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Blue Helmets to Jerusalem - page 33 / 95





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Lot discussed the situation and decided to separate. Abram told Lot to choose which pastures he wanted: the land to the north or the land to the south. Lot chose the land of 'the District,' the area around Sodom and Gomorrah. ("The men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly." -- Genesis 13:13 KJV) So, Abram headed in the opposite direction.

God appeared to Abram again and repeated the promise: "And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thous seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever." (Genesis 13:14-15 KJV)

Abraham's son Isaac and his grandson Jacob were born there, and God later appeared to Isaac and to Jacob and repeated to them the same promise regarding the land: "God said to him, 'Your name is Jacob, but you will no longer be called Jacob; your name will be Israel.' So he named him Israel. And God said to him, 'I am God Almighty; be fruitful and increase in number. A nation and a community of nations will come from you, and kings will come from your body. The land I gave to Abraham and Isaac I also give to you, and I will give this land to your descendants after you.'" (Gen 35:10-12 NIV)

Jacob raised twelve sons there but did not own the land. He merely dwelt in it as a visitor, an alien. When his older sons became jealous of the second-youngest son Joseph, they sold him into slavery to a caravan of travelers who, in turn, took him to Egypt and sold him there. In Egypt Joseph ended up in prison, but, through God's miraculous intervention, he came to be a servant of Paraoh, the king of Egypt. It's a long story (worth reading in the Bible), but Pharaoh eventually put Joseph in charge of all his possessions so that Joseph was, in effect, the prime minister of Egypt.

Several years later there was a food shortage in the land where Jacob dwelt with his remaining sons, so he sent them to Egypt looking for food, and there they became re-united with Joseph. Joseph invited his father Jacob and his brothers to move to Egypt to will so that they would have food during the famine.

The offspring of Jacob, now named Israel, grew

in great numbers in Egypt. They were so fertile and multiplied so fast that the Egyptians became afraid of them and enslaved them to keep them under control. Finally God sent Moses to lead the Israelites up out of Egypt.

After sending in a dozen spies to report on what they found in the promised land of Canaan, most of the people lacked faith that God would give them victory over the Canaanites. They did not want to proceed. So, God had Moses lead them on a long, ciruitous route through the wilderness for forty years, until that unfaithful generation had died off.

At the end of the forty years Moses was a hundred and twenty years old. God had him lead the Jews to the edge of the promised land, and then took him up to the top of a high mountain and showed him the land. "Then the LORD said to him, 'This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when I said,"I will give it to your descendants." I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over into it.'" (Genesis 34:4 NIV) Moses died there, but only after appointing his deputy Joshua to lead the people in the conquest of Canaan.

"After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD , the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses' aide: "Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them-to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates-all the Hittite country-to the Great Sea on the west. No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them." (Joshua 1:1-6 NIV)

The land they were to conquer was a fruitful and productive land, but it was filled with inhabitants. The Canaanites were numerous and powerful. But they were a corrupt people wo practiced child sacrifice and gross sexual immorality. God had passed judgement on them and had decided to execute them. And he appointed the people of Israel as his executioners.

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