Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Broken Promises

A three-year famine sends David to his knees (2 Samuel 21).

God answers, "It is on account of Saul and his blood stained house; it is because he put the Gibeonites to death."

The Gibeonites were the people of a Canaanite tribe who tricked Joshua just after the Israelites entered Canaan (Joshua 9). They came in tattered clothes, with moldy bread and approached Joshua as if they’d come from a long way off, begging him to make a peace treaty with them.

The Israelite people "sampled their provision but they did not inquire of the Lord" (Joshua 9:14). The result was Joshua and the people made a peace treaty with these Gibeonites. Too late they discovered they had been tricked. For the Gibeonites were not from a long distance away at all but close neighbors. The promise had been made, though, and now Israel was bound by it.

It was this promise Saul had broken when he’d tried to destroy them. Now, years later, God withholds His blessing (in this case rain) on the land.

The justice principle behind God’s action is clear:

"Bloodshed pollutes the land, and atonement cannot be made for the land on which blood has been shed, except by the blood of the one who shed it" (Numbers 35:33).

Does this principle, of a land being cursed because of promises broken and innocent blood shed still hold today? If God hasn’t changed in this, perhaps we should be looking at history, personal and national, for why we, as individuals and as a nation, seem to be in spiritual drought. I’m wondering if Dr. David Demian doesn’t have it right to launch initiatives such as Watchmen for the Nations which attempt to confront wrongs from our nation’s past.

Lord, show me where my sin and the sin of my parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents is blocking Your blessing. Then give me the courage to admit the sin and make restitution. Amen.

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