There are things that are important to us. Things such as the quality of our coffee, the hardness of a pillow, the colour of a car, the school our children go to, the flavour of church we attend and on and on. We have preferences, if you ask me why I like such a coffee rather than another I can try to explain but it comes down to my taste buds and yours being different. The same with pillows – what I find comfortable you may find to be a stone and vice versa. There are some things that are easier to explain – why I choose a particular school, why I worship a particular way has to do with my values and what I find important. There are some things I am not allowed to be individual about – murdering people, stealing, adultery, lying and other sins – I don’t get a choice about whether they are right or wrong I just get to choose whether to sin or not.
There are things that are fundamental to life as a Christian, beliefs that define us and again we don’t really get a choice about them. I have a feeling that there may be more coming over the next weeks but today Israel is on my heart.
Israel is, was and will always be God’s chosen people and country.
16 because I have chosen and consecrated this temple as the eternal resting place for My reputation, My eyes, and My heart.
Not just for the olden times, not just until the Temple is destroyed, but eternal. I don’t know why God chose that one man Abram (Abraham), nor continued to choose and make promises to Isaac and Jacob and their descendants rather than any other individual around at the time. I don’t know why He chose to give them the land of Canaan and make that His place on earth. I have been to some spectacular places that brimmed with majesty and beauty and demonstrated God’s creative power, so why He chose this little scrap of land over all of them I have no idea. I just know that He did. He chooses and uses other places but Israel both nation and land are special.
25 The Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies, declares such blessing:
Eternal One: Egypt, too, shall be blessed and called “My people” and Assyria “My doing,” because I made it. Israel, of course, is simply Mine—now as before and as ever will be—“My heritage.”
Ah, you may say, but God chose Christians now. Indeed He has I answer, to be grafted in – added to – the original, not to replace them. Paul agrees with me.
11 Now I ask you, has God rejected His people? Absolutely not! I’m living proof that God is faithful. I am an Israelite, Abraham’s my father, and Benjamin’s my tribe. 2 God has not, and will not, abandon His covenant people; He always knew they would belong to Him.
There are repeated commands throughout the Bible to pray for Israel, to bless her. The promises God made for the salvation of Mankind are fulfilled through her and we now await her recognition of Jesus as the Messiah. Jesus – a Jewish man, of a Jewish heritage and faith. Those who carried His word to us Gentiles were Jewish also. The promise God made to Abraham still stands because if it doesn’t then God is changeable and not to be trusted.
I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”
It seems plain to me that this does not leave us with a choice about how we treat Israel. Our words, our actions towards them should be to bless them, to pray for them, to encourage them. God called them the apple of His eye. Every promise we as Christians claim from the Bible was given first to Israel and it’s only because they faltered that we received it. You can disagree with their policies, object to their activities but you must pray for them and bless them if you want to be obedient to God’s will. I think God is patient with very many things we do or don’t do. But when He specifically says that He will bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse Israel – I think that leaves no wiggle room.