“Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land the Lord promised on oath to your ancestors” – Deuteronomy 8:1 (NIV).
Land has always been one of the most precious gifts God has blessed any people with. The covenant God had with Abraham was sealed with land. “And I will give to you, and to your offspring after you, the land where you are now an alien, all the land of Canaan, for a perpetual holding; and I will be their God” (Gen 17:8).
When the Israelites were exiled to Egypt land was always uppermost on their mind. Jacob willed to be returned and buried in the land of his ancestors (Gen 49:29). His son Joseph passed on the same message. “Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die. But God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land to the land he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” (Gen 50:24).
Moses’s life mission was to take back the Israelites to the land God had promised them. Unable to reach the Promised land himself he passed on to that task to Joshua. Immediately after his passing, the Lord revealed to Joshua; “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot as I promised Moses” (Joshua 1: 2-3).
The history of Israelites has been very much about conquering and keeping this land. It is important to recall that one of the consequence of rejecting the living God was dispossion of land. Leveticus 26:33 notes this judgment; “I will scatter you among the nations and will draw out my sword and pursue you. Your land will be laid waste, and your cities will lie in ruins”!
All said as believers we bear a duty, drawing from this inspiration, to keep and make good use of the land God has made each one of us possess, individually and corporate. When we neglect the land God has given us it shows bad stewardship. The Israelites who have long wandered in exile robbed of their land know what it is to become homeless. Unfortunately those of us blessed with so much often treat our rich inheritance with reckless despise, as when we abandon the land for other “green pastures”, forsaking developing and conserving ours well for God’s eternal purpose.
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, I am so thankful for the gift of land passed on to me through generations and I pray you bless me to protect and make good use of it, this I pray in Jesus’s name.