the same spirit. It must have been devastating for him. But he responded, “I’m going to live in Your presence.” By the time Joshua got into the land, he had changed from the inside. He declared, “I have the strength today that I had forty years ago. I didn’t lose anything in those forty years. I only gained knowing Him who will now lead us in to possess the promise.” We will face the same thing. Never let go of pursuing what God has declared to you. But if it does not happen today, then have the same spirit that was in Moses, Joshua, Abraham, and all the others we read about in Hebrews 11.
God begins with a promise about what He is going to do for us on a natural level. He promised the transformation of our physical bodies (Romans 8:11). But before God fulfills this promise, He will always perfect our spirits first. You will have resurrection life. God promised it so you will have it. Do not ever let go of that promise. But I guarantee that when you receive the promise, your spirit will have changed. He is perfecting us until our spirit, soul, and body are preserved blameless before Him (1 Thessalonians 5:23). If we had everything God promised without knowing Him, we would not be fulfilled anyway. The great covenant is that we will know Him (Jeremiah 31:33–34). That is a promise we will obtain!
1 All Scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible 1995 (NASB1995).