It was on this day in 1508 that Don Isaac Abravanel, leader of Spanish Jewry, died. This is the same man who played a very integral role in Christopher Columbus’ initial voyage by securing sponsorship from Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain. Of course, this expedition to the Indies led to the discovery of the New World. Here is another example of a relatively unknown person in history who played a very significant role in world history. Abravanel is yet another example of how efficient and consistent the Creator is in placing the right people in the right place at just the right time.
In his position, Abravanel did other notable and praiseworthy deeds on behalf of his people and others. But might it be that the primary reason he was in this situation at that specific time was to serve God’s purposes as it relates to the discovery of the New World? Might it be that God’s reason for elevating him to that position in Spain was that he might influence Isabella to sponsor Columbus’ expedition? In other words, if Abravanel had not been there to do so, would the voyage of 1492 taken place? If you believe in the God of Israel, then you probably don’t believe that life is a cumulation of coincidences. No, the God of Israel orchestrates history and every player in it – including all who are reading this.
We should also consider the very real possibility that Abravanel wasn’t a follower of Messiah. If that is the case, his life also demonstrates that God will use those who we, as believers, would assume He wouldn’t use. History abounds with people used of God in spite of their less than stellar spiritual life. One who comes to mind from that category is Gen. George S. Patton, Jr. “Old Blood and Guts” was profane, vulgar and arrogant. He believed in reincarnation and did not shrink away from violence and, yet, fulfilled a significant role in history because he was in the right place at the right time. Providence, not coincidence, put him in position to assist in the defeat of Nazi Germany and, indirectly, play a small role in the formation of the state of Israel.
That leads to this observation: sometimes people fulfill their role, never realizing that they have fulfilled a role or just how important it is to God’s plan and purpose. Abravanel could not have envisioned the result of Columbus’ expedition and the impact it would have on future generations. The fact is, many may never see the fruition of what they have been a part of.
For many, it’s hard to consider ourselves in such a role. Most people focus on working a job and raising a family, while striving to serve God faithfully in the midst of it. Seeing our daily routine as playing any significant part in what God is doing in the world seems unlikely. But we need to remember that every of us has been placed here for a specific reason. The Psalmist tells us:
“You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works and that my soul knows very well.” (Psalm 139:13-14)
Paul went on to say this:
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)
We are to understand that when we were created, the works that we were to do were created, as well. That speaks of purpose! So engage your day knowing that He has placed each of us here for a Godly purpose. Whether we realize the magnitude of it or not, and whether others realize its importance or not, we all have a purpose. Let us be committed to serve Him faithfully that our part in His plan might be fulfilled.