15 Nov The Hope of Israel
Last night while teaching through Jeremiah, a phrase in chapter 17 leapt off the page and exploded like a grenade in my mind. Verse 13 begins, “O LORD, the hope of Israel . . .”
Yahweh is The Hope of Israel; not a hope, just one of several – THE Hope of Israel.
God wanted His people to depend on Him alone. Repeatedly in Israel’s history, He warned them about courting the support of other nations, of forming alliances and trusting in other kingdoms or empires for their defense. During the kings, Israel and Judah had something of a penchant for looking to Egypt for assistance in forestalling the aggressions of emerging empires to the north. (Isa 36:6, 2 Kings 18:21, Isa 20:5, 30:1-7, Jer 37:5-8. Eze 29:6-7). Hezekiah tried to secure the assistance of the Babylonians against the threat of the Assyrians by showing them Jerusalem’s treasures; a ploy which backfired badly.
News broke late yesterday of escalating conflict between Israel and Gaza. Hamas has been firing hundreds of missiles into Southern Israel and Israel is now mobilizing for an apparent invasion to halt the attacks. All of this precedes the Palestinian plan to declare Statehood in the UN on November 29th. Israel has warned that such an appeal will vacate the Oslo Accords and has been working feverishly to garner international support to resist the Palestinian move.
As I read those words last night, “O LORD, the hope of Israel . . .” I couldn’t help but wonder iof the results of last week’s election here in the US were one more piece of the global puzzle that needs to be in place as God shifts His redemptive focus back to Israel.
It’s no secret the Obama Administration has been cold toward Israel in general and to the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in particular. Hostile, might be a better descriptor of Obama’s treatment of Netanyahu. Was the president’s re-election God’s way of moving Israel to shift its dependence, at least politically, from the US to the Lord?
We know that based on Genesis 12, it’s in our nation’s best interest to be supportive of Israel; not blindly, but wisely. We ought not support Israel without qualification. When she acts unjustly, we cannot condone or consent. But we ought to adopt a political and economic posture toward Israel that is one of blessing so that the promise of Genesis will lean toward our being blessed. If we move over into a posture of cursing Israel and doing them harm, then we can expect the treatment history has repeatedly shown follows, that being loss, turmoil, and hardship – also a fulfillment of Genesis 12.
If we believe we’re rapidly approaching the Last Days, we ought to see the world stage being set up for what the Bible says will occur in the end times. After the Rapture, God turns His redemptive focus back to Israel and the Jewish people. It’s His aim to bring them both ethnically and nationally back to faith in Him. Israel is largely agnostic today. So we ought to expect God to be positioning them politically and economically in such a way that He can deal with them spiritually, just as He did throughout the careers of the kings and prophets. They need to be shaken loose from their reliance on all others so that they will look to their only hope, Jesus, Who will come to and save them at the end of the Tribulation.
So, again, for our sake as a nation, we need to support and seek to be a blessing to Israel so that the promise of Genesis 12 can bestow blessing on us. But Israel must not depend on anyone other than the Lord. He alone is her Hope.