What’s The Big Deal About Israel?
Israel. So much ink has been spilled in regards to this tiny nation. Most of us have heard about Israel in the news, or learned about her history in our churches, or maybe wrestled with the politics surrounding the modern state. For such a small country, Israel seems to be everywhere. Which begs the question: What’s the big deal?
God’s heart—that’s the big deal! What do I mean by that? When God made His eternal covenant with Abraham in Genesis 12, He forever linked His reputation to the patriarch’s descendants, the Jewish people. Isaiah prophesied that the nations would know that the LORD is God alone through His witnesses — the people of Israel (Isa. 49:10). In essence, Israel is the Lord’s calling card to the world, and proof that He exists.
Israel and God’s faithfulness to you and me
Have you ever doubted whether God is truly faithful? Do you ever worry He’ll reject you because of your sin? Has a major failure made you think that surely God no longer has a plan for your life?
Consider how He has treated Israel. His calling upon them is irrevocable, regardless of their actions. His faithfulness to His people is contingent on His character, not on their own. His promises are secure regardless of their failures. And, after 2,000 years of exile, He has placed them back in the Land He promised them.
If God is faithful to Israel, He will be faithful to you. If He can save them, He can save you. If His love for them is unconditional, then so is His love for you!
The missing piece
I confess that I also did not begin to understand Israel’s significance until about six years ago. I loved the Lord and enjoyed serving at church, but only noticed a missing piece when I started exploring God’s intimate relationship with the Jewish people. Once I applied this lens to my scripture reading, God began revealing treasures that were hidden in broad daylight.
There are so many things to discover about the Lord through His people Israel. His appointed times and feasts creatively reveal the Messiahship of Jesus. Celebrating them is not mandatory, but revelatory!
The way each feast links to a moment in Yeshua’s life and ministry causes one to stand amazed – not only at the prosaic perfection of Scripture, but the often overlooked beauty of Yeshua’s identity as a Jew in the Gospels.
The reality that the Jewish people have safe-guarded the Hebrew Scriptures throughout millennia is just shy of heroic. There were entire sects of Jewish people (such as the Essenes) who were dedicated to writing and preserving the Scriptures through extremely meticulous work as scribes. They would throw away hours of work if they made one tiny error in transcription on one page. They set apart their lives to preserve the Scriptures exactly as it had been given to them. It convicted me and helped me to not take the Word of God for granted.
And then, there’s the story of the State of Israel’s exciting rebirth, which make the pages of Joshua come alive when they stand side by side. You can watch in wonder at how the hand of God worked to grant Jewish pioneers miraculous victories in Israel’s modern day restoration just as He had in earlier Biblical accounts.
But, why should I care about Israel?
Beyond the personal blessing that comes with understanding and loving Israel, there’s also a promised blessing for the nations and worldwide revival, and Israel is the key.
Jesus said He would not return until His people, the Jews, Israel, say of Him, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD.” (Mt. 23:39) And, God also promises that the Jewish people’s salvation will mean “life from the dead!” (Rom. 11:15)
Revival for Israel means revival for the whole world!
The Lord has entrusted the Gentiles with a unique part to play in this grand scheme: to make Israel (the Jews) jealous. Paul explains that though Israel stumbled, they have not permanently fallen.
“Heaven forbid! Quite the contrary, it is by means of their stumbling that the deliverance has come to the Gentiles, in order to provoke them to jealousy”
– Rom. 11:11
Caring about Israel is an integral part of every believer’s calling. God has empowered us to turn the ‘key’ to unlock worldwide revival by loving the Jewish people and Israel, and praying for them to embrace their Messiah.