The Lord God led the people for forty years in the wilderness in order to bring them to the only land in the Middle East that doesn’t have oil. Still, it was a pretty good Promised Land. It had pomegranates and figs. It had copper and affordable housing. But, what Deuteronomy 8:7-17 fails to mention is the location. They say that the three most important assets of any piece of real-estate are location, location, and, Location. Palestine had that in spades.
God set his beloved people up at the cross-road of the ancient world. A prime location. They weren’t given a quiet cul-de-sac. Medieval mapmakers called Jerusalem the navel of the world. There is a certain responsibility that comes from being in the center of things. The role of the hub is to keep the wheel intact. Even today, many of us wish that Israel would move from it’s current snapping turtle-like, defensive posture, to a more collaborative role in the politics of the region. Would the Arab Spring have gone better, if Israel had played a more supportive role in aiding the new democracies?
God makes only one request, that people remember the Lord God when they settle in the new land. It seems to be human nature, that when we are successful, we say, “I did this all myself.” Like ancient Israel, America has been given a good land. We can sing, O beautiful for spacious skies… Every line reminds us of the natural resources God has given us. Further, for over a century, we have held the prime location in global commerce. In our success, we have repeated ancient Israel’s mistake of forgetting God. We say, “we have all these things because we work hard.”
Next time you feel like a self-made person, remember all the gifts God gave you along the way. Consider the pomegranate. The fruit symbolizes the gift we are meant to be for others. Some of our resources come filled with seeds. God wants us to sit at the cross roads of our community and share the seeds of hope and love. With a prime location comes great responsibility.