An Encore Delight amidst World Tragedy

Okay, I admit it…I find it difficult to pass up opportunities to take in a “little bit of Israel” when the opportunity presents itself!  Following last Tuesday night’s wonderful presentation of Tzofim (Israel Scouts – see the report here), I invited friends to attend another performance tonight.  Something came up at the last moment and they were unable to attend, but I decided to keep my plans and attend anyway.  I was definitely blessed!

After a week of very tragic news, including terrorist attacks in Tel Aviv and Orlando, I needed the energetic encouragement that was brought about as I enjoyed Tzofim’s Friendship Caravan.  These Israeli scouts bring such vibrancy and energy as they proudly represent their nation by sharing their stories and joyfully engaging the audience as they sing and dance.  It is a power-packed hour of fun in which audience members can be as involved or uninvolved as they wish.  But trust me…it was difficult for the grouchiest scrouge not to join in, at least to a small degree, as the group sang and danced the Hava Nagila!  Boy, do Israelis know how to have a good time!

Tzofim has several different missions, one is to be ambassadors to America.  In a day and age where the US has not been especially friendly to Israel, the Jewish state continues to befriend and work diligently with Americans to bring unity between the two countries so vastly different, yet somehow much alike.  Israel shares our national values of democracy and freedom, and they share values that we hold dear as Christians (such as family and service to one another).

When I think about Bible prophecy that tells us how utterly alone Israel will be in the end (Joel 3:2, Ezekiel 38-39 and elsewhere), I am reminded that it should not come as a surprise when we see America beginning to turn her back on Israel.  Heartbreaking…yes.  Surprising…no.  It has a bit of a hopeless ring to it, doesn’t it?

In regard to that, I want to toss out a thought I have been mulling recently. In Matthew 24, the disciples ask Jesus a very important question: “What will be the signs of the last days?”  It took two chapters for Jesus to answer the question, yet I want to focus in on Matthew 24:7.  A key sign of the last days is that nation will rise up against nation and kingdom against kingdom.  However, the Greek word for “nation” is actually “ethnos.” What does that sound like?  Ethnic?

When I look at the Middle East today, borders are being erased.  Consider ISIS.  They have no borders, yet they control significant pieces of territory.  Al-Qaeda…same thing.  Likewise, Syria is a mess!  Is it really a nation any more?  Or is it simply a mishmash of rebel groups, terrorists, and followers of a tyrannical dictator, all battling with each other for control of territory?  Even Muslims are split between Sunni and Shi’ite (and a handful of minor sects), at times in the same towns and villages!  Ethnic groups, not nations as we know them, are rising up against ethnic groups.

Now travel with me to Joel 3:2, where God promises judgment upon all nations for how they treat Israel.  Again, though, the Hebrew word for “nations” can mean “inhabitant, tribe, or even heathen people.”  Not necessarily nations with borders.

Because of the chaotic nature of what we see today, I’m often left wondering if there will be nations (as we know them) in the last days.  Just how dramatically will the lines be erased?

But, dear believing friends, while our nation may turn its back on Israel, I don’t believe that predestines Christians to turn their backs on Israel!  While even America will one day (perhaps not so distant!) face judgment for working to divide the land of Israel and scatter her people, I believe there will be true believers who stand with Israel to the very end!  Yes, I long for America to get back on track!  Yes, I am heartbroken when American leaders treat Israel as an ugly step-child.  Yes, I get angry when I see Israel blamed and condemned by the UN and world leaders.  But as a Christian, I can stand with Israel whether or not my nation (or others) do!

Why?  Because we are not citizens of this world!  The Bible says that, as believers, our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20)…we are only sojourners (visitors passing through) on a place we call earth!

So, let’s wrap this up!  Last night as I watched the energetic efforts of those young Israeli scouts to reach out in friendship to America, I was reminded that Jews and Christians would do well to stick together!  After all, the rest of the world will forsake Israel, and while I don’t fault Israeli efforts to befriend our nation, I so long for Christians to stand up and be the partner to Israel that God calls us to be!  (Read Romans 11 to discover the true calling of Gentiles in relation to Jews!”)  We are the true friends of Israel!

With that, let me challenge you to enjoy the following 21-second video and imagine a Christian flag in addition to the flags you see there!  Christians, let’s get serious about rightly relating to Israel.  Time is short and America as a whole, and ultimately each of us as individuals, will answer to how we treated God’s chosen people!

Thanks for stopping by!  Shalom!

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