Why Israel? Out of all the places on this globe, why did God choose this little country to reveal his plan for the world? There are far more strategic centers, natural power places on the globe. In ancient times the two world powers were Babylon and Egypt. Both of these powerful centers had massive wealth, population concentration, and power. If you wanted to impact the world, it would make human sense to pick one of these centers and leverage its natural capacity. But instead, God chose a place that was least likely to succeed. Instead of a natural destination point, Israel has been called “the land between.”
The land between Babylon and Egypt:
- The trade between these two ancient superpowers had to pass through Canaan. This meant that both superpowers were very concerned about control of the highway.
- These two superpowers were distinctly different in culture, so there was constant cultural influence surging back and forth through Canaan.
- These superpowers competed for power, and their armies often marched north and south through Canaan. They each demanded the allegiance of the people of Canaan. This meant for very tricky diplomacy, because agreeing to support one superpower meant to incur the wrath of the other.
The land between the desert and the sea:
- On the edge of the natural rainfall region, Canaan’s weather was unreliable. In contrast, Egypt could count on an annual flood every single year. This meant bumper crops year after year. Canaanite farmers never knew from year-to-year how their crop would go.
It’s hard to imagine a place on the globe more difficult than Canaan. Constantly dominated by superpowers around them, the Canaanite kings never could control much more than their own city. With no natural resources, nothing which would naturally create power and wealth, Canaan was simply considered the land you had to pass through to get where you really wanted to go.
And the Israelites … slaves in Egypt. You would not pick these to be the people with whom you change the world! Shorter in physical stature than the peoples around them, and less developed in their technical skills, they would not be the natural choice for a people to influence the world.
So God takes the Israelites, and sends them to Canaan. Not a good idea, if you were to ask the world’s best strategic planners.
But perhaps that’s exactly the point – God demonstrated his grace in people who are the least likely to succeed, in a place most difficult on the globe. They would have to learn to live by faith, and not trust natural human resources. They would find out that God truly does intervene in the affairs of people, and that his ways are not just for the rich and powerful.
This is very good news for us! If he can do it with them, he can do it with you.
Join Dr. Dan Reinhardt, March 15-29, 2015, on a study tour to Israel. You will learn the backgrounds of the Bible that brings the text to life like nothing else! We will be led by the Jerusalem University College, the one Christian school in Israel that has specialized in the backgrounds of the Bible for decades. You will receive study materials to prepare yourself for your trip of a lifetime. The deadline to join is fast approaching – November 30, 2014. Put your deposit in to reserve your place!