Seven Reasons to Bless Israel
Awhile back, I happened upon an essay written by the winner of Israel’s national “Why I Love Israel” essay contest. I was struck by the writer’s poignant—and surprisingly prophetic—words: “For thousands of generations we Jews have known that our destiny lies in the Holy Land . . . I can picture in my mind’s eye her very streets, thronging with Jews singing and dancing, rejoicing in the redemption of our nation as Jerusalem waits longingly for her glory to return. God . . . we’re here and we’re waiting.”
As I read this, I couldn’t help but wonder: Did this Jewish writer derive her inspiration from the traditional Sheva Barachot (Seven Blessings) read at Jewish weddings: “. . . Yet in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem that are deserted, inhabited by neither people nor animals, there will be heard once more the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom. . . .” (Jeremiah 33:10-11). Or, was it just divinely downloaded into her imagination?
Surprisingly, most Jewish People are not waiting for a literal Messiah or expecting the establishment of a Messianic Kingdom. In fact, many Jews in the generations following the Holocaust don’t even believe in God. Faith in God and the Holy Scriptures has been replaced by a commitment to social justice and the preservation of the Jewish People.
This is where you come in. As a follower of the Messiah who knows the God of Israel, you have a debt of responsibility to the Jewish people. After all, it was the Jewish people who penned the Scriptures, the Jewish apostles who carried the Good News throughout the world, and the Jewish Messiah who died for your sins. The apostle Paul provides us a list of the spiritual contributions given to us through the Jewish people (see Romans 9:4-5) and then links the salvation of the Nations (Gentiles) to their rejection. He then commissions us to win them back to the Lord by “provoking them to jealousy” (Romans 11:11 NKJV).
God has given you and all Believers the all-important ministry of reconciliation—a ministry that has unequivocally always been prioritized to “the Jew first” (Romans 1:16). Sadly, over the last 2,000 years, the Church has been grossly remiss in fulfilling that commission.
Seven Reasons To Bless The Children Of Israel
1. Your Obedience to His Word
First and foremost, you need to love, bless, and share your faith with the Jewish People because God commands us to do so in His Word. From Genesis to Revelation, the Lord continually declares His love and faithfulness to the Children of Abraham. Even in the midst of their disobedience, God remains faithful to them and promises to never forsake them. He commands us to bless what He blesses and love what and whom He loves.
2. Your Exceedingly Great Rewards
God tells us, “I will bless those who bless you [Abraham] and whoever curses you I will curse” (Genesis 12:3). Blessing Abraham and his descendants honors God and His Word. History has repeatedly borne out the truth of this decree. Not only individuals but Nations have been blessed and cursed by God in response to their treatment of the Jewish People. Moreover, we are commanded to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” and are further told that we shall prosper if we do so (Psalm 122:6 NKJV). Do you want to be blessed and to prosper? Then bless the Jewish People and pray for Israel.
3. Your Debt of Gratitude
Jesus was a Jew. He came first for His own people. If you were not born of Jewish parents, you are, by faith, a wild olive branch grafted into the natural olive tree, which is Israel. As I’ve already mentioned, the spiritual foundation of our faith came through the Jewish People. Paul, as the apostle to the Gentiles, sought to impart a heart of gratitude to the Church when he warned them not to be arrogant toward the Jewish People, but grateful . . . “Do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you” (Romans 11:18).
4. Your Salvation
Salvation is not only to be proclaimed first to the Jews, “salvation is also from the Jews” (John 4:22). While Gentiles who have, by faith, become “spiritual sons and daughters of Israel” and have been made partakers of this New Covenant, this in no way negates the original terms of the Covenant itself. In other words, Gentile Believers do not “replace” the Jewish People, but become joint heirs of the promises given to Israel, including the forgiveness of sin. (See Jeremiah 31:31-34.)
5. Your Prophetic Promise
God has promised to restore Israel in the last days (Amos 9:14), and we are contemporary witnesses to this miracle. The fact that Israel has been re-gathered to their ancient homeland after nearly 2,000 years of wandering is a sign and a wonder to the world that testifies of God’s faithfulness. And if God is that faithful to Israel—despite their rebellion as well as centuries of persecution—this should leave no doubt in your mind that His promises to you will be fulfilled as well. This includes personal promises that He has spoken over your life.
6. Your Time of Refreshing
The Bible links your salvation to Israel’s rejection of the Gospel. In Romans 11:11 we are told that “because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious.” Paul then goes on to reveal in verse 15: “For if their rejection brought reconciliation to the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?” In other words, just as their rejection is linked to the salvation of the world, an even greater blessing is linked to their return, world revival. We see this same linkage in Acts 3:19 when Peter admonishes his Jewish brethren in the temple courts to “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” The return of the Jewish People back to God will release revival upon the earth, the likes of which have never been seen throughout history. Do you want to see revival in your life, your family, your city, and your nation? Then do your part to reconcile Israel back to their God.
7. Your World to Come
In the Olam Habah (the world to come) you will serve a Jewish Lord and worship in a New Jerusalem. The names of the twelve tribes of Israel will be inscribed on the city gates (Revelation 21:12), and you will experience the great delight of enjoying communion with the patriarchs and heroes of the faith (Hebrews 11). Can it get any more exciting—or Jewish—than that?
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