It’s been said that second only to the sacred bonds between husband and wife and between parents and children, comes the bond that exists between a people and their land.
According to the creation account in the book of Genesis, mankind was given a tract of land, the Garden of Eden, at the very start of the human journey to become their own PLACE to “tend and to keep” (Genesis 2:15). The Hebrew text is quite revealing in this verse since these two words, “tend” and “keep”, “LE’OVDA” and “LE’SHOMRA” in the Hebrew language, can also be translated to mean “To Serve,” and “To Guard,” both expressions connected to our walk with God.
Scripture moves the veil of providence just enough for us to get a glimpse into the mystery of God’s sovereignty over mankind, as Moses said, “Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations. Ask your father, and he will show you; your elders, and they will tell you: When the Most High divided their inheritance to the nations, when He separated the sons of Adam, He set the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the children of Israel.” Deuteronomy 32:7-8. God’s Word tells us that not only did He appoint the nations (presumably the ones which occupied the land of Canaan before Israel’s return from Egypt) their territories and boundaries, but He had done so according to the number (size) of the Hebrew nation that was already rising on the horizon.
Territory is often viewed as a sacred trust, and history bears ample testimony to the profound connection between people groups and their lands. Often written with blood, gloomy chapters of human history tell painful stories of tribes and nations who were uprooted from their homes and exiled from their lands by someone stronger, only to eventually fade away and disappear from the stage of history all together. The nation of Israel is unique in this regard as it is the only nation on earth who was able to hold onto its national identity during nearly 2,000 years of exile; a miracle that was promised in God’s word and articulated by the prophets repeatedly.
Written by Sar-El staff