Deuteronomy 2:5 “You’ve been traveling around this hill country long enough; turn north. Command the people: You are about to travel through the territory of your brothers, the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir. They will be afraid of you, so be very careful. Don’t provoke them, for I will not give you and of their land, not even a foot of it, because I have given Esau the hill country of Seir as his possession.”
The Israelites were traveling in the desert and came upon Esau’s land. Esau was the brother of Jacob. Jacob tricked Esau into giving up his birthright. God still provided for Esau, multiplying his descendants and giving him the hill country of Seir as his territory.
In this passage, many generations between Jacob and Moses, the Israelites were passing by Esau’s land.
This passage shows us that God always keeps His promises. Esau’s descendants were not people that were going to inherit the Promised Land. Esau had traded away his birthright for a bowl of stew, yet God did not leave him with nothing.
Generations later, God was still keeping His promise to Esau. It didn’t expire with his death or even end at his children. Hundreds of years later and the Israelites were still forbidden to take the land.
This is a beautiful example that God does not take away one person’s promise to fulfill another. He didn’t need to take away Esau’s promise to provide for the Israelites. The Israelites already had a land that was promised to them.
I imagine that some Israelites were not happy with this command. Here was a perfectly good piece of land and they were forbidden from taking even a foot. Here was a people that had not received the inheritance promised to Jacob, and yet it seemed as if they had it much better. The Israelites had been wandering for forty years, and here were Esau’s people with a permanent home.
God addresses this later in the passage after He instructs them that they can purchase things from them and trade: “For the Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this immense wilderness. The Lord your God has been with you this past forty years, and you have lacked nothing.” (verse 7).
When you witness the promises and abundance of others, do not allow it to tempt you. Do not look at what they have and think, “that is what I need.”
God’s fulfillment of their promise is not His neglect of yours.
Esau had his land, and the Israelites were promised theirs, they had just not received it yet. God refused to revoke one person’s promise to fulfill another’s. The same is true for you: He will not trade in your promise to fulfill someone else’s.
Just because you haven’t received your promise yet doesn’t mean it isn’t coming. God honors His covenants and keeps His word.
If He has promised something to you, await it with eager anticipation. Celebrate with others as their promises are fulfilled and knows that yours is on the way.