Okay, I don’t usually write non-fiction, but I think this worked out. please comment!
Throughout the whole Bible, God seems to have His eyes on only one place: Israel. He chooses Abraham to be the man to father the whole Jewish nation, His chosen people for all eternity, and what’s His first command? Not “build me an altar”. Not “tell everyone about me”. Not even “take thy shoes from off thy feet”, but “Get out of your country, from your family, and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.” That land is Israel.
Through time, the Jewish people’s goal has been to live in Israel. That’s why they escaped from Egypt and that’s why they wandered 40 years in the wilderness. It’s in their prayers and their songs. They hoped, prayed and dreamed for thousands of years that God would bring them back to their land, and right now, in our lifetimes, He’s finally doing it.
Some people call Israel “The center of the world”. You might think that it’s a nice metaphor, biblical importance included and all, but it’s pretty geographically correct. This tiny strip of land connects all Europe, Asia and Africa. Because of its location, Israel has been a very fought-over piece of land.
After the Jews were sent into captivity, many different peoples tried to settle the land and make it blossom for them. But the rocks, sand, swamps and thorns remained, stubbornly refusing to turn into anything beautiful. People after people left in disgust, wondering what on earth the Jews had ever seen there.
The years dragged on and Israel remained desolate and scorched. Ruins lay everywhere and tourists came to cluck their tongues at how foolish the Jews must have been, not even considering that this time of ruin for Israel could also bring God glory. Mark Twain, on his trip to Israel, described the land as:
“… A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds… a silent mournful expanse…. a desolation… we never saw a human being on the whole route… hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country.” (The Innocents Abroad)
No one expected this forgotten little strip of mountains, dry grass and sand to ever become green or beautiful again, but then again, no one anticipated the Jews returning either.
Little by little, God’s chosen people trickled back into the land promised to them so many thousands of years ago. They were battered, beaten and rejected by the world. They had one last place that they might be able to call “home”, and miraculously, the land bloomed for them. Green grass grew, olive trees gave fruit and grapevines sprung up on hillsides made from almost solid rock.
It was almost like God had waited to unlock the treasure chest that was Israel for the Jewish people. They are His chosen people, He promised them the land of Israel, and God will always keep His promises, shield His bride from all harm and destroy all those against her.
Whose side are you on?