Land is one of God’s gifts to man and in the beginning man and woman were told to multiply, subdue, take dominion of the earth and access its resources for the extension of the human community. In other words they were equipped to go forth and create a culture that would live to steward the earth, bringing forth and drawing upon the potential of the land they were given. God has provided valuable wealth in the land for us to leverage and how we appropriate these treasures will determine the quality of the land for His purposes. How we go about this will either unlock the releasing of packages for growth and fulfillment or lock them up and withhold them. What will stop us from pursuing these treasures?
When man arrived in the beauty of the garden, everything was alive, functioning and fruitful. They stepped directly into caring for a portion of the land where God himself was not only their creator and the creator of this incredible ecosystem but a companion who walked with them amongst the potential of untold wealth and beauty. In this ongoing place of relationship with their God they would receive gift after gift of incredible challenge and discovery as they unpacked the treasures He had waiting for them. In this process of sweet communion and first hand tutorage by God the result was the land was blessed and purified. This was the Garden of Eden before the fall or descent into separation from their Creator and the curse of hardship that was pronounced upon them. By focusing on the one thing they were told to avoid, they failed to value the relationship with Him and all the gifts He had given them to open and unpack. The lack of interest in what was available to them was a dishonour to God Himself.
Their beginning and their home was a place, a real place. And in the years after they gave up their union with God they most probably went back to that place in their memories and wondered why they gave up paradise and their reason for being created. To walk with their Creator and discover and take dominion was the most valuable part of their existence; to expand and be like their God. They had all they needed but failed to be grateful and chose to gamble with it.
We all find ourselves in this situation at some point in our lives whether with God or others. We just don’t see things so clearly and forfeit precious valuables until it is seemingly too late to recover. How can we find the pathway to the place where we first met with God, when it was so pure and we could smell the garden?
At Back to Eden Group we believe that our early years of existence hold many keys to our present life situations as it did for our forefathers. For example, lets look at the patriarch Jacob, also known as the deceiver, who tricked his brother out of his birthright as the first-born son. His life was a wrestling match, always looking for more. He truly honoured God’s blessing through his father, so much so that in desperation he went to great lengths to get this blessing, even if inappropriately. However, it appears that Jacob was very reliant upon his own ways and innovations to the point that he also failed to fully explore the extent of the relationship God had for him. He was a self made man.
Jacob stopped at Bethel and had a vision of angels. He just saw them coming and going. They had no personal message for him because their assignment was pertaining to the land. When he woke up, he made comment about the land being special, a doorway to heaven. Before then the land was apparently normal and he had no idea of its significance. He did however offer up a memorial sacrifice to bless that place and then went on his way thinking nothing more of it.
Years later, Jacob found himself in that land only when he was driven out of Shechem. He did not arrive in Bethel for at least 20 years because he was not quick to obey and only went there in his distress. When he did get up and go, God put ‘ the terror of the Lord’ on all his enemies so he passed thru easily and successfully. The Lord obviously had much to give him there in that land and was working for him as He was for Adam and Eve.
God made a deposit at Bethel long before Jacob even walked on that land, held in trust especially for him, just waiting years there for him to search it out. He didn’t understand that his future lay in that land. He cleansed his household of idols, worshipped there and left. He was a very blessed man before this visit back to Bethel and he left assuming the blessing would continue as before. He was not discerning the value of God leading him there through hardship and so he left the place of Bethel yet again.
Jacob was supposed to settle in the land where he received the earlier revelation and steward it. Unfortunately, he exchanged the spiritually dynamic land for grazing land for his livestock because he was looking with his natural eye. He was to visit, dwell and stay there to experience God’s presence. God wanted to give him something that lay in the land dynamics of Bethel where he had his vision. He was instructed to return there to stay, but he did not obey. Have we been invited back to a land, a place where we once had a divine connection? Where life flowed into us and we saw and walked beyond the ranch land and into the realm of tranquility with communion with God?
Once Jacob left, his life spiraled downwards. His wife died and things began to go sour. He experienced one trial after another as he walked in hardship and though he was a rich man, he had lost communion with His God. He was not fulfilled in his days. He later was quoted as having said to Pharaoh in Egypt – “Few and bitter have been the days of my life”. This all came about after he did not value the guiding hand of God for him and his inheritance hidden in the land of Bethel. He had missed it. Although he did get his father’s blessing and birthright, he failed to gain his inheritance and forfeited a walk with his God that would have brought him such joy and a sense of accomplishment that can only come when we follow God’s blueprint for us.
What would life have been like for him if he lived on the land of his inheritance? No doubt the angels ascending on the ladder and descending are a key to what he may have experienced; divine assistance and partnering with heaven like no other place on earth.
Is there a land that God has been drawing you to? If so, it is assuredly to bring you into discovery, fulfillment and inheritance. Where you live may be hard and dark and though you may be spiritually opposed by the status quo of religion, it could be that you have been led there in a strange way to discover and tap into the treasures that are just for you. God will withdraw something from that land and deposit it into your account. Therefore let us return to our dependence upon our God as He alone has the map for us. The invitation is waiting for us.
Why not join me in returning to God, to that place, that piece of lush land in your history where you have previously met with God. It may be a far away place you once lived, or a playground as a child where you would meet with your heavenly Father and feel the joy and simplicity of being the apple of His eye. Thanks to Jesus, we have a new and living way back to complete union with God. The lands we live on and walk on every day have hidden treasure in them. History has left its mark leaving light and life or darkness and destruction. The light of life that is within us is like a candle that reflects upon our walk on this earth and we add to it the health of the land when we walk in the light as He is in the light.
Furthermore, generations past have stewarded lands for the kingdom, so let us take up dominion with God and access all that He invites us into as we move along this glorious adventure. May we work together to draw one another into the fascination of our God and all he has for each and every one of His children. Jesus said: “Where your heart is there will your treasure be also.”
It’s time for the treasure hunt of our lives.