Psalms 105: 24-25 and the State of Israel
“The Lord made his people very fruitful
and made them stronger than their foes,
whose hearts he then turned to hate his people,
to deal craftily with his servants.”
What parallels there are between Israel of old and present-day Israel!
As I point out in my book, Israel the Chosen, when the Jews in modern times began to settle in Palestine it was then ruled by Ottoman Turkey—a progressively corrupt and cruel administration. The land itself was riddled with wars between villages and raids by Bedouins in which it was a common practice to:
cut down trees,
fill wells with stones and
break down reservoirs and cisterns.
The Ottoman Turks were O. K. with that as long as they got their taxes.
When the Jewish immigration movement expanded following World War I, the land had a transformation. Industries and a labor movement were established, and through the hard work of swamp-drainage and cultivation, the land became productive. As the above Psalm says above:
“The Lord made his people very fruitful.”
At the same time, the enemies of the Jews began to spew forth their venom. The Arabs hated the Jews even before the return of the Jews. Then, it was because they despised them. But upon the beginning of the rebirth of Israel, it was because they now feared them, for, as the Psalmist says, the Lord “made them stronger than their foes.”
Rising up amidst the “House of Islam” is this tiny powerful nation--to the Arabs “a cancer in the body of the Arab nation,” a “dagger in the heart of the Arab” as other Arabs call it. A tweet from Iran’s Supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says that “[Israel] has no cure but to be annihilated.”
Should we be surprised? Not at all. Not those who read the scriptures—the Tenakh (Old Testament). “…whose hearts he turned to hate his people.” Same situation as in ancient times.
QUESTION: Why would the Lord turn the hearts of Israel’s neighbors to a hatred of His people? That is a strange work of God! So let’s consider that. Let’s ask, “what if...?”
-----What if the neighbors of Israel accepted the Jews?
-----What if there was acceptance and interaction between these two peoples—the Jews would fraternize with idolaters? A multitude of friendships would form—sexual encounters would happen--intermarriages galore between Jews and those of other religions.
That did happen in Israel’s history—intermarriage between Jewish and Moabite, Jewish and Samaritans, Jewish and other foreign women who practiced abominations.
QUESTION: But what ULTIMATELY would happen??
THE ANSWER--SIMPLE: then the Israelites would lose their distinct identity. Then the religious practices would become blurred, mixed up. Then the commandments of the Lord would be modified or worse yet, forgotten.
That is happening today in America. Many recent reports of American synagogue leaders are being published revealing the alarm in the Reform and Conservative branches of Judaism.
The covenant between the Lord God and the Hebrew people had to be strong, for the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is a jealous God. There is none like Him, He is the God of creation and redemption, and His people are a Chosen People—chosen to be a witness and a blessing to the whole world.
So if the Muslims/Arabs became friends with and friendly to the Israelis, it could mean trouble—big trouble for the covenant. Therefore…it is better that they NOT get along.
IT IS BETTER SO THAT the Jews in the new State of Israel will again learn to trust in their God.
IT IS BETTER THAT there NOT be children of mixed marriages, so that the Jews remain Jews and bear witness to the One and Only True God.
IT IS BETTER THAT the Israelis be threatened by their neighbors, so that they will trust in the God who brought them into being and still loves them.
QUESTION: Why don’t any of the peace efforts work? Could it be that the Psalmist is right yet again? Note the last two lines:
…whose hearts he then turned to hate his people,
to deal craftily with his servants.
The chapter in my book on “The Peace Offers” tells of how Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and President Bill Clinton struggled to induce Yassir Arafat to accept the Declaration of Principles in the year 2000. Did it work? NO! Barak conceded much; but Arafat went into the talks with no strategy, no flexibility and unprepared to give. Yet the signing took place.
Arafat’s approach to negotiations was just like Mohammed’s: make a treaty with the enemy; make it so that it anesthetizes the opposition. Then later, surprise the enemy with attacks.
So, shortly after the handshakes between Arafat and Rabin on the White House lawn, Arafat proclaimed to his Palestinian audience on Jordanian television that his agreement should be understood in terms of Mohammed’s “Plan of Phases”—the PLO would get what territory it could from further negotiations and then….use that land as a base for pursuing its ultimate goal of Israel’s annihilation. (SEE: p. 150 of Israel the Chosen)
Arafat was doing just what was described in the Psalm--dealing craftily with God’s people.
How much insight into the modern situation we can acquire by checking out these powerful statements of the Tenakh (Old Testament).
The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is the Lord of nations. Watch….and be wise.
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Who is blind but my servant?...
Who is blind as my dedicated one…
Or blind as the servant of the Lord….
He sees many things, but he does not observe them.
~ Isaiah 42
GOD’S DIAGNOSIS OF HIS CHOSEN PEOPLE: Blindness has set in.
QUESTION: Is this the only time they have had this malady?
ANSWER: No. Many times in biblical history, the smart Jews were creating their own civilization. But they weren’t looking closely at their own deteriorating culture.
QUESTION: What about today’s European and American Jews, in particular?
ANSWER: The Jewish people are intelligent and are filling high posts of endeavor in politics, education, science and technology. But there is something wrong. They have lost their cultural/religious moorings. Many of their rabbinical leaders see and acknowledge it.
In the magazine, First Things, David Klinghoffer says this: “We American Jews know…in our soul, that we have gone astray….”
Leonard Fein in his book Where Are We? The Inner Life of America’s Jews: “We have neither the vocabulary nor the categories for serious conversation [about the religious life]….So we avoid the subject which is not hard to do since our friends and neighbors, for the most part, also prefer to avoid it.” Pp. 218-219
The vision problem stems from Israel’s renunciation of faith. Oh yes, they may refer to “their faith”; but what I am speaking of here is not something subjective: “my faith” and “your faith”. Not that….but this: faith in the biblical sense—faith in the living God Who speaks and judges and blesses. The source of that faith is the covenant—the covenant outlined in the Torah—that which the synagogue attendees profess to honor. That source is the Covenant.
The vision problem stems from Israel’s refusal to worship the Lord with heart and soul….indeed, from ignoring God altogether.
Some of the Jews to whom I have spoken will not acknowledge God. They blame their lack of faith on the Holocaust. They say: “How can I believe in a God who permits such a catastrophe?
QUESTION: What were the Jews doing before the Holocaust in Germany? They were ignoring God, ignoring their Jewish heritage, intermarrying with Gentiles, and many of them even ignoring and denying their very identify as Jews. But, the Nazis were skilled and determined to find every single person’s identity in order to exterminate, to the best of their ability, any trace of Jewish ancestry. What an irony!
Therefore, because of the Nazi crimes, the identity of every strain of Jewishness in the population was uncovered.
The Jewish identity which many German Jews wanted to cover was revealed. They cast it off in whole or in part in order to be integrated into liberal German society and later in order to escape the Nazi concentration camps. They rejected Judaism-- its tradition, peculiar laws and what they felt was its odd appearance.
QUESTION: What are the Jews doing today? We know that they have been restored to their land, with about half of them having made their return. And the eyes of the Israelis are gradually becoming open to their source of life. But what about the American and European Jews?
Today’s Jews in America and Western Europe, are generally affluent, self-sufficient and ignorant of the Law and the Prophets. They crave the respect and honor of their environment. They have gone much of the way towards complete assimilation.
Even by their own standards, the picture is not good. The synagogue used to occupy the central position in the Jewish community. Now, attendance is at a low point, and consistent participation is light.
That which is preached from the Reform Jewish pulpits is usually a rehash of the positions of the Democratic Party.
The Jewish population is in a steep decline in both America and Europe. Racial intermarriage is at an all-time high, and with it the loosening of family ties.
The Jewish birthrate is exceedingly small, indicating that the preservation of the Jewish community is not of much value to young couples.
But all of this is not the basic cause of the Jewish cultural and spiritual downward spiral. It is this: There is very little interest in the Word of the Lord. Indeed, that very phrase is so strange to the modern Jew that he would run from any discussion of it. And that is the basic cause of the Jewish vision problem. They do not see. They do not understand. And they flee from anyone who would want to discuss this subject.
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Yet….with all their obstinance, God has not given up on His people. Listen! He follows up on His criticism, with this: “I have called you by name, you are mine….you are precious in my eyes.” (Isaiah 43:1, 4)
God has not turned into an anti-Semite! These are His Chosen. He is facilitating their return to the land. And He will renew their spirits.
Eventually, they will have their eyes opened! Eventually they will see that their destiny is bound up with the Messiah to whom they have turned a blind eye. But the day is coming when their eyes will be opened!
In the prophecy of Zechariah we find this amazing portrayal of the Chosen People. WHERE? In Jerusalem, of course.
“And I [the Lord God] will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him….” (12:10a)
Recently, I had the privilege of having breakfast with a missionary who went for a short trip to Jordan.
This is what I heard from him concerning Israel, neighbor of Jordan.
No one is allowed to pronounce the proper noun, “Israel.” Since my friend had some contacts in Israel, he had some things to tell his Arab contacts in Jordan. So in conversation, he replaced the name “Israel” with “the people over the border.”
NOTE: Most of his conversations were with the leaders of the Christian congregation in Jordan. There, too, the ban applied.
MAPS including Israel—Also banned! In Jordan, as with other places in the Middle East, Israel is not on their maps.
They’re playing “Let’s Pretend.”
If they could, it seems like Jordan, like ancient Moab, would seek to have a curse placed on Israel.
QUESTION: Don’t Jordan and Israel have a peace treaty in effect?
ANSWER: Yes…signed in 1994. In Washington D. C. there gathered together President Clinton, King Hussein and Prime Minister Rabin of Israel where they signed the “Washington Declaration.” That piece of paper proclaimed that “the state of belligerency between Israel and Jordan has been terminated” and included other nice-sounding words.
Yet…King Hussein continued, in agreement with his people, to make false charges against Israel, accusing the Israelis of killing Arab children en masse. And NOTE this: the Jordan street got no news of the peace agreement through Israeli television, only from Al-Jazeera.
A Recent Word from Jordan
Jordanian Academic Dr. Ahmad Shahrouri, professor at Al-Zaytoonah University of Jordan, spelled out his thinking about the Jewish people—Jordan’s neighbors.
In a television address on July 14, 2019, he said that all the land of Palestine belongs to the Palestinians, insisting that the Muslim conflict with the Jews is an existential conflict. He described the Palestinians as that land’s eternal people who have lived there for 7,000 years. He says that just because the Jews passed through that land for what he says was just a 70-year period in ancient history, it gives them no rights whatever to the land.
This is a professor at the University of Jordan, state-supported, the oldest, largest and most prestigious university in Jordan.
Much could be said about the privileges that Palestinians enjoy in Israel, but this one is key: the Arabic language is a required course in all Israeli schools. Many more Palestinian privileges are enumerated in my book: Israel the Chosen.
Dr. Shahrouri blasted the present State of Israel and all Jews in that land by this statement: “It is either us or the Jews in Palestine. When Jews say Jerusalem is theirs, I want to smash their heads.” (MEMRI, July 14, 2019)
To the Muslims of the Middle East, Israel is a cancer in the body of the Arab nation. You see, geographically, Israel is right there in the middle of Muhammed’s body.
The Rejection is so complete that one must not and cannot speak that hated particular proper noun-- I S R A E L .
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The Desired Curse
In the Old Testament story of the ancient Israelites trudging towards the Promised Land (Numbers 22-24), the king of Moab (just east of the Dead Sea) refused permission for the Israelites to use the Moabite road north. Instead, he found a prophet who he hoped would pronounce a curse on the Israelites. The prophet he found was a non-Israelite whom the king was certain would comply—Balaam.
But though Balaam wanted to please the king of Moab, he found he could not. He couldn’t, because the Lord God of Israel, God Almighty, so impressed that old prophet Balaam, and the sight of Israel in such a beautiful and orderly encampment--also so impressive, that it made a curse impossible.
So instead, we have Balaam’s poetically beautiful BLESSING upon Israel which is recorded in Numbers Chapter 24. (The whole story is in Numbers 22-24)
The oracle of Baalam, the son of Beor,
The oracle of the man whose eye is opened,
The oracle of him who hears the words of God,
Who see the vision of the Almighty….
How lovely are your tents, O Jacob,
Your encampments, O Israel!
Like palm groves that stretch afar,
Like gardens beside a river,
Like aloes that the Lord has planted,
Like cedar trees beside the waters…
He crouched, he laid down like a lion
And like a lioness, who will rouse him up?
Blessed are those who bless you,
And cursed are those who curse you.
And so, the leaders of Jordan would do well to come to terms with the chosen people of the Lord: your curses will not work; your threats are meaningless; and it would be well with you if you would accept those whom God is blessing (though your religion sees the Jews as descendents of pigs and monkeys.
NOTE: The present-day nation of Jordan includes, in its territory, the ancient territory of Moab where the plan to curse Israel was originally hatched. Israel’s history is Israel’s present!