Dr. James C. Denison
President, Center for Informed Faith, Dallas, TX
Why did God choose Israel?
Let’s begin our conversation this week with the question: Why did God choose Israel? The nation today is no larger than New Jersey. Until natural gas reserves were discovered recently off the Mediterranean coast, the land had few natural resources. It has always struggled to have enough water. The southern half of the country is more barren than fertile.
And Israel has been the world’s battleground for millennia. Revolts such as the one sweeping the Arab world are nothing new for this part of the globe. Egypt was a perennial superpower in the ancient world. Other empires such as Assyria, Babylon, Persia and Greece vied with Egypt for military and economic supremacy. Countries did not want to fight on their own soil, so these competing nations sent their armies out to march against each other. They met in Israel, usually on the Via Maris (the Way of the Sea) which winds through the Valley of Megiddo (Har Megiddo or Armageddon).
When we visit Megiddo we’ll look out over the vast plain where pharaohs, Assyrian kings, Babylonian rulers, and Persian and Greek armies fought and died. Israel, tiny though she is, stands at the crossroads of the ancient world. Traders and soldiers hiked her hills and fought for control of her highways.
This strategic location helps explain why God chose this land for his people. His plan for our salvation required him to choose a nation through whom to bring our Savior and Messiah. He chose Abraham, a man who “believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness” (Genesis 15:6). Then he chose this land to belong to his offspring: “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates” (v. 18).
He led his people out of Egyptian slavery and made this land their inheritance. Then, “when the time had fully come, God sent his Son” (Galatians 4:4). Roman roads and peace enabled early Christians to travel their world with the gospel, starting from that nation which stood at the crossroads of civilization.
Just as God chose the place and time for his Son to fulfill his eternal plan, so he chose the place and time for you to fulfill his plan for you. You could have been born in any country at any time in history. Like Esther, you are alive “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). Your King has a purpose for you which no one else can fulfill. Is your life fully his today?