Daily Distinctives, March 7, 2018 – Promised Land

The thing that baffles me the most about the Middle East is why they are still fighting over the land. We discover in today’s study whose land it is and how long it is theirs. But when you look at modern history and politics it is the source of neverending amazement as to why so many people fight over such a small sliver of land. If everyone would just read the Bible the problems would be solved. But that is just the thing, not everyone believes in the God of the Bible. Whether they believe or not, it will not change the final analysis. God’s people will not only regain control over Israel, but we will one day see that the meek will inherit all of the earth. The plan has been laid out before us and the promise of God is immutable. And so, let’s look into the text for today and see where these promises find their origins.

[Gen 13:13 NKJV]
But the men of Sodom [were] exceedingly wicked and sinful against the LORD.

And so Lot, who we saw in my last devotional, chose the area of Sodom to dwell. But as we see in the verse above, the men of Sodom were not just wicked, but they were exceedingly wicked. It also says that they were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the LORD. We read in Psalm 51:4 that when we sin, our sins are against the LORD and the LORD alone. Still, it would appear that the kind of sinfulness that these men were engaged in was willful and directed against the LORD. Now, let me explain that all sin is willful, and all sin is against God, but for those of us who are believers when we sin, when we sin, we get convicted of our sin. Those who are not believers sin with no conviction, and in doing so they heap up for themselves condemnation. The believer will and should repent, that is, turn from their sins and seek forgiveness, but the unbeliever has no interest in repentance and will only turn from sin when it is expedient for them to do so.

But the Scriptures here seem to be giving us a prelude toΒ some event that is on the horizon, which we will see, LORD willing, moving forward in subsequent studies. But next, we see the story shifting back to Abraham.

[Gen 13:14 NKJV]
And the LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: “Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are–northward, southward, eastward, and westward;

Now, from Abrams viewpoint, he would have been a large portion of the Middle East. Abram was on a mountain between Bethel and Ai and from here looking northward he could see all the lands of Samaria and Mount Hermon. As he gazed to the east the peaks of the mountains of Moab. Turning to the south Abram would have seen the area that is now Jerusalem and the mountains of that area. And as he looked to the west he would have seen the plains of Sharon and Mediterranean sea. And so God tells Abram to look to all points of the compass because the land that he was surveying would be the land that he would possess for himself, his people, and his descendants after him.

[Gen 13:15 NKJV]
“for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever.

In this verse, we see the duration that Abram and his descendants would own the land which Abram surveyed with his own eyes. Forever. That is the length of time that they would possess the land. Forever is a mighty long time. And so today, we see that while the Jewish nation only possesses a part of that area, one day it will all belong to God’s children. If you look at the history of Jewish occupation and settlement you will soon discover that the Jews have been back and forth in the land that God promised them. Then in the late 1940’s something amazing happened, as the Jews again occupied the land.

[Gen 13:16 NKJV]
“And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, [then] your descendants also could be numbered.

The point here is that the descendants of Abram would be innumerable. God not only promised Abram that he would possess the land he had just surveyed but that He would fill that very same land with inhabitants from Abrams loins. Now, this is interesting because of Abram’s name. Abram means, “father” and at this point, Abram had no children of his own. Perhaps this is why Lot was so close to him. Abram was like a father to Lot and maybe this is why it was so hard for him to separate from Lot.

[Gen 13:17 NKJV]
“Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you.”

I once bought a piece of land when I was younger. It was not a huge piece of land but a couple of acres. I remember when I signed the deed for the land going out on it and walking the full length and breadth of the land I had purchased. There was not much on that piece of property but a bunch of trees and brush, but I knew the land was mine and I enjoyed every tree, every shrub, and every little critter on it. I found the property markers and thought about how the Bible condemns those who move property markers. So I put the marker back…No I didn’t. Just joking. But that is how my mind goes. I even thought about building an altar to the LORD there on that piece of property. I was young in my faith then and thought that just because they did it in the Bible I should do it too. Heck, I even had my son circumcised on the eighth day because I am fond of biblical traditions.

But here we see God commanding Abraham to walk in the land through its length and width. I think it is good for us to evaluate the things that the LORD gives us. It helps us to be more appreciative and thankful for the things that LORD blesses us with.

[Gen 13:18 NKJV]
Then Abram moved [his] tent, and went and dwelt by the terebinth trees of Mamre, which [are] in Hebron, and built an altar there to the LORD.

Again, we see Abram building another altar. Altars at this time were significant. They served as memorials to God and helped them to remember significant things that happened in their lives. Today, we might erect an altar to the LORD in different ways. For me, I erect an altar to the LORD every time I write one of these devotionals. When I look back and read these I am reminded of how the LORD was and is still moving in my life.

Prayer: LORD, I thank You for everything You have given me. I am always reminded of how good You are. You have done many wonderful things for me and I am so fortunate. I am grateful for everything. I am thankful for the physical things that You have blessed me with, but I am more grateful for the spiritual things You have given me. I am grateful that You have poured wisdom into me and shown me how to apply the things I am learning in Your WORD. I pray, LORD, that You would continue to pour into me the things that will bless me in my spirit and make me a stronger man. Father, I want to lift up my wife to You. I pray that You would help her to grow in her walk alongside me. I lift up my children to You and pray that You would give me more wisdom as it pertains to training them up in the ways that they should go. I love You LORD and I need You daily, really every second of every day. Help me to be a better husband and father. LORD, I pray that You would give my pastor the things he needs to prepare for the upcoming Resurrection Sunday celebration. I am grateful that You have seen fit to allow me an opportunity to both assist him with my spiritual gifting and the privilege of praying for him too. LORD, may You receive all glory and may my life be pleasing to You. It is in Your name I pray. –Amen

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