Prefer Israel above our own nations? Where is it written?
If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill! If I do not remember you, let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth—If I do not exalt Jerusalem above my chief joy. (Psalm 137:5-6)
Thus says the Lord God, “This is Jerusalem; I have set her at the center of the nations, with lands around her.” (Ezekiel 5:5)
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)
Australian Christians at venues around almost the entire perimeter of that large land listened with intense interest – a few with milder curiosity – to what I traveled from Israel to share this past July-August.
I spoke about the unaltered place of central importance Israel holds in the redemption purposes of God – and how other nations have always been impacted positively or negatively by their relationship with the Jewish one.
I delved into fascinating facts about the way Australia was divinely ‘permitted’ to stand, with New Zealand, at the forefront of the national forces that liberated the Land of Israel from 600 years of Islamic control; how men from the lands Down Under prepared the way for the rebirth of Israel – the national home of the Jews.
Assessing the history of Australia vis-à-vis Israel pretty much since the former entered nationhood, I maintained that no other country has had a more positively consistent contributing relationship with the Jews as they were fashioned into and embarked on their own renewed national life.
I sought to – in a constructive way – provoke an energized response from Aussies with the news that the centennial of the Battle of Beersheba that will take place on October 31, 2017 presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help entrench Australia as a true friend of Israel’s in a world that has largely turned against her.
And I had the peremptory nerve – or chutzpah – to suggest to my audiences that, should they hope to see their land indeed be part of the much-vaunted “Great Southlands of the Holy Spirit” (becoming, as has been foretold by more than one authoritative Christian, the center of the last great revival to impact this world before the coming of Messiah) that they should place praying for and seeking the well-being of Israel above their prayers and hopes for their own land.
This stumped some. Yes, they averred, they understood that Israel still has an important part to play; that the Jewish people still matter as a nation before God. But where on earth do I get off suggesting to dyed-in-the-wool patriotic Aussies that they should place the flag of Israel above their own beloved national banner in terms of their priorities for action and for prayer?
To find the answer – for there most certainly is one – we Christians really need to jettison our Gentile perspectives and reposition ourselves to view the Bible from a Hebraic or Jewish point of view – something I tried to explain.
It lies in grasping the actual meaning that underlies what followers of Jesus were instructed to pray – and have been praying – for close on 2000 years:
“Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
This answer, fellow believers, poses no threat to our God-given national heritage and allegiance (it was the Creator who intended that we would be born into the nations we deem our own).
But the answer most certainly does lie in the place of our first allegiance, which is to the Kingdom of God. And if that is where we center our sense of loyalty, then (and this has been promised by God) Heaven’s blessings will accrue to our nations.
What it boils down to, simply, is this: The King, when He soon comes, is coming to Jerusalem. It is in Jerusalem, on Mount Moriah (AKA the Temple Mount), that He will be enthroned. And it is from there that He will rule and reign over all the nations.
Like it or not – and most reading this don’t – our nations are almost all joined in alliance against His coming, as manifested through their opposition to the Jews’ return in 1967 to Judea and Samaria, and especially to the heart of Jerusalem wherein stands the Mountain of the Lord.
This positioning sets our nations on a collision course with God and in line for judgment.
And we expect to see Him blessing us with revival?
No, my friends – if we truly desire to see blessing of revival come to our lands, then we need to bring our lands into line with God’s His purposes for Israel. Otherwise our nations will know His disfavour.
An indigenous Australian pastor grasped this truth at my very first meeting this year – in Yarrabah up near Cairns. Following the message, he approached me keen to share about his great grandfather who was one of six Aboriginals from that community to fall in Palestine during World War 1.
His family has played a personal part.
Then he told me what he had understood from my message:
“We indigenous Australians,” he said, “love to sit around campfires and talk about the Dreamtime. As Christian Indigenous, we have been praying fires of revival to break out across our nation. Some started up, but then they faded away.
This evening, he continued, with barely surpressed exhilaration in his voice, he had suddenly seen the answer:
If Australian Christians put the ‘log’ inscribed with the name ‘Israel’ in the center of the fire, he said; if they choose to prefer Jerusalem above their chief joy, and seek the Kingdom of God over and above the wellbeing of their own country, the fires of revival would ignite in their land.
I believe he is right. It is one of the most fundamental Biblical principles: The nation that blesses the seed of Abraham will be blessed. (Genesis 12:3). The nation that is unwilling to serve Israel will be utterly done away with. (Isaiah 60:12) And if we seek first His Kingdom, and His righteousness, then all these other things will be added to us.
Is this truly so hard to understand?