Encouragement for Israel

As we go through difficult times as a nation, facing multiple enemies aligned with Iran, a world that hates our very existence, and facing division in our society, I wanted to send a message of  encouragement to our nation.  

Let’s consider the following verse and its context: 

2Sam 3:1 – Now there was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David; and David became steadily stronger, while the house of Saul became steadily weaker. 

That single verse, taken in context, paints an amazing story that can bring those of us in Israel great  hope and encouragement today. So let’s examine the context of that verse. In 1Sam 16, David was  anointed to be king of Israel. It was God’s desire to make David king in place of Saul because Saul had  turned away from God. It is clear from the time that Samuel anoints David onward that God’s will was for David to become king in place of Saul and that God was blessing David in this pursuit. And yet, it  takes many years for this to come about — years filled with setbacks, losses and misery for David and  his men. And then immediately after David is crowned king in the tribe of Judah (the Southern  Kingdom), the armies of the Northern and Southern Kingdoms enter into a civil war. In the midst of this civil war, God gradually brings victory to David. After 7 more years, despite internal division  (centered mostly on Joab) David became king. 

Why the delays? Why did God allow so many trials and so much time to pass to bring about His will  regarding David? I believe there are 4 primary reasons for that long delay. Let’s take a look at those  reasons. 

First of all, from a practical point of view, Saul was king as a result of Israel deciding that they wanted a human king. Had Samuel publicly anointed David, then Saul would have had both Samuel and David killed. God could theoretically have had Samuel command David to kill Saul and take his place (sort of like what would happen in the future with Jehu and Ahab’s descendants), but there are reasons why He  did not, some of which I will get into in the subsequent reasons for the long process of giving David the throne. 

The second reason is unique to David. The usual way that a usurper to the throne takes power is by killing the reigning king and taking his place. However, the Messiah, known as the Son of David, did  not want his earthly kingship to derive from such an action. Instead, God wanted the Messiah’s earthly kingship to derive from God’s sovereign actions rather than from the violent action of a human being. David blesses Saul and refuses opportunities to kill him, just as his descendant would one day command his followers to bless those who curse them. 

The third reason is related to God’s working in David’s life during the season of trials and delays. God taught David to trust that He would have his back, to teach David to shepherd his people, to teach him  warfare, and to instill in him godly character. Consider that the people who surrounded David to help  

him were the “rejects” of society (1Sam 22:2) and David learned to work with these people and raise  them up to be a mighty fighting force. Through the incident with Nabal, David also learned that he did  not have to make everything happen by himself — that he could trust God to take care of him. 

The fourth reason is for all of the people who were watching this process so they could see that God was raising up David to be king. While David very quickly rose in popularity amongst the people, it  took some time for the nation to become convinced that David was supposed to replace Saul as king. Consider that even when the tribe of Judah declared David to be their king, the rest of Israel was still not completely convinced. The process required for David to go from being anointed to becoming king over all of Israel provided a testimony to all of Israel – not only that God wanted David to be king, but  to also see God at work in the world.  

So now with all of that background, let’s take a look at Israel over the past 150 years. According to Ezekiel 36, God said that He would bring back the children of Israel to the Land that He gave to them  at a time when they did not deserve it, and that He would do it for the sake of His Holy Name. That’s really good news for us who live in Israel. It means that it does not depend on us. Now of course during this process there was much terrible suffering including several attempts by many nations to wipe us  off the map, huge numbers of terrorist attacks, and internal division within the nation that dates back to  before Israel became a modern nation. And yet through all of this, one can see the supernatural hand of God strengthening us while our enemies have become weaker, just as happened between David’s house  and Saul’s house.  

It is also quite obvious to any who take an honest look at it that God is not only bringing the children of Israel back to the Land, but that He is bringing Israel from the tail of nations to the head — for Israel has done a lot more than barely survive over these 150 years of the return from exile – Israel has  thrived militarily and economically as well as moved to the forefront of the world in innovation. God’s  purpose in advancing Israel is to make it obvious to all of the nations that it is He who controls history and that His Word is true — it is far too little a thing for God to merely bring back the exiles that they  might barely survive. God wants all of the world to see who He is through this process. The more that  Israel’s enemies try to destroy her, the more glory goes to God as Israel not only survives, but  continually gets stronger. 

As believers, it is easy to focus on the darkness that we see coming upon the earth, but is written:

For behold, darkness will cover the earth
And deep darkness the peoples;
But the Lord will rise upon you (i.e. Israel [the physical descendants of Jacob]) And His glory will appear upon you.
Nations will come to your light,
And kings to the brightness of your rising. (Isa 60)

For those of us who live in Israel, let us be encouraged that despite the difficult battles that are fought (both internal and external to our nation), God is blessing our nation for the sake of His Holy Name that all of the nations of the world will have an opportunity to see the faithfulness and the supernatural  working of our God — the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob — the God of the Bible.