Erich Cline has written the first in what is to be a series on “Turning Points in Ancient History.” As I read the 176 page book published in 2014, I thought of Lois a member of our noon bible class I taught while at Holy Cross, Collinsville. She was interested in what else was going on in the world besides the biblical accounts. In our study of the Old Testament we center on our attention on the Hebrew people who eventually occupy Canaan in 1446 B.C. or between 1350-1200, depending how one reads the historical evidence available. Geographically, we concentrate on a piece of land some 100 miles long and 70 miles wide. We know of several small nations and the surrounding powers of Assyria and Babylon. Later Persia and Rome come into play. If we include the Apocryphal, we might include the Seleucid king Antiochus IV, against whom the Maccabees led a revolt in the 2nd century B.C.
Clines book takes us back through the 15th to the 12th century when the great powers of the world included Mycenae (southern Greece), the island of Crete, Hittites in most of what is now Turkey, Kingdom of Mitanni on the upper Tigris River, Babylonia in present day Iraq, and the Egyptians. The Egyptian kingdom was a narrow snakelike power extending from north of Beirut, through Canaan and following the Nile well down into Africa. All these kingdoms flourished until within a short period of time, between 1200 to 1130, they all collapsed and took hundreds of years to rebuild, some never did.
So while we in our biblical studies concentrate of Israel as slaves in Egypt, the Exodus and wandering in the wilderness for 40 years before crossing the Jordan into the Canaan, the Promised Land, the rest of the Mediterranean world took little notice.
However God took notice and through this minor nation completed a universe-large project of reclaiming all creation and its inhabitants through the crucifixion and resurrection of a Jesus. As we enter into that period of the church year which looks to return of Christ we take note that What God is doing is often not in view of the public stage, but the consequences of His actions include the whole of the universe.