The Promised Land – A Parable
This is the sixth in a series of essays examining the Middle East situation from a Biblical perspective.
A gardener owned some land. It was dry and full of rocks and thistles. In it he built a garden. He cut down and burned the thistles, removed the rocks and used them to make a fence around the garden to keep out predators. Then he planted many pomegranate, coriander, and honeysuckle; watered them; and protected and tended them day in, day out. He hired gardeners to tend the garden, and showed them exactly how to protect and care for the garden. The garden brought forth many beautiful fragrant flowers and gave much pleasure to the gardener.
Then one day the gardener left to a faraway place, and the gardeners neglected the garden. The plants cried out, “I’m thirsty!” but there was none to water them. The sun came and beat upon them, but there was none to shade them. Thistles invaded and choked the flowers, for there was none to pull the thistles out. The wind scattered the flower seeds far away, and some took root in the wild. Predators knocked down the wall and threw the stones on the flowers, crushing them, and trampled everything in the garden until nothing was left but thistles, stones, and the stubbles of a few flowers.
The gardener came back and saw that his garden, the delight of his eyes, had been ruined but not destroyed. He was angry at the gardeners and chased them far away, never to return. Then he went into the garden, cleared out the thistles and burnt them all, removed the stones from the garden and threw them away, and lovingly tended the few plants that were left. He pruned them, watered them, fertilized them, placed a shade over them so the sun wouldn’t beat down upon them, and soon they began to flower again.
He nurtured and guarded the garden from predators day and night, and whenever a thistle or weed sprouted up, he pulled it out by its roots and burned it. He took seeds and cuttings from the plants that had survived, and lovingly planted and tended them, fed them, and watered them. He scoured the area all around the garden, found every scattered flower seed that had sprouted, and brought them all back into his garden. As he searched he found some new types of beautiful fragrant wildflowers, lilies and morning glories, and planted those in his garden too.
Soon his garden was once again full and fragrant, more beautiful and robust than ever before; for all these plants had withstood the attacks of the enemy and survived; they were strong and hardy, able to resist the scorching sun and attacks of thistles; yet still they brought forth many beautiful fragrant flowers, and gave much pleasure to the gardener. Every day he watered them, and fed them, and protected them; and they grew more and more beautiful and fragrant each day to become the most beautiful garden in the entire world!
Thus said the Lord GOD:
Therefore prophesy concerning the land of Israel, and say to the mountains and hills, to the ravines and valleys, Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I have spoken in my jealous wrath, because you have suffered the reproach of the nations.
Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: I swear that the nations that are all around you shall themselves suffer reproach.
“But you, O mountains of Israel, shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit to my people Israel, for they will soon come home.
For behold, I am for you, and I will turn to you, and you shall be tilled and sown.
And I will multiply people on you, the whole house of Israel, all of it. The cities shall be inhabited and the waste places rebuilt. (Eze 36:6-10)