I am Temi, a Christian in Abuja. I'm going over Genesis 12. When God called Abram to leave his country and family he promised to show Abram a land, to bless him and give the land to his offspring. My question: Is land of special significance to Abram? Is there a land context that I am missing? The reason I ask is because I don't think I would be so eager to leave my country and family just to see another land. I would like to inherit land and pass it on to my descendants, but Abram didn't even inherit land (though his descendants did). -- Temilade Adelore
Hello, Temi! Sorry to take so long [5 years] to reply. Yes indeed, land is very important in the biblical narrative. It features prominently in all of Genesis:
- Adam lost his garden plot.
- Cain was sent wandering away from his land into Nod.
- Abraham was given the land promise (Gen 12), as you note.
- Abraham purchased one grave plot from the Hittites – the only land God’s people owned in Canaan at the end of Genesis, long after Abraham's death.
You should trace this important theme. Some further thoughts:
- God gave his people the land -- the promise was fulfilled (Josh 21:43).
- Yet once they have the land, they need to keep obeying, or they might lose it (Deut 28:63-64).
- Exile (landlessness) is the ultimate punishment, so check that theme out, too (Amos 7:11, 17).
- Through abject sinfulness, the Canaanites were "vomited out" of their land (Lev 18:28). Actually, they lost the land as (1) some fled the approaching Israelites, (2) others were driven out by Israel, and (3) still more were defeated in battle.
- Romans and Hebrews both address this theme. Take a look at Heb 11.
- It is quite possible that Genesis was written in Babylon, where God's people were after they'd already lost their land. Imagine that. Think what the key passages would have meant to a people who have lost the Promised Land!
I hope this has opened a window for your study. Actually, I think you already studied it. I am only attempting to comment on what you are seeing.