Israel’s International Highway—A Picture of Your Influence

Always ask yourself: Who is influencing whom?

Where God places us is no accident. Throughout biblical history, the land of Israel sat in an amazingly strategic position as the only intercontinental land bridge between the superpowers of the ancient world.

The most important international highway of the Fertile Crescent ran the length of the land of Israel.

The Via Maris Highway—Israel's Picture of Your Influence

(Photo: The Via Maris ran beside ancient Tel Hazor. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Some call this international highway the Via Maris, or the “Way of the Sea.” Any nation coming to or from Egypt, or traveling from the Mediterranean to the Gulf of Aqaba, had to go through Israel. For many years, Israel remained the crossroads for international imperialism, war, and trade.

It’s hard to believe at first, but this highway offers a practical principle for our daily lives.

It’s all about influence.

Israel’s Location was No Accident

By design, God intended Israel, as a kingdom of priests, to take a mediatory role among the nations.

Because of this, Israel’s central position among the nations proved to be a double-edged sword. When world powers traveled through the land on the Via Maris, one of two things would occur:

  1. God’s people would either influence the nations for the Lord.
  2. The nations would influence Israel toward idolatry.

Ezekiel records how God lamented that Jerusalem’s placement as “the center of the nations” had borne no obedient fruit (Ezekiel 5:5).

Instead, God’s people had been swayed by the very nations God intended them to influence.

Jerusalem, the center of the world

(Photo: Jerusalem as the center of the world. Engraving by Heinrich Bünting. Public domain.)

Our Location is No Accident

Similarly, God has placed us where we live, work, and worship in order for us to influence others for His glory (Esther 4:14). We have our own Via Maris.

We pursue the wrong priority. We want good health, a good income, a good night’s rest, and a good retirement. Our priority is We. God’s priority, however, is God. —Max Lucado

As God appointed Ezekiel a “watchman to the house of Israel” (Ezekiel 3:17), so the Lord Jesus calls us to share God’s Word with those He brings to us and those to whom He takes us.

We cannot even imagine what opportunities God’s providence has prepared for us today:

  • Whom will we meet?
  • Where will we go?
  • God has placed us where we are for His sovereign, deliberate purposes.

Always ask yourself: Who is influencing whom? May we miss no occasion to bring God glory among the nations—and to bring the nations to Him.

Question: What’s your International Highway—what’s your primary place of influence? To leave a comment, just click here.



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