Does God expect Christians to be supportive of Israel and the Jewish people?
This being the first of a regular blog post we would like to set out where we stand in relation to the question above, and why. Perhaps we could best describe our position by saying that our signature Scripture is Genesis 12:3a: “and I will bless them that bless thee...”. We know that the “thee” in this verse is referring to the nation of Israel.
The question is: what does this mean and what does it actually require of us? Sometimes it’s easier to simply avoid doing anything than it is to take the proactive steps of actually doing something. But the condition attached to the promise in this verse requires us to take actual steps to “bless” Israel if we are to receive blessings.
Why isn’t it enough simply to ensure that we don’t curse or dishonour Israel, which is what the verse goes on to warn us against? Why isn’t it enough for us to just have positive thoughts towards Israel and the Jewish people?
Because when God tells us to “bless” Israel He is not speaking just of an attitude or a platitude. No, the Hebrew word He uses, translated as “bless”, is an intensive active verb form, where its primary meaning is one of positive action, not just praising or greeting.
Note too that God reciprocates with a blessing to us. When the Lord blesses us we know that we have received something, and that it is something to be valued. So, we see in the language of this verse that He wants to bless us as we bless His people. We should then bless Israel and the Jewish people in ways that are meaningful to them.
We might also note that God’s promise to bless those who bless Israel appears more than once in Scripture. God doesn’t have to say something more than once before we need to take notice, but when He does repeat something we should recognise that He is very serious about what He is saying. So we are reminded of the requirement to bless Israel in Numbers 24:9, where the enemy had instructed Balaam to curse God’s people. But even Balaam knew that God required him to bless Israel and the instruction is repeated there.
Another important thing to consider is God’s own example. Surely He wants us to model our behaviour on Him. He has blessed Israel mightily from the very beginnings of the nation. Even the evil Balaam recognised that he couldn’t reverse God’s command to bless Israel because God Himself blesses Israel. We read that in Numbers 23:20.
God continues to bless the nation of Israel, to this very day, often in miraculous ways. That’s just what He promised to do and promises that He will continue to do so. Psalm 115:12 says: The Lord hath been mindful of us: He will bless us; He will bless the house of Israel; He will bless the house of Aaron.
Why wouldn’t we want to imitate God in this way?
Surely the truly miraculous events surrounding the modern nation of Israel that have taken place over the last hundred years or so testify to the fulfilment of a number of God’s prophetic words in relation to Israel. For example, there’s the resurrection of the Hebrew language (prophesied in Zephaniah 3:9), the creation of the modern State of Israel in 1948, and the continuing restoration of the Jewish people from all around the world to Israel (See Amos 9:14-15; Isaiah 66:8).
Why wouldn’t we want to be part of this miracle in our day and stand with God and be part of what He is doing. Blessing Israel is standing with Him.
If you are interested in this subject a wonderful book to read is Why Still Care About Israel, written by Susan Teplinsky, a Messianic Jewish believer from an orthodox Jewish background, a former lawyer now involved in ministry to Israel and the Church.