Welcome back to the study table, dear friends! With the distraction of the elections, we took a bit of a break from our study, Why Israel Matters: Rightly Relating to Our Jewish Roots. If you are new to this blog and this study, or if you just need a refresher on where we’ve been so far, here is a quick re-cap:
- Israel’s unique position as God’s love story to the world
- God’s 3-fold call upon Israel through the Abrahamic Covenant
- The incomparable gift given through the Jews
- A look at our Jewish roots
- Romans 9-11 illustrates the relationship between Christians and Jews
- 4 Biblical principles regarding Israel and her land
Now, we’ll turn our attention to God’s dealings with Israel and the nations. There are implications associated with the 4 Biblical principles we’ve already studied, so here is a brief re-cap of those principles:
- Principle of Domicile – the land belongs to Israel, regardless of whether or not she resides there
- Principle of Righteousness – when Israel lives in righteousness, they live in the land; if not, the Lord may allow exile
- Principle of Discipline – God uses other nations and people groups to discipline His people
- Principle of Retribution – though they may be used by God to discipline His people, there is retribution for those nations/people groups who treat His people harshly
Let’s talk about some implications of those principles regarding Israel. First, correction and judgment should be expected. Keep in mind that living in the land is conditional upon Israel living in righteousness. However, they have returned to their land a secular people. For the most part, a majority of Jews are Jews ethnically, but not spiritually. Though they may be “good people,” in general, they do not seek the Lord or live by His righteous guidance.
God will not leave them unsaved. However, reconciliation with God will come through correction. Ezekiel 20: 33-37 illustrates that. Twice in that passage God declares He will be king over them with a mighty hand, and outstretched arm and with wrath poured out. He will bring them out from the place they are scattered, but will bring them into the wilderness in order to enter into judgment with them. Ultimately, they will pass under the rod and will be brought into the bond of covenant. In other words, through correction, God will draw them near and be their king. He will fulfill the entire covenant established with them.
The second implication to Israel is that God’s dealings with them may result in loss of land. What? You mean God will take away the land He promised to them? No. The land is forever Israel’s. However, they may not always control, or live in, the land. An example today is the Gaza Strip. That land belongs to Israel, per the Abrahamic Covenant. Yet, they do not control or live there.
Land shrinkage is a means of God’s correction. Thus, it is incorrect to think that Israel may be unfaithful to God and suffer no consequences. As Christians, do we understand that God is still in control, and that He may choose to correct His people by transferring control of the land to others? God’s desire is that Israel be in full covenant with Him. We must not hinder what God is doing to draw Israel into righteousness.
Today’s Jews (for the most part) are secular and still in need of being drawn to the Messiah. We must be careful not to stand in the way of what God desires to do with His people!
More tomorrow, but let’s pray for Israel’s righteousness, so she may control and live in the land God has given her.