Outside my window, a farmer sliced open his field with plow and disk, preparing the ground for seed. This seems no place to grow crops. We average 12 inches of rain a year in this high desert of Colorado.
Yet, because of the magic of irrigation, corn and wheat abound. During the heat of July, the corn soaks in the sun's rays – necessary to produce rapid growth – while drinking in cool water flooding the field.
It reminds me a little of the situation in ancient Egypt, when the Israelites served as slaves for 400 years. As Moses reminded his people in Deuteronomy, the land of Egypt was watered by irrigation from the Nile River.
But, he cautioned, "the land that you are about to enter to occupy is not like the land of Egypt, from which you have come, where you sow your seed and irrigate by foot like a vegetable garden" (Deut 11:1)
The new land wasn't that way. These people were used to doing what was needed to get their food. But in this new land, they would have to depend on rain from the sky.
Moses put it differently. They were going to "a land that the Lord your God looks after." (Deut 11:12a)
I've lived in areas where farmers depended on rain only for their crops. Now I live in a place where they can use irrigation.
It's easy to depend on lakes and canal systems and wells when you use irrigation. It's easy to depend on your own resources and inventiveness.
God took his people to a place where they were dependent on his hand.
The Israelites had learned the religion and ways of Egypt after living there for 400 years. Now, God was teaching them his ways. And what better way than taking them into a land where the harvest depended on rain from God?
Sometimes we, too, prefer the irrigation system because we depend on ourselves. But when God takes us to places where we are dependent on his hand, we walk into that land that God looks after.
"The eyes of the Lord your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year." (Deut 11:12)