November 9

Abraham and the Land, Part 3

Genesis 13:14-17 And the LORD said to Abram… “Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are—northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth….Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you.”

II Peter 1:3 …His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue….

In the midst of the great contrast between Lot’s and Abram’s way of deciding where to live, and the overwhelming promise to make Abram’s descendants “as the dust of the earth,” there is a command to Abram that speaks to us. After promising to greatly increase and bless Abram’s descendants and His promise to “give [the land] to you, God gives him a first instruction: “Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width.”

God had earlier instructed Abram to “lift your eyes now and look,” which provided Abram with a panoramic view of the land, and which was limited by where Abram was standing. Now God is telling him to become much more intimately acquainted with the land, walking “through its length and its width.” Why? Because “I give it to you.”

Apparently a property transfer in ancient times was only finalized when the new owner visited the land (see also Joshua 1:3). In other words, God wanted Abram to take his ownership from theory to actuality by walking through the land, making the transfer complete and personal.

God wants us to do that with His promises. We have many general ideas of God’s promises, such as eternal life, His forgiveness, and His love. But many of God’s promises have to be “walked through” to become real to us. Many of us have to walk through Romans 8:28 (“…all things work together for good to those who love God…”) before we can own it personally, and sometimes it takes a great deal of holding onto His word in faith for it to really become ours.

Some of us still don’t quite believe I Corinthians 10:13: “…God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” We may believe it from afar, and in theory, but up close (i.e., in the middle of a temptation), it might not be as deeply held in our hearts as we would like.

Then there are the many, many promises that we don’t even know about if we are not regularly in His Word. The Bible is bursting with promises for us that we will never know about (and therefore will not receive) if we are not “walking” (delving into, studying, digging into) through his Word. Suppose someone wealthy gave you a book and said that every hidden treasure you could find would become yours, how much energy would you put into looking through the book? What God has in His word is better and longer lasting. Let’s walk through the length and width of it!

Prayer: Father, I confess to neglect of Your word, which actually hurts me more than it does You. Give me eyes to see Your treasures—especially ones hidden to me now—and faith to receive Your promises.

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