Monday, October 16, 2017

Isaiah 45:1-7 Human History is Israel-centric


KEY TEXT: Isaiah 45:4-6 For the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel my chosen, I call you by your name, I name you, though you do not know me. I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other.s

KEY THOT: Though Cyrus was not a Jew, neither a believer in the God of Israel, yet the Lord has called him by name and fought on his behalf to destroy nations in his battles: "I will go before you and level the exalted places, I will break in pieces the doors of bronze and cut through the bars of iron, I will give you the treasures of darkness and the hoards in secret places, that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who call you by your name" (vv.2-3). Cyrus did not know God, but God knew him by name and actually helped him subdue the nations. And the reason for all this is "for the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel my chosen,  I call you by your name, I name you, though you do not know me" (v,4). What this tells us is that God is sovereign over human history--He moves it for the sake of Israel.

When we read about the rise of kings and presidents--especially ungodly ones--we may wonder why God allow such figures to be in power. The ultimate reason is Israel. While we condemn Hitler because he triggered off World War II and murdered six million Jews in the Holocaust, yet without his murderous reign, Israel would not be formed in 1948. In God's end-time history, Israel must be restored as a nation. And God has used Hitler's murderous regime as a judgement of the Jews; but He also used Hitler as His instrument (negatively) to restore Israel as a nation. One may consider Israel's history in the past--how God raised ungodly nations to discipline Israel and Judah: the Assyrians (722 BC), the Babylonian (586 BC), and the Romans (AD 70). 

While we may never understand why God allowed six million Jews to be slaughtered in the Holocaust, we know the outcome is as God intended: the formation of Israel as a nation to bring human history to a close. This is the prelude to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

God has used godless kings and presidents to accomplish his purpose. He is in total control of human history. We will better understand history when we keep in mind it is all "for the sake of Jacob, and Israel my chosen one" (v.4). And it is still the same today: Israel remains the focus of international alignments. The UN can be divided into those nations who are for Israel and those who are against it. The majority are against Israel -- and this is as prophesied in the Bible that at the end the nations of the world will be aligned against Israel to destroy it.

We may differ in our opinions regarding who is responsible for international justice or injustice, but our God is above the fray of these international politics. He uses these conflicts to achieve his overarching purpose in Israel to usher in the coming of Christ. And all this is "for the sake of Jacob and Israel my chosen one."

The ancient promise made to Abraham remains inviolable: "I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed" (Genesis 12:3). May we all be on the side that honour Israel as God's people. Those who honour Israel will receive God's blessing; those who dishonour Israel will receive God's curses.

Abba-Father, Your love for Israel has remained steadfast. May we who love You also love Israel Your Chosen one. Amen.

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