Explorations in Theology

The series explores a theology that is human friendly! Jesus as the true human shows us who God is, and because of his consideration for us ('who are we, that God should make note of us?') defines who humanity was created to be. The nature of sin is to fall short of the glory of God. The glory of God as revealed in the truly human one - 'we beheld his glory full of grace and truth'. This volume is a foundation for the other volumes. And there are ZOOM groups available...
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Pray (what) for Israel

Glad to read of people praying for Israel, and in these days of resurgent violence to be praying for peace. Individuals and families being thrown into pain and suffering.

Something happens though that seems so predictable with a Scripture pulled out to defend whatever ‘Israel’ does. So here I go into a little turbulent waters.

What is meant by ‘Israel’? There are many answers to that question – dependent on what theology shapes the reading. And when I write theology, we also have to include Jewish theologies. Not all Jews (now, nor in biblical times) accept that ‘all Israel is Israel’. Even Jewish theologies differ on their perspective of the ‘land’.

Never speak a negative word about Israel… really? That seems so far from being in line with the biblical prophets. They spoke into the life of other nations but mainly spoke into the life of Israel. And given the various streams in the Scriptures if we let the streams of conflict to influence each other it would be very difficult to jump on a bandwagon of ‘support Israel at all costs’. In all situations, support can also mean challenge… don’t let me get away with whatever path I choose.

I am not actually convinced that God promised the land to Israel. Of course there are many, many Scriptures that suggest that… but then again there are some Scriptures that suggest God ‘ordained’ monarchy (Deut. 17:14-16)… whereas I much prefer 1 Sam. 8 as being God’s response to monarchy (for Israel). Oh and the land… I think Paul agrees with me in Romans. And if Paul does not then I think there is a Paul somewhere in the world who does! (Of course the first sentence above is a little provocative… but I appeal to Paul of Tarsus, Jeremiah, and to Stephen; to the original promise to a certain gentleman from Ur and to his ‘seed’.)

I am not interested in replacement, but am interested in fulfilment; I am interested in calling, and calling for the sake of the entire world (book #2 on ‘Significant Other’ tracks the downward trajectory of Israel as royal priesthood so that it opens the understanding of Jesus dying for the Jew (first)).

There is one incredibly strong Scripture concerning Israel… and I do not think that an appeal to the host of Scriptures that are often appealed to cut it… after all someone on the throne of David forever, priesthood for ever… for ever… for ever…

‘Because of the patriarchs’. Now that is strong. Says a lot about God… gives me a lot of hope for all peoples.

4 thoughts on “Pray (what) for Israel

  1. Just had a ’round robin’ message from Jack Sara President of Bethlehem Bible College. Definitely worth listening to him on this issue. He suggest we pray as follows:

    “We are requesting your prayers for:
    Protection over the civilians (especially children)
    For the Christians and churches in Gaza
    Justice for Palestinians and lasting peace for all
    Calming the hatred-charged atmosphere in Israel and especially against the Palestinians
    Pray against the spirit of evil and death, and pray for the people to have life – and life in abundance.
    International intervention to stop the war in Gaza
    The world to listen to voices of justice and peace that counterbalance the dehumanization of our people”

    “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
    To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8)

  2. The problem is there is no point taking sides as both have committed atrocities and hold no moral high ground. I greatly disagree with supporting Israel whatever they do as the government have showed so much disregard and inhumanity towards the Palestinians (driving them out, vaccine apartheid and so much more) but then Hamas actively would love to destroy the state of Israel and the Jews themselves supported by Iran and others. Hatred runs so very deep it’s tragic. I would also pray along the lines of Psalm 133 perhaps – brothers living together in unity. Ishmael/Isaac being the brothers in this case. Seems hopeless case but then if we are ‘kingdom’ people then there should be some hope of reconciliation and peacemaking deriving from us through our prayers and our actions.

  3. I guess Israel’s behavior is a dilemma for some? Why? Several Israelis, from high generals to the man on the street have said straight to the camera that the Palestinians just need to be exterminated. Done. Gone. I guess they mean killing/murdering over 2 million people. They tried to get Covid to do the job. Not fast enough for them. So now bombs and guns.

    If the Bible supports this, well, then it isn’t for me. Nor could I worship a God who thinks genocide is appropriate. Not on at all. Any God I give worship to has to be more moral and more loving than that.

    Nope, sin is not an excuse for murder. That’s the excuse of an abuser. You sinned against me, offended me, so I can abuse and even kill you. Abusers use those kinds of excuses all the time. If the world cared for Palestinians then we would organize a boat lift, rescue them off of the beaches and give them permanent refuge. Israel wants them gone and will stop at nothing to achieve their long held goal. So now its down to rescuing as many as possible as they are pushed into the sea and murdered.

    My prayer for Israel? That the people rediscover their souls and a moral conscience.

  4. Sadly, the Christian evangelicals (largely in North America) who hold to a faulty theological understanding that the natural state of Israel has particular significance today and therefore whatever Israel does has to be supported, are not helping. J N Darby, the Schofield Reference Bible and all the end times dispensational ‘prophets’ have a lot to answer for! The children of the flesh are not the children of God, but the children of promise i.e. those who have the faith of Abraham (Rom. 9:8). Jesus is the fulfilment of the Old Testament narrative and prophecies concerning Israel. The ‘Holy Land’ is no longer a strip of land in Gaza but all the land on planet Earth. It all belongs to Him and all the nations are his inheritance. God loves both the Jews and the Palestinians. Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God (Matt. 5:9).

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