Ever notice, when you're preaching, how few Philistines drop by the church anymore? Or how rarely Moabites get converted and lead a small group? Or how no one has a cousin married to an Amalekite?
Pretty much all the nations and tribes from Bible times that were of Israel's size are gone. So why did Israel survive? Not just survive; in the words of Thomas Cahill, how did a tribe of desert nomads change the way the world thought and felt? What distinguished Israel from everyone else?
It wasn't power. Most of its history Israel was a vassal nation.
It wasn't wealth. Israel was never a major economic player.
It wasn't size. Israel was dwarfed by Greece, Egypt, Babylon, and Rome.
What did Israel have?
A book. Scrolls really, with books like Genesis or Isaiah written over the centuries, that most people, being illiterate, had to hear being read. They had a book like no other.
Their book said that instead of little tribal gods locally, there was one God who created all things and ...1