Chapter 13:16 Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said, “Men of Israel, and you who fear God listen:
Chapter 13:17 “The God of this people Israel chose our fathers and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with an uplifted arm, He led them out from it.
Chapter 13:18 “For a period of about forty years He put up with them in the wilderness.
Chapter 13:19 “When He had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, He distributed their land as an inheritance—all of which took about four hundred and fifty years.
Paul began his message with an invitation for the listeners to pay close attention. Men of Israel would apply to the Jews and the second part of his statement would apply to proselytes, in other words, Gentiles who had been converted to Judaism. Paul’s heart was burdened for the Jewish people and in Romans 9:1-3 he states that he “would willing to be accursed from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh”. Notice that he does not start his message with “Jesus Christ is your Messiah,” which would have infuriated the Jews but started with the history of the Jewish people who were so proud of this history. He reminds the people that God had brought the Israelites and their fathers out of bondage. The uplifted arm represents God and his might and power. And in verse 18, we see the length of time, which was forty years, that Israel wandered in the wilderness on their journey from Egypt to Canaan. The seven nations that are mentioned in verse 19 are named in Deuteronomy 7:1-2 and are given to the tribes of Israel as an inheritance. We will continue next time with this great sermon from Paul as he ministers to the Jewish people and the proselytes.