Israel is a country with a small geography but a huge history. That’s what the Bible says.
God chose Sarah’s shriveled and humble womb to give birth to the Chosen People and through them to the Son of David. Planet Earth’s cosmic drama will reach its awesome crescendo in a Jewish Jerusalem. The Jewish people may not be super-sized, but size isn’t everything. From God’s perspective, the Jewish people’s historical significance is second only to that of Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah and Savior of the world.
Woody Allen used to say that life is what happens while you’re waiting for something else. Today Israel is what’s happening – its very existence and behavior is affecting the destiny of the world – while the nations are waiting for something else.
Humanity is desperately seeking for anything that looks like it may bring about a more stable world and a brighter economy. In that arena Israel’s divine destiny is simply not on the international agenda. God’s divine court etiquette vis-à-vis the Jewish people (see Genesis 12:3) is far from the center of world attention. And yet, precisely on these matters will the nations be judged (see Jeremiah 30:16-17).
“The Times They Are A’ Changin’”
Bob Dylan stirred the world with burning words in 1963 in his “The Times They Are A’ Changin.’” His words could easily apply today to the world’s unfriendly heart toward Israel: “Come writers and critics who prophesy with your pen, and keep your eyes open, the chance won’t come again. And don’t speak too soon for the wheel’s still in spin, and there’s no telling who that is namin’. For the loser now will be later to win, for the times they are a’ changin’” (© 1991 Special Rider Music).
One Israeli diplomat recently noted that the recent “tone and the music” coming out of the White House toward Israel has changed. For the first time in recent history an acting Israeli Prime Minister has been treated as an “untouchable,” as an undesirable guest at the White House. PM Netanyahu’s request to meet with the President was left hanging until the last possible minute; the appointment was only confirmed as Netanyahu’s plane landed in the USA. Netanyahu was brought into the White House through a back door and at night. No photos were released and no press conference was allowed. Whatever the official spin on these events may be, times are indeed a’ changing.’
Exodus 1:8 refers to a new king in Egypt, a Pharaoh whose heart was not warmly disposed to Joseph or to his people. Whether President Obama’s actions are based on a desire to not upset a volatile Islamic world, or based on lack of sympathy for Israel’s plight or calling – the reasons may never be clearly known. But one must begin to connect the dots and draw careful conclusions. In the short term America’s national love affair with Israel is in for some executive buffeting.
Pray that American believers will gird up their loins and press in for impartation from God’s heart regarding prayer strategies for Israel, in order that we may stand with Him and with His heart for the Jewish people in a wise and courageous way!
“Do not curse the ruler of your people!” (Exodus 22:28)
As the crack of daylight begins to appear between Biblical teachings and the policies of national leaders, and as biblical stances regarding Israel’s irrevocable gifts and calling become somewhat less than popular in much of the media, the hearts of believers are being tested. It grieves me to see that some followers of Yeshua are beginning to succumb to coldness of heart and bitterness of tongue regarding their own democratically elected leaders. Moses taught us, “Do not blaspheme God or curse the ruler of your people,” while Paul quoted this authoritatively in Acts 23:5, “Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people!”
In apostolic times Paul prayed for Herod Agrippas, for Festus, for Felix and yes, even for the Emperor Nero. Today believers need to be praying for God’s heart, asking Him to pour out compassion, mercy, protection, revelation and divine strategies on their own rulers.
Intercession and tears are the need of the hour! Pray for your country’s leaders! Pray and do not curse.
“We live in a political world”
Bob Dylan comments “We live in a political world. Love don’t have any place. We’re living in times where men commit crimes, and crime don’t have a face” (“Political World,” © 1989 Special Rider Music).
Recently the UN General Assembly has ratified a propagandistic report accusing Israel of war crimes in Operation Cast Lead against the Hamas terror army (December 2005 and January 2006). That war began after Israel’s civilian population was hit over 8,000 times by Hamas missiles, and countless more times by mortars. Hamas cynically embedded missile launchers among Gaza’s civilian population, beside mosques, hospitals and UN structures, in zoos, schools etc.
Israel’s military exercised incredible restraint as they targeted Hamas terrorists, while manfully trying to minimize civilian casualties. Their battlefield conduct in that war was given high praise by the commander of British forces in Afghanistan in a recent military lecture. Hamas forces were ravaged in their encounter with Israel, and Islamist missile attacks in Israeli civilians did in fact cease.
Yet, having lost that military round against Israel, Hamas devoted its efforts to a different war – the PR (media) war. It caricatured Israel as a bloodthirsty state which targets civilians, even though it was Hamas who deliberately employed its forces and rockets in civilian areas.
The Goldstone Report, authored by a South African Jewish judge not considered warm-hearted toward Israel, was recently accepted by the UN for further discussion and action. The result? Israel, a plucky and brave nation defending itself against Hamas, is now being accused of “committing the crime” of neutralizing terror forces, while Hamas (listed by the USA as a terror organization) has managed “to hide its own face,” just like Bob Dylan sang.
“As it was in the days of Hitler …”
As the world moves closer to the last days’ judgments of the Book of Revelation, Dylan asks, “Are you ready for the judgment? Are you ready for that terrible swift sword? Are you ready for Armageddon? Are you ready for the Day of the Lord” (“Are You Ready,” © 1980 Special Rider Music).
Though these final judgments are severe, the hallway into these judgments is a graduated one. The path into the thick of these judgments is made up of many small steps and some big ones. One of the most significant steps here involves turning one’s heart away from (and one’s back on) Israel.
Germans in the 1930’s gladly chose Hitler because he rallied the nation and spoke of a bright future. He arose during a time of economic turmoil and international threats. His plans for the Jewish people were not deemed significant or worthy of opposition for the most part. And the wealthy movers and shakers of the Western world’s economies were quite willing to ignore Hitler’s murderous plans for the Jewish people, because (simply put) Hitler was good for the economy.
Today the economic movers and shakers of the world are taking a similar stance vis-à-vis Iran. As detailed in Dore Gold’s recent book “The Rise of Nuclear Iran,” major economic players in France, Britain, Germany, Italy, Russia and China (as well as US oil companies) are all advocating lessening pressure on Iran, even though that country’s leaders are painfully clear about their goal of annihilating Israel with nuclear weapons. As the world did not stop Hitler, so today the world does not want to stop Iran’s “Drang zum Atom,” its suicidal march to destroy God’s chosen people with home grown atom bombs. The world did not stop North Korea and Pakistan in their drive to go nuclear, and these last two nations have significantly aided Iran (and Syria!) in their drive toward atomic weapons.
Pray for world economic leaders, that God will give them dreams and wake-up calls (as He did to Pilate’s wife) or even lack of sleep (as He did for Ahasuerus) – and that these will lead to godly choices, individual salvations and preservation for Israel.
“The iron hand, it ain’t no match for the iron rod”
King David prophesied an “end of the world” scenario in Psalm 2. The nations rage against God, against His Messiah and against His people (see also Psalm 83). This psalm pictures how human history as we know it will end – on the one side of the ring, the raging nations; on the other side of the ring, David’s kingdom and David’s Greater Son.
God’s response to international rebellion is threefold: mocking laughter; divine derision; and the commissioning of His Son, the Messiah, to whom He gives a mandate – Yeshua will rule over all the nations, breaking rebellious countries apart with a rod of iron, or alternately dashing them in pieces like a shattered clay pot.
Bob Dylan alludes to this prophecy when he says, “The iron hand, it ain’t no match for the iron rod. The strongest wall will crumble and fall to a mighty God … Of every earthly plan that is known to man He is unconcerned. He’s got plans of His own to set up His throne when He returns” (“When He Returns,” © 1979 Special Rider Music).
Pray for your leaders, your pastors, your family and yourself – that we would be ready in heart, spirit and body to be used of God as faithful witnesses in the exciting and challenging days ahead!
In Messiah Yeshua,
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