II Chronicles 24:19 Yet he sent prophets to them, to bring them again unto the LORD; and they testified against them: but they would not give ear.
Jeremiah 7:25 Since the day that your fathers came forth out of the land of Egypt unto this day I have even sent unto you all my servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them:
26 Yet they hearkened not unto me, nor inclined their ear, but hardened their neck: they did worse than their fathers.
We noted yesterday that God has worked in various ways to get the attention of the nation of Israel. God raised up that nation from nothing. Abraham was not a Jew prior to being called by God to leave Ur of the Chaldees. He is the “father” of the nation of Israel. God chose Abraham and Sarah when they had no children. Abraham was one hundred years old when God’s promised son was born to them. Abraham and Sarah grew impatient with God’s timetable and they listen to the lie of the devil in trying to “help” God get the job done. Out of that sin came a son named Ishmael. Ishmael cannot be blamed for being born. However, Ishmael chose not to know the true God. He lived with Abraham for a number of years. He would have known that his father and his mother had an ungodly relationship. He also would have learned that Sarah did not get along with Hagar after the birth of Ishmael.
Ishmael’s descendants are not a God-fearing people. By the grace of God, there are some descendants of Ishmael that learned the importance of the fear of God. Some of them will be in heaven.
God did not allow Abraham to displace God’s plan by sinning against Him. Abraham and Sarah had a son at the exact time that God had planned. Isaac grew up under the influence of Abraham and Sarah. He learned some good things and he also learned some bad things. He was ultimately responsible for his own actions, but we learn throughout the Bible, that parents have an influence over their children. Nobody lives in a vacuum.
God changed Jacob’s name to Israel. The name Israel did not exist until God gave it to Jacob. The name Israel ends with the letters “el”. That is a name of God. Every time the name Israel is spoken or read or heard, there is a reminder of God given to man. That does not mean every name that ends in el has the same significance, but it does mean that in this case.
As we follow through the Bible, we see that God never forsook Israel. Israel was His choice, not man’s. He proves His faithfulness to His own Word over and over again. As we see in our opening verses, God sent prophets to the nation of Israel, throughout their Old Testament history. He sent those prophets to keep reminding Israel of the importance of knowing Him. Israel was God’s choice to be His human voice to all of the world.
No one can blame God for setting a bad example for Abraham or for any Hebrew. What we see in the Bible is that God has given man free will. He will work in the heart of His people in a different way than He does with those who are defiant toward Him. He expected something more from the Hebrews than He did from the nations around her. He expected Israel to be a light to the nations around them. He gave them His law and He gave them a land and He gave them a temple. They were to shine brightly for Him and show people the blessing there is in knowing the true God.
Israel had a few times in her history where she was a greater blessing to others. During the days of king Solomon, God blessed the nation with peace and prosperity. Other nations observed the blessings of God on that land. The queen of Sheba travelled to Israel herself, to see for herself what she had heard of Israel back home. She was amazed at what she witnessed in Israel. Sadly, that was a rare occasion for the nation of Israel. They would fall into idolatry before Solomon was dead. After that time, the southern tribes would have some good kings and some bad kings. The northern tribes never had a good king.
God used the few true prophets of Israel to speak not just to the Hebrews, but to all people. Jonah was a Hebrew who was chosen by God to preach an important message to a Gentile nation. Amos was chosen by God to write about nations around Israel and then to zero in on the sins of Israel.
The “sovereignty” of God is something we will never fully understand as finite humans. The “sovereignty” of God is not as the Calvinist tries to make it to be. God has supreme authority in all things. The difference is that God does not force anyone to follow Him. Nor does He force anyone to go to hell. Adam was given the ability to choose whether or not to obey God. Cain also had that same choice to make. The people of Noah’s days also needed to choose who they would follow.
God has always reminded man that there are consequences to his actions. God would always prefer that man would humble himself and turn to the true God in repentance and trust in His provision for salvation — the Lord Jesus Christ.
God has never given up on His promise to Abraham. Israel is currently a root that is not growing for the Lord. There are Jews being saved in our time. However, the nation of Israel does not know the true God. There is religious activity taking place there. There is a desire by some to see a temple built. Some within the religious community have been busy preparing the items needed for the temple. They will be quite excited when the antichrist comes on the scene and builds them a temple. They will be quite shocked when they see this man of sin declare himself to be god at the midpoint of the Tribulation.
Those who are saved today can see God’s hand at work in Israel. He is blessing them in certain ways even though they do not acknowledge Him as their God. He is doing that to remind them and the world that He alone is the true God.
Currently God is working through local churches which are mostly made up of Gentile believers. It is always important for born again Christians to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. One day God will again turn His attention to the nation of Israel. During the Tribulation, He will be working closely with His godly witnesses to show the Jews the result of rejecting the Lord Jesus Christ as their Messiah and king. God will give the antichrist great leeway to enact his wicked plot for humanity. The antichrist will be limited to a seven year period in which to enact his evil desires. During that time, he will be limited by God as to how far he can go.
We know that the devil is limited in how far he can go with his wicked plans. The same is true for all wickedness.
God has not forgotten about the Jews. He never will forget about them. He demonstrates His faithfulness to mankind as we can observe His hand at work in that land. The things that He has done there since 1948 clearly show that He is still on His throne and that He is moving His program along at His pace. He is giving all Jews the opportunity to be saved. He is also giving all Gentiles the opportunity to be saved.
It is important for each person to listen to God’s working in their heart. God has given every person a conscience and He is stirring in each conscience to bring people to know Him. There are people who are extremely restless. There is no need for that. If you are one of those people, God is showing you that your way is not working. Stop fighting and turn to Him. Get into a true church that will show you the truth and help you to see the importance of trusting in the true God. You cannot do that if you are refusing to follow His way. His way is through a true local church. True salvation is defined in God’s Word. God has designed that we need to hear His Word proclaimed to us in order to be saved. There are “self-made” Christians. They live in a distorted reality. Over time, they demonstrate that their “Christianity” is empty and worthless. Those who are truly saved will be moved closer to the truth in all things by the Holy Spirit Who indwells every true child of God.
Don’t be fooled by your feelings. Take God’s Word as your authority. Find a good church where a Godly pastor can help you to see the importance of believing what God’s Word says. Grow in Him and enjoy His blessings as He promises them in His Word.