God’s Promise of Land to Israel
So Abram departed as the LORD had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. Then Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan. So they came to the land of Canaan. Abram passed through the land to the place of Shechem, as far as the terebinth tree of Moreh. And the Canaanites were then in the land. Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” And there he built an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him. And he moved from there to the mountain east of Bethel, and he pitched his tent with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; there he built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD. So Abram journeyed, going on still toward the South. (Genesis 12:4-9)
There is no escaping the fact that included in the promises the LORD made to Abram was the promise of the land. This promise was not just for Abram, but also for his descendants (Genesis 12:7). Specifically, God was talking about Abram’s descendants that would come through his heir. That heir was most definitely Isaac, and not Ishmael (Genesis 15:3-5, 15:13, 17:5-9, 26:1-3; Exodus 6:6-8, 32:13, 33:1, Deuteronomy 1:6-8, 9:5, 34:1-4). Therefore, the promise of the land was to Israel, and not to the Arabs.
God could make a promise re: the land because He owns it. He can give the land to whomever He chooses.
The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein. (Psalms 24:1)
This promise of the land is repeated and made more specific throughout the rest of the Old Testament. See Genesis 13:14-17, 15:18-21; 2 Chronicles 20:7; Jeremiah 30:1-3; Amos 9:14-15 as examples. This promise communicates God’s purposes and faithfulness as He fulfills His promises to Israel. Only those who reject the Bible as God’s authoritative word will deny these truths.
It is significant that Abram built an altar to the LORD right after God made him these promises. It was time for him to worship. It was time for Abram to consecrate himself—to offer himself to God. God’s Word elicits such a response. When we learn of His commitments to us, it is natural and right for us to react with worship.
For Further Review
1. Where do you stand with regard to Israel’s current status in the land? Upon what have you based your viewpoint?
2. Consider God’s faithfulness with regard to Israel. Learn something about their history. How do God’s ways re: Israel encourage you in your own walk with God?
3. Remember the last time you remembered or received a promise from God. How did that translate into worship in your life? If it did not, it is not too late. Worship now!