To live among Arabs is to fall in love with them. Loving Arabs opens you to both their joys and their prejudices. You cannot linger long with the Arabs before experiencing their opinionated passion about the Jewish people. When my wife and I were commissioned by our home church years ago to reach out to Muslims in the love of Jesus, a messianic pastor gave us our first Arabic Bible and exhorted us: Those who work with Muslims should frequently pray for the Jewish people, those that work among Jews should likewise consistently pray for the Arabs.
Arrogance on the part of the Jews or their devoted supporters or angst on the part of Arabs and their friends is mitigated when we understand the circumstances of God’s choosing: “The Lord did not set His love upon you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples” (Deut. 7:7). The Jewish people were chosen because they were the smallest and weakest. They are similar to the turtle found perched on a fence post, hard shell belly on the flat top of the wooden post, legs waggling in the air. The only possible way for the turtle to get there was by someone else placing it there.
We often play soccer in the cool Cairo night. We rent a small synthetic grass field, turn on the lights, and enjoy “the beautiful game.” Last night we were playing and one player was considerably superior to all of us. We kept changing the teams, giving him the weaker and weaker players, and to our frustration, he continued to win, making whoever played with him better, including a 6-year-old boy.
God stood on the court of history and surveyed those who could play alongside Him. He looked over the strong, capable, athletic, robust, and obvious choices. His eyes went to the tiny, weak, ridiculous, problematic, small, most insignificant people He could find — and picked them first. He wanted the weakling to win with, and the reason is simple: all the glory would go to God. When God assembles a team of idiots and wins with them, it is pretty obvious where the victory comes from.
Those of us who are passionate for God’s purposes with the Jewish people can be encouraged, for in them we have the pristine historical example of how God uses the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, the weak things to conquer the strong. Those of us passionate about God’s promises to the Arabs can likewise rejoice (and relax) for their choosing does not diminish our worth. Their choosing is, in fact, not about them; it is all about God. If God can use them, He can certainly use us. If God can use the small, skinny, pimpled, un-athletic, intimidated Jewish people to win fame for His name, He can certainly use the larger, stronger peoples of the earth for that same eternal glory.
When God picks you and uses you, take courage and look back at history humbly — God has a habit of choosing (and winning with) idiots.