As I am writing this blog article over Thanksgiving weekend here in America, that nation of Israel is literally on fire right now. While the reports are still coming in, what we do know is that the fires that are raging in and around Haifa were in fact acts of arson. Thousands have been evacuated and over 700 homes have been destroyed. We really need to say some special prayers for Israel right now.
That leads me to the point of this blog article, which is, why should we as believers pray for Israel? Is this something that we are biblically commanded to do? Also, why does it even matter? The reason why I am writing about this is that I am seeing an alarming trend among believers of having an indifferent to an “I don’t care” attitude towards the Jewish state. If you are a believer reading this article, I strongly encourage you at this very moment to pray to G-d for understanding about this subject, and not react with emotions, but with the spirit and wisdom of our L-rd Yeshua.
First, is praying for Israel something we are biblically commanded to do? The simple answer is a resounding “yes”! The bible says in the book of Pslam 122:6: “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. May those who love you be secure.” This is a clear example that not only should we actually pray for Israel, but that by doing so, we ourselves will be safe and that G-d will be pleased with us. Jerusalem is the city where G-d Himself chose to establish His physical presence here on Earth in regards to the Holy Temple.
Staying on that subject for a moment, there will be a new Jerusalem that will come down from heaven as we read in the book of Revelation 21:1-2. Therefore, we must understand that Jerusalem now, and the Jerusalem to come, is the holy dwelling place of G-d Almighty and His Son Yeshua. The very name of the city means “peace” (from root word shalom) and since He is the Prince of Peace, why would we not pray for the nation of Israel as a whole and the city of Jerusalem?
Another reason to pray for Israel, is that by blessing Israel, we in turn will be blessed. In Genesis 12, G-d tells Avraham, “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you. And in you all the families of the Earth will be blessed.” That’s pretty clear cut. When we pray for Israel, be it for peace, for protection, for prosperity, we are in fact blessing Israel. G-d says Himself that when we do we will be blessed as well. Who does not want to be blessed?
To answer “Why does it matter?” I believe it has already been answered. However, lets address this from another perspective of those who choose not to bless the nation of Israel. Clearly the alternative is that if we are not blessing Israel through our prayers, our speech, and our conduct, then by default, we are cursing the nation of Israel. In this modern era, the most noticeable way that I am seeing in terms of not blessing Israel is an apathy or indifference towards the Jewish state.
That indifference comes about with attitudes like some of the following things I have heard people say.
“I look at it this way. I’ve got no business over there.”
“Well, there will be a new Jerusalem.”
Probably the most shocking is, utter silence from believers on the topic of Israel. I have asked for people that I know, who are believers, to join with me in praying for the peace of Israel, or maybe bring up the topic of Israel and literally will hear nothing but silence. What is clear from such behavior is that they do not care. They do not see the need because honestly, many believers in Yeshua think that it was the Jews that killed Him, and thus, while they will not admit it outright, there is an undercurrent of resentment to downright hatred of the Jews. That type of resentment or hatred has a name: antisemitism.
These are bold statements to make, and I have had some people tell me, “anti-Semite” is a strong word. Comments such as these are typically a way for someone to shame the person who said it, because the person hearing it thinks it’s offensive to say. What they do not realize or recognize is that anti-Semitic behavior or rhetoric is itself offensive. Therefore, if someone is acting in an anti-Semitic way, what else is one to call such a person?
Back to the subject at hand, according to G-d’s own Word, if a believer has an indifferent or apathetic attitude towards Israel, then it is a sin pure and simple. We need to search our own hearts and ask G-d to deliver us from the deceptiveness of antisemitism, which masks itself in replacement theology. Such theology we see today is the complete absence of mentioning that our Messiah is Jewish. One person I heard recently state that Yeshua is not human anymore. If that is the case, when He ascended into heaven as a resurrected human, He stated that He would “return in a like manner.” One has to ask, if He is not human, then what form is he coming back in exactly?
This is a way that different denominations over the centuries have divorced G-d’s people from their Hebrew roots of their faith, and as such, makes it easier to essentially cast Israel aside as a lost cause. Many believers today are under the impression that they are the chosen people of G-d alone, because “the Jews had their chance, but killed Jesus.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Many Jews today are starting to embrace Yeshua as the Mashiach (Messiah). In fact, in Israel today, it is the only country in the Middle East where Christianity is growing. One wishes we could say that about America, the so-called “One Nation Under G-d.”
Finally, believers need to understand that, according to scripture, they are Jewish themselves. Romans Chapter 2 is very clear on the subject. Also, there are verses about believers being grafted into the olive branch, but that we are not the root, so we should not boast. Boasting is not just about walking around saying how great we are in the general sense of bragging, but that also includes thinking that we have somehow supplanted the Jews as G-d’s chosen people. There is nothing in scripture that remotely suggests that G-d has ever broken covenant with the Jews. While the Jews in their storied history have rebelled many times against G-d, G-d Himself never broke His promises with His people. So when believers choose not to bless Israel, in essence, they are being anti-Semitic, which is to be anti-Christ, and the latter of course, is the most egregious.
Speaking from personal experience, when I started making Israel a party of my daily prayers, there was a change. I am a happier person, and most certainly I have been blessed many times over which lines right up with scripture in Genesis 12. Moreover, getting in touch with the Hebrew roots of my faith in Yeshua, which will inevitably lead back to the land of Israel, has enriched my study of the Bible, in that, I am understanding more deeply what G-d’s Word has to say. Blessing Israel is a commandment and as such if we are to call ourselves believers in Yeshua, then we must comply when Yeshua said Himself:
“If you love Me, you will keep My Commandments.”
Let us all know continue to pray for Israel and to bless the land and the Holy City of Yerushalayim. If you have never included Israel and our Jewish brothers and sisters in your prayers, I encourage you to start today.