Numbers 34 – Israel’s Land Inheritance from the Lord

Some thoughts for meditation following our daily devotional Scripture reading that is provided each week.

The Lord had just commanded Israel to destroy the Canaanites, “for I have given you the land to possess” (33:53). He then briefly noted they would divide the land by lot as an inheritance among their families (33:54).

Thus here the Lord prescribed in detail the borders of Israel’s inheritance before they ever set foot on the land or drew their swords. The limits of the land on all four geographic sides are specifically noted by existing cities as well as various seas and rivers.

Hundreds of years beforehand God called Abram to leave his people and homeland. God promised Abram he would make his descendants as numerous as the dust of the earth. God also promised him all the land of Canaan as an everlasting possession–all that he saw there and walked upon: “I give to you and your descendants forever” (Gen 12:17; 13:14-17). This same promise was repeated to Isaac (Gen 26:3), Jacob (28:13; 35:12; 48:4), and then to Moses and Israel (Exod 3:8; 6:6-8). The Lord guaranteed this promise by committing himself to it: “I am the Lord,” (Exod 6:8). And here Israel stands on the east side of the Jordan, a nation, ready to receive what God promised them (“inheritance”).

The Lord appointed Israel’s leaders, Eliezar the priest and Joshua, as those who would divide the land for the 9½ tribes who had not yet received their inheritance.

Note:

  1. God’s promises are always precisely fulfilled exactly as he said. Their truthfulness are not established by how quickly they are fulfilled but by the timeless God who made them. We must believe everything God has promised exactly as he has promised them. Anything less is doubt and denial. This encourages believers today that he will precisely fulfill every yet unfulfilled promise.
  2. God promised Canaan to Abraham’s descendants forever. While Israel would fail to conquer the Canaanites because of their unbelief and disobedience, that would not thwart God’s promises and plan. Ezekiel’s prophecies concerning Israel’s future detailed the same territorial borders as given in Numbers 34 (Ezek 47:13-23). “The gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable,” (Rom 11:29).
  3. Christians should not spiritualize the Abrahamic land promises to make them applicable today. Rather, Christians should be encouraged that God will precisely fulfill every promise and so believe what he says.
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