Promised Land

<<the land of Israel>>

Also called Palestine, the land of Canaan, and the Holy Land, it was the area promised to Abraham’s descendants hence the term. The Promised Land comprises modern day Israel, plus the West Bank and Gaza, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, and some of Egypt and Syria (Gen 15:18-20; Num 34:1-12; Deut 1:7, 11:24; Josh 1:4). Israel to date, has never occupied all this territory and currently occupies only a fraction of it.

It is calculated that Abraham first moved to this area in about 2091 BC, and soon after Jehovah appeared to him and promised, “I am going to give this land to your descendants” (Gen 12:5, 12:7, 17:8). Some years later, his grandson Jacob, and the growing family, moved to Egypt where they could purchase food during an intense famine. The emerging Hebrew (Jewish) nation were in Egypt for a period of 430 years, first as welcomed strangers but then they became progressively enslaved. In anguish, they cried out to God, and Moses was raised up to bring the Jews out of Egypt in what is known as The Exodus. Because of disobedience this nation of over two million people spent 40 years en-route to their inheritance, the Promised land.

God promised the Israelites “a land flowing with milk and honey” (a poetic description emphasizing the fertility of the soil and bounty) and the spies verified this with the stolen fruit (Lev 20:24; Num 13:23-27). Moses also informed them “You will lack nothing” but because of the negative report of the majority of the scouting party fearing the current inhabitants, they turned back into the desert. As a

Don't talk yourself out of what God has for you

result God kept the people in the wilderness until all those over 20 years of age had died (Num 14:29-35; Josh 5:6). Only those who believed what God had promised them actually inherited the Promised Land.

This shows the immense influence of people’s opinions on others, and the serious consequences of wrong choices. We don't comprehend the power of our words, what we confess in self-fulfilling prophesy. The actual journey from where they were living in Egypt to where Jerusalem is situated today is around 400km and could have been walked in a matter of days, but instead they allowed themselves to be cheated out of their inheritance through a lack of faith in God’s ability to help them conquer the enemy – they did not believe His promise (Ps 106:24). They made a decision based on how they viewed the situation without taking God and His promises into account.

When they did eventually enter this land of blessing and provision, the Israelites needed to drive out the opposing enemies or “destroy them totally” and not adopt any of their evil practices (Lev 18:24; Num 33:51,52; Deut 7:2,22-26, 18:9-14). After a period as a united army they crushed most of the inhabitants, then the land was divided up with each tribe being responsible for dealing with the enemies its own territory. Unfortunately, instead of destroying or expelling them completely the people compromised their commission by intermarrying and worshipping foreign gods and subsequently lost their land (Ex 34:16; Num 33:55,56; 1 Kgs 11:3-8). Many Jews still long to repossess their Promised Land.

Metaphorically speaking, what is my promised land? Am I looking at the obstacles with natural eyes or at God’s promises with faith, believing that what He has declared can be mine if I do as He has said and with persistent effort take possession? After gaining an objective be vigilant that you don’t relax, thinking you have made it, and in so doing turn your eyes off God towards other gods, and suffer the

Am I taking possession of my promised land?

consequences (Deut 31:20,21). Continue to deal drastically with the old sinful nature, putting it to death (Rom 8:13; Gal 5:24; Eph 4:22,27).

See also: exodus, Israel, Moses, promises, self-fulfilling prophesy, wilderness wanderings.