Summary: From God’s dealings with Israel, we can discover 5 reasons to be thankful.
Reasons to Be Thankful
* The story is told that Frederick the Great of Prussia once asked a court chaplain for proof of divine inspiration of the Bible. The response was simply, “The Jews Sire.” Dr. Adrian Rogers has written that “Israel is God’s yardstick, His blueprint for the world.” And, “as Israel goes, so goes the world.” May I suggest that this is the reason we need to make sure that the USA continues to be a friend to Israel.
* Until today I have avoided the temptation to make our time together a historical and theological class by delving into the questions surrounding Israel as God’s chosen people. Today, I will still resist the temptation but we do need to take a few minutes to give us some perspective about God’s chosen people, Israel.
* First, did you realize that almost 100% of Bible prophecies are, in some way, related to the Children of Israel? Already some are asking, “And exactly what does this have to do with me?” My response is that through God’s working with and commitment to Israel, today you and I can find reasons to be thankful. But to understand these truths, we must have at least a small perspective about God’s plans for the Jews.
* The story gets its beginnings in Genesis 12. Look at the screen and let’s read the call of Abram. (READ) As you should remember from Sunday school, this is where it all begins. With these words, referred to as the Abrahamic Covenant, God identified the Jewish people as His own with Abraham as the patriarch. In fact, when Jehovah introduced Himself to Moses in Exodus 2, He said, “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” If you follow the lineage of Abraham, it will lead you through Jessie and David all the way to a carpenter named Joseph and his boy, name Jesus.
* While most of us know these things but the reason this bears repeating is because we tend to forget that Israel is unlike any other nation which the world has ever encountered. For almost 1900 years there was no nation known as Israel. From 70 AD when the Roman army led by Titus destroyed Jerusalem until 1948, there was no Israel. In fact, some in this room remember when the UN recognized Israel as a state and gave them a sliver of land (over the objections of the Arabs). Speaking of the Arabs, have you ever given any real thought to the problems between the Jews and Arabs? The Jews go back to Isaac and the Arabs to Ishmael. No peace.
* Additionally, the other enemies of Israel are many and vicious. Although we could make this a history lesson, let just say that the Holocaust of Nazi Germany where almost 6 million Jews were slaughtered is just one of many examples of an attempt to eradicate this race known as Jews. Why are the Jews hated? Because the enemy, Satan, knows they are God’s chosen people so he has targeted them throughout the ages.
* Dr. Adrian Rogers suggests that Israel is the “center” of the world in six ways. First, they are the geographical center. They sit where 3 continents come together (I.E. Africa, Asia, and Europe). Literally, a military and economic hub. Second, they are the spiritual center. The “Son of God” came from there and one day will return there. Beyond this, think about all the religions found in that region. It is the spiritual center of the world. Third, they are the prophetical center. We have already mentioned that almost 100% of the prophecies are related to Israel. Fourth, they are the storm center. It seems that regularly we hear of fighting, skirmishes, and ongoing wars in that area of the world. By the way, the final storm will be the Battle of Armageddon will be fought in Israel. Fifth, they are the center of peace. Peace will come to this world only when peace comes to Israel. The Bible instructs us to pray for peace in Jerusalem. This will only happen when the Prince of Peace returns to earth to rule. Lastly, they are the center of glory. Psalms 102:16 says, “The Lord will rebuild Zion; He will appear in His glory.” Also Matthew 25:31 tells us this: “ "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angelsf with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.” The seat of His glory on earth is found in Jerusalem.
* You would think that being God’s chosen people, the ones He came through, came to, & died for; the ones He has promised, protected, and provided for; the ones whom continues to have His watchful eye; you would think that this must be a grateful, obedient, and righteous people. Right? Wrong. Last week in Romans 10 we read this, “But all did not obey the gospel.” In fact, to understand the history of the nation of Israel is to see a band of “stiff necked, “stubborn”, “selfish, and sinful folks. If God wanted to disown His people, who could blame Him? However, from the faithfulness of God toward the nation of Israel, we can find “Reasons to be thankful.” In the minutes that remain, from our text, let me offer us 5 reasons to be thankful.