Deuteronomy 11:11 – But the land you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven. (NIV)
On each of the three Scottish coach tours that I have led, there came a time when someone said, "Everything is so green!" Scotland is covered with so many emerald hills and green fields that when you see them for the first time, it's like being given eye candy. The richness of the colors is so beautiful that for many North American tourists, it remains amongst the most vivid of their memories.
But why is everything so green? What causes the fields to glisten brightly like emerald patches across the landscape?
Rain. Lots and lots of rain. For most of the year, Scotland drinks rain from the heavens; this in turn enriches the soil and allows grass to grow everywhere. In North America, we are so used to sprinkling our lawns in the height of summer to keep them growing. Over in Scotland, the rain constantly falls, and so the land is blessed with an abundance of grassy meadows, fields, and hills. And that's also why there are so many cattle and sheep in Scotland — there's plenty of green grass to support the livestock.
To the ancient Israelites, God's promises of a land overflowing with milk and honey, along with an abundance of rain, must have sounded like Paradise. They had spent 400 years working in the irrigated fields of the Nile, making bricks and growing feeble crops. God was not only taking them out of slavery, He was sending them to a fertile valley where they wouldn't have to toil as hard to survive. Not only would He supply their needs, God was also willing to give them abundance beyond their wildest dreams. And that's why it was called the Promised Land.
In our own lives, we go through some dry and empty times, when we can become discouraged and even depressed. That's when we need to be "standing on the promises of God", as the old hymn states. God never forsakes or abandons us to misery. He never lets go of us in the midst of despair. And He is able and willing to get us through desperate moments, in order to lead us to those promised times of abundance and everlasting love.
Prayer: Lord God, You act in mighty ways, leading nations from slavery and oppression into the light of abundance and prosperity. You also care deeply for Your people, and Your promises are always fulfilled. Lord God, we look to You as the source of all our blessings and the sustainer of our lives. Bless us with Your abundant love, and bring us to Your amazing place. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.