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.
* * * * * * * * * * *
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 .
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
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!
But now, thus says the Lord, he who formed you, O Israel:
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you,
And through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
When you walk through fire, you will not be burned,
And the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…
Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you,
I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life.
Do not fear, for I am with you.
I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the West I will gather you:
I will say to the North, “Give them up,” And to the South, “Do not withhold.”
Bring my sons from far away and my daughters from the end of the earth….
You are my witnesses, says the Lord,
And my servant whom I have chosen,
So that you may know and believe me,
And understand that I am he.
Before me, no god was formed,
Nor shall there be any after me.