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Ralph's Daily Devotional - Friday, June 8

Exodus 3:8 describes an ethnic complexity in the land comprising of six different great peoples.  Palestine, lying by major sea and overland routes, gave way to multifarious influences from many great lands and people.  Within its small 10,000 square miles (the size of Rhode Island), its coastal plain gives way to Judea, Samaria and Galilee, followed by the great low-lying depression of the Dead Sea 1600 feet below sea level, and then followed by the Transjordan finally merging into the great desert areas. 

In short, it is an area of astonishing diversity, ranging from its high mountains to its sub-level terrain.  The diverse vegetation and seasonal climates afforded this land created a human environment where various multi-racial ethnic groups and communities thrived.  No less than 31 separate groups were living in this area under the time of Joshua's conquest.

Yet, it is an amazing fact that in the course of the entire history of this land and to this very day, it is Israel, despite many wars against seemingly impossible odds, that alone has succeeded in unifying this great country from within.  There is no question that at times injustices have been done against neighboring peoples by Israel herself.

In Exodus we read later that Israel was called to show mercy and compassion, to take in all in need of refuge and justice, and to show love to the stranger.  Sadly, she has failed at times to do so.  Yet God is faithful to many surrounding peoples such as the PLO, Syria and others, despite the violence and crimes on both sides.  Israel shall yet be a blessing to all as God has promised to Abraham.

Until then, we as the church would do well to support Israel, never unconditionally but as God's people who are called to justice and compassion.

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