It was on this day in 1917 that the British Army captured Gaza from the Turkish Empire as they advanced toward Jerusalem and beyond. The area that we now know as Israel is part of a region called the Levant, which stretches from the fertile regions of Mesopotamia, through Syria and Israel and down to the Nile River. This region, because of it fertility, serves as a natural land bridge between Asia and Africa. Consequently, Israel is in a very strategic area.
Perhaps this is one of the reasons God determined that this was the place His people would dwell. Their relationship with the One True God would influence people of the nations traveling from Asia to Africa and vice versa. Like wind scattering good seed, knowledge of the God of Israel would be scattered from the Nile to Babylon. This strategic location was also an enticement to those who had military conquest on their mind. Within the Israeli heartland is the area called the Valley of Megiddo. In Hebrew, it’s called Har Meggidon. This area has witnessed many battles throughout history and is destined to witness more. John informs us that there is to be activity at this place in the future that factors prominently in the return of the Messiah.
“And he gathered them together in the place called in the Hebrew tongue, Armageddon.” (Revelation 16:16)
The land of Israel is strategic for many reasons; man has his reasons and God has His. God’s reasons seem to hinge on the concept that His people need to dwell in the midst of the nations in order to be a light to the nations. The fact that Israel is situated in the center of the earth bears witness to this idea. Being in a very strategic place ensures that they will be confronted by the nations or will confront the nations with the truth.
As His people, our mission is to share the knowledge of the One True God with all those we encounter, wherever we are. We shouldn’t shy away from this should we find ourselves surrounded by those who oppose our God. David wrote, “You prepare a table for men in the presence of my enemies” (Ps. 23:5). When others have a conversation with us, they should know that He is our Shepherd and that His Word is the way that leads to and ensures abundant life.
Let us pray that God places us in a strategic location that we might be used for His purposes and that His light might shine through us to those who live in darkness.