Genesis 13:1–18; Numbers 13:30–14:4; Numbers 14:36–45 (read online ⧉)
God had made a promise to Abraham. As God is the make of the promise, following yesterday’s devotion, it was an oath. Abraham’s descendants would flourish in the land that Abraham would walk.
At the time of Lot’s and Abraham’s separation, the land that Lot had chosen was the better land. The lesser, more difficult land was Abraham’s. Yet, it was on this lesser more difficult land that God would build a nation with God’s name on it.
After many years, Abraham’s descendants had finally arrived to “take” the land. The tribes that had flourished with the absence of Abraham’s descendants certainly weren’t going to be willing or eager to just hand the land over. As far as they, the current inhabitants, were concerned this was their gods’ land. The Israelites were nothing.
Even those technically related were just as harsh to the Israelites. Yet, there was an oath made by God. Perhaps the oath was no longer valid. Perhaps God broke the oath.
This is where it gets interesting for us, too. When God made the oath, there was no promise of easy living or being able to just get the land. The Israelites had to work for it, too.
This is also the case for us. God calls us to be his people. God made an oath to always be with us. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. In fact, part of being with us was part of telling us that things would be hard.
The Israelites, just like us, weren’t going to have anything to do with this difficult stuff. They wanted the easy street. At one point, God tells the Israelites about when they will worship and sacrifice with produce they didn’t plant, with labor they didn’t spend. They had to value the fulfillment of God’s oath.
Instead, they decided that they were going to break the oath. It might sound a tad harsh. However, it wasn’t God that decided that the oath wouldn’t be fulfilled. They decided it.
So, God “accepted” their decision, and gave the consequences. And they decided to try to break that, too. Moses also makes a point to them, that is also for us. God wasn’t with them. They would fail. If only they hadn’t tried to break the oath (that wasn’t theirs to break) in the first place.
※ A Prayer of Billy Graham ※
…Father, we thank You for the promise and hope of [the future], and we look forward to it with expectancy and faith. This [we] ask in the name of our Lord and Savior, who by His death and resurrection has given us hope both for this world and the world to come. [Amen]
※ Questions ※
1) Have you ever had someone try to break the oath or promise of another person? What was the situation? How did it work out?
2) Why would a person try to break the oath or promise of another person?
3) What can the short-, medium-, and long-term consequences of promise- and oath-breaking?