Friday, July 30, 2010

Why Israel?

When I met Bryan he was very enthusiastic about Israel. I knew where it was on the map and noticed the Bible mentioned it a lot, but beyond that it remained a distant land far far away. Almost too far away to touch, know, or sadly even matter.

I tried awfully hard to comprehend Bryan’s fascination with Israel. I really wanted to, I listened to his stories of his time there, how he worked on an archeological dig near Tiberias. I listened about the peoples, the language, and how life seemed so much more colorful and alive. I felt almost ashamed because I just didn’t “get it.” Was something wrong with me?

Over two years ago (and it hardly seems that long, could it be?) I was blessed with the opportunity to go to Israel. I didn’t quite know what to expect, but my heart leapt for joy! I was actually going to experience this land and possibly have the understanding I longed for about it. It was a dream come true.

Being in Israel was one of the most Amazing experiences I have ever had. You will have to read my blogs during those 2 weeks to even catch a mere glimpse of what it was like. But honestly I left even more confused. My heart was searching for the reason beyond the entire spiritual splendor encompassed there. I wanted to REALLY and TRULY understand within my heart, and I didn’t. If I could have forced myself to, I would have. I would have tried and tried until my face turned blue. I felt left out. Maybe I could pretend to know, because I knew why: God’s people are these people. He sent Yeshua there. Yeshua gave His life there, and will return again there. Even so, I wasn’t satisfied with this. Some twinkling wonder glimmered in Bryan’s eyes that I wanted to discover as well. Why? Why is Israel so special? Why are other countries not as special? Why are the Jews chosen? I can’t help that I am not Jewish! So where does that leave me? Does God not love me as much as He loves the Jewish people? Honestly, I was upset. I actually felt defensive at one point. I know that is the worst thing to admit, but the fact that I wasn’t born Jewish shouldn’t mean that I wasn’t as chosen as the Jews are! Was I just a side-thought? These questions floated around my mind constantly. I asked Bryan his input and some other friends of ours, but I still didn’t have a peace inside of me about it.

The thoughts scared me. I asked the Lord to show me. And it took years for my heart to “see.” I think it wasn’t until I officially finished reading the entire Bible that God revealed Himself to me in the knowledge of Israel and God’s Call throughout all of time, not just the Old Testament or the New Testament, but the continuance of His Love for the Jews forever. I did a lot of searching, reading, and praying and it finally occurred to me what my heart needed to recognize.

So why Israel? I will tell you, and tell you why it should matter to YOU.
The reason it bothered me enough to crave an answer is that I believe God has made a promise to Love, Protect, and be a Father to me, throughout ALL my ups and downs…that means FOREVER. In so many instances of my life I DEPENDED on this promise. It was literally all I had. His Love to the Jews is also about a Promise He made to never leave them, and that He would always pursue them and keep them as His chosen people. The fact that God has never given up on Israel and will one day restore Her to Him gives me GREAT happiness and comfort. My journey of discovering the JEWEL about Israel is about HIS PROMISE and to see that fulfilled is the fulfillment of my purpose in life. He says in Genesis 12:1-3:

1 The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you.
2 "I will make you into a great nation
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you."

It almost takes reading the entirety of God’s Word to truly comprehend how HUGE of a deal this is, this PROMISE. Israel is mentioned approximately 2, 575 times in the Bible. It is a land He Loves, Cherishes, and has HUGE plans for. If God tells us to honor this land, and that we will be blessed for it, He has a purpose to it. I believe it is to lead us to a DEEP DEEP understanding of His Love and Promise to us. This concept is very deep, so deep we could never fully grasp it. I have just begun my journey with understanding this country and how it blesses the nations, and my life in Him. I urge you to ask God to reveal to your heart His beautiful Love story about this land, because ultimately it does have to do with you. Israel now is the most Beautiful Jewel I have within my heart. It of course (to me) is pink and sparkly.

א לְדָוִד: בָּרְכִי נַפְשִׁי, אֶת-יְהוָה; וְכָל-קְרָבַי, אֶת-שֵׁם קָדְשׁוֹ.

1 [A Psalm] of David. Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name.
ב בָּרְכִי נַפְשִׁי, אֶת-יְהוָה; וְאַל-תִּשְׁכְּחִי, כָּל-גְּמוּלָיו. 2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits;
ג הַסֹּלֵחַ לְכָל-עֲו‍ֹנֵכִי; הָרֹפֵא, לְכָל-תַּחֲלוּאָיְכִי. 3 Who forgiveth all thine iniquity; who healeth all thy diseases;
ד הַגּוֹאֵל מִשַּׁחַת חַיָּיְכִי; הַמְעַטְּרֵכִי, חֶסֶד וְרַחֲמִים. 4 Who redeemeth thy life from the pit; who encompasseth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;
ה הַמַּשְׂבִּיעַ בַּטּוֹב עֶדְיֵךְ; תִּתְחַדֵּשׁ כַּנֶּשֶׁר נְעוּרָיְכִי. 5 Who satisfieth thine old age with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle.
ו עֹשֵׂה צְדָקוֹת יְהוָה; וּמִשְׁפָּטִים, לְכָל-עֲשׁוּקִים. 6 The LORD executeth righteousness, and acts of justice for all that are oppressed.
ז יוֹדִיעַ דְּרָכָיו לְמֹשֶׁה; לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, עֲלִילוֹתָיו. 7 He made known His ways unto Moses, His doings unto the children of Israel.
ח רַחוּם וְחַנּוּן יְהוָה; אֶרֶךְ אַפַּיִם וְרַב-חָסֶד. 8 The LORD is full of compassion and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.
ט לֹא-לָנֶצַח יָרִיב; וְלֹא לְעוֹלָם יִטּוֹר. 9 He will not always contend; neither will He keep His anger for ever.
י לֹא כַחֲטָאֵינוּ, עָשָׂה לָנוּ; וְלֹא כַעֲו‍ֹנֹתֵינוּ, גָּמַל עָלֵינוּ. 10 He hath not dealt with us after our sins, nor requited us according to our iniquities.
יא כִּי כִגְבֹהַּ שָׁמַיִם, עַל-הָאָרֶץ-- גָּבַר חַסְדּוֹ, עַל-יְרֵאָיו. 11 For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him.
יב כִּרְחֹק מִזְרָח, מִמַּעֲרָב-- הִרְחִיק מִמֶּנּוּ, אֶת-פְּשָׁעֵינוּ. 12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us.
יג כְּרַחֵם אָב, עַל-בָּנִים-- רִחַם יְהוָה, עַל-יְרֵאָיו. 13 Like as a father hath compassion upon his children, so hath the LORD compassion upon them that fear Him.
יד כִּי-הוּא, יָדַע יִצְרֵנוּ; זָכוּר, כִּי-עָפָר אֲנָחְנוּ. 14 For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust.
טו אֱנוֹשׁ, כֶּחָצִיר יָמָיו; כְּצִיץ הַשָּׂדֶה, כֵּן יָצִיץ. 15 As for man, his days are as grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.
טז כִּי רוּחַ עָבְרָה-בּוֹ וְאֵינֶנּוּ; וְלֹא-יַכִּירֶנּוּ עוֹד מְקוֹמוֹ. 16 For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof knoweth it no more.
יז וְחֶסֶד יְהוָה, מֵעוֹלָם וְעַד-עוֹלָם-- עַל-יְרֵאָיו;
וְצִדְקָתוֹ, לִבְנֵי בָנִים. 17 But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear Him,
and His righteousness unto children's children;
יח לְשֹׁמְרֵי בְרִיתוֹ; וּלְזֹכְרֵי פִקֻּדָיו, לַעֲשׂוֹתָם. 18 To such as keep His covenant, and to those that remember His precepts to do them.
יט יְהוָה--בַּשָּׁמַיִם, הֵכִין כִּסְאוֹ; וּמַלְכוּתוֹ, בַּכֹּל מָשָׁלָה. 19 The LORD hath established His throne in the heavens; and His kingdom ruleth over all.
כ בָּרְכוּ יְהוָה, מַלְאָכָיו:
גִּבֹּרֵי כֹחַ, עֹשֵׂי דְבָרוֹ; לִשְׁמֹעַ, בְּקוֹל דְּבָרוֹ. 20 Bless the LORD, ye angels of His,
ye mighty in strength, that fulfil His word, hearkening unto the voice of His word.
כא בָּרְכוּ יְהוָה, כָּל-צְבָאָיו-- מְשָׁרְתָיו, עֹשֵׂי רְצוֹנוֹ. 21 Bless the LORD, all ye His hosts; ye ministers of His, that do His pleasure.
כב בָּרְכוּ יְהוָה, כָּל-מַעֲשָׂיו-- בְּכָל-מְקֹמוֹת מֶמְשַׁלְתּוֹ;
בָּרְכִי נַפְשִׁי, אֶת-יְהוָה. 22 Bless the LORD, all ye His works, in all places of His dominion;
bless the LORD, O my soul.

There is beauty in the emotion of the literal translation of Hebrew to English!


Julie Bastuk said...

I think it's great how you and Bryan are passionate about Israel. I do think though, that God is just as passionate about every other people as he is the Jews. It seems like sometimes that people can get so caught up in "restoring" Israel that they do so to the neglect and detriment of other nations that are just as loved and cherished by God. (I'm not accusing you guys of that). As far as not being Jewish, if we are in Jesus, we have all been grafted into the Family, into the vine. I largely disagree with the theology that God is going to restore and earthly Israel and Jewish kingdom, but those are my opinions. The main reason I comment is to say that you should never be discouraged about not being Jewish. It never mattered to God...look at how many people in the Old Testament who were brought in to his covenant, who were in the lineage of Jesus who weren't Jews. We are Abraham's descendants and God's chosen people if we cling to Jesus. That's all that matters.

Ami Alon said...

I don't know if Israel is the favorite child; I think it says somewhere that God chose Israel because it was the least of nations......

Maybe this:
From the movie "Meet Joe Black", William Parrish is talking to his oldest (not favored) daughter, Allison. She says this:

"Nevermind favorites because you're allowed to have one...the point is, you've been mine."

It isn't our business to decide for God if He has a favorite, or who it is. All that matters is if He was ours....

And nice Hebrew - you did that letter by letter?


BeckyJoie said...

Great posts lately. I love Israel too and all things Jewish, the food, the culture, the people, the land. I too have a secret desire to go there. I feel in my heart that I shall someday. Hopefully before the millenial reign. LOL. But definitely then if I'm here. :) Love the purple blog, by the way, Olivia. How are you these days?