Perhaps the most attractive aspect of the Bible is its promises â€“ the stories of lives restored, of care assured in the form of safety and health.
Thereâ€™s one all-encompassing promise, which is particularly significant in light of longstanding strife between peoples over their homelands and even todayâ€™s ongoing problem of home foreclosures. Godâ€™s great encompassing promise speaks of a glory-filled kingdom to sustain us. Really, fulfillment of any of Godâ€™s promises comes from what we discover of this kingdom or â€śpromised land.â€ť
The patriarch Abraham is first recorded as hearing such a promise. God said: â€śGet thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy fatherâ€™s house, unto a land that I will shew theeâ€ť (Genesis 12:1).
Later, God is recorded as saying to Moses, â€śDepart, and go up hence, thou and the people which thou hast brought up out of the land of Egypt, unto the land which I sware unto Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, Unto thy seed will I give it: And I will send an angel before thee; and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite: Unto a land flowing with milk and honeyâ€ť (Exodus 33:1-3).
It sounds as if Abraham was guided to â€“ and his descendants were guided back to â€“ merely a plot of ground, maybe with good soil and water springs. It also can sound as if others were to be deprived of this ground. But further Scriptural revelations paint a more meaningful picture â€“ one that accommodates all humanity.
Moses realized that the homeland God promises us includes freedom from the strife of warring peoples. And, as Abraham sensed, itâ€™s free of the limitations marking human history. The promised land God reveals isnâ€™t one thatâ€™s limited by human nature. Itâ€™s actually the life set forth by our divine creator. Christ Jesus presented centuries later a life-transforming revelation: â€śThe kingdom of God is within you.â€ť To me this means the promised land is not a particular place, but itâ€™s brought about from within consciousness.
Here are some characteristics of the promised land or kingdom of God:
- Itâ€™s the life of God, divine Mind, and its ideas. And itâ€™s composed of â€śmilk and honey,â€ť which symbolize the sustenance we need.
- Itâ€™s not run by materialism with life defined by personal biases or limits. Rather, itâ€™s governed by divine Mind, Soul, and involves the unfolding of limitless, good activity.
- The sustenance it brings is â€śflowingâ€ť; itâ€™s abundant. There is enough for everyone. So there is no clash or chafing of wills. The prophet Isaiah understood this life or kingdom and wrote, â€śThe wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead themâ€ť (11:6).
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, identified in her book â€śScience and Health with Key to the Scripturesâ€ť what I believe is this homeland that belongs to each of us. In her description of the â€śkingdom of heaven,â€ť she wrote: â€śThe reign of harmony in divine Science; the realm of unerring, eternal, and omnipotent Mind; the atmosphere of Spirit, where Soul is supremeâ€ť (p. 590).
Living in this kingdom is actually our natural experience, because itâ€™s the life God created for us. To see it clearly, we need a more spiritual or God-based sense of things. This kingdom of heaven is not an abstraction or a far-off destination. Itâ€™s an understanding thatâ€™s practical in our lives today. In fact, this concept was key for me in finding a safe and accommodating home for my family. And itâ€™s what helps me pray for people around the world to know that they, too, experience purpose, home, security, and well-being. Whatâ€™s promised to everyone will be fulfilled.
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