That Chunk of Dirt?
Today’s Text: Genesis 17:8
An open letter appeared on the opinion page of the Fox News website in 2002 suggesting that Israel relocate to a remote portion of the Baja Peninsula. Highlighting the obvious benefits of wonderful beaches, a landmass four times greater, an absence of terrorists, along with close proximity to its friendliest ally, it sounded like the perfect solution to Israel’s current state of affairs.
Although tongue-in-cheek, the piece highlighted a prevalent attitude: “You [Israel] think God cares about what chunk of dirt you call home?” (1)
In point of fact, God does care about that “chunk of dirt!” He told Abraham:
Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”
As the guarantor of the Land-Grant Covenant promising a specific piece of real estate to Abraham and his descendants forever, God underscored the interconnected relationship between that “chunk of dirt” in the Middle East and the Jewish people (Gen 15:7, 18-21; Jer. 7:7).
INEVITABLE RETURN TO THAT CHUNK OF DIRT
God consistently guaranteed Israel’s inevitable return to the land throughout the Tanakh (Old Testament).
“If any of you are driven out to the farthest parts under heaven, from there the Lord your God will gather you and . . . bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it” (Dt. 30:4-5).
The consistent and compelling precedent of history underscores the veracity of Moses’ prediction.
But there’s more! Every prophetic book of the Old Testament except Jonah speaks of a future, permanent return to the land of Israel that will be so spectacular that the Exodus from Egypt will pale by comparison:
“It shall no more be said, ‘The Lord lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,’ but, ‘The Lord lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north and from all the lands where He had driven them.’ For I will bring them back into their land which I gave to their fathers” (Jer.16:14-15).
A contemporary of Jeremiah, the prophet Ezekiel recorded the inevitability of the return,
“Thus says the Lord God, ‘I will gather you from the peoples, assemble you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel’” (Ezek. 11:17, emphasis added).
Reinforcing the inevitability, Jeremiah echoed,
“For behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “that I will bring back from captivity My people Israel and Judah,” says the Lord. “And I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it” (Jer. 30:3, emphasis added).
Although spoken at the beginning of the Babylonian captivity in 586 B.C., the context of Jeremiah’s prophecy indicates that the fulfillment goes beyond the return from Babylon to a final return from, “all nations where I have scattered you . . . in the latter days you will consider it” (Jer. 30:11, 24).
GUARANTEED RETURN TO THAT CHUNK OF DIRT
God guaranteed Israel’s return with the prophets suggesting a homecoming to the land in incremental stages.
According to Jeremiah, the impetus stirring the initial phase of the final return to the land will come from external influences (Jer.16:16). It is significant that beginning early in the 1800’s the “baying hounds of anti-Semitism” added urgency to the modern Zionist movement. (2)
Ezekiel’s vision of the Valley of Dry Bones affirms a two-stage return at the end of the age. The reconstituted lifeless bodies, where previously only bones had been, infer an initial restoration and return in unbelief indicated by the phrase, “there was no breath in them” (Ezek. 37:8).
God promised, “I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land” (Ezek. 37:14). In the second half of the vision, “breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet an exceedingly great army” (Ezek. 37:10).
“Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land.
Then they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, where your fathers dwelt; they shall dwell there, they, their children, and their children’s children, forever” (Ezek. 37:21, 25).
Reaffirming the promise, Isaiah informed Israel that after an initial and partial regathering of her people to their homeland in unbelief, God will,
“set His hand again the second time to . . . assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth” (Isa. 11:11-12, emphasis added).
The modern state of Israel is only a preview of that final regathering. There is no ambiguity in God’s promise. Israel is more than another “chunk of dirt.”
Israel belongs to the Jewish people; and, God’s plan does not include abandoning the land of Israel for any other chunk of dirt no matter how attractive—including the Baja Peninsula.
Charles E. McCracken is an international Bible teacher, long-time friend of Israel and advocate for the Jewish people. Rev. McCracken authentically communicates biblical truth making his presentations relevant for those seeking to understand the significance of Israel and the church in Bible prophecy. He staunchly supports the nation of Israel and the Jewish people’s right to exist and live in peace.
© Charles E. McCracken 2016, devotional comments only. Repost/Reprint with permission from the author via Contact Form under ABOUT. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. (Emphasis added.)
1) Ken Lane, “How ‘Bout Relocating Israel to Mexico?” Fox News, April 2, 2002. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,49353,00.html
2) Barbara Tuchman, Bible and Sword, (New York: Ballantine Books, 1956), 226-227.
1) Jerusalem Panorama from the Mount of Olives, Israel. Charles E. McCracken Archives, 2017 © CEM Ministries – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
2) Tel Aviv Skyline illuminated at night. By Gilad Avidan (Wikimedia Commons) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
3) Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda market, Israel. By Laliv Gal Pikiwiki Israel [CC BY 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
4) Hevron e Ma’arat HaMachpela, Hebron (Cave of the Patriarchs where the tombs of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Leah, Hebron are located). By Daniel from Israel [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
5) Picking oranges, Kibbutz Gan Shmuel (Hebrew: גַּן שְׁמוּאֵל, lit. Shmuel’s Garden). ארכיון גן-שמואל [CC BY 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios