The belief that gods were regional is an ancient idea that commonly appears in the course of Scripture. That is to say that certain deities had authorities over certain regions, domains, or people groups. The New Testament clarifies that some of these “gods” do have authority over specific regions, but they are merely wicked spirits and not the true God (1 Corinthians 10:20 & Ephesians 6:12).

This is why Namaan the Syrian general wanted to take some of Israel’s soil back to his home after God healed him of leprosy (2 Kings 5:17). Like many people of this era, Namaan thought very literally about the concept of God’s presence, and he wanted a physical connection to the land over which YHWH ruled.

Likewise, after Israel defeated the Arameans in the mountains, the Arameans believed that was where God had authority and that they had to attack Israel in the valley (1 Kings 20:28). They soon found out that He was also God of the valley!

At one time, the majority of the world was populated by pagans who worshipped a multitude of gods. God selected Israel so that He could demonstrate His faithfulness and might to the world as He delivered the small, imperfect nation time and again. If God is faithful to the Jews, then He will be faithful to any who call on His name.

When the Assyrian army surrounded Jerusalem, they said the God of Israel would not deliver Jerusalem any more than the gods of other nations had stopped Assyria (2 Kings 19). What the Assyrians did not realize is that God is the God not only of Israel, but of all heaven and earth (2 Kings 19:15). Little did the Assyrians know, the name of the Lord would one day be known in all nations.

As David said, “All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, and shall glorify Your name” (Psalm 86:9). God promised the Jewish people that He would not only be known as the God of Israel’s soil but the God of all nations. The Jewish people still await this day, but they have not realized something:

The Messiah has spread God’s message to all people. In Moscow, in Johannesburg, in London, and in Hong Kong, believers raise up the name of the God of Israel, sing hymns, and shout in praise. The world may not see the fullness of salvation yet, but the promised “knowledge of the glory of the LORD” will yet fill the earth! When Jesus returns, He will rule all the nations as the King of Israel.

– Matthew Foley, Staff Writer and Instructor

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