Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Cupful of Sand

As the news reports proclaim the build up of sand at the beaches on the coast, I am reminded of these thoughts I wrote recently…

Having just read the book, The Hope, by Herman Wouk, which captures much of the determination of the newly returned 20th century Jews as they try to settle into the homeland they had held dear, but had scattered from, I find myself wandering in my thoughts about God’s promise to give them the land in the first place. As I study the book of Genesis and the Patriarchs I cannot help but wonder at the promises of God that He cannot fail to keep.

The whole story of Abraham is quite intriguing.  This apparently unknown man was seemingly chosen “out of thin air” and given a promise that would astound the world for centuries to come:  “I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore… and to your descendants I will give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates…”

As numerous as the sands on the seashore” is particularly poignant as I have recently been to the beach and discovered a very natural, but amazing fact:  One of the beaches I have walked on over the years has changed greatly since the last time I was there.  Back around 1980 the beach was practically non existent around the base of the motel where we stayed.  Taking a walk there required perfect timing between the tides.  There just wasn’t much of a buffer between the waves and the cliffs.

Now, however, there is a lot of sand built up along that part of the shore and even huge rocks that used to be prominently exposed are now buried in the sand.  The storms, which can seriously erode the sand have instead brought more in and built up the beach to be a great place for walking and playing.  I was amazed.  The beach can be easily eroded and decrease, but it will also be built up and replaced over periods of time

Knowing that the people of Israel were removed and brought back so many times over the centuries, causes me to wonder about the WWII effect in the “promised land.”  At the time of the war it could be said that only a “cupful of sand” remained in Jerusalem and their very survival was precarious to say the least.  But the war had a widespread effect on the Jewish people, including reminding them where home was supposed to be.  They were also reminded firmly that the people where they were living did not want them at all.  This was not a new thing for them through the centuries.  They were, as Abraham was, sojourners in foreign lands.  But getting home would not be an easy task because others living in that area did not want them around either.

Never-the-less, they began to take themselves home. They found many ways to struggle to live in a place that is at the core of their existence. But even with their astonishing victory in the seven day war, they still struggle to keep this piece of their promised land.  The sand has returned to fortify the beach and they are hanging on for the completion of the promise of the God who said, “I will…” and cannot fail to keep His promise.

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