This message was originally written for a Christian magazine, at their request, several months ago. We chose at that time not to distribute it via our mailing list due to our concern it might possibly be misunderstood as self-promoting. However, because of the positive feedback we’ve received on the article, and at the urging of trusted advisers, we are prayerfully sharing it with you, as we believe to be an important word from the heart of God.
Glance at the news today, surf the web, or chat with co-workers at the office, and it’s not unlikely you’ll hear Israel and the Jews blamed for the current economic meltdown, international political instability, and/or world war on terror. You might hear cries of an alleged Zionist conspiracy toward a so-called “Jew World Order.” Iranian President Ahmadinejad boasts of a final solution. He vows not only to annihilate the State of Israel, but to wipe “all Jewish germs of corruption [meaning, all Jews] off the face of the earth.” Meanwhile, Israel’s most powerful and best friend, the United States, is now pursuing “change” that is likely to undermine her traditional support of the Jewish State.
In a world such as this, simmering with rancor against the Jewish people, why support Israel? The answer is simply this: Those who love and follow Yeshua (Jesus) are not of this world (John 17:6).
It must be said at the outset that even on a strictly secular level, plenty of good, logically sound reasons exist to support Israel. The Jewish people have fostered advances in science, medicine, technology, philosophy, literature, the arts, and more that have raised the entire world’s collective standard of living. Though comprising barely a third of one percent of the world’s total population, twenty-three percent of Nobel Prize winners have been Jewish. Furthermore, Israel singularly stands as an on-the-ground, frontline deterrent to global terror and Islamofascism. And finally, according to standards of international law, the Jewish nation, like any other historically recognized and peace-loving people group, is entitled to live sovereignly in its ancestral homeland. In fact, after millennia of suffering at the hands of the nations, traditional standards of justice would demand it.
THE DESMISE OF CULTURAL MORAL CLARITY
Good logic and sound reason, however, do not necessarily prevail in matters pertaining to Israel in the 21st century. Good logic and sound reason are themselves byproducts of a cultural foundation rapidly eroding—that of moral clarity. Moral clarity, succinctly put, is the ability to distinguish right from wrong. That which is right derives from that which is true. But sadly, in these last days, the very existence of truth itself is hotly disputed. In such a world, we, God’s covenant people, must remember that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” or truth (Proverbs 9:10) and that Yeshua, the Word of God, is the Truth.
Bible-based, Judeo-Christian values on which Western culture was founded are crumbling before our eyes. Secular humanism, which presumes or pretends peace and prosperity may be had without God, is joining forces with age-old mammon (the ancient god of money) through the shaking of our economic system. Many are succumbing either to greed, or to its cousin—-fear of poverty. As a result, the pursuit of truth and righteousness—-the fear of the Lord that leads to wisdom—-is more than sidelined; it is outright disdained. Falsehood and evil are no longer resisted. Instead, to a culture seeking peace and stability at any price, evil is appeased—-if not altogether regarded as good. Pursuant to a policy of appeasement, the wrong for which God’s enemies stand is misperceived as right. Moral truth is first obscured, then exchanged for an outright lie. (see Romans 1:25). In such a context, darkness begins to cover the earth. Enter the spread of fascist Islam, venomously fueling both anti-Semitism and anti-Christianity.
Despite the current state of affairs, it is time for the body of Messiah to take heart! Be encouraged; the kingdom of heaven is at hand. At such a time as this, God’s glory rises upon those who fear His name (see Isaiah 60:1-3). Through the shiftings and shakings, He is judging His enemies—-and promoting His faithful followers. For the King is setting the stage for revival. Amid darkness, consecrated believers will shine with His glorious light as never before.
Why continue to support Israel? As global realities turn increasingly complex, our personal choices must stay anchored on God’s Word, the ultimate source of unchanging truth. Concerning our relationship to Israel, His immutable Word is that He blesses those who bless her, and curses those who curse her (Genesis 12:3).
The Scriptures not only restate this promise throughout, but also demonstrate how the principle is played out over and again. Recall just a few examples through the accounts of King Abimelech, Pharaoh, the Egyptian midwives, Balaam, the Moabites, Rahab, Ruth and Hamaan. The pattern persists down through post-biblical history, involving, among other nations, the Roman Empire, England, Spain, the former Soviet Union, and the United States.
THE TRUE BLESSING OF ISRAEL
In recent months, in response to the meltdown of the US economy, many earnest Christians have asked me a question. “I financially support Israel,” they say, “but my personal financial situation is getting worse and worse. If God promises to bless those who bless Israel, why am I not getting blessed?”
Before responding to this question, I must say how deeply and sincerely I thank God for every believer who cares enough to share his or her resources with Israel. At the same time, I believe God is taking us to new levels. He is committed to sanctifying us throughout our lives, conforming us to the likeness of Messiah. For some of us grappling with the question above, if we’re downright honest, we might perhaps discover we’ve harbored, either consciously or unconsciously, some self-seeking motives for monetarily supporting Israel. Is it possible we’ve hoped to acquire for ourselves wealth by blessing Israel? Have some of us tried at times to fit Almighty God into a prosperity formula?
To be sure, these are difficult times economically, and God wants us asking Him—and ourselves—some tough questions. At the same time, He is testing our hearts, ultimately exalting Himself above all gods. By these testings He desires to expand vision and kingdom position so He can ultimately bless us with much more—not less—than we imagined. He is purifying His Church and refining our faith as gold. He is wanting to use us in a last days’ worldwide revival and harvest of souls. Therefore, He is maturing our understanding as to what His blessings are really all about. When He says He blesses those who bless Israel, He can be taken at His Word. But His blessing may come in a way and at a time far better than we ever expected.
On the nature of blessing, the highly esteemed 20th century theologian Andrew Murray wrote, “The blessing God promises is not, and cannot be, any external thing apart from Himself. All that He has to give or can give is only more of Himself.” (Andrew Murray, Humility (Springdale, PA: Whittaker House, 1982), 28. The greatest blessing we can receive from God is more of Him—-more righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. His greatest gift is His love (see 1 Corinthians 13:13).
God is love. To the extent you and I are stretched by grace beyond our human capacity to love, we are supremely blessed for eternity. We are conformed to the likeness of Yeshua. (Romans 8:29) Without Christ-like love, our blessing of the Jewish people (or anyone else, for that matter) gains us nothing. “If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames [in martyrdom for Yeshua’s sake] but have not love, I gain nothing. … Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:3,8).
Learning to love like Yeshua is our supreme and ultimate destiny (Matthew 22:37-38). In this hour of history, God is summoning us all higher and deeper; He is calling us to bless Israel out of Messiah-like unconditional love. In the process, He is after more than outward conformity to His commands. He is after inner conformity to the holy heart of Yeshua. He is transforming us to more completely and unconditionally love and bless, not as a means to an end, but for love’s own sake.
Those who learn to love the Lord with all their heart, mind, soul and strength will know the grieving of His heart for the Jewish nation. They will share His ache and His longing for Israel, His firstborn son (see Jeremiah 31:9, 20) who has suffered much in straying from the Father.
Do you feel the burden of God’s heart? The Creator King carries “great sorrow and unceasing anguish” for the salvation of Israel (see Romans 9:2, 10:1). Those embracing Israel because they embrace the inner chambers of their Father’s heart do so to reap more than personal financial blessing. They cannot help but give their lives to the purposes of the One who gave Himself fully for them. Though they may indeed be very financially blessed, they support Israel simply because love compels them to do so.
Are you blessing Israel but feeling disappointed because you do not yet see a return on your investment? If so, I encourage you to remain faithful. Trust in His goodness. Your Father loves you and will provide for you. Whether you are blessing the Jewish people financially, or in prayer, or through practical helps, or any other means, His promise to you is certain. You will be rewarded not only in this life, but you are storing up for yourselves treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:19-20). Therefore, “do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.” (Hebrews 10:35-36). So be prepared; if you’re blessing Israel with God’s heart, you might receive a whole lot more than money!