Redemptive-Historical Survey: 8 | Entrance and Life in the Promised Land (LDBC Recap 3/20/16 Pt. 2)


logo-lake-drive-baptist-churchOn Sunday, January 24th, 2016, I began a Core Seminar on Redemptive History & Biblical Theology at my church, Lake Drive Baptist Church. During the course of this series I’ll be sending out emails recapping lessons and directing recipients to resources for further study.

Rather than just share these recaps with my church family, I’ve decided to share them here on the blog for anyone else who might be interested. I will be posting them occasionally over the next couple of months on a weekly basis or so.

See previous posts:


We continue this week’s core seminar recap by reviewing the role of Israel’s entrance and initial life in the Promised Land in redemptive history.

Overview of Biblical material

Joshua, Judges, Ruth.

  • After the wilderness Generation died, Moses preaches the Law at the edge of the promised land (Deuteronomy). He prepare the next generation to enter the land.
  • The torch of national leadership is passed from Moses to Joshua.
  • Joshua leads the people into the land and they/God conquer.
  • Joshua distributes the land, much of which is yet to be conquered, to the twelve tribes.
  • But, although the land is promised to them, the tribes fail to fully possess the land given to them. Many of its original inhabitants are left.
  • Israel’s leadership enters into a stage of judges (e.g., Ehud, Barak, Gideon, Samson, etc.), who are far from godly leaders.
  • The time-period of the judges is characterized by…
    • (1) A lack of political stability:
      • No centralized government.
      • No king.
      • Israel is a group of loosely connected tribes.
      • Repeated oppression from surrounding nations.
    • (2) A lack of moral stability:

Sum: “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25).

  • Israel repeats a cycle (see Judges 2:6-23):
    • (1) Disobedience/idolatry.
    • (2) Divine punishment in terms of oppression of nearby nations.
    • (3) Israel’s cry to God for help.
    • (4) God raising up a judge and providing deliverance.

Role within redemptive history

So, now, as always, we want to ask, how does this episode fit into redemptive history? How does this initial entrance and life in the land relate to God bringing about his covenant-bound new-creational kingdom purposes?

We can summarize its place as follows: Although God is faithful to his covenant-bound purposes to bring about his new-creational kingdom, God’s people only experience a partial realization of it due to disbelieving disobedience.We can break this summary down into various points.

  • This entrance into the land aims at and is an expression of God bringing about his new-creational kingdom.

This entrance into the land is an expression of God’s covenant-bound new-creational kingdom aims. Notice the emphasis of certain expressions of the new-creational kingdom here.

They are entering the promised land, i.e., God’s place for them.

Note the second giving of the law with Deuteronomy (deut {second} + nomos {law}). And so we see again this theme of God’s rule being administered through his law. God exercises his rule over his people through his law. Via the law, the people are under God’s rule.

But they are also exercising that rule themselves as they conquer people in the land who are hostile to God’s rule.

Furthermore, the failed exercise of this rule by the judges anticipates the rule of the kings who, it is hoped, will exercise that rule better. The judges point forward to kings who are to serve as the pinnacle expression of God’s people exercising that rule. And they are to lead God’s people in exercising that rule.

God delivers in terms of God conquering for them as they enter the land. Thus, we see the element of God’s new-creational kingdom being through God’s deliverance.

  • The covenant-bound new-creational kingdom blessings are partially realized.

We noted the interesting “yes/no” nature of the fulfillment here.

We saw in texts like the following that God’s promises are indeed, in some sense, fulfilled.

Joshua 21:43-45 – Thus the Lord gave to Israel all the land that he swore to give to their fathers. And they took possession of it, and they settled there. 44 And the Lord gave them rest on every side just as he had sworn to their fathers. Not one of all their enemies had withstood them, for the Lord had given all their enemies into their hands. 45 Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.

However, other texts indicate that, in another sense, they are apparently not fulfilled. There remains much land to possess, for example. See Judges 1:27-36; 2:20-3:4; Joshua 13:1ff.

So what do we make of this data–the “yes/no” nature of this fulfillment? We can understand this situation as follows: The partial possession of the land promise that Israel did experience was evidence of or testimony to the fact that God was indeed handing the entire land over to them. Therefore, in a very real sense, God had given them the entire land, although they only currently possessed portion of it. The whole of the land was offered to them, if only they would in faith be faithful to seize it. Thus, although the land was fully given by God, the people of Israel still needed to claim it. And this Israel failed to do so.

We can see this exemplified in texts like Joshua 13:1-6 and 18:3; cf. Ex 23:29-30.

And in light of the guaranteed nature of God’s covenant promises here, we understand that a fuller fulfillment is thus to be anticipated. A complete realization of God’s covenant-bound new-creational kingdom promises yet exists in the future. This initial partial fulfillment, in other words, has not brought about God’s ultimate intended goal with regards to his new-creational kingdom. It does not exhaust his intended blessings for his people. There is more to this story.

  • Other roles in redemptive-history:

Finally, we noted several other ways in which this episode relates to redemptive history.

First, even as Israel inherits the land (an evidence that God is faithful to his covenant promises) we are reminded that Israel’s problem of disbelieving-disobedience is still yet to be cured.

Joshua 24:14-21 – “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served … and serve the Lord. 15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve. … But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” 16 Then the people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods … 18 Therefore we also will serve the Lord, for he is our God.” 19 But Joshua said to the people, “You are not able to serve the Lord, for he is a holy God. He is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions or your sins. 20 If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, then he will turn and do you harm and consume you, after having done you good.” 21 And the people said to Joshua, “No, but we will serve the Lord.”

What does this imply? What does this mention of their continual struggle with sin lead us to expect in Israel’s history in light of God’s covenant dealings with them? This struggle anticipates the fact that Israel will lose the land she is currently receiving based on the covenant curses of exile.

Second, Israel’s failure to eliminate the Canaanites from the land becomes a repeated cause of stumbling throughout her history.

Israel is commanded to destroy the original inhabitants of the land lest they lead Israel into sin.

Exodus 23:33 – They [the inhabitants] shall not dwell in your land, lest they make you sin against me; for if you serve their gods, it will surely be a snare to you.”

Cf. Num 33:55; Josh 23:13; Judg 2:3; Ps 106:34, 36.

However, Israel fails to do just that. As a result, these Canaanite people become a stumbling block for Israel throughout her history.

Third, Israel’s lack of stability during this time-period anticipates the future monarchy (a key dominion–i.e., God’s people exercising God’s rule–element of the new-creational kingdom — see the chart above).

Judges 21:25 – In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

Cf. 2 Samuel 7:10-1110 And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more. And violent men shall afflict them no more, as formerly, 11 from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies.

  • Summary

We close by recapping our summary of this episode’s role in redemptive history, i.e., its relation to God’s outworking of his new-creational kingdom:

Although God is faithful to his covenant-bound purposes to bring about his new-creational kingdom, God’s people only experience a partial realization of it due to disbelieving disobedience.