Last summer I took part in a seminar sponsored by the Native Ministries Consortium of Vancouver, British Columbia. This was my first experience teaching the Bible to native peoples from Canada, the United States and other countries. Walking in their moccasins, so to speak, and trying to see through their eyes gave me a new appreciation of the difficulty and challenge of interpreting the Bible in the modern world.
In one study we considered the theme of the promise to the ancestors of Israel: the theme announced in the opening verses of Genesis 12 and developed in the remainder of the Pentateuch. One aspect of God’s promise is the promise of land (Genesis 12:1, 7). In the story of the burning bush, Moses is assured that God will deliver the Israelites from bondage in Egypt and bring them “to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey.” This promise will be realized, however, by dispossessing the indigenous peoples: “the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites” (Exodus 3:8).