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Today's Devotion: May I? Asking for the Old Paths

Our society is at a crossroads and we should ask God for the ancient paths.

What are the ancient paths? Not the 1950s. Not the era of the Founding Fathers or when the West seemed more established on Judeo-Christian principles. Jeremiah wasn’t talking about the good old days.

The Bible uses the word ancient to describe things that are truly old, that go back to creation and before. Psalm 119:52 refers to Scripture as God’s “ancient laws” (NIV). God is described as “ancient,” a word indicating eternality. Before the mountains were born or the world was made, He is God. In Isaiah, He said, “From ancient days I am he” (43:13, NIV). In Daniel, He is called the “Ancient of Days” (7:9).

Our world offers lots of new paths, but the Bible tells us to stick to the old ones—to the paths and choices outlined by our Creator in His Word. Only there will we find rest for our souls.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

Of all God's covenant promises to Abraham, I believe the most amazing is His promise concerning the land. God told Abraham to leave his country, his family, and his father's house and go "to a land that I will show you" (Gen. 12:1). God then led Abraham to the land that would belong to his descendants forever.

The land promised to Abraham and his descendants was described with clear geographical boundaries. It takes in all the land from the Mediterranean Sea as the western boundary to the Euphrates River as the eastern boundary. The prophet Ezekiel fixed the northern boundary at Hamath, one hundred miles north of Damascus (Ezek. 48:1), and the southern boundary at Kadesh, about one hundred miles south of Jerusalem (v. 28). If Israelis were currently occupying all the land that God gave to them, they would control all the holdings of present-day Israel, Lebanon, and the West Bank of Jordan, plus substantial portions of Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia.

The strange thing is, Israel has never, in its long history, occupied anywhere near this much land—not even at the height of its glory days under David and Solomon. This fact has caused many biblical scholars to spiritualize the meaning of the term land and equate it with heaven. Others claim these promises were conditional and were forfeited by Israel's disobedience.

In refutation of these interpretations, Dr. John F. Walvoord wrote:

The term land . . . used in the Bible, means exactly what it says. It is not talking about heaven. It is talking about a piece of real estate in the Middle East. After all, if all God was promising Abraham was heaven, he could have stayed in Ur of the Chaldees. Why go on the long journey? Why be a pilgrim and a wanderer? No, God meant land.1

Any normal reading of Scripture recognizes Canaan as an actual place, a piece of real estate, an expanse of soil that belongs to Abraham's descendants forever.

The fact that Israel has been dispossessed of the land in three periods of its history is not an argument against its ultimate possession. Occupation is not the same as ownership. After each dispossession, God brought Israel back to its originally promised land. God has consistently kept His promise to Abraham, and that gives us absolute assurance that He will keep it in the future.

The turmoil over Israel's right to its land will not cease till the end, for the land provision of the Abrahamic covenant is at the core of the hatred of Middle Eastern nations for Israel today.

But ignoring God's care and protection of Israel is extremely dangerous. The land of Israel is so important to God that, according to Deuteronomy 11:12, it is "a land for which the Lord your God cares; the eyes of the Lord your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the very end of the year."

1J. F. Walvoord, "Will Israel Possess the Promised Land?" in Jesus the King Is Coming, ed. Charles Lee Feinberg (Chicago, IL: Moody, 1975), 128.

This article is an excerpt from chapter 1 of The Book of Signs.

Beyond the Promised Land

This is episode nine from The Account, an original Turning Point Television production that was created to introduce David Jeremiah's teaching series I Never Thought I'd See the Day! Its message remains relevant for us as we are Living in the Age of Signs.

The Account takes you back to the 1960's when the advertising agency of Wyndham Ridgestone landed the most mysterious client in the history of their firm. This shadowy and intimidating Client hires the firm to influence the masses—to sway the behavior of people toward a liberal mindset—to market a moral shift in American culture. The faceless and nameless Client presents ten issues to the advertising firm and employs it to create these morally destructive campaigns.

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