Tuesday, May 16, 2006

What the Future Holds (2)

This is part 2 of chapter 10 of my book, Biblical Glasses.

Many Christians feel obligated to side with Israel on account of God choosing it for a special purpose. God did say to Abraham: “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:3). Some believe God will use Israel in a magnificent way in the end times; others think God has already accomplished what He intended to work through the nation in His Word, Jesus Christ. Again we come back to an idea that leaves many people feeling bitter toward God: He chooses some for blessing and others for punishment. Keep in mind that …

The legacy of the chosen people included a heavy burden. They were chosen not only to showcase the love of God for all nations (see Isaiah 9:6; Genesis 12:1-3), but also to show all the people of the earth what happens to those who wander from the wisdom of their Creator (see Deuteronomy 28-30).

Even if God’s hand can be seen in Israel’s presence in the land, we need to remember her
spiritual condition. Israel today mirrors what the prophet Ezekiel foresaw in his vision of the dry bones. Hundreds of years before Christ, God predicted that in the last days Israel would come together physically before being reborn spiritually (see Ezekiel 37:1-14). [We will see tomorrow how this is coming to fruition.]

Israel’s present efforts to secure her borders by military strength and international support provide a striking parallel to Abram’s and Sarah’s attempts to have a son by Hagar. Attempts to solve their own problem of barrenness resulted in unintended consequences for themselves and
their descendants.

Yes, God has chosen Israel through whom to reveal Himself to the world. But we need to make that affirmation with discernment and impartiality. There is a difference between what God is doing through Israel, and what Israel is trying to do with or without Him. Let’s not get tangled in
the political and military arguments. Let’s instead try to help everyone see that the problems in the Middle East are a reminder of how much we all need the grace and peace of the Messiah born to this nation.

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