After He had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, He gave them their land as an inheritance for about four hundred fifty years. After that He gave them judges until the time of the prophet Samuel. Then they asked for a king; and God gave them Saul son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, who reigned for forty years. Acts 13:19-20
Paul recounts for the synagogue listeners, and us, that God destroyed seven nations in order to give them the land God promised to them. The Exodus Song illuminates this: ‘God gave this land, God gave this land to me,’ sung by Pat Boone who rode in my car when I was a girl in Albuquerque, talking with Dad, my sister and I about what he would say about faith at the Albuquerque Convention Center.
The promised land meant the end to the wilderness wanderings, birthing babies in tents, and an end to waiting for the journey to end. In this we see that surely the suffering that comes into each of our lives, the terms of waiting and yearning for the destination, and the bits of gray distress do bring us closer to God and yet the green valley of home in Christ greets us with stability and calm.
Also, God gave them judges and then kings for their legal dealings because the people asked God for these leaders. Yet they’d never find a leader again like Moses was to lead them as he relied fully on God to tell him and then acted on those instructions. Moses got them near to the Promised Land and then Joshua took them into the Promised Land. Paul is going somewhere with this– to the Promised One Jesus Christ.