One of my favorite things is seeing new places. Whether it is visiting a different country, state, or even a new part of town, I cherish the changes in perspective that come as a result of new inspiration.
I have been thinking about this idea of changes in scenery as I study the Bible. I can only imagine the new things Abraham witnessed as he traveled from the far eastern corner of Mesopotamia up through the fertile crescent and down through what is now Israel and into Egypt. I can only imagine his thoughts, reflections, and dreams as he held on to the promises of land, descendants, and legacy. I wonder what his perspective might have been because of all he had seen. I wonder if anything he saw catalyzed a faith that was willing to go to such great lengths for God.
His story reminds me that setting can be a game-changer.
The unique positioning of the land of the Bible at the crossroads of empire, trade, and even geography makes it the ideal land for testing. But it is also the ideal land for transformation. It is no wonder, then, that God chose this land as the center stage of the Bible. It served a tremendous purpose as the testing ground of faith. But it also later served as the springboard for the gospel. The gospel spread to the far corners of the earth from its epicenter in what is now Israel and Palestine. This message of hope could migrate to the north, south, east, or west. It could travel along already well-established routes and roads. It could be communicated with relative ease through Greek, a well-established ancient language.
In other words, the gospel arguably emerged at just the right time and in just the right place. In fact, the very location of the gospel drama adds to its tremendous story of hope and redemption. For much of its history, the land of the Bible was merely a transitional land. It was a land to be conquered and exploited. It did not have a legacy of fertility, power, and luxury like Egypt or Babylon or Rome. The land of the Bible is essentially the land of the underdog. It is the land of the weak—as seen in the eyes of the world.
So the land of the Bible seems like the last place in the world for a message of hope to start. But that is exactly why it is the perfect place because it shows in a mighty way that only God is God. Only He can take weakness and turn into strength. Only He can take disadvantage and turn into advantage. Only He can take despair and turn it into hope.