He's Got the Whole World in His Hands

T


he story of Israel’s history is not only captivating, but also a prime example of how God has a nation in his hands. If this weren’t true, Israel never could have survived.

Approximately 4,000 years ago God made the following covenant with Abraham, the father of the nation of Israel: "The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God."1 God repeated this covenant with Abraham saying: "Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever."2 In both of these instances God was referring to the land that became Israel.

When Moses, the first leader of the Israelites, died, Joshua replaced him. He was the one who led the Israelites in conquering the Promised Land—called this because it is the territory that God promised to Abraham and his descendants forever.

At Joshua’s “inauguration” God gave him specific instructions saying, “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”3

While God has never abandoned
Israel, at various times in their history
Israel has abandoned God.

This was a profound promise given to Joshua and the children of Israel. Note, however, that this promise is conditional. It was conditional on the Israelites obeying all of the laws God gave them. Keep in mind, too, that all of these laws were not only for their protection as a nation, but also for their well-being as individuals. As God also promised: “If you [the children of Israel] will listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and keeping all his decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the Lord who heals you.”4

Tragically, Israel was conquered and went into captivity time and again, because they disobeyed God’s instructions and went their own self-destructive ways. While God has never abandoned Israel; at various times in their history Israel has abandoned God. In so doing, they divorced themselves from God’s protection, provision, and blessings, and paid the consequences.

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5. All articles on the ACTS International website are by Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise noted.

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