For the last several weeks I have been stirred by an increasing burden for God’s purposes for Israel – both the people and the land itself.
To understand those purposes, we must confront the reality of the unique symbiotic relationship among God, the people and the land. I’ve had to admit to myself I haven’t really understood the depth of it either.
In my determination to keep the Gospel message pure, I’ve steered away from anything that might be deemed “political.” I’ve actually been proud to claim, “It’s about the Lord and not the land.”
That statement is only partially true. Jesus is preeminent in all that I do, and speak. Nevertheless, we cannot fully appreciate God’s loving faithfulness for the world if we don’t understand His covenant-keeping love for Israel – the people and the land.
We must start by admitting that there is no other nation or people in the history of the world for which such a relationship exists. That relationship is chronicled throughout the Bible starting with Genesis 15:6-7
Abram believed the LORD, and He credited it to him as righteousness. He also said to him, “I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.”
Earlier God had promised to make of Abraham’s seed a great nation. While other nations would come from his loins, it would be the specific nation of Israel to whom the land would be deeded. God made that clear by making the same land promise specifically to Isaac and then to Jacob, not to Abraham’s other son/grandson (Isaac and Esau).
Through the prophet Isaiah (43:10ff) God explained the reason for this special relationship between the land and the people:
“You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD,
“and my servant whom I have chosen,
so that you may know and believe me
and understand that I am he.
Before me no god was formed,
nor will there be one after me.
(that) the people I formed for myself
that they may proclaim my praise.
If God chose Israel as His witnesses to bring forth praise (and fill the earth with the knowledge of His glory) one of our primary responses and responsibilities to Israel is to perceive what God is doing in and through the people and the land.
So let’s start with the very existence of Israel – modern Israel- as of May, 1948.
Can we not apply Paul’s description of “life from the dead” to the nation as well as to the salvation of the Jewish people? Or Ezekiel’s prophesy of the dry bones as recorded in Ezekiel 37?
In accordance with all God’s promises,
- The land is being reclaimed and restored.
- The desert is blooming.
- Cities are rising out of swamps and deserts.
- The sound of the bride and the bridegroom is being heard.
- Jews from every nation, language and culture are streaming back from the nations to which they were scattered.
BUT, not all the world is praising. Not even all in the church are praising God for the miracle that is Israel.
Instead strident voices are raised in challenge, criticism and condemnation.
Derogatory words like “occupied territory” are used making Israel out to be an aggressor.
We must ask ourselves if the issue really is about the territory. Is the issue really political?
I contend NO to both questions.
Since the land is part of God’s relationship with Israel, and is part of the witness of His character and His word, the issue is not political but spiritual.
Furthermore, the issue is NOT about the size of Israel, but about its very existence.
Consider, if the issue was merely the size of Israel, somewhere along these past 62 years and many offers of land for peace, Israel would have had peace and, albeit, a smaller property.
No, there’s been no land for peace, but rather as I heard someone say today, “land for terror.”
Truly, the issue is not about the size of Israel. The enemies of God don’t want Israel to exist.
Thus I challenge anyone who thinks that we can moderate peace (and change the size of Israel) through dialogue or treaty, to reconsider the words of God.
Then the angel who was speaking to me said, “Proclaim this word: This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘I am very jealous for Jerusalem and Zion, but I am very angry with the nations that feel secure. I was only a little angry, but they added to the calamity.'”Therefore, this is what the LORD says: ‘I will return to Jerusalem with mercy, and there my house will be rebuilt. And the measuring line will be stretched out over Jerusalem,’ declares the LORD Almighty.
“Proclaim further: This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘My towns will again overflow with prosperity, and the LORD will again comfort Zion and choose Jerusalem.’ ”
Then I looked up—and there before me were four horns! I asked the angel who was speaking to me, “What are these?”
He answered me, “These are the horns that scattered Judah, Israel and Jerusalem.”Then the LORD showed me four craftsmen. I asked, “What are these coming to do?”
He answered, “These are the horns that scattered Judah so that no one could raise his head, but the craftsmen have come to terrify them and throw down these horns of the nations who lifted up their horns against the land of Judah to scatter its people.” Zechariah 1:14-21
Secondly, I ask you to pray and perceive what God might be asking you to see and do.
Finally, pray for your church and your nation. Remember how people (and nations) treat Israel is the plumb line of God’s judgment:
“For behold, in those days and at that time,
When I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem,
I will also gather all nations,
And bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat;
And I will enter into judgment with them there
On account of My people, My heritage Israel,
Whom they have scattered among the nations;
They have also divided up My land.” (Joel 3:1-2)
Come near, you nations, to hear;
And heed, you people!
Let the earth hear, and all that is in it,
The world and all things that come forth from it.
For the indignation of the Lordis against all nations,
And His fury against all their armies;
He has utterly destroyed them,
He has given them over to the slaughter.
For it is the day of the Lord’s vengeance,
The year of recompense for the cause of Zion. (Isaiah 34:1-2,8)