God’s promise to give a land to the people of Israel was made to them long before any of them were born. God first made them that promise to and in Abraham, then again to Moses. The promise, therefore, preceded Israel’s slavery in Egypt and deliverance from Pharaoh. It preceded their subsequent wandering about the desert in rebellion.
The land wasn’t a promise God made pending their deliverance. It wasn’t a promise made because of their deliverance. And, perhaps, most striking of all, the land wasn’t a promise conditional upon them fighting to obtain it or earn it. The promise wasn’t in the fight being won; the fight being won was in the promise.
When Joshua led Israel into the promised land, the fight itself was a seal, a sign, an assurance of the promise made and kept by God Himself. “Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses.” (Joshua 1:3) The fight itself was an assurance that they were already chosen. They could and should have hope in and for the fight.
Though they couldn’t see it’s fulfillment then, they would one day look back and see that “Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.” (Joshua 21:43-45)
So have we been loved and known before we were formed in our mother’s womb, before the foundation of the earth, from eternity. The promise made to us, and to all, is in Christ: salvation for whoever believes in him. But his salvation—our being both forgiven forever of our sin and ultimately set free forever from all sin, death, and suffering—includes, and would be incomplete without, a new land, a new heaven and new earth.
The fight we fight today, then, in this life, on this earth, is the good fight of faith (2 Timothy 4:7), and is in itself an indication of a much larger promise made to us in Christ: that of an everlasting and abundant life in a perfect and glorious world, the dwelling place of God with man and of man with God.
“All the promises of God find their Yes” in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20). God is not “Yes, well, maybe,” nor, “Yes and no”. But unequivocally, “Yes”. Jesus is both our promise maker and promise keeper. Our fight against sin and temptation, our endurance in obedience and faithfulness, can and should be hope- and joy-filled, because we are already known, loved, chosen, and set apart; because our hope is already laid up for us in heaven (Colossians 1:5); because we have already “an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven.” (1 Peter 1:4).