Sunday, September 5, 2010

Whose Land Is It Anyway?

"And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.
Zechariah 12:3 NKJV

Regifting or regiving is the act of taking a gift that has been received and giving it to somebody else, sometimes in the guise of a new gift.

Are you familiar with the term regifting? I will admit when I first heard it I was a little confused, but after hearing an explanation I had to laugh. I have often wondered since then if I have been the recipient of such a gift, without really caring one way or another until this thought occurred to me; "how would I feel knowing my gift to someone else was being passed on"? As I thought about that, I actually felt not only hurt, but a little offended because like most people I try to put a little thought into what I give to others. This of course led to the next question I had and that is just what would I feel towards someone who I knew had passed on a gift that I had given them?

Much of the world's attention was focused this week on the meeting in Washington between the leaders of Israel and the Palestinians as they attempted to "restart" the peace process. As expected, one of the first concerns to make headlines was settlement activity in Jerusalem. and the expiration this month of the "building freeze" that has been in effect. As I read this I couldn't help but wonder about the fight over territory, and Israel's willingness to attempt to bring peace by giving up it's claim to certain parts of the land. It was then that God brought this whole subject of regifting to mind with the simple question, "whose land is it anyway"?

On the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying: "To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates
Genesis 15:18 NKJV

If you are not familiar with these two landmarks, allow me to help you out a little. The river Euphrates starts in Turkey, passes through the northern half of Syria and Iraq, and empties into the Persian Gulf. The river of Egypt, which many would assume was the Nile, is actually the Wadi el-Arish that is located south of Gaza in the Sinai. As you might expect, this location is the subject of some debate, so you can feel free to do your own research on that subject. My point though is this; God gave all the land between these two rivers to Israel as a gift. That obviously means it was God's land to begin with, and He decided to give title to it to Abraham and his descendants. The gift, however, came in the form of a covenant with an interesting addendum.

"And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.
Genesis 17:1 NKJV

I wonder if the word everlasting was put in there because God knew the time would come when Israel would start "regifting" parts of the land to their enemies in an attempt to buy peace instead of trusting God to protect them as He has done in the past. Did you notice as well that part of that covenant was an affirmation that He was to be their God? As we see Israel giving away parts of God's gift of the land, obviously in violation of the covenant, the natural next question is are they in violation of the other part of the covenant as well? With these thoughts in mind, the very obvious question is just what does God think of all of this? Is He offended that Israel is "regifting" His gift to them? Knowing what is in store for Israel according to the Bible, probably gives us an answer to that question. We know it is God's intent to judge Israel, but it is the manner and scope of that judgment which gives us a clue as to what God thinks about all of this.

"Therefore say to the house of Israel, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name's sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went. "And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst; and the nations shall know that I am the LORD," says the Lord GOD, "when I am hallowed in you before their eyes.
Ezekiel 36:22-23 NKJV

The word for "hallowed" is qadash which literally means to be set apart, or be consecrated. The time is coming when God will use the nation of Israel in such a way as to show the world that He is the only God. God will defend His land, and sanctify His name by reminding Israel of the terms of this "everlasting" covenant. The severity of this judgment will result in Israel finally acknowledging Him as their God and Saviour and they will "set Him apart" from all others. The only question is "how soon"?

A Psalm of David. THE earth is the LORD's, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein.
Psalms 24:1 NKJ

It's God's land.

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