At times, God enlisted non-believers to help His people through the ages. His plan in doing so was to bless all people. “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12: 3). Here are some examples:
Examples in the Old Testament
1-Rahab was a prostitute in Jericho. When Joshua sent two spies to scout the city, Rahab hid them and saved their lives. In exchange she asked that her life and the lives of her family would be spared because she saw that the God of Israel was powerful. God’s people kept their promise to her (Joshua 2).
2-God allowed the Egyptians to host (later enslave) the Israelites who were a very small clan till they flourish and multiply in number and become a great nation able to conquer the Canaanites (Genesis 46-50; Exodus 1-13). When the Israelites left Egypt, the natives gave them gifts in recompense for their years of servitude (Exodus 12:36).
3-God enlisted the Phoenician King of Tyre, King Hiram, to help King Solomon of Israel to build the temple of Jerusalem. Solomon said to Hiram, “Now therefore, command that they cut down cedars for me from Lebanon… and I will pay you wages for your servants according to whatever you say” (1 Kings 5:6). Hiram blessed God from this exchange and the two nations lived peacefully (1 King 5:7-12).
4-God permitted the Babylonians to bring judgment on Israel for its apostasy that they may repent of their wicked ways. “For indeed I am raising up the Chaldeans… to possess dwelling places that are not theirs” (Habakuk 1:6). This was a fulfillment to God’s conditional covenant with Israel in Deuteronomy 28: 28:25,36,49. The Babylonian king was converted from his experience with God’s faithful people (Daniel 4).
5-God led Cyrus the Persian Emperor, after capturing Babylon, to issue the decree that permitted the captive Jews to return to their homeland and rebuild the Temple (Isaiah 44:28, 2 Chronicles 36:22, 23; Ezra 1:1–4).
Examples in the New Testament
1-God led the Magi to come from the East at Jesus’ birth. These wise men helped Jesus by offering their resources. For they “opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh” (Matthew 2:11).
2-The land of Egypt provided a safe haven for Jesus’ family away from Herod who sought to kill him when he was a baby. An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word… that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son” (Matthew 2:13-15).
3-Pilate’s wife helped Jesus by warning her husband of the Lord’s innocence. She said, “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him” (Matthew 27:19). Her words confirmed the testimony of Jesus.
4-The heathen people, who were related to the Phoenicians, in Malta, which was ruled by the Romans, helped Paul. Thus, the apostle declared, “the natives showed us unusual kindness” (Acts 28:2).
5-King Herod Agrippa II, unlike Porcius Festus and Antonius Felix, gave a fair judgement for the apostle Paul. The king affirmed that Paul is completely innocent of any official wrongdoing that the Jews have accused him off. And he told Festus, the Roman Procurator : “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar” (Acts 26:32).
God is greater than the man-made borders that divide people. He desires that all people should come to a knowledge of Him and be saved (1 Timothy 2:3-4). Even in Old Testament times, the nation of Israel was established to create a place where all could worship the true God (Isaiah 56:7). In God’s son Jesus Christ, this is even more clear as God seeks to break down every wall that divides (Galatians 3: 28, Colossians 3:11). May those that know God always seek to share the love and light of Jesus with all people.
In His service,