Sunday, July 27, 2014

The New Land

Genesis 12:1-3 - Now the LORD had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” 

I was dwelling on Israel this morning and all it is going through. One thought led to another until I was thinking about Abraham.

Abraham was told by God to leave his country for one which He would take him into. And by faith Abraham left his people with just his immediate family. By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; (Hebrews 11:8-9)

Imagine if God asked you to pack up your belongings and travel to places He asked you to go, to leave friends, job, sometimes family...and embark on a journey that only by faith in God would lead you somewhere else. I wonder how many would go? More on this later.

Abraham left his country and people and went to the land of Canaan.
...So they came to the land of Canaan. Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” And there he built an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him. (‭Genesis‬ ‭12‬:‭5-7)

This land of Israel was given to Abraham, who would become the father of many nations. Later, after Israel's disobedience toward God sent them into captivity in Egypt, Moses was used by God to again remove them from their captivity to their Promised Land. This land was the very same the descendants of Abraham came to. Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is across from Jericho. And the LORD showed him all the land of Gilead as far as Dan, all Naphtali and the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Western Sea, the South, and the plain of the Valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, as far as Zoar. Then the LORD said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to give Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have caused you to see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there.” (Deuteronomy 34:1-4)

Abraham's seed, the seed of Moses and others would in time make up the land, the nation, of Israel. If this land was promised so many years ago and if this little nation has survived these many years of enemies, I know the chances of its survival are very certain.

Israel will never be destroyed. It may appear to be in a dreadful place some day...soon...but it will never be destroyed, despite all the nations of the world still coming against her (which now also means the U.S.).

This little nation. Because it is God's nation, God's people. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty. (2Corinthians 3:17) She will prevail in the end. She has been disobedient; when Christ came they did not believe. They have turned their backs on God all throughout history and although He loves them, judgment is upon them. In the last days, however, their eyes will be opened. They will see He whom they pierced. (Zechariah 12:10) They will repent and believe.

Let me take this one step further. This is like us. We can be descendants. God seeks us because He loves us. He longs that all people become part of His kingdom. God calls all of us in some way to become His children. We either receive it or reject it. We either obey or disobey. What God calls us to do is be like Abraham, Moses and others and leave what we know to come to His Promised Land, to share in the same inheritance. That sometimes means having to leave our families and friends and separate ourselves from the world. God becomes our God. And we are blessed by that obedience. It's not easy, but will be worth it in the end. Like Israel we survive because of God's protection against our enemies. But again, it's not always easy. But remember, we must take the first step to entering the land God has promised all those who listen for His voice and obediently trust where He will take us. And we must hold fast to the faith like Abraham, Moses and others.

Joshua 21:43-45 - So the LORD gave to Israel all the land of which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they took possession of it and dwelt in it. The LORD gave them rest all around, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers. And not a man of all their enemies stood against them; the LORD delivered all their enemies into their hand. Not a word failed of any good thing which the LORD had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass

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