Vol. 11 No. 12 December 2009
God speaks most emphatically through David the Psalmist and declares, “For every beast of the forest is Mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the mountains, and the wild beasts of the field are Mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you; for the world is Mine, and all its fullness” (Psalm 50:10-12). Do we believe and understand that?
Three passages from Psalms of the many in Scripture are meant to give us complete understanding of who owns what. Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein.” Psalm 89:11 says, “The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours; the world and all its fullness, You have founded them.” Psalm 104:24 says, “O LORD, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all. The earth is full of Your possessions.” Do we believe and understand that?
We often sing the song, “This World Is Not My Home.” Solomon, speaking of mankind, states in Ecclesiastes 5:15, “As he came from his mother’s womb, naked shall he return, to go as he came; and he shall take nothing from his labor which he may carry away in his hand.” Do we believe and understand that?
In the life of Job, God first allowed Satan to kill all ten of his children and destroy all of his possessions. He had no understanding of why. Chapter 1:20-21 reads, “Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.’”
Elihu, one of the men who witnessed Job’s suffering, speaking of God, said, “If He should set His heart on it, if He should gather to Himself His Spirit and His breath, all flesh would perish together, and man would return to the dust” (Job 34:14-15). The very air we breathe belongs to God, so how could we ever think that we really own anything?
Everything that we have materially is ours because God created it and entrusted it to us, not because we have worked and paid for it. Everything we are privileged to enjoy came from the earth, which was created at God’s command. Psalm 33:8-9 declares, “Let all the earth fear the LORD. Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke and it was done, He commanded and it stood fast.”
When we were children, if we wanted to give our parents a gift, we had to ask them for the money to buy it! That is the same kind of dependence we have on God whether we have the submission and humility to acknowledge it or not.
David acknowledged this total dependence on God before all of Israel. In 1 Chronicles 29:11 he says, “Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, the power and the glory, the victory and the majesty; For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and You are exalted as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You, and You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; In Your hand it is to make great, and to give strength to all.”
One of the Pharaohs during Ezekiel’s time apparently did not grasp this eternal truth. He was soon to have perfect knowledge of the world’s ownership when God sent Ezekiel with a proclamation against Egypt. The word of the LORD had come to Ezekiel and God had said to him, “Son of man, set your face against Pharaoh king of Egypt, and prophesy against him, and against all Egypt. Speak, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against you, O Pharaoh king of Egypt, O great monster who lies in the midst of his rivers, who has said, My River is my own; I have made it for myself’” (Ezekiel 29:2-3).
When did the Nile River become his own personal property? This pinnacle of arrogance was voiced from what has to be absolute ignorance or insanity! God pronounces His judgment on Pharaoh’s prideful self-importance in verses 8 and 9. “Therefore thus says the Lord God: ‘Surely I will bring a sword upon you and cut off from you man and beast. And the land of Egypt shall become desolate and waste; then they will know that I am the LORD, because he said, The River is mine, and I have made it.’”
Esau’s descendants were the Edomites; they carried on Esau’s hatred for Israel and Judah. This dated back to the time that Jacob received the blessing rather than Esau from their father Isaac. Genesis 27:41 says, “So Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father blessed him, and Esau said in his heart, ‘The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then I will kill my brother Jacob.’”
When God delivered the children of Israel from Egyptian captivity, Moses sent messengers to the king of Edom saying, “Thus says your brother Israel: ‘You know all the hardship that has befallen us…Please let us pass through your country…” (Numbers 20:14-19). The king of Edom replied, “‘You shall not pass through.’ So Edom came out against them with many men and with a strong hand. Thus Edom refused to give Israel passage through his territory; so Israel turned away from him” (Numbers 20:20-21).
In response to the hostility of Edom during and after the Babylonian conquest of Judah, God instructed Ezekiel to prophesy against Mount Seir. During the time of the fall of Jerusalem to Babylonia, there was no remorse on Edom’s part. Therefore, God told them, “Because you have had an ancient hatred, and have shed the blood of the children of Israel by the power of the sword at the time of their calamity…Thus I will make Mount Seir most desolate, and cut off from it the one who leaves and the one who returns” (Ezekiel 35:5-7).
God further said to them, “Because you have said, ‘These two nations and these two countries shall be mine, and we will possess them,’ although the LORD was there” (Ezekiel 35:10). The Edomites had long dreamed of merging their nation with Israel and Judah, gaining control of the entire region. As one writer put it, “However, she overlooked one significant truth: that the LORD was there. What an unfortunate oversight!”
Edom would soon learn just how unfortunate that oversight was when God declared judgment upon their whole nation for their haughtiness and misplaced thoughts of superiority! “As you rejoiced because the inheritance of the house of Israel was desolate, so I will do to you; you shall be desolate, O Mount Seir, as well as all of Edom—all of it! Then they shall know that I am the LORD”(Ezekiel 35:15).
“Then they shall know that I am the LORD” is a statement that is replete in the Book of Ezekiel. We as the human race must come to understand that Jehovah God is the only true and living God, and He wants the entire world to know it! He is Sovereign LORD of all the earth and everything and everybody belongs to Him! He made all of us, and one day we will all answer to Him! God controlled the past, He is controlling the present, and He will control the future! He has already declared the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:9-10). Egypt, Edom and many other nations and individuals learned that lesson—what about us?
In Psalm 39:6-7, David writes, “Surely every man walks about like a shadow; surely they busy themselves in vain; he heaps up riches, and does not know who will gather them. And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You.”
We own exactly nothing. As Paul writes to the young evangelist Timothy, he leaves no room for doubt or misunderstanding. “Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (1 Timothy 6:6-7). This irrevocable truth is borne out every day of our lives. As one good preacher said who has already gone to glory, “You have never seen a hearse going to the cemetery pulling a U-haul trailer!”