I’m taking a class again.
I’m required to take Bible or seminary classes to be on staff with Military Ministry/Cru. Right now I am taking an online Old Testament Survey course, taught by Dr. Mark Futato from Reformed Seminary.
Sometimes something the instructor says just makes me stop in my tracks. And it allows me to see something that has been there all along and I never paid attention. I’m not a student of much and certainly not a deep thinker, so this might be Bible-Lite for some who read it, but not to me.
“God gave Israel a land that demanded dependence upon Him.”
To study the Old Testament we are beginning with a study of the land itself, the Promised Land, ancient Israel.
The Lord God could have placed them anywhere, but He chose a land between a sea and a desert that blew hot wind over the land. With only one major river, the Jordan, a large lake called the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea–a lake filled with salt water there was no way to irrigate crops. Therefore the ancient Israelites lived an agrarian lifestyle following the seasons, wet and dry, planting and harvesting based on the climate and the weather.
This does not sound like a very good “promise” to me. When I look at photos, “a land filled with milk and honey” does not spring to mind. To me it looks more like a land filled with dust and…spit. No Middle Eastern oil, no endless waves of grain, no Mighty Mississippi. In my sinful heart I wonder, “What kind of “promise” is this?”
He gave them a land that demanded dependence on Him.
Instead of a garden or a fertile crescent He gave them a land that demanded dependence. And this shook my heart: It wasn’t a punishment or a mistake–it was His plan!
He CHOSE that land of hot winds, wadis, salt lakes, rainy seasons and dry seasons. He CHOSE dependence for His people–because He loved them. So that whatever blessings came, whatever success they saw, whatever enemy they conquered, they would know it came from His Hands.
God has placed me in a land of dependence. I am in control of very little, unless you count laundry, meals, and pet care. I abhor dependence (except in making telephone calls, then I totally depend on Rick). Here I am in a land of dependence by the will of God, so that I can know that ALL things come from Him. All things. Always. Because He loves me.
But I imagine we all have our areas of dependence, parts of our lives, hidden or open, in which we must acknowledge our insufficiency. It might be emotional or physical or material, or social. If we are wise we don’t fight the land He has given us and instead we bend the knee and acknowledge that we are better and wiser as we remain dependent on Him. It’s His plan!
I am in God’s promised land, because He has chosen it for me.