“The nations will hear and tremble;
anguish will grip the people of Philistia.
The chiefs of Edom will be terrified,
the leaders of Moab will be seized with trembling,
the people of Canaan will melt away;
terror and dread will fall on them.”
In verses 14 and 15 of the Song of Moses, we are told that the nations will be quaking in their boots over Israel.
Was Israel being arrogant and boasting?
Why would the nations be so terrified of Israel?
Well, first of all, the awesome events that occurred between Israel and Egypt didn’t exactly occur in a vacuum.
Even though the internet didn’t exist in those days, news still travelled quite fast and people had a great interest in what was going on in other countries.
As I mentioned before, the number of those who left Egypt would have totaled about three million people.
The whole region would have known about this mass exodus within a couple of days of it occurring.
Notice that the nations of Philistia, Edom, Moab and Canaan are singled out.
Why would these nations in particular be concerned about Israel?
Well, this might surprise you to know but by that time it was common knowledge that the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob held the belief that they would one day end up inheriting the territory currently inhabited by these four nations.
And of course, in addition, these four nations had heard about the devastation Israel’s God had wreaked on Egypt.
If the God of Israel had so easily made a mockery of Egypt’s gods, they realized there might be no stopping His chosen people if they decided to take their land from them.
From a tribal perspective, this would have meant the loss of much personal wealth and power not to mention the humiliation of the chieftains and kings who were currently ruling over the territory YHVH had already designated as belonging to Israel.
Understand that these four nations had likely expressed a very public concern about where exactly this huge Israelite mob and their ruthless God was heading.
When praying about what lesson could be derived from today’s post, I felt like the Lord popped the following question into my mind.
“What do ye think of Israel?”
I realized this wasn’t just a question for me but ultimately a question for every person who walks the face of this planet.
This question also brought to mind the following quote from that great Messianic Jewish preacher Art Katz:
“I have only to know how a Gentile believer regards the Jew to understand where he is spiritually. If you find an anti-Semite, you know exactly where he is spiritually. He is a despiser and a hater of God.”
What Katz is saying is that how a Gentile regards Israel is a barometer that measures the spiritual condition of that person.
Another interesting thought I felt God placed on my heart is that “it’s not about ethnicity“.
Instantly, there was a part of me that howled in protest.
‘Whaddaya mean it’s not about ethnicity?’
‘The Bible has always been about ethnicity and about how the Jewish people have always been your cherished and chosen people!”
Then God reminded me (and we’ll study this in the Book of Deuteronomy) that His choosing of Israel had nothing to do with merit on their part.
It wasn’t like He chose them because He considered them to be a superior race.
His choice of Israel was not like how men choose others in our day and age where its all about one’s physical characteristics (height and skin color) and societal status (the size of one’s bank account).
In fact, we are reminded that Israel in addition to being slaves were one of the tiniest of people groups.
Even today Israel is I think less than 1% of the global population (might be a bit off with this figure).
Actually, I find this quite inspiring because if God can take a minority people group who were formerly slaves and transform them practically overnight into a great and wondrous nation who exhibits the highest morals ever seen in the history of mankind, imagine what He can do with our lives if we will but surrender to Him?!
Also consider this.
God calling all peoples and nations to love and respect Israel in a sense also demonstrates that it’s not about ethnicity.
Because whether you are French, African, Chinese, Algerian or whatever, we are all EQUALLY called to enjoin ourselves to Israel and become ONE body with them in Messiah.
In closing, I reiterate that God’s choosing of Israel had nothing to do with merit or ethnic superiority on their part.
And the credentials needed to become one with God’s people also has nothing to do with our ethnic background (whether we are white, black or green).
However, and this is what every person on the planet has to come to terms with, in order to achieve salvation for mankind, God had to choose somebody and He chose Israel.
God’s dealings with man began with Israel and God’s dealings with man will end with Israel.