Sooo in my last post I mentioned that I was going to Israel and I was hoping to do daily updates on how the time was going there!
ha. how did that one work out for ya bridge?
not so well.
Turns out the cause was not due to a lack of desire, or even always a lack of time. It was just that I didn’t even know all that I was taking in, let alone how to express it in words.
So now, after some weeks have passed, and some wisdom teeth have been taken out (aka I have a lot of time to sit and think), I will begin. to prepare. to climb. Mt. Everest with some warm up stretches.
This post is a pre-conditioning, pre-ascent warm up stretch- description of what I learned while in Israel. I don’t take these warm ups lightly because we all now that pre-hike stretches can make or break summiting to the top. In this case I don’t really know what the parallel to summiting to the top of Everest is in relation to the trip, but when I find out I’ll let you know 😉
I have no context, no country, no culture to compare this place to. This is the Holy Land- that is the best way I can describe it.
Two things. Two things to prevent tired eyes and utter confusion given my tendency to be overly worded. Israel is the richest- in its history, theology, people, culture. So I am going to use two scriptures to help describe how many swirling thoughts were formed during this trip: Romans 11:25-28 and Acts 4:12.
And its also complex- oh it is so complicated.
One is a surprising sadness, and the other, a hopeful and joyous cause for looking to the future, trusting the Promise-keeping Lord.
God brought Romans 11 to me very early on during the trip. He brought it through a tour guide who, from my point of view, had some radical ideas. He was from South Africa and knew His word of God like it was his most prized and precious possession. #goals.
Amidst having a very helpful/overwhelmingly dense conversation with this tour guide near the headed back portion of our day, God led us to reading Romans 11:25-28
Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers:[d] a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written,
“The Deliverer will come from Zion,
he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”;
27 “and this will be my covenant with them
when I take away their sins.”
28 As regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
Sidenote: I recommend reading this
whole chapter the whole Bible, for a better understanding of God’s plan for Israel. But for now: warm ups.
Anyways verse 26 in this chapter stuck with me during the whole trip.
Paul says, “And in this way all Israel will be saved,”
That is pretty extreme. That is pretty definitive.
Do I really believe what is meant to follow? when so many I’ve heard say “that state of Israel has not looked to Christ as Messiah- yet“?
God is promising a definite outcome of the whole of current unbelieving Israel- that as a nation they will turn to Jesus and by faith be saved.
I felt like I needed to process 100 things and it was only within the first hours of the first. day.
But before going back to that I was also filled with a sense of awe and wonder thinking about, imagining, and day-dreaming (or was I actually asleep? #jetlag) about my King Jesus being baptized in the Jordan waters that I was looking at with my very eyes. I was imagining the Spirit descending on Jesus like a dove, as the apostles testified (Matthew 3:17) I was thinking about what it would be like to be in these waters and actually hear God’s voice from heaven saying….
“this is my Beloved Son with whom I am well pleased”
This Jordan! keep that scrolling
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. I can’t contain it.
Then I took a step back. A wave of reality hits me.
This joy, this amazement and awe- its not captivating the people around me. I don’t mean the people that I went on the tour with, the ones I sat next to during the holocaust seminars, not our tour guide. The Jewish state of Israel.
I need to be careful because I have a lot to learn about God’s chosen people, and the love and plan He has for them, how His eyes are constantly on them. I honestly don’t know anything. And each time I learn something I realize how much more I have to learn. I have much growth in order in the way of “Paul’s attitude, being torn and wishing “he himself were accursed” for the sake of these Jews as it says in Romans 9. I was convicted on how little attention I paid to these people so precious in God’s eyes. For just as Paul said,
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.
Amen and Amen. From their race is the Christ. From them we have the law, worship, the covenants, the promises. Compared to them, I look like a heathen. The Jews reverence for God, their spirit of repentance and hating of sin- it is truly amazing, convicting, and challenging.
*No small note- to them belong the adoption.* Wow
Amazing and precious are these people to their Maker.
But why does Paul wish he himself were accursed for them? Why does he find it necessary to look at all these things, who they are, and still be in anguish for their souls?
“and thus save some.” He glories in Israel’s salvation, he longs for it. He prayed for it, he called christians to look to the day that this nation turns to Jesus.
Hope. If adoption belongs to the Jews, and Paul says that the nation of Israel will turn to Jesus then we pray into a promise that was given by God. We pray for what He says He will do. Oh to see the day that these people turn from their rituals and bondage, uncertainty about how they stand before God, and look to JESUS as their Savior, Lord, Redeemer, King.
The second thing that God brought to the forefront of my mind was this verse. I was not reading it previously, I had no logical reason as to why this it on my mind- I believe it was brought by the Holy Spirit to minister to me at the time of the trip, in order to teach me how to pray. The short and simple Acts 4:12.
And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
This crystal clear, no-way-around-it type of verse was a gift. It helped me sort through the confusion of struggling with the basis of my salvation, it helped me cherish, treasure, and praise the name of Jesus Christ for doing what I could never do on my own.
This crystal clear verse was also hard. As I looked around me and realized its implications. If no one comes to the Father except through Jesus, and Jews don’t believe He was the Son of God, then these souls are not yet Sons and daughters of God. Not yet able to call God: “Abba, Father!”
Will you join me in praying for Israel, for God’s chosen people to turn to Jesus and place their faith in them? Longing for Israel to see this Gift, I am burdened that they still await a Messiah, but hopeful that God fulfills His promises. I expect that they will see Jesus and be saved. If I learned anything about this nation, it is that God is still fighting for Israel just as He fought for them when all odds were against Joshua and the people of Israel.
When king’s armies banned together to destroy Israel, God fulfilled His promise and Israel “hamstrung their horses and burned their chariots with fire”(Joshua 11:6). A feat. of the Almighty God alone. A similar ‘against the odds’ battle happened with Israel called the six-day war.. a bit more recent…. you might have heard the outcome….God is still fighting for Israel.
Going to Israel made me filled with joy to see the Holy Land, causing me to cherish and praise the name of Jesus in a greater freedom and awe of Christ.
Going to Israel placed in me longing and brokenness for a people who have not experienced this salvation- yet. God is faithful. Just as this promise rang true for me in every season of life, so it is true for the nation of Israel
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6
till the day when all “yets” will be gloriously fulfilled by a Savior who has ransomed His bride to God- i’ll keep saying, with all those that long for Israel to look to Jesus as their Messiah,
On the holy mount stands the city he founded;
the LORD loves the gates of Zion
more than all the dwelling places of Jacob.
Glorious things of you are spoken,
O city of God.
Among those who know me I mention Rahab and Babylon;
behold, Philistia and tyre, with Cush–
“This one was born there,” they say.
And of Zion it shall be said,
“This one and that one were born in her”;
for the Most High himself will establish her.
The LORD records as he registers the peoples,
“This one was born there.”
“Singers and dancers alike say,
“All my springs are in you.”