God Loves Israel - So Shouldn't We?
God chose the Jewish people and promised them a land. Deuteronomy 14:2: "For you are a people holy to the Lord your God and the Lord has chosen you to be a people for His treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth."
He gave them the land that is Israel and made an unconditional covenant with them that it would remain their homeland always. The covenant isn't dependant on the Jews but, only dependant on God keeping His promise to them. God made the covenant in Genesis 15:18: "On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, 'To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates.'"
In Jeremiah 31:3, it states that the Lord says: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you."
Israel Is Important To God
Why should Israel be important to us? Because it is important to God. He selected them and set them as His own. He has put His name on Jerusalem. 2 Chronicles 6:6: "...but I have chosen Jerusalem that my name many be there, and I have chosen David to be over my people Israel."
Israel is the apple of His eye. Zechariah 2:8: "...for he who touches you touches the apple of his eye."
Genesis 12:2-3: "And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and him who dishonours you I will curse and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."
Isaiah 11:11: "In that day the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant that remains of his people." God says that a second time, He will bring them back from the four corners of the world - This is the regathering that is currently taking place. Jews from all over the world are gradually making aliyah (going to live in Israel).
The Lord is honouring His promise and bringing His people back to their land. We are seeing a fulfilment of prophecy taking place right now.
Why Should We Pray?
The Bible has many verses instructing us to pray for Jerusalem and for Israel. Psalm 122:6: "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. May they be secure who love you."
In Romans 11, Paul explains that as Gentile believers we are grafted in to the natural Olive Tree which is ethnic Israel. We are now part of the same creation and we have a clear role to fulfil. As 'wild branches' we are to bring vigour to the tree. We can do this by sharing our faith in Yeshua (Jesus) and praying for the Jewish nation.
In Isaiah 62, it speaks of Zion's (Israel) coming salvation. This exciting and inspiring passage set the scene for the salvation of Zion and describes her as a bride, ready for her husband. In verse 6 it mentions the watchmen who are positioned on the walls night and day.
These watchmen are to give no rest to the Lord until He establishes Jerusalem as a praise in the earth. Watchmen are those who position themselves so that they can see danger and warn of its approach.
What does this mean for us? We are to pray for Jerusalem and remind God of His promises to set her apart and establish peace in preparation for the return of Yeshua. We are to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and in so doing the return of Christ to set His foot in this place and establish His kingdom here.
Israel Is Surrounded By Hostility
We need to pray because Israel is surrounded by hostile nations and surrounded by a religion that doesn't recognise her right to exist. Islam determines to rid the earth of Jews. Those countries who are Islamic are not interested in peace with Israel. They each seek to wipe her from the earth.
Turkey and Israel have just resumed diplomatic relations but Turkey is led by a president who cannot be trusted. President Erdogan has a dictatorial style of leadership and has replaced any moderate Muslims in his government with his own choice of more radical Muslims.
He was in power in 2010 when the flotilla of Turkish boats breached the Israeli blockade of Gaza. The incident that followed showed that it was far from a humanitarian flotilla and was an attempt to attack Israel.
Syria borders Israel and is hostile towards her. ISIS operate here and threaten to infiltrate Israel.
Gaza is permanently pointing and often firing missiles in to Israel. Hamas keeps its weaponry in schools and places of worship and send rockets from these bases using civilians and children as their shield. They use the defensive actions of Israel to discredit and blame her for civilian injuries.
It is important to note that while we are called to pray for Israel we are called to pray more widely for all peoples. We can pray that those who seek Israel's destruction come to repent and know God's love for them.
We can pray for those of the Islamic faith who are bound up in a religion of hate and evil, that they may find freedom from the tyrannous religious system and receive Jesus as their Lord.
Israel Is The Apple Of God's Eye
In Deuteronomy 32:10 God refers to the children of Israel as the "apple of His eye".
Zechariah 2:8 says: "...for he who touches you, (Israel) touches the apple of my eye. (emphasis mine)
How will God deal with those who poke the apple of His eye? In Zechariah 14:12, we read that the Lord will strike all peoples who wage war against Jerusalem. "And the Lord will send a plague on all the nations that fought against Jerusalem. Their people will become like walking corpses, their flesh rotting away. Their eyes will rot in their sockets and their tongues will rot in their mouths."
It is very clear that God will protect His own. He speaks throughout the scriptures about His unconditional love. We are to stand alongside His chosen people and support them. As gentile believers we are called to be a blessing to them. We share the same roots and receive the same blessings.
We are called and chosen by God and we are grafted in to the Olive tree becoming one with the other branches, part of the same whole.
It is clear from this verse in Genesis that those who rise against Israel will be severely dealt with. Genesis 12:3: "I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonours you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.
Satan Seeks Israel's Destruction
Satan knows that the Jewish nation is the apple of God's eye, His chosen people. He knows that the city of Jerusalem is where Christ will return and that the land of Israel is the land promised by God for His people to dwell in forever.
Throughout the ages the land that God promised has been under attack, ruled by invaders and pogroms. Today the threat of attack continues plus the distortions of truth about Israel, accusations of occupation and conspiracies that Jews control and cause all the worlds terror, control all the worlds banking, money and governments are all part of satan's cunning to thwart God's plan of salvation for all who accept it.
We are in a battle of spiritual warfare when we pray because the enemy has other plans. We need to put on the armour of God and be alert. Each part of the armour equips us and protects us.
We Depend On Israel - Past, Present & Future
PAST - In Romans 9:4-5, we read of all that we have gained through the Jewish people and the nation of Israel: 4 They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises.5 To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen."
PRESENT - As gentile believers we benefit from the Jewish peoples disobedience. Paul explains this in Romans 11:11: "So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means, rather through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous."
FUTURE - Jerusalem is the place where Yeshua will return to when He comes to reign. Acts 3:21: "He must remain in heaven until the time of universal restitution, which God announced long ago through the voice of His holy prophets."
Romans 11:28: "Many of the people of Israel are now enemies of the Good News, and this benefits you Gentiles. Yet they are still the people he loves because he chose their ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." (New Living Translation)
Our Part On The Defensive Wall
We are to be watchmen standing on the ramparts looking out in to the distance. Isaiah 62:6: "Oh Jerusalem, I have posted watchmen on your walls; they will pray day and night continually. Take no rest, all you who pray to the Lord."
Scripture instructs us to pray for Israel and we are also told in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to pray without ceasing. We have a task that is so important and very challenging because we are engaging in a battle.
Praise God that He gives us all that we need to achieve His purposes!