In Deuteronomy 11:9-12, Moses describes the Promised Land to those who were about to inherit it. In verse 9, he describes it as a land “flowing 26 live by faithwith milk and honey.” I talked a little about that in yesterday’s devotion. In verse 10, he adds the idea that this land of promise is a land unlike anything they had ever experienced. It says, “For the land that you are entering to take possession of it is not like the land of Egypt, from which you have come, where you sowed your seed and irrigated it, like a garden of vegetables.” The Amplified Bible translates this verse that helps us understand the focus. It reads, “For the land which you go in to possess is not like the land of Egypt, from which you came out, where you sowed your seed and watered it with your foot laboriously as in a garden of vegetables.”

In Egypt there was negligible rainfall, so crops were planted along the flat Nile Valley, so irrigation, using the Nile waters, is the method of agriculture. One commentator reports, “The obscure phrase ‘watered it with your feet’ must refer to irrigation, cf. GNB. The hilly terrain of Palestine, by contrast, has few rivers or streams, and its fertility is wholly dependent on rainfall.” In the Promised Land people had no alternative but to have faith in God to provide the needed rain. The Nile, the bloodstream of Osiris, one of Egypt’s Gods, was cursed by one of the 10 plagues. It was turned to Blood. The basic premise behind all the ten plagues was who are you going to trust, the gods of Egypt, or the one true God of Heaven? In Egypt, you trust the Nile. In Palestine you trust God. Living in the Promised Land, figuratively speaking, is living a life totally dependent on God. We live by faith, not by sight.

Later in this passage, Deuteronomy 11:16-17, God warns His people, “Take care lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them; then the anger of the LORD will be kindled against you, and he will shut up the heavens, so that there will be no rain, and the land will yield no fruit, and you will perish quickly off the good land that the LORD is giving you.” In Israel there was always the temptation to turn to the fertility gods and fertility rituals of the Canaanites for security. In America the economic gods draw our eyes away from the God of heaven and earth.