God, like the U.S. Marines, is always looking for a few good men. “For the eyes of YHVH move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His” (2 Chronicles 16:9).
Men and women judge by outward appearances and behavior, but the God of Jacob sees deeper still. “YHVH said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature … for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but YHVH looks at the heart’” (1 Samuel 16:7).
YHVH’s radar searches out mankind, and pings loudly when our hidden thoughts appear on His screen. “As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind. For YHVH searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts” (1 Chronicles 28:9).
One of the wisest man who ever lived shares a secret with us: “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23).
God may turn a cold shoulder to the proud. He may scorn those who scorn Him or His people the Jews (see Genesis 12:3). But He wants us to know that “the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit. A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise” (Psalm 51:17).
Israel – God’s passionate choice reveals God’s heart
God’s choosing of Israel is not merely an eschatological strategy. It is a matter of the passions of His heart:
- “And He has raised up for his people a horn – praise for all His faithful ones – for the sons of Israel, the people close to His heart” (Psalm 148:14)
- “How can I give you up, O Ephraim? How can I surrender you, O Israel? … My heart is turned over within Me, all My compassions are kindled!” (Hosea 11:8)
- “In all their (ed., the Jewish people’s) affliction He was afflicted” (Isaiah 63:9)
Israel – God’s litmus test for our hearts
The God of Jacob wants to know what is hidden in our hearts. One of His goals in the 40 years of desert wanderings was to expose the deepest thoughts of His Jewish people: “Remember how YHVH your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart” (Deuteronomy 8:2).
YHVH’s prophetic spirit wants to reveal the things we sometimes want to conceal. “But if an unbeliever or an inquirer comes in while everyone is prophesying, they are convicted of sin and are brought under judgment by all, as the secrets of their hearts are laid bare. So they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, ‘God is really among you!’” (1 Corinthians 14:24-25).
God’s choosing of Israel goes all the way back to Genesis 12:3. It did not begin in 1948.
- One of the main reasons for choosing the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is to test the heart of all the other nations – to see if they will agree with God’s heart (and be blessed) or rebel against God’s heart (and be cursed).
The choosing of the Jewish people is a challenge to the nations. It is a challenge to Christianity and to Islam, to Communism and to Fascism. How will the nations respond to God’s priority call on Jacob? How will they react to satanic attempts to destroy the Jewish people, their state and their divine calling?
- Fear not, O Jacob My servant, declares YHVH, and do not be dismayed, O Israel, for I am with you to save you … For I will destroy completely all the nations where I have scattered you … Therefore all who devour you will be devoured. And all your adversaries, every one of them, will go into captivity, and those who plunder you will be for plunder, and all who prey upon you I will give for prey… Behold, the tempest of YHVH! Wrath has gone forth, a sweeping tempest. It will burst on the head of the wicked. The fierce anger of YHVH will not turn back until He has performed and until He has accomplished the intent of His heart. In the latter days you will understand this (Jeremiah 30:10-11, 16, 23-24).
A passionate theological heart for Israel
God cares about all peoples, but at the same time He takes great pains in the Scriptures to emphasize to the nations that He has a priority heart for the Jewish people.
In a passage specifically spoken to Jerusalem, Zion and Judah, the God of Isaac declares His tenderness toward the Jewish people: “See, YHVH the Lord comes with power and He rules with a mighty arm. See, His reward is with Him and His recompense accompanies Him. He tends His flock like a shepherd. He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart. He gently leads those that have young” (Isaiah 40:10-11).
In a similar prophetic declaration, John the Baptist’s father Zechariah eloquently proclaims YHVH’s passionate salvation and defense of the Jewish people:
- And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel! For He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people, and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of David His servant (as He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old) – salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us; To show mercy toward our fathers, and to remember His holy covenant (the oath which He swore to Abraham our father); To grant us that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear” (Luke 1:67-74).
Any theology about the Jewish people needs to start at the same place where God starts – His deep love for the Jewish people and His passionate embrace of the daughter of Zion. Since “the plans of YHVH stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations” (Psalm 33:11), our teachings on Israel must begin where His love for the Jewish people begins – His embrace of Jacob (see Ezekiel 16:3-14).
- YHVH “sought out a man after His own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14) when He chose David. The nations who follow David’s Greater Son (see Psalm 110:1; Acts 2:25-36) also need to be people ‘after God’s own heart’ as they follow Yeshua and His heart for Israel.
In my travels I sometimes bump into perspectives which sidestep God’s biblical choosing of Israel. At times it sound like some of these teachings concentrate on anything but what the Scriptures teach concerning Jacob, anything but God’s radar love for the Jewish people.
Let’s stop for a moment and re-calibrate our radar. Why not focus on what 95% of the Scriptures teach concerning God’s irrevocable calling and gifts for Israel? Why major on involved eschatological schemes while simultaneously disregarding God’s overrunning cup of love for Jacob’s children? Why attempt to strike a PC position vis-à-vis Middle Eastern nations while concurrently adulterating the priority call on Israel (often an offense to Gentile minds)?
Let’s remember the Apostle Paul’s heart confession, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation” (Romans 10:1).
“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart!” (Hebrews 4:12).
How should we then pray?
- Pray for an increased revelation to come to many Yeshua-believers about God’s passionate heart for Israel
- Pray for an increase of teaching about Israel which reflects YHVH’s heart for the Jewish people
- Pray for Messiah Yeshua to be revealed to and accepted by many hungry Jewish hearts
- Pray for the raising up of Ezekiel’s prophetic Jewish army throughout the earth
Your prayers and support hold up our arms and are the very practical enablement of God to us in the work He has called us to do.
In Messiah Yeshua,
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