By Samuel Smadja
Shalom and greetings to you all!
As we celebrate Israeli Independence Day and the 70th birthday of the modern state of Israel, I would like to share with you one of the biggest miracles in our generation, the return of the Jewish people to the land of Israel. 75 years ago, it would have been very hard to believe that such a thing could ever be possible. There was very little hope for the Jewish people, especially in Europe where Jews were being systematically murdered. Any idea of the establishment of a Jewish state and the return of the Jewish people to the Promised Land was far from reality.
To date, the Jewish people have returned from over 105 different nations to the land of Israel. Undoubtedly, the Holocaust was a catalyst to find a solution for the Jewish people but as a believer, I see the fire that God had placed in the hearts of the Jewish people to return home to Jerusalem. The return of the Jews was in some cases due to religious conviction, but the majority of them were secular and yet they knew that they had to return to the land. The fire burning in their hearts drove them home. “‘For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land.’” Ezekiel 36:4 (see also Zephaniah 3:20, Ezekiel 11:17)
The miraculous revival of the Hebrew language is yet another testament to God’s faithfulness. Although Hebrew featured in synagogues and prayers, it was not used as an every-day language or even properly understood. Today, this once-dead language is again spoken on the streets of Jerusalem and throughout the whole nation of Israel! A people who were persecuted, tortured and killed for the last 2000 years can now say “never again”.
I personally believe that this is all possible because of God’s faithfulness. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is a God who keeps His promises and keeps His covenant – which is exactly what He has done with His nation Israel. It is important to understand that when Ezekiel prophesied the return of the Jewish people to the Promised Land (Ezekiel 36) it was clearly not because of the faithfulness of God’s people to Him, but rather God’s faithfulness to His people. God re-established His people in the Land for the sake of His Holy name so that the Nations would know that He is God.
22 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. 23 I will sanctify my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them; and the nations shall know that I am the Lord, says the Lord God, when through you I display my holiness before their eyes. 24 I will take you from the nations, and gather you from all the countries, and bring you into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put my spirit within you, and make you follow my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances. 28 Then you shall live in the land that I gave to your ancestors; and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.” (Ezekiel 36:22-28)
When God elected His people, the people of Israel, it was not because He found a faithful people who believed in Him. If I were God, I would probably not have chosen a nation of slaves, but God in His sovereignty chose a nation who was weak, in no position to help themselves and He redeemed them from slavery bringing them into freedom. He established them in the Promised Land in order to use them as His vehicle to show the nations His faithfulness, His love and His grace which is available for all who will call upon Him (Romans 10:13, Acts 2:21).
Praise God that today we can say as Jeremiah foretold: “…As the LORD lives who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of the north and from all the countries where He had banished them. For He has restored us to our own land which He gave to our fathers. ” (Jeremiah 16:14-15) No longer do we declare only that He brought us out of Egypt, but also that He has brought us home from all corners of the earth!
The celebration of Israel’s 70 years and God’s faithfulness to His people Israel should not only be a celebration of the people of Israel but it should also be a celebration of the body of Messiah around the world. If God has remained (and will continue to be) faithful to a nation who profaned His name and forsook their role of being a light to the nations, what a testimony this is to believers all around the world of His faithfulness to them!
“Who has ever heard of such things? Who has ever seen things like this? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children.” (Isaiah 66:8) When God wills and promises to do so, the answer is most definitely yes, a nation can be born in a day! We have seen this fulfilled in our time and bear witness to God’s faithfulness to His people.
Happy Independence Day!
God bless you,