By RaJean Vawter
We often talk about the need to claim, take or hold our territory and to know our boundaries. But what does that mean exactly? And once we know our territory, exactly how do we take and hold it? This study will attempt to answer those questions so that we can, in a practical way, obey the word of the prophets to take the territory God has given us, know what our boundaries are and see the Kingdom of God come upon that portion of the earth. It will also present prayer points useful for prayer journeys and assignments on, around and focused on your particular territory.
Using our 21st century vernacular, our territory could be a particular business, area of entertainment or any of the other venues commonly listed as one of the “seven mountains.” In scripture however, a territory is defined by land. Why is this an important subject to study? Because it is important to God as will be easily seen by the abundance of scripture about land. History is full of incidences when revival broke out but then waned because the people left the revival services and got out on land that was defiled. So, what exactly is land, what are its characteristics and how is it defiled?
At the conclusion of this lesson is a list of the meanings for the word land as given in Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. These definitions let us know that most of the time when the Old Testament uses the word land,it is referring to ground, dirt, the stuff we walk on. This is contrary to how I’ve traditionally interpreted the verses that use this word. In fact, many times, when the word refers to a nation or the people on the land, it specifically says, “the people of the land,” and sometimes, the word land and people of the land is used in the same verse.
Here is what I discovered about land. Unless noted otherwise, all uses of the word are the 776 definition as given below.
Genesis 1:9-10 – Then God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And God saw that it was good.
Land can only handle so many people and animals.
Genesis 13:6 – Now the land was not able to support them, that they might dwell together, for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together.
Land can fall into harlotry.
Leviticus 19:29 – Do not prostitute your daughter, to cause her to be a harlot, lest the land fall into harlotry, and the land become full of wickedness.
Hosea 1:2 – When the Lord began to speak by Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea: “Go, take yourself a wife of harlotry and children of harlotry, for the land has committed great harlotry by departing from the Lord.”
Land is to keep the Sabbath to the Lord.
Leviticus 25:2-7 – Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you come into the land which I give you, then the land shall keep a Sabbath to the Lord. Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather its fruit; but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath to the Lord. You shall neither sow your field nor prune your vineyard. What grows of its own accord of your harvest you shall not reap, nor gather the grapes of your untended vine, for it is a year of rest for the land. And the Sabbath produce of the land shall be food for you; for you, your male and female servants, your hired man, and the stranger who dwells with you, for your livestock and the beasts that are in your land – all its produce shall be for food.
Land belongs to someone.
2 Samuel 3:12 – Then Abner sent messangers on his behalf to David, saying, “Whose is the land?”
Psalm 37:29 – The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell in it forever.
The land given to Israel belongs to the Lord and is different from other land.
Leviticus 25: 23 – The land shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine, for you are strangers and sojourners with Me.
2 Samuel 7:23 – And who is like Your people, like Israel, the one nation on the earth whom God went to redeem for Himself as a people, to make for Himself a name – and to do for Yourself great and awesome deeds for Your land – before Your people whom You redeemed for Yourself from Egypt, the nations, and their god?
Genesis 12: 7 –Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendents I will give this land.” And there he built an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him.
Deuteronomy 11:10-17 – For the land which you go to possess is not like the land of Egypt from which you have come where you sowed your seed and watered it by foot, as a vegetable garden; but the land which you cross over to possess is a land of hills and valleys, which drinks water from the rain of heaven, a land for which the Lord your God cares; the eyes of the Lord your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the very end of the year. And it shall be that if you earnestly obey My commandments which I command you today, to love the Lord your God and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, then I will give you the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your grain, hour new wine, and your oil. And I will send grass in your fields for your livestock, that you may eat and be filled. Take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them, lest the Lord’s anger be aroused against you, and He shut up the heavens so that there be no rain, and the land yield no produce, and you perish quickly from the good land (127) which the Lord is giving you.
This verse also lets us know that when the people on the land are in obedience, irrigation is not necessary. God will send rain.
Land can have true peace and rest.
Leviticus 26:6 – I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none will make you afraid; I will rid the land of evil beasts, and the sword will not go through your land.
1 Chronicles 4:40 – And they found rich, good pasture, and the land was broad, quiet, and peaceful; for some Hamites formerly lived there.
2 Chronicles 14:6 – And he (Asa) built fortified cities in Judah, for the land had rest; he had no war in those years, because the Lord had given him rest.
Land is established by justice.
Proverbs 29:4 – The king establishes the land by justice, but he who receives bribes overthrows it.
Land can be troubled.
1 Samuel 14:29 – But Jonathan said, “My father has troubled the land.
Land can weep, cry and mourn.
Job 31:38 – If my land (127) cries out against me, and its furrows week together. . .
Joel 1:10 – The field is wasted, the land mourns; for the grain is ruined, the new wine is dried up, the oil fails.
Land can have fear and tremble.
Ezekiel 30:13 –Thus says the Lord God: I will also destroy the idols, and cause the images to cease from Noph; there shall no longer be princes from the land of Egypt; I will put fear in the land of Egypt.
Amos 8:8 – Shall the land not tremble for this, and everyone mourn who dwells in it? All of it shall swell like the River, heave and subside like the River of Egypt.
Land can rejoice and be glad.
Joel 2:18, 21 – Then the Lord will be zealous for His land, and pity His people. Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice , for the Lord has done marvelous things.
Land can be taxed
2 Kings 23:35 – So Jehoiakim gave the silver and gold to Pharaoh; but he taxed the land to give money according to the command of Pharaoh. . .
2 Chronicles 36:3 – Now the king of Egypt deposed him at Jerusalem; and he imposed on the land a tribute of one hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold.
Disobedience to the Lord causes land to not produce.
Leviticus 26:18, 20, 32-35 – … if you do not obey Me. . . (20) your strength shall be spent in vain; for your land shall not yield its produce, nor shall the trees of the land yield their fruit. (32-34) I will bring the land to desolation and your enemies who dwell in it shall be astonished at it. I will scatter you among the nations and draw out a sword after you; your land shall be desolate and your cities waste. Then the land shall enjoy its Sabbaths as long as it lies desolate and you are in your enemies’ land; then the land shall rest and enjoy its Sabbaths. As long as it lies desolate it shall rest – for the time it did not rest on your Sabbaths when you dwelt in it.
Disobedience to the Lord causes Him to curse the land.
Deuteronomy 29:27-28 – Then the anger of the Lord was aroused against this land, to bring on it every curse that is written in this book. And the Lord uprooted them from their land (127) in anger, in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as it is this day.
2 Chronicles 7:21-22 –And as for this house, which is exalted, everyone who passes by it will be astonished and say, “Why has the Lord done thus to this land and this house?” Then they will answer, “Because they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and embraced other gods, and worshiped them and served them; therefore He has brought all this calamity on them.”
Confession and repentance will heal land.
Leviticus 26:40, 42-43 – But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers, with their unfaithfulness in which they were unfaithful to Me, and that they also have walked contrary to Me. . . then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and My covenant with Isaac and My covenant with Abraham I will remember; I will remember their land. The land also shall be left empty by them, and will enjoy its Sabbaths while it lies desolate without them; they will accept their guilt, because they despised My judgments and because their soul abhorred My statutes.
2 Chronicles 7:13-14 – When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
God is the One who removes iniquity from land.
Zechariah 3:9 – For behold, the stone that I have laid before Joshua, upon the stone are seven eyes, behold, I will engrave its inscription, sais the Lord of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.
With confession, repentance and prayer for the land, plagues are withdrawn.
2 Samuel 24:25 – And David built there an altar to the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the Lord heeded the prayers for the land, and the plague was withdrawn from Israel. (David had numbered Israel.)
God honors efforts to keep the land from being defiled.
2 Samuel 21:14 – They buried the bones of Saul and Jonathan his son. . .And after that God heeded the prayer for the land. (They’d been hanged by the Gibeonites and left.)
God is glorified when the dead are properly buried.
Ezekiel 9:12-14 – “For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them, in order to cleanse the land. Indeed all the people of the land will be burying, and they will gain renown for it on the day that I am glorified,” says the Lord God. “They will set apart men regularly employed, with the help of a search party, to pass through the land and bury those bodies remaining on the ground, in order to cleanse it. . .
Death is apparently a land, a place.
Job 10:21-22 – (Job speaking) Before I go to the place from which I shall not return, to the land of darkenss and the shadow of death, a land as dark as darkness itself, as the shadow of death, without any order, where even the light is like darkness.
Land can be pleasant and upright.
Genesis 49:15 – He (Issachar) saw that rest was good, and that the land was pleasant. . .
Psalm 143:10 – Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; Your Spirit is good. Lead me in the land of uprightness.
Land can be unclean because of the abominations and impurity of the people.
Ezra 9:11 – You commanded by Your servants the prophets, saying, “The land which you are entering to possess is an unclean land, with the uncleanness of the peoples of the lands, with their abominations which have filled it from one end to another with their impurity.
Land can be defiled. When it is, it will vomit the people out of it.
Leviticus 18:25-28 – For the land is defiled: therefore I visit the punishment of its iniquity upon it, and the land vomits out its inhabitants. You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations, either any of your own nation or any stranger who dwells among you (for all these abominations the men of the land have done, who were before you, and thus the land is defiled), lest the land vomit you out also when you defile it, as it vomited out the nations that were before you.
Leviticus 20:22 –You shall therefore keep all My statutes and all My judgments, and perform them, that the land where I am bringing you to dwell may not vomit you out
Land is defiled by the shedding of blood – by violence and of innocent blood.
Numbers 35:33 – So you shall not pollute the land where you are; for blood defiles the land, and no atonement can be made for the land, for the blood that is shed on it, except by the blood of him who shed it.
Psalm 106:34-38 – They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons, and shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; and the land was polluted with blood.
Land is defiled by death by hanging if not buried immediately.
Deuteronomy 21:22-23 – If a man has committed a sin deserving of death, and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, his body shall not remain overnight on the tree, but you shall surely bury him that day, so that you do not defile the land (127)which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance; for he who is hanged is accursed of God.
Land is defiled by divorce, marriage, then remarriage to the first spouse.
Deuteronomy 24:4 – then her former husband who divorced her must not take her back to be his wife after she has been defiled; for that is an abomination before the Lord, and you shall not bring sin on the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance.
Jeremiah 3:1a – They say, ‘If a man divorces his wife, and she goes from him and becomes another man’s, may he return to her again?’ Would not that land be greatly polluted?
Land is defiled when the people transgress God’s laws, changed ordinances and broken the everlasting covenant.
Isaiah 24 – The earth is also defiled under its inhabitants, because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinances, broken the everlasting covenant.
Ways Land Is Cursed, the people removed from the Land and/or judgment dispensed.
1. Given no Sabbath rest – Leviticus 25:4, 26:2
2. Creation of Idols – Leviticus 26:1
3. Despise God’s Judgments – Leviticus 26:43
4. Hate God’s Statutes – Leviticus 26:43
5. Forsake the Covenant of God – Deuteronomy 29:25
6. Sodomites in the Land – 1 Kings 14:24
7. Forsake God – 2 Chronicles 7:22
8. Walk Under Dictates of Our Own Hearts – Jeremiah 9:13-16
9. Traitorous Betrayal – Ezekiel 14:13
10. Use Oppression – Ezekiel 22:29
11. Commit Robbery – Ezekiel 22:29
12. Trouble the Poor and Needy – Ezekiel 22:29
13. Oppress the Stranger Without Right – Ezekiel 22:29
14. No Intercessors – Ezekiel 22:30
15. Lack of Regard for God’s House – Haggai 1:11
Ways To Pray For Defiled Land (besides praying through all the scriptures given above).
1. Pray that God will grant redemption for the land. – Leviticus 25:24
2. Claim cleansing of land defiled by those who have died after shedding blood. Pray for those who have shed blood to repent for their sin and seek redemption for the land. – Numbers 35:33
3. Pray that all would turn toward God, confess His name and turn from our sins so there will be rain and fruitfulness in the land. – 1 Kings 3:35
4. Pray for removal of all sodomites from the land. – 1 Kings 22:46
5. Pray that we own our sin (take responsibility) and in the grief of repentance turn toward God for as long as we live in the land. – 2 Chronicles 6:29
6. Humble ourselves, pray, seek God’s face and turn from our wicked ways so God will hear us and heal our land. – 2 Chronicles 7:14
7. Pray to have the fear of God, knowing that God’s salvation is near to those who fear Him so that His glory may dwell in the land. – Psalm 85:9
8. Pray for a teachable spirit. – Psalm 143:10
9. Pray that God lead us into the land of uprightness. – Psalm 143:10
10. Pray for discernment of what is right so that we might prolong the land despite its transgressions. – Proverbs 28:2
11. Pray for our national leadership to exercise righteous judgment without the taking of bribes that our land might be established. – Proverbs 29:4
12. Pray that we always remain willing and obedient to follow God’s leading so that we might eat the good of the land. – Isaiah 1:19
13. Pray and seek God’s instructions in all things lest he make us a desolate land without people. – Jeremiah 6:8
HEBREW WORDS USED
776 – Used 1,586 times – ‘erets, ch’rets; from an unused root prob. Mean. To be firm; the earth (at large, or partitively a land): - x common, country, earth, field, ground, land, X nations, way, + wilderness, world
127 – Used 74 times – ‘adamah, ad-aw-maw’; from 119; soil (from its gen. redness): - country, earth, ground, husband[-man] (-ry), land.
119 –‘adam, aw-dam’; to show blood (in the fact), i.e. flush or turn rosy: - by (dyed, made) red (ruddy).
249 – Used twice – ‘ezrach, ez-rawkh’: from 2224 (in the sense of springing up); a spontaneous growth, i.e. native (tree or persons); - bay tree, (home) born (in the land), of the (one’s own) country (nation).
7704 – Used 6 times – sadeh, saw-deh’: or saday, saw-dah’ee: from an unused root mean. To spread out: a field (as flat): - country, field, ground, land, soil, X wild.
3004 – Used one time - yabbushah, yah-baw-shaw’: from 3001; dry ground: - dry (ground, land).
3001 has to do with to be ashamed, confused or disappointed, to dry up or wither, be confounded.
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30