It is not uncommon for some Christians to say that they have “a heart for Israel”. Usually what they mean by that is not just giving special attention to the news coming out of this country. Rather, it means that there is something about this nation that they connect to. But how?
It should come as no surprise that the answer is linked to both God’s heart and His Word.
God’s Heart for Israel
Starting at the northern tip of Israel in a car, you could reach the southern end in under ten hours. The country is no bigger than the state of New Jersey, yet commands ever growing attention on the world stage. So much ink has been spilled in regards to this tiny nation.
Most of us have heard about Israel in the news, or learned about her history in our churches, or maybe wrestled with the politics surrounding the modern state. For such a small country, Israel seems to be everywhere. Which begs the question: What’s the big deal?
God’s heart—that’s the big deal! When God made His eternal covenant with Abraham in Genesis 12, He forever linked His reputation to the patriarch’s descendants, the Jewish people.
Isaiah prophesied that the nations would know that the LORD is God alone through His witnesses — the people of Israel (Isa. 49:10). In essence, Israel is the Lord’s calling card to the world, and proof that He exists.
Surrounded by relentless, nuclear enemies that shamelessly chant their mission to destroy her,
Israel’s prevailing existence defies logic itself.
If God was done with Israel, the Jewish State would not exist today. But it does. Because when Jesus looked over Jerusalem, He did not return rejection for rejection. His words over her were words of promise.
The Jews would see Him again, He said, when they proclaimed “Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord” (Matthew 23:39). One day, they will see Him and welcome Him.
Did God Replace Israel?
Some denominations, whether by arrogance, ignorance or misunderstanding, have written “replaced” over Israel. It is increasingly important we understand the danger of this belief.
To insinuate that God has replaced Israel, is to call Him a liar. This idea cannot come from our Father in Heaven, but comes from the father of lies himself (John 8:44).
The truth is, God cannot and will not change His heart of devotion towards Israel (see Zechariah 1:16-17). He is calling all who follow Him to understand our dependent relationship with the Jews and awaken to our role in Israel’s restoration.
God is moving mightily in the body of Messiah today and sight is being restored. Jews for Jesus, an evangelist ministry, is sowing seeds in Israel and in the hearts of Jews in the diaspora. They can testify to miraculous stories of many Hebrew hearts doing the most Jewish thing they can do: accepting Yeshua as their Messiah.
The Story of Israel
The story of Israel is far from over, truly maybe just beginning, and God invites those who love Him to help write these eternal pages.
May we, as Christians, say as Isaiah to the Daughter of Zion, “See your Savior comes! See, His reward is with Him and His recompense accompanies Him. They will be called a Holy People, Redeemed of the Lord— and you will be called Sought After, the City No Longer Deserted” (Isaiah 62:11-12).
Israel has not been deserted. She has not been rejected or replaced. As Christians, as ingrafted branches, may we humbly approach our relationship with our roots.
As they were blinded for our sake and mercy was shown to us at their expense, may we show mercy to them in return by sharing the good news of our Messiah, their Messiah (Romans 11:31).
Israel: The Roots of Christian Faith
May we take comfort in God’s covenant with Israel and respond to His call. As Jews for Jesus and many other Messianic ministries are reaping the promised harvest, may we rejoice in God’s faithfulness.
Let’s put our hands on the pulse of His present and eternal activity. May we be connected with our roots, united, that we may build the Kingdom and let all nations behold their God.
In the words of Charles Spurgeon, “The day shall come when the Jews…shall be gathered in again. Until that shall be, the fullness of the church’s glory can never come” (Finto, 2018).
Israel and God’s Faithfulness to You
Have you ever doubted whether God is truly faithful? Do you ever worry He’ll reject you because of your sin? Has a major failure made you think that surely God no longer has a plan for your life?
Consider how He has treated Israel. His calling upon them is irrevocable, regardless of their actions. The faithfulness of God to His people is contingent on His character, not on their own. And, His promises are secure regardless of their failures. After 2,000 years of exile, He has placed them back in the Land He promised them.
If God is faithful to Israel, He will be faithful to you. So, if He can save them, He can save you. Consider this, if His love for them is unconditional, then so is His love for you!
Discovering God through Israel
There are so many things to discover about the Lord through His people Israel. His appointed times and feasts creatively reveal the Messiahship of Jesus. Celebrating them is not mandatory, but revelatory!
The way each feast links to a moment in Yeshua’s (Jesus’) life and ministry causes one to stand amazed – not only at the prosaic perfection of Scripture, but the often overlooked beauty of Yeshua’s identity as a Jew in the Gospels.
The reality that the Jewish people have safe-guarded the Hebrew Scriptures throughout millennia is just shy of heroic.
There were entire sects of Jewish people (such as the Essenes) who were dedicated to writing and preserving the Scriptures through extremely meticulous work as scribes. They would throw away hours of work if they made one tiny error in transcription on one page. They set apart their lives to preserve the Scriptures exactly as it had been given to them.
And then, there’s the story of the State of Israel’s exciting rebirth, which make the pages of Joshua come alive when they stand side by side. You can watch in wonder at how the hand of God worked to grant Jewish pioneers miraculous victories in Israel’s modern day restoration just as He had in earlier Biblical accounts.
But, Why Do I Need a Heart for Israel?
Beyond the personal blessing that comes with understanding and loving Israel, there’s also a promised blessing for the nations and worldwide revival, and Israel is the key.
Jesus said He would not return until His people, the Jews, Israel, say of Him, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD.” (Mt. 23:39) And, God also promises that the Jewish people’s salvation will mean “life from the dead!” (Rom. 11:15)
Revival for Israel means revival for the whole world!
The Lord has entrusted the Gentiles with a unique part to play in this grand scheme: to make Israel (the Jews) jealous. Paul explains that though Israel stumbled, they have not permanently fallen.
“Heaven forbid! Quite the contrary, it is by means of their stumbling that the deliverance has come to the Gentiles, in order to provoke them to jealousy”
– Rom. 11:11
Caring about Israel is an integral part of every believer’s calling. God has empowered us to turn the ‘key’ to unlock worldwide revival by loving the Jewish people and Israel, and praying for them to embrace their Messiah.
Join the Tribe with a Heart for Israel
Are you looking for how to get more of a heart for Israel? You’re invited to join in the story of God’s plan for his people!
The Tribe is a passionate and faithful group of monthly donors on a mission to transform lives in Israel through the love of Jesus.