March 12, 2019

Genesis 15:7-12, 15-16:   “On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, ‘To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates…’” vs. 18

There is no doubt that the Hebrews who emerged from the wilderness and forcibly occupied the land of Canaan believed that they had been given that land by the Lord. Their tribal narratives make that very clear. In their eyes they were not invaders…they were simply taking over what already belonged to them. That presumption continues to guide many contemporary Israelis, especially those who have established settlements in what are known as the occupied territories. Quite obviously there are many who do not agree with that notion…and the result has been continuing turmoil in what has been called the “Holy Land.” Whatever we think about this conflict, it’s obvious that compromises are going to have to be made. Even the ancient tribes ended up making accommodations with the people who had lived in the land and ultimately Israel included a multitude of ethnicities. Perhaps some day in the not too distant future Israelis and Palestinians can learn to live together in peace in this land that has given birth to some of the world’s great religions. The God of Abram, Jesus, and Mohammed is more than a tribal god…our God is the Lord of the universe and desires that all tribes and nations live together in harmony.

Thought for the Day: What makes a land holy?