Loving Israel for the wrong reasons (part 2)

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A few years ago I wrote a blog about Christians who say they love Israel, but if you ask them why, the reasons they give have little or nothing to do with what the Bible says about why God loves Israel. Instead many Christians, especially in Western countries, love Israel because they see Israel as a bulwark against so many things that they feel threatened by, including terrorism, certain ideologies and/or cultural trends, etc. 

I said in that blog, and I believe it even more now than I did then, that many Christians who love and support Israel would be very surprised, and no doubt very disappointed, if they ever faced the unhappy truth about some of these things. For instance, in one memorable incident, a Facebook friend I’d never met in the real world (he lived in Australia) but who regularly posted pro-Israel content and attended a prayer meeting for Israel every week at his church, sent me an email one day in which he informed me that someone had tried to tell him that Jewish people don’t believe in the New Testament. Of course, he reassured me, he didn’t believe it, but he thought I might find it amusing that someone had tried to get him to turn against Israel by telling him this “nonsense” as he put it. 

I replied by telling him that it was true that most Jews don’t believe in the New Testament, and I thought he knew that.

What followed was a truly mind-boggling exchange of emails and by the time it was over, my friend informed me that the prayer group for Israel at his church had disbanded as a result of this “news” which none of the members had previously been aware of and that he was also in the process of questioning his support for Israel. Just before blocking me a few weeks later, he had unfriended all his Jewish and Israeli friends (I was among the last he kept in contact with) joined a number of BDS groups and even put an Iranian flag on his profile. In the last email I sent to him, I informed him that most Iranians don’t believe in the New Testament either, but he didn’t respond to that.

Now, that’s probably an extreme case, but it makes the point I’ve long believed that Christian support for Israel is widespread but it’s not always very deep. Often, it is based on emotions that have nothing to do with truth, or the Bible, or even reality.

In recent months, this has become more apparent as the willingness of a large portion of the Israeli public to get vaccinated against COVID-19 has been met with great dismay and consternation from many Christians around the world. I’ve seen many such people saying they feel “betrayed” by this phenomenon. Apparently, they always thought Israel is a country full of people who are just like them, including being “anti-vax” and seeing that this isn’t the case has led to a lot of cognitive dissonance. It’s gone so far that some people, perhaps many people, who have often spoke of their “undying” support for Israel are suddenly being tormented by second thoughts.

The question, as always, is “what is to be done”?

Brothers and sisters, I am asking all of us, including myself, to sit down and do some really serious thinking about what Israel means to us and why we love and support this country. Write down the results of this thinking, and then go out and try to find out (it won’t be too difficult) if these reasons comport with reality. Then, we can take it another step and compare our reasons for loving and supporting Israel for what the Bible says about why God loves and supports Israel.

Because, to paraphrase one of my favorite authors, Nelson Demille, there’s three ways to do everything. There’s the right way, the wrong way, and God’s way. If we’re trying to do things the right way, instead of God’s way, that’s the wrong way. That principle holds true for everything, including support of Israel.

Furthermore, the story of Gideon in the Book of Judges teaches us that God is able to carry out His plans and purposes with many or with few. He doesn’t need my help or yours to do anything He purposes to do. I’m not doing Him any favors by supporting Israel, and neither are you. On the contrary, He’s doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to participate in the outworking of His plans and purposes for this country.

Please join me in praying that we will all keep our eyes on HIS plans and purposes for Israel and direct our prayers and our efforts towards those plans and purposes, and stop worrying if Israel isn’t what we thought it was, or want it to be, or want God to want it to be, or whatever.