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A Desolate Land

The children of Israel were also warned that the land would become unproductive and lie desolate. In Leviticus, we read these words of warning. ” I will lay your cities waste and bring your sanctuaries to desolation, and I will not smell the fragrance of your sweet aromas. I will bring the land to desolation, and your enemies who dwell in it shall be astonished at it. I will scatter you among the nations and draw out a sword after you; your land shall be desolate and your cities waste. Then the land shall enjoy its Sabbaths as long as it lies desolate, and you are in your enemies’ land then the land shall rest and enjoy its Sabbaths” (Lev. 26:31 34).

The warning given in Leviticus is a general statement and applies to the entire time the Jews are out of the land. The prophets, Hosea and Amos, made it clear that their land, the Northern Kingdom, would become unproductive because of their sins.

Approximately one hundred years later, Jeremiah repeated this warning to people who were living in Jerusalem. “How long will the land mourn, and the herbs of every field wither? The beasts and birds are consumed, for the wickedness of those who dwell there, because they said, ‘He will not see our final end.'” They have made it desolate; desolate, it mourns to Me; the whole land is made desolate, because no one takes it to heart.” “And this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.” “For thus says the LORD: ‘The whole land shall be desolate; yet I will not make a full end.'” “I will make this city desolate and a hissing; everyone who passes by it will be astonished and hiss because of all its plagues” (Jer. 12:4, 11; 25:11a; 4:27;19:8).

The city of Jerusalem became a sign unto the world of the unfaithfulness of God’s chosen people and of God’s judgment upon His people. The city was desolate because no one lived there during the seventy years of Babylonian captivity. The unproductivity and barrenness of the entire Promised Land has also become a sign unto the world of the reality of a sovereign universal God. The land of “Milk and Honey” was given to the Jews as an everlasting possession, but it has never been productive in the hands of Gentiles. Leviticus 26:32 states that God will make the land so desolate that the Gentiles who settle there will be appalled by it.

After 1900 years, under the control of the Gentiles, the land largely consisted of rocky hills and valleys of swampland. Jews, who returned to the land during the early part of the twentieth century, worked very hard draining the marshes, planting trees, and restoring the fertility of the soil. With the Jews in control, the land has again become productive.

The writer of Second Kings speaking for God said: “therefore thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘Behold, I am bringing such calamity upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whoever hears of it, both his ears will tingle ” (II Kings 21:12). Today’s events in the land of Palestine have the attention of the entire world and millions of people are excited because we are seeing God’s word fulfilled before our eyes.