Thursday, July 10, 2014

"What will it take to convince the world that Israel's God IS God!!"

Day #195:  Daily Bible Reading Plan - July 11th

Scripture Reading:  Ezekiel 25 - 30 …

If you asked most people in the nation of Israel today, "Who is your God?", you would quite probably get many different responses.  Currently, there are approximately 75% who claim to be Jewish (many of whom do not "practice" Judaism as a religion, but who claim "Jewish" as their physical ancestry); 16% are Muslim, 2% are Christian and the rest are a variety of things.  Most, including secular Jews and Muslims, would answer that "the God of Abraham" is God, as both Jews and Muslims claim Abraham as their ancestor ... the Jews through Isaac and the Muslims through Ishmael.

While some want to believe that these two "faiths" can be united and work out peace, the truth is that it is only those who are true Christians, who believe in Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the fulfillment of biblical Judaism, who know the true God who IS the God of Israel.  For the sake of the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and His love for their descendants whom He has chosen, God remains the God of these people, even though most do not confess Jesus or know the one true God.  That does not mean that all who are Jewish or who are Israeli's are saved.  There is one way to be saved and that is faith in Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One, GOD's KING!!!

What this DOES mean, however, is that God has a special plan for this race of people, the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that He has for no other ethnic race of people.  What is happening in Israel today, and what has been happening over the past century and more, and especially since Israel became a nation again in 1948, is that God is preparing the world for the time when some of the prophecies made in Ezekiel 25-30 will come to pass.  God will judge the nations for their treatment of Israel and He will deliver the remnant of the Jews when Jesus returns.

Focus for a moment on Ezekiel 28.  In Chapters 25-27 God pronounces judgment on one nation after another for their treatment of Judah and Israel.  Remember, God said that these people were "the apple of His eye" (Zechariah 2:8).  To come against Judah and Jerusalem was and is to poke God in the eye.  In Chapter 28 God specifically speaks judgment against the King of Tyre, and in so doing reveals that he is a type of Satan himself.  He says, "You were the model of perfection ... You were in Eden, the garden of God ...  You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. ... You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you" (28:12-15).

Satan lies behind all the evil and rebellion in the world as he deceives the nations.  All those who do not know the true God are being deceived, for He alone is the Creator who rules over all things and who sent His Son Jesus Christ to be Savior and Lord.  Once again it should be clear in Ezekiel that it is God's desire that all people would know Him.  Over and over and over God says, "Then they will know that I am the Lord!"  But what will it take?  What will finally convince mankind that there IS only one true God and that He IS the God of Israel, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob?

For most, as you read these words of Ezekiel, it will require horrible judgment.  We often think that only those who receive the Spirit of God and who are born again and who believe in Jesus through hearing the Gospel will ultimately know God.  But while these are the only ones who will be saved from His coming wrath and judgment, ALL people will eventually know that God IS God!!  Through Ezekiel God says repeatedly that it is when He brings His judgment on the nations that "they will know that I am the LORD."

There is a difference, however, when it comes to the people of Israel.  Some of the judgments God pronounced would come to pass in the near future from the time Ezekiel gave his prophecies.  Others, however, are still to come.  The descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, many of whom live in the nation of Israel today, are still the apple of God's eye, and the city of Jerusalem is still the "City of David" and is precious to the Lord.  Those who come against Israel and Jerusalem will ultimately have to deal with Israel's God!

But notice what God says to the people of Israel.  The hope for Israel is found in the middle of God's pronouncements of judgment on the surrounding nations.  In Chapter 28, verses 24-26, God declares that He will deliver the people of Israel.  "When I gather the people of Israel from the nations where they have been scattered, I will show myself holy among them in the sight of the nations.  Then they will live in their own land, which I gave to my servant, Jacob. ... they will live in safety when I inflict punishment on all their neighbors who maligned them.  Then they will know that I am the LORD their God."

Notice the difference between what God says to the nations:  "Then they will know that I am the LORD" ... and what God says to the people of Israel:  "Then they will know that I am the LORD THEIR God!" (28:26).  As we watch even today the events taking place in Israel, in the land God gave to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, God is at work preparing the world for what is to come.  It will mean judgment for the nations who have come against Israel and all who have rejected the knowledge of Israel's God, Who reveals Himself in one book, the Bible, as the only true God.  But all who call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, confessing their sin and acknowledging Him as Lord, will be saved.

By God's grace He is calling some from every people, tribe, nation and tongue to be "grafted into the root of Jesse" (King David's father).  God will carry out all the judgment He has promised, and He will bring salvation to all who believe in His Son, the promised Savior, from the tribe of Judah, Jesus Christ.  Be aware of what is happening in our world today and know that God will keep His promises ... both of judgment and salvation.  When God brings His judgment on the nations and delivers Israel, He will show Himself holy among those living in Israel in that day, in the sight of all the nations ...

... and THEN they will know that HE is the LORD, the great "I AM," and that there is no other!!  That's what it will take for them to know that Israel's God is God, but YOU can know today.  Read the Bible.  Ask God for wisdom and for His Spirit, and you will find hope and assurance that by faith you are saved and will be safe on that day when God pours out His wrath on all mankind.  Receive God's grace today and KNOW that HE IS GOD!!!

"O LORD, my God, I confess that You alone are God and there is no other.  As You have revealed Yourself to me in Your Word and by Your Spirit, I pray for those around me who do not yet know You. Use me as Your instrument to testify to them and others the truth that You have revealed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ so that those whom You have chosen will hear, believe and be saved.  Thank You for the joy and privilege of knowing that You are my Father in heaven!  In Jesus' name, Amen"

No comments:

Post a Comment