Friday, June 24, 2011

Israel: Careful Divine Crafting

He has brought us to this place and has given us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey (Deut 26:9).

Once again from Beitzel's Moody Atlas (see preceding posts: 1, 2, & 3):
God prepared the Promised Land for His chosen people to the same degree that He prepared His chosen people for the Promised Land. Although various biblical accounts and theological statements rightly describe how God set about preparing the Israelites to become the special benefactors of His grace by reason of inheriting the land, the following discussion will underscore that it was a certain kind of land that was selected and prepared by God, positioned at a particular spot, and designed to elicit a specific and appropriate response. In fact, God's craftsmanship has been vividly manifested both in the character of His chosen people and in the characteristics of His chosen land. He has been at work in both history and geography. A most helpful insight is lost for one who fails to realize that the Promised Land itself has been the object of careful divine crafting (p. 27).
Even though it goes without saying, it is often helpful just to say it: our God leaves nothing to chance. The Land of Promise is at the very center of the world (here) and devoid of nearly all natural resource and defense (here) in order to fulfill His design. Specifically, that the people of promise might come to trust the God who had promised.

I was struck by that point again while reading Deuteronomy 26 - 29 this week. In this lengthy enumeration of the blessings and curses of the Mosaic covenant, Israel was reminded that their flourishing in that Land would never be owed to their own "military prowess nor environmental ingenuity," but their faith in their Covenant Lord.

If God's people trusted their God who redeemed and delivered them,
The LORD will establish you as a holy people to Himself, as He swore to you, if you keep the commandments of the LORD your God and walk in His ways. So all the peoples of the earth will see that you are called by the name of the LORD , and they will be afraid of you (28:9-10)
However, if they trusted in their own ability or ingenuity,
The LORD will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as the eagle swoops down, a nation whose language you shall not understand... It shall besiege you in all your towns until your high and fortified walls in which you trusted come down throughout your land, and it shall besiege you in all your towns throughout your land which the LORD your God has given you (vv. 49, 52; emphasis added).
Many, many instructions are given to us about the Lord's providential ordering of our lives today. Maybe some further thoughts on them later.


  1. Maybe some thoughts about the providential blessing of the birth of a new son or daughter? :-)