Friday, May 8, 2009

When Spiritual Corruption Defiles the Land

Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David inquired of the LORD. And the LORD answered, “It is because of Saul and his bloodthirsty house, because he killed the Gibeonites.” (2 Samuel 21:1)
Evil corrupts the land. Not necessarily by physical pollution — Saul’s murder of the Gibeonites did not particularly damage the natural environment — but by marring the underlying reality of the land. The natural realm arises from the spiritual, for the heavens and the earth were created by God, who is Spirit.

Spiritual defilement has catastrophic effects on the ecosphere. We see this especially in Genesis 3, when Adam rebelled against God, disconnecting from the divine source. Because man was created from the earth to have dominion over it, when Adam sinned, the earth was corrupted (Genesis 3:17-19). That is why Paul said that all creation groans, waiting for the sons of God to be revealed (Romans 8:18-23). The redemption of man means healing for the earth itself.

The pattern of spiritual corruption defiling the land is repeated often in the Bible:
  • In the generation after Adam, Cain slew Abel, and the blood of Abel cried out from the ground (Genesis 4:10).
  • Sexual immorality — fornications, adulteries, homosexuality, bestiality — defiles the lands (Leviticus 18:24-25).
  • Bloodshed defiles the ground (Numbers 35:34-35).
  • Idolatry, the worship of false gods, defiles the land (Jeremiah 16:17-18).
  • Breaking the laws of God devours the earth with curse (Isaiah 24:4-6).
  • In addition to bloodshed and adultery, lying and speaking evil of others causes the land to mourn (Hosea 4:1-3).
Famine came on the land of Israel for three years in a row. David sought the word of the Lord about this and discovered it was because of Saul’s murderous heart and bloodthirsty ways. A restitution was required, not to God but to the Gibeonites. When David complied, the famine passed and the land was healed. For the generation after David, and forward, God made this promise:
If My people, who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
The redemption of humanity and the healing of the land is ultimately based upon Jesus, “Mediator of the new covenant” and the “blood of sprinkling that speaks better things that that of Abel” (Hebrews 12:24). The blood of Abel decried defilement. The blood of Jesus declares healing, not just for us, but also for the land.

Spiritual defilement corrupts the land, but repentance (turning to God) and righteousness (doing things God’s way) brings restoration.

(See also Why Does the Land Mourn, Alienated from the Land and Healing a Defiled Land.)