The promise that a land would be given to God’s people, Israel, was first given to Abraham and then repeated to Isaac and Jacob. Joseph’s deathbed words repeated this promise (Gen: 50:24). God informed Abraham, however, that “four hundred years” would pass before the seed of Abraham would take possession of the land (Gen: 15:13, Genesis 15:16). Fulfillment of the promise began in the days of Moses and Joshua. Moses repeated the divine command: “Behold, I have set the land before you; go in and take possession of the land” (Deut: 1:8, RSV).
Read Deuteronomy 28:1, Deuteronomy 28:15. What is implied in these words? In short, the land would be given to Israel as part of the covenant. A covenant implies obligations. What obligations did Israel have?
The first part of Deuteronomy 28 outlines the blessings Israel would receive if they followed God’s will. The other section of the chapter deals with the curses that would befall them if they did not. These curses were “largely, though not wholly, brought about by simply giving sin scope to work out its own evil results … . ‘He that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption’ (Gal: 6:8). Like water, which, left to itself, will not cease running till it has found its level; like a clock, which, left to itself, will not cease going till it has run itself completely down; like a tree, which, left to grow, cannot but bring forth its appropriate fruit; — so sin has a level to seek, a course to run, a fruit to mature, and ‘the end of those things is death’ (Romans [6:]21).” — The Pulpit Commentary: Deuteronomy, H. D. M. Spence and Joseph S. Exell, eds. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1985), vol. 3, p. 439.
Despite all the promises of land, those promises were not unconditional. They came as part of a covenant. Israel had to fulfill her end of the bargain; if not, the promises could be nullified. The Lord made it very clear, more than once, that if they disobeyed, the land would be taken from them. Read Leviticus 26:27-33. It’s hard to imagine how the Lord could have been more explicit with His words.
|As Christians, we look forward to receiving and keeping the promised lands of heaven and the earth made new. They have been promised to us, just as the earthly Promised Land was to the Hebrews. The difference, however, is that once we get there, there is no chance of our ever losing it (Dan: 7:18). At the same time, there are conditions for us to get there. How do you understand what these conditions are, especially in the context of salvation by faith alone?|