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The secret of Israel (4) – Heading for a new land

editor - 16 January 2019

When God chooses Abram to enter the history of salvation, He surrounds him with an enormous security. God will protect and save him: Whoever blesses Abram, will be blessed himself and whoever does him wrong will be brought under God’s curse. But there is more: As from the beginning it becomes clear that this is not only about Abram himself.

God decided a new nation to be born who will play a leading role alongside God in God’s plans with the world. Abram will have a son and gradually a people will come into being that will be equal to the number of stars in the sky, like the dust of the earth and the grains of sand on the shore.

The prophet Isaiah will – centuries later – remind this people of Israel of her origin and calling: ““But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend” Isaiah 41:8.

What attracts attention is that Abram and his wife are childless and that God calls Abram when he is already seventy-five years of age. But that is at the same time also the secret of Israel: She will be a nation called to life by a miracle of God and supported by the power and faithfulness of God forever. This will be extensively discussed later.

But what we have to discuss first is that Aram is called away by God from the character of Babel. He has to go to a land that God will show him. That is also the first thing that God says to Abram. Even before other promises resound this is the main thing. Apparently this is very important too. The journey to the land is on God’s lips, as it were.

The land that God envisions is no matter of secondary importance, it is central in God’s plans. And I think that will remain the case forever. We know how history continues and that God means Canaan with this land. An area that stretches out from the Mediterranean Sea until the borders of Babel, the Euphrates.

“The land must not be sold forever: because the land is mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with me”. Leviticus 25:23

The land is special. When God later shows the people of Israel – liberated from Egypt – the road to Canaan, they hear Him telling them: “But the land you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven. It is a land the Lord your God cares for; the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end.” Deuteronomy 11:11-12. In Exodus 15:17 the land, and Zion in particular, is called the heritage of the Lord and in Leviticus 25:23 it says “The land must not be sold forever: because the land is mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with me”.

It makes you wonder: what is the matter with that land? Why are God’s eyes on that territory, even before Abram arrives and long after Abram died? What is God’s use for that relatively small place on earth? God, who is the creator and owner of the entire Creation!

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