Howard Mooney - The Good Land - Seattle, Washington - 1968

Deuteronomy 11:10-12, this book of Deuteronomy is the story of the good land God gave to His people. Over and over again in the pages of this book, you find that expression, "The land which the Lord thy God giveth thee." If you would like an interesting study in the next weeks or months, read this book over and make a notation every time that expression occurs, and consider the wonderful things God mentions about this land.

The reason this has a real meaning to us today is because this land is just a type and foretaste of the fellowship God gives today. The special blessing that rested upon that land which made it the veritable paradise that it was, is the same blessing that God wants to give us spiritually today; it is the gift of God.

Did you ever wonder why God chose the land of Canaan - the land of promise as a type of His church and the place of His blessing? Why not Spain? That was much more easily reached. Italy had a better coastline. Greece had a better climate. Why did He choose this little narrow neck of land, almost unknown, way up along the Mediterranean seacoast?

There are 2 reasons: Harry Holland mentioned one of these when he was out this way a few years ago - because it was in the very center of the then-known world, and that put it within the reach of everyone. His fellowship, His church, His place of blessing, has always been within the reach or everyone. Jesus, Himself, said, "Just ask and it shall be given unto you, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you." It is still, spiritually speaking, in the very centre of the universe.

The second reason is that it was a little world separated from the rest or the world; it was in the world but not of the world. It was bounded on the west by the Mediterranean Sea, on the south by a wilderness, on the east by the Jordan Gulf, and on the north by a mountain range. You could not enter it apart from crossing over a natural barrier. God has always desired that His people be a separated people. Separation has been the hallmark of God’s people and the security of God’s people. (Exodus 33:16) When I was young, I used to wish God’s people were not separated. I certainly am thankful today, because I can see beyond the veneer of fun and entertainment that the world goes in for, to the heartaches and woes and the disappointments and the bitter tears that are in the background.

I read some figures some time ago that were astonishing: in this country every 2½ minutes, somebody attempts suicide. It wouldn’t be so astonishing if that was over in India where people are starving to death or the satellite countries where people have been reduced to slavery and drudgery, but this is taking place in "America the Beautiful." Egypt was a wonderful organization. There was no natural blessing from God down there so they had to organize. They dug some canals and made water wheels that were operated by foot and elevated the water out or the River Nile. They changed it all right; they made it a garden of herbs, but there were some things they never had: 1. No rest. They had to work day and night to keep their organization going. If they would stop working the water stopped flowing and there would be no food.

2. No refreshing. After all was said and done, all they had to enjoy were those warm, stagnant waters from the River Nile. Even Pharaoh’s daughter, the princess of the land had to come down and take her bath in that warm, stagnant insipid water.

3. No food value. They raised leeks, garlic, melons, etc., but those are just garnishes. They create an appetite, but they don’t satisfy it. But God said this land of Canaan is not like the land of Egypt; you won’t have to organize to make this land work. It is a land of hills and valleys. All you have to do is enter in and enjoy it. Remember that wonderful time when you were brought into the Truth and you realized, "Here is something that is already working!" You don’t have to put your shoulder to the wheel, just enter in and enjoy it. It has always been an accepted fact that an inch of rain will do far more than an inch of irrigation, whether you flood it or sprinkle it. Why? When the rain was coming down from above, it brought nourishment from above (particles of star dust) that couldn’t be found on the earth.

When I sat in the meeting this morning and heard our brother and the sisters bringing those little showers of blessing, I surely felt here was something that could be found no place else in the land. You couldn’t get it out of the seminary or the library. This is the wisdom that cometh down from above and is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Psalms 68:9, "And Thou, 0 Lord, didst send the plentiful rain whereby Thou didst confirm Thine inheritance when it was weary."

The eyes of the Lord are upon it from the beginning of the year to the end of the year. Young people in the spring time of life’s year; there is wonderful evidence that God in a special way is caring for those young lives. I feel it is a compound miracle that at a time when the youth problem is the number one worry of the nation. In the midst of it all, God is raising up one of the greatest groups of young people we have ever had. Where we have been having some meetings recently, not far from the State University, 15 or 20 college students and several high school students come, and there has hardly been a stranger in those meetings who hasn’t commented on those young people - clean cut, pure quality of our young people. I don’t suppose you young people realize how often the Lord’s servants get down on their knees and thank God for our pure young people. They are the future of the Kingdom.

Then we think of the fathers and mothers, the ones who are bearing the heat of the day, struggling to keep a roof over your heads, and the right atmosphere in your home. In this busy, struggling time of life when we realize it is harder to make ends meet than ever before, it is wonderful to see the unmistakable evidence of the fact that in the summertime of life’s year, God is caring for you and your children and your Godly home in a special way.

Old folks coming to the sunset, golden years - in the autumn of life’s year, God is caring for you in an extra special way. To you who realize it, it will not be too long until you have passed from this scene into the great beyond. The older you get and the more feeble you become in body, the more extra special care God will take of you. Moses was coming to the more infirm years of his life when he spoke of the "everlasting arms" (Deuteronomy 33:27). There is a verse we often give to older people and I would like to give it to you this morning in case it has not already been called to your attention: Isaiah 46:4, the Lord is speaking directly to His old folks, "Don’t you be afraid that I’m going to let you down just because your own faculties are letting you down and maybe you can’t pray or testify as fluently as you used to, and maybe your memory isn’t as good."

This good land is God’s gift — just ours for the accepting. But while this is true, there were certain things the Lord asked of His people when they got into the land. He knew that when they began to enjoy the wonderful things, the first question that would arise was, "What can we do to show our appreciation, to help the extension of His Kingdom — to be an honour to this wonderful thing we had the glorious privilege of being brought into?" One thing God asked them to do was, "Abide by My Word." (Deuteronomy 11:31-32) That would make them united and it is upon the basis of unity that fellowship has always rested — and fellowship is the end towards which God has always worked. The crowning joy is fellowship. The fact that we preach the Gospel differently and worship differently is vital, but remember, it is only a means to an end. The greatest blessing His people enjoy is fellowship. If people ask you the difference between this way and others, just tell them we have fellowship. "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity."

Paul writes in Romans 15, "That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God." The greatest contribution you can make is to help promote unity. The second thing God asked of His people is found in Deuteronomy 12:10-12. They were to make certain self-denials and sacrifices. Why? "That you may rejoice." It is hard for the human heart to grasp the fact that sacrifice and joy go hand in hand together. We are all human enough to feel, "If I keep my life for myself, I will be happy. If I give it to the Lord, I will be more or less miserable." But you show me a person who is giving God his best, and I will show you a happy person. The people who are happiest on the face of the earth are those who are giving God their best, and there is no exception to this statement. Happiness is the beacon light that shines forth from the lives of God’s people. Nothing we can contribute will mean more to a perishing world or give them more hope than to see this glorious joy.

An old brother worker down in one of the southern states made this statement, "I have got more joy going to waste in my life than a dozen people could make use of!" He didn’t have to tell; we knew it just by looking at him. He had been giving God the best he had. You are like a city set on a hill; it would be utterly impossible to hide it. On the other hand, you show me a person that is keeping back from God his best, and I will show you one of the most miserable people on the face of the earth