Welcome back Bible study friends! Yesterday we introduced a section focused on 4 Biblical principles regarding the land of Israel and the nations. Today, we’ll end with a test! But before we get there, let’s go straight to those principles. Here they are:
- Principle of Domicile
- Principle of Righteousness
- Principle of Discipline
- Principle of Retribution
The Principle of Domicile simply refers to the fact that, though Israel may lose the privilege of living in the land, she never loses ownership of the land. Even in exile, the land belonged to Israel.
Take a look at Deuteronomy 30:1-6, where we learn:
- Even after straying, if Israel returns to the Lord, He will restore them and have compassion.
- The Lord will gather them and bring them back to their land.
- He will prosper and multiply them.
The Lord is faithful to keep the land for His own!
The Principle of Righteousness refers to Israel’s need to remain faithful to her God. As long as Israel is faithful, she has a right to live in the land.
In Joshua 5:14-15, the Commander of the Lord’s army declared the land holy, and asked Joshua to lead a holy people into a holy land. Presence and fellowship with God is more important than ability. He wants hearts that will follow Him! He demands humility, not performance. The prophet Ezekiel later described the return of the Jewish people to their holy land in Ezekiel 36. We know that Israel has returned physically…and will one day return spiritually!
Now, on to the Principle of Discipline, which is illustrated in Jeremiah 25:6-11 (among other places, such as the book of Judges). This principle tells us that Israel’s failure to be faithful and righteous will bring God’s correction and judgment, shrinkage of land and even exile. Notice: it is God who will do it. In fact, God calls Nebuchadnezzar “My servant,” indicating that God will even use evil people to discipline His people. (Yes, parallels might be drawn today as well!) The Babylonian army carried out the Word of God!
Finally, we come to the Principle of Retribution. God will, indeed, use enemy nations and people to discipline Israel. However, those who desire the total destruction of Israel and the Jewish people will fall under God’s retribution, and it will be severe. Think of the great empires throughout history that have come against Israel, and who no longer exist. Need some examples? How about:
All either totally gone, or stripped of their power. The same is true today. Those who seek to destroy Israel will pay a very high cost. Consider two passages from Isaiah:
For thus says the Lord:
“Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken,
and the prey of the tyrant be rescued,
for I will contend with those who contend with you,
and I will save your children.
I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh,
and they shall be drunk with their own blood as with wine.
Then all flesh shall know
that I am the Lord your Savior,
and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”
Therefore hear this, you who are afflicted,
who are drunk, but not with wine:
Thus says your Lord, the Lord,
your God who pleads the cause of his people:
“Behold, I have taken from your hand the cup of staggering;
the bowl of my wrath you shall drink no more;
and I will put it into the hand of your tormentors,
who have said to you,
‘Bow down, that we may pass over’;
and you have made your back like the ground
and like the street for them to pass over.”
Finally, everyone is eventually faced with “the Israel test!” What will we do with Israel? Will we pray for her, stand with her and support her…or will we abandon her, leaving her to be divided and scattered? Joel 3:1-3 seems to indicate the latter:
“For behold, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. And I will enter into judgment with them there, on behalf of my people and my heritage Israel, because they have scattered them among the nations and have divided up my land, and have cast lots for my people, and have traded a boy for a prostitute, and have sold a girl for wine and have drunk it.
The time is coming when ALL the nations will be brought down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat and will be judged on how they treated Israel. Our nation may be headed there more quickly than we think, but dear believers, we DO NOT have to face judgment as individuals if we stand with Israel!
How are you doing on the Israel test?