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Israel's 60th Anniversary

Our triune, sovereign God is the Lord of the universe. He is the God of revelation and the God who deals with his people through his covenants. He is the faithful covenant keeper and how grateful we ought to be to him, since we are the covenant breakers. But this sovereign and faithful God is also the God of history. History is about God, about his glory and about his redemptive plan for his people. History moves in one direction – forward to the consummation. History does not go in circles but in a straight line and it is moving forward under his direction, exactly according to his plan and his timing. In this sense we can say that history is His Story!
In May of 1948, an important and meaningful event shaped history; an event that has affected the world and certainly the Middle East. God brought his people of old – the Jewish people – back to the Promised Land. After almost two millennia of being scattered throughout the world, once again Jewish people could stop wandering and call Israel home. The establishment of the State brought an end to the wandering Jew.

Some say that if we don't learn from history, we are doomed to make the same mistakes. Looking at the long history of the people of Israel, we have to admit that the hand of God is with us. Powerful ancient nations and kingdoms set as their goal the destruction of Israel. The Egyptians, the Hittites, the Moabites, the Assyrians, the infamous Babylonians, the Medes and Persians, the Greeks and Romans all tried to destroy us, but were unsuccessful. Their memory is only in the pages of history, while the people of Israel stand, and stand tall, even today. As we move forward to more recent history, we recall the many horrific things said and done to the people of Israel in order to destroy them and blot out their name: The Spanish Inquisition, the Pogroms of the Soviet Union and the Nazi Holocaust. In these atrocious events, even though Jews lost their dignity and many lost their lives, and even though in the Holocaust alone some six million Jews were killed in a short period of time, we were not destroyed completely. In a different context, the apostle Paul spoke these words:

"We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed." (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)

Although written originally to the church in Corinth, these words apply very much to the history of Jewish people.

God in his timing brought about the establishment of the State of Israel. The ashes of Auschwitz and other death camps provided the seed for the new birth. Who could have imagined that God would use the Holocaust to bring about life? Yet history teaches us that out of bitterness God often brings sweetness, just as he did in the case of Joseph.

But like any birth, the re-emergence of Israel as a nation was not without its pain and challenges. Since then, in spite of seven wars in which we have lost 22,437 men and women, by God's sovereign grace we still exist as a nation and a people. However, the challenges and the threats from within and from outside have not ceased.

While for me, as an Israeli – and for many other Israelis – these facts and any of our many accomplishments can be a source of pride and arrogance, I know – and we all should know – that we are here because God’s hand is upon us. As it was in the past, God does all that he does for the people of Israel not because we are great in number, or wise, or rich, but because of his love alone. Hear the words written in Deut 7:7-8:

"It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers … "

Our God is the covenant-keeping God and he has not forgotten his promises and his covenants.

David Zadok

This article first appeared in the Summer 2008 edition of the Herald


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