23 Nov Pastors’ Blog
Why Israel matters
Last Sunday was a historic day in the UK. There was a prayer gathering in London of Christians and Jews as part of an international weekend of prayer for the release of the Israeli hostages and the broader situation in the Middle East. We want to explain why the subject of Israel and the Jewish people isn’t an optional extra to our Christian faith.
One obvious reason is that our Saviour, Jesus, was Jewish. He was born in Israel, the land promised to Abraham and to which God led the Jews held captive in Egypt to possess. It’s a piece of land that has been fought over for centuries.
Israel is just 290 miles long and 85 miles wide – slightly bigger than Wales. So why is there so much interest in it?
In short, because the devil knows how precious Israel and the Jews are to God and how significant they are in the plan of salvation that God has for the whole world. Put it another way. The devil hates anything that God loves. The history of the Jewish people will bear witness to that statement.
He wants nothing less than to conquer Israel and to annihilate the Jewish people. But the devil is very cunning and uses human shields to hide behind and do his dirty work, be that terrorists, politicians, journalists even humanitarian organisations.
We’ve been horrified to see the rise of antisemitism in the UK (and globally) in recent days and appalled by the biased and ill-informed media.
Please understand that we’re not saying that Israel is perfect. And nobody with an ounce of humanity wants to see the awful suffering of innocent people, be that in Israel or Gaza. But we need to be wise in these days and to see what God is working in the midst of this and to understand what this is all about.
God’s ultimate plan is the restoration of all people to himself – if they will bow the knee to Jesus. Jew and gentile united in their pursuit of Jesus in preparation for his glorious return.
And it is to Israel that Jesus will return.
It should therefore come as no surprise that this is where the devil has his focus of attention. It is why there is not only a battle on the ground but in the spiritual realms. If we don’t see the bigger picture, we will be overwhelmed and misdirected.
The Bible is quite clear that our salvation comes through a Jewish lineage, so we most certainly have a debt of gratitude to the Jews to pray for and support them. Not to the exclusion of others but certainly as a priority.
We also need to see that God has not finished with the Jewish people nor the land of Israel. This is not simply about whether we for are or against Israel – although there are biblical decisions we must make on this matter – but about God’s ultimate purposes for all humanity. Each of us has a vested interest in this, whether we know it or not!
In the light of this we must be people who not only see what God is doing but also what the devil is doing. Although our stance on Israel and the Jewish people is important, the ultimate question is this. Are we for God or are we against him? How we view Israel, and the Jewish people may, in part, answer that question.
We’ll land this blog with an encounter that Joshua had as the Israelites were preparing to attack Jericho. It very much underscores some of the things we’ve said.
Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, ‘Are you for us or for our enemies?’
‘Neither,’ he replied, ‘but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.’ Then Joshua fell face down to the ground in reverence.’ Joshua 5:13-14
Are we for the Lord? Like Joshua, we must each of us humbly align with God’s higher purposes.
With every blessing
Andy and Jane Robb