December 21st  … 4 NIGHTS TIL CHRISTMAS

                  PROVOKED TO JEALOUSY


“Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall   salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.”   Rom 11:11

 The 2000- year “FALL” of Israel has been a disaster for the Jew. Not only have they been hunted and hated for centuries, their final bid for survival seems to be hanging on a thread. The re-birth of Israel in 1948, celebrated with such joy and enthusiasm over 60 years ago, now seems to be headed for a still-birth.

Isaiah seems to have prophesied a troubled delivery.  “ Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.  Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the LORD: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God.

Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her … for thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream.”  [Isaiah 66:8-12]

Israel was born in a day— May 14, 1948— and she is now 69 years old. As nations go, she is still a newborn. But as we now know, many in Israel and outside Israel are now claiming that she was born premature. The naysayers are saying that her rebirth was a political trick, a plot by “Zionists” who engineered history… that her birth in 1949 was not the long-awaited supernatural event prophesied in the Bible.

But even as Isaiah predicted, her birth may have been troubled, but God is not yet finished with Israel, and the struggling nation, so wracked with terrorism and intensifying world-wide criticism, is not anywhere close to the miracle nation God intends her to be.

What the secular Jews and Gentiles need to understand is that God is going to keep his promises to Israel, and that promise includes all of the land of Israel as described in Genesis 15:

And he (God) brought him (Abraham) forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.  And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.” [15:5-7]    “In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates.” [15:18]

This promise God made to Abraham was a covenant. A covenant is a DEAL. The deal was, the land was to be possessed by the Godly line of Abraham’s children. It was never promised to the ungodly. Godly  means those who respect God and obey Him. Not every son of Abraham qualified. Abraham’s first son was by his Egyptian servant girl Hagar. His name was Ishmael. Ishmael was not  the Godly son, but God out of mercy promised to bless him anyway. “And the angel of the LORD said unto her (Hagar), I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude. And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction. And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.” [Genesis 16:10-12]

Ishmael was a wild man.  God  could not use him for the Godly seed, even though he was Abraham’s eldest son. (It is well accepted throughout the world of men that the eldest son is always the principle heir— but God reversed this order in Ishmael’s case, and later in Esau’s case.)

Years later, when Abraham was 99 years old, God came to him and said, “And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.   And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.” [Gen 17:19-21]

Isaac was that Godly seed. Isaac married Rebecca, who had twin boys, Esau and Jacob. Jacob was the Godly seed, and when he was grown, God spoke to him: “ And God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel. And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins; and the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land. [Gen.35:10-12]

Jacob’s brother Esau actually sold his birthright for a bowl of “pottage.” This shows you how Esau never took much of anything spiritual serious (one of the reasons God rejected him being the spiritual head of the nation). Esau was also a “wild man”, and his offspring  became the nation of Edom.Thus dwelt Esau in mount Seir: Esau is Edom.” [Gen 36:8]

So Jacob became Israel, the father of God’s “chosen people Israel” and Esau became the father of the Bedouin tribes we now know as Arabs.

I know this is a great deal of new information for some of you. But had you read the book of Genesis, you’d have discovered for yourself that the present Mid-East Crisis is the end result of a sibling rivalry. Esau was angry with his brother Jacob, mostly out of jealousy. Just as the Arabs today are angry with the Jews, mostly out of jealousy. But this whole angry, jealous feud is absurd. God chose one brother through whom he could reveal his supernatural plans for the salvation of the human race— and the other brother was supposed to be his servant, his bodyguard.  “And the LORD  said unto [Rebekah] her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.”  [Gen 25:23]

For generations now the Arabs and the Jews have fought amongst themselves. Even today,Ishmael is still jealous of Isaac, Esau still jealous of Israel. Often throughout history, the Christians and the Arabs have fought— sometimes the Christians fought the Jews. All out of jealousy— jealous that God should favour one above the other! The whole conflict is absurd— we are all brothers. The Jews were meant to do a job— carry the revelation of God to the whole world. The Arabs were supposed to help and protect them. We Christians were supposed to join them both.

Those of us who have seriously wondered about the Jews, asking why God has let them suffer so much for so long— when we finally FOLLOW THROUGH and read the Bible for ourselves, for what it is, the WORD OF GOD— even when we do it out of jealousy— we discover that God wants to save us ALL, Jew and Gentile— and we discover it’s the same LORD who will save us all… the Lord Jesus Christ.