This view of Israel, the “land flowing with milk and honey” was taken four weeks ago from the top of Mt. Nebo in Jordon. You can see the northern part of the Dead Sea ¾ of the way up the left side. The faint green spot on the right near the horizon is Jericho. This is what Moses saw just before he died at age 120 (Deuteronomy 32:48-52)! Now if I were Moses, I would have had to hold back a lot of cynicism. “You led me through the desert for forty years for this?” Or perhaps, “Have you ever thought of selling real estate in Siberia?” Then again, if I were Joshua, I’d be inclined to say, “You want me to risk my neck to possess this barren rocky desert?” But, as Dr. Bramer reminded us, “It’s always too soon to quit.” Joshua, by faith, did take two million hot, smelly Hebrews into this land and conquered it. And Moses did finally stand inside the Promised Land — at the transfiguration of Christ along with Elijah (Matthew 17). He could never have predicted that treat in his wildest imagination. And that’s the way it is with God and faith.
I was impressed with the industry and perseverance of the Israelis today. They have turned this land into acres of productive watermelon fields, date palms, fruit trees, and much more. They have done all this out of their own effort without being particularly obedient to God. Now I wonder how wonderfully lush that land could become if occupied by God’s people who are obedient to Him. The “milk and honey” probably refers to goats’ milk and bees’ honey, more typical of an agricultural society. The abundance of these blessings always hinged on Israel’s obedience and faith (Numbers 14:8; Deuteronomy 6:3; 11:9; Joshua 5:6; Jeremiah 11:5; 32:22). Barry Beitzel authored the very helpful reference, The Moody Atlas of Bible Lands, and writes:
“I share the opinion that to say the Promised Land will “flow” with milk and honey is to declare that it is a place that will experience fertility as a function of faith and as a consequence of obedience. It is to declare that showers from heaven will be responsible for creating a land that will “flow” with prosperity and fertility. It is to see once again that this land has been specially molded by a sovereign God. “
The huge gap between my natural reaction to circumstances and my supernatural view of God’s faithfulness challenges me to lean more on the promises of God and to persevere through apparent obstacles. God is good beyond my wildest imagination. It is always too soon to quit.