Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Now this is what the Lord says—the One who created you, Jacob, and the One who formed you, Israel—‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.’” (Isaiah 43:1 HCSB)

Miracles are by their nature extraordinary.  They are supernatural, not the norm, but the exceptional.  They stand out because of their uniqueness.  Miracles attest to the existence of One beyond us, more powerful than us.  These wonder works bear witness to God.

There is one such miracle that we can see every day should we wish to stop and consider it—the miracle that is Israel!  There this tiny nation sits, with a land mass about the size of the state of South Carolina.  It is encircled by hostile nations bent on its destruction.  There are increasingly few allies in the world which will stand with the nation—even America’s support is waning.  Compared to other peoples in the world the Jews are not many in number, and the state of Israel has relatively few natural resources.  There cannot be any explanation for Israel but a miracle.  Reason would dictate they could not survive as a nation, and that the Jews would never prosper as a people.  The God in heaven, however, is unlimited in His power and unwavering in His purpose and this is His decree that a miracle would transpire—the miracle that is Israel.

There is the miracle of their CREATION, “Now this is what the Lord says—the One who created you, Jacob, and the One who formed you, Israel…” (Isa.43:1a).

Perhaps you have heard the line by William Norman Ewer, a British journalist,

How odd
 Of God
 To choose
 The Jews.” 

Though it surely sounds anti-Semitic—and perhaps was meant that way—there is a kernel of truth to it—thoroughly Biblical, drawn right out of the Hebrew text:

The Lord was devoted to you and chose you, not because you were more numerous than all peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples.” (Deuteronomy 7:7 HCSB)

In His sovereign grace, God bent down and chose the undeserving to be His chosen people.  He reached into Ur of the Chaldees and called a pagan named Abram, old and childless at the time, who along with his wife Sarai, would birth a new nation—God’s elect.  Abraham and Sarah experienced more than a change in their name—but the transforming power of God’s grace made them His vessels to pour out that grace to the whole world.  He blessed them to be a blessing—just because He wanted to—and in choosing that family attained all the glory for Himself!

There is not only the miracle of their creation, but of their REDEMPTION, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.” (Isa.43:1b)

The descendants of Abraham, through Isaac and then Jacob, found themselves a small band of souls in Egypt.  There they flourished and the Jews became a numerous people—and a threat to their hosts according to Pharaoh’s fear.  They were made to be slaves, brutally treated, an edict eventually issued for the slaughter of the male Hebrew infants to control the burgeoning population.  God blessed them despite the shackles they suffered.  But, then there came a day of redemption, when the Lord performed a miracle—and redeemed them by the blood of the lamb.  God visited the Egyptians with His wrath and opened the waters of the Red Sea for Israel’s escape—the miracle of their redemption.

He brought them out in order to bring them in—God not only redeemed a people, but a place.  He chose that little plot of ground for the Jews.  He chose one city, Jerusalem, in which He would ever delight, and one mountain where His eye would eternally gaze, and there the worship of Yahweh would be focused.  The heathen who dwelt in the land and defiled it with the most degraded and debauched acts would be driven out—the place redeemed for a redeemed people.  The Jews are still God’s special possession and Israel is still their select place—God gave it to them—His redeemed.

There is another miracle that is Israel—their PRESERVATION, “I will be with you
when you pass through the waters, and [when you pass] through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you.  You will not be scorched when you walk through the fire,
and the flame will not burn you.” (Isaiah 43:2 HCSB)

Across the millennia, there has been no other race of so hated and hounded and hurt.  Powerful forces have in the past purposed their genocide—Hitler’s hellish Holocaust, the prime example—and still they survive.  Of the ancient peoples who dwelt in that land—Hittites, Amorites, Hivites, Jebusites, and the like—have you ever met one?  But, the Israelite—they are everywhere!  We may talk with a Jew on the phone today at our work.  We might bump into one on the sidewalk.  There may be a Jew sitting across from our table at the café.  Miraculous—these people.

God still has a plan for them.  The promises given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—then expanded with David—have never been revoked.  It was a covenant of grace.  God has given His word and it cannot be broken.  There are still fires and floods for Israel to walk through—and as hard as it is for us to imagine, considering what they have endured—the worst is yet to come.  They will walk through that tribulation, however—for God walks with them!  Christ, their Messiah and hope of the world will return some day soon and gather the Jews back to their homeland from the four corners of the earth.  The temple will be rebuilt, worship will be restored and the whole earth will be blessed through Christ and His chosen people (read Isaiah 43:3ff).

This is the miracle that is Israel!

So what?  Maybe, your attitude is, “That’s nice, but I’m not a Jew.”

Here’s the “so what” for us Gentiles.  If God cannot be trusted to keep His covenant with Abraham, we cannot be certain He will honor the New Covenant either.  Should God cast Israel away, then we should worry that He will do that to us.  If the promises given in the Old Testament aren’t to be fulfilled neither can we have confidence that those in the New Testament will be.

Israel wasn’t always faithful to God—and still isn’t.  Neither are we.  Abraham was chosen by grace and if any Gentile is saved, it is the same grace.  Abraham was justified by faith, and that is the only way anyone is. 

God is faithful.  He will keep His Word—to Jews, to Gentiles, to all who hear His voice and respond to His call.  Do not reject Him—and do not reject His people!

How odd of God to choose the Jews?

“But not so odd
As those who choose
A Jewish God
Yet spurn the Jews” (Cecil Browne)

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