Written by Don West
In the previous article we learned from Deut. 7:7 that God “did not set His love on [Israel] nor choose [Israel] because [Israel] was more in number than any other people, for [Israel] was the least of all peoples...”; and from Deut. 9:6 that neither did God give [Israel] the good land because of Israel’s righteousness, for [Israel] was a stiff-necked people. For us earthlings, and according to our calculations, size and compliance are things that matter; and Israel’s lack thereof and failure on both counts toward God would have been far more than sufficient justification for most of us to terminate the relationship – permanently so. So why does God persist in and continue to use itty bitty, stiff-necked Israel as one of His most important instruments of accomplishment in this world? As previously noted and celebrated, God is patient, longsuffering and forbearing. But it also appears that God does so for the purpose of confounding this world and disabusing all of mankind of what, to us, seems to make perfect sense and logical logic; when in His order of things, our “conventional wisdom” is, in fact, the height of foolishness and a negation of Him, His methods, His instruments, and His work.
What have become two of my favorite scriptures are Jeremiah 9:23-24. And Jeremiah’s declaration begins with the full and clear imprimatur of God: “Thus says the Lord (see what I mean); ‘Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor the rich man glory in his riches; BUT LET HIM WHO GLORIES GLORY INTHIS, THAT he (man) UNDERSTANDS AND KNOWS ME, THAT I AM THE LORD, EXERCISING LOVINGKINDNESS, JUDGMENT, AND RIGHTEOUSNESS IN THE EARTH. FOR IN THESE I DELIGHT SAYS THE LORD.’” Thus to God, what man so admires, values, cherishes, envies, and seeks (intellect, power, wealth), is inconsequential in comparison to our acknowledgement and growth in comprehension and understanding of Him; and our submission, during our lives on this earth, to His immutable truths and purposes. And one cannot understand or know the God of this universe, to the degree that He desires and intends for us, unless we appreciate how God chooses to accomplish His will and way on this earth; which is significantly different than man’s. God in Isaiah 55:8 puts it this way: “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. (9) ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” This is, not surprisingly since it is God making the statement, a very succinct and profound declaration as to the difference between God and us.
God further amplifies what He said through Isaiah in I Cor.1:20 and 21, where Paul writes that God intends to make “foolish the wisdom of this world (human reasoning, contemplations, and thoughts). For since in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.” And from where does this “foolish” message come, but a series of Jewish writings out of, according to the “wisdom” of this world, a troublesome, insignificant, and, yes, contemptible little nation. The collection of which, the Bible, is today generally ignored or castigated, mocked, scorned, and ridiculed as fiction and fantasy by the “wise” of this world.
But Paul is not done with this concept of the wisdom of God and the foolishness of man. He continues in I Cor.1:(22): “For Jews request a sign, and Greeks (gentiles) seek after wisdom; (23) but we (the apostles) preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, (24) but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, CHRIST THE POWER OF GOD AND THE WISDOM OF GOD. (25) BECAUSE THE FOOLISHNESS OF GOD IS WISER THAN MEN, AND THE WEAKNESS OF GOD IS STRONGER THAN MEN... (27) BUT GOD HAS CHOSEN THE FOOLISH THINGS OF THE WORLD TO PUT TO SHAME THE WISE, AND GOD HAS CHOSEN THE WEAK THINGS OF THE WORLD TO PUT TO SHAME THE THINGS WHICH ARE MIGHTY (Think Israel’s David and Philistine’s Goliath. All that size and armor versus one little boy and one itty bitty rock!); (28) AND THE BASE THINGS OF THE WORLD AND THE THINGS WHICH ARE NOT, TO BRING TO NOTHING THE THINGS THAT ARE. (29) THAT NO FLESH SHOULD GLORY IN HIS PRESENCE... (31) THAT, AS IT IS WRITTEN, ‘HE WHO GLORIES, LET HIM GLORY IN THE LORD.’”
So now we know: God, in complete contravention to the wisdom of mankind, uses the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and the weak and base things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; so that no flesh should glory before Him. (God told Paul that “My strength is made perfect in weakness. 2Cor.12:9.) And one of the significant manifestations of these two truths, I believe, is that God has chosen this very small nation, both in size (8,000 square miles; the U.S. is 3.5 million square miles) and population (7.2 million; the U.S. is 305 million), to use in the creation, proclamation, and advancement of His truths (the Bible) and His salvation for the world (through His Son, Jesus; who is, let us not forget, the King of the Jews). Neither let us forget that it was and is this small nation which, through the Bible, has provided the very underpinnings and foundation of western Europe’s and the western hemisphere’s culture; for which we give credit every time they are referred to as Judeo-Christian civilization.
Indeed, it is clear from Biblical writings that God is so inclined, committed, affectionate, and dedicated toward His people and their small nation that He intends to have Israel glorify Him and, in return, He will glorify Israel. Let’s take a look at some of the scriptures that speak to these truths; yet even here we will see God’s dissatisfaction, amazement, and anger at Israel, which has everything through Him who chose them, nevertheless leaving the God of the universe for the junk of a spiritual flea market.
Jer.2:11: “‘Has a nation changed its gods, which are not gods? But My people have changed their Glory for what does not profit. (12) Be astonished O heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid; be very desolate,’ says the Lord. (13) ‘For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn themselves cisterns--broken cisterns that can hold no water.’”
Jer.31:19: “I will multiply them (Israel), and they shall not diminish; I WILL ALSO GLORIFY THEM, and they shall not be small.” (Someday, both Israel’s borders and population will be far greater than they presently are.)
Is.44:23: “Sing O heavens, for the Lord has done it! ...FOR THE LORD HAS REDEEMED JACOB, AND GLORIFIED HIMSELF IN ISRAEL.”(Guys, God has, since the latter 1800’s and particularly since May 14, 1948, been glorifying Himself and His people Israel by regathering them to the land He promised the Patriarchs; and even more so by restoring to Israel control of the most sacred piece of geography in all the world: their capital, JERUSALEM.Allwhile the world remains totally oblivious, impervious, and blind to the magnitude of these events. God, however, is merely doing what He said He would do three millennia ago through His prophets.)
Is.55:5: “Surely you (Israel) shall call a nation you do not know, and nations who do not know you shall run to you, because of the Lord your God and the Holy One of Israel; FOR HE HAS GLORIFIED YOU.”
Is.60:1: “Arise, shine; for your (Israel’s) light has come! AND THE GLORY OF THE LORD IS RISEN UPON YOU... (2) For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the Lord will arise over you, and HIS GLORY WILL BE SEEN UPON YOU. (3) The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising... (7)...and I WILL GLORIFY THE HOUSE (Israel) of MY GLORY... (9)... and the ships of Tarshish will come first, to bring your sons from afar (the regathering and restoration of Israel as promised by God) their silver and their gold with them, to the name of the Lord your God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because HE HAS GLORIFIED YOU... (10) For in My wrath I struck you, but in My favor I have had mercy on you. (12) For the nation and kingdom which will not serve you shall perish, and those nations shall be utterly ruined... (14) Also the sons of those who afflicted you shall come bowing to you, and all those who despised you shall fall prostrate at the soles of your feet; and they shall call you The City of the Lord, Zion of the Holy One of Israel. (15) Whereas you have been forsaken and hated, so that no one went through you, I WILL MAKE YOU AN ETERNAL EXCELLENCE, A JOY OF MANY GENERATIONS. (16)...YOU SHALL KNOW THAT I, THE LORD, AM YOUR SAVIOR AND YOUR REDEEMER, THE MIGHTY ONE OF JACOB. (19) ...But the Lord will be to you an everlasting light, AND YOUR GOD YOUR GLORY. (21) Also your people shall all be righteous; they shall inherit the land forever (hear that, world!!!), the branch of my planting, the work of My hands, THAT I MAY BE GLORIFIED. (22)... I the Lord will hasten it in its time.” (and that time is now occurring.)
Is.61:6: “But you (Israel) shall be named the Priests of the Lord, men shall call you the Servants of our God. You shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, AND IN THEIR GLORY YOU SHALL BOAST. (7) Instead of your shame you shall have double honor... (8)... I will direct their work in truth, and will make with them an everlasting covenant. Their descendants shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people. All who see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the posterity whom the Lord has blessed.” (And the world, in its “wisdom”, still doesn’t get it.)
Is.62:2: “The Gentiles shall see your righteousness, and all kings YOUR GLORY... (3) YOU SHALL ALSO BE A CROWN OF GLORY IN THE HAND OF THE LORD, AND A ROYAL DIADEM IN THE HAND OF YOUR GOD. (4) You shall no longer be termed Forsaken, nor shall your land any more be termed Desolate... (12) And they shall call them the Holy People, the Redeemed of the Lord...”
Is.63:14: “As a beast goes down into the valley, and the Spirit of the Lord causes him to rest, SO YOU (GOD) LEAD YOUR PEOPLE, TO MAKE YOURSELF A GLORIOUS NAME.”
And finally there is this passage in Isaiah 46:13 that initially put me on the alert to this whole concept of the mutual glorification of Israel by God and of God by Israel: “I will bring My righteousness near, it shall not be far off; My salvation shall not linger, and I will place salvation in Zion, FOR ISRAEL MY GLORY.”
Clearly, God has chosen to use Israel for HIS GLORY, and He has demonstrated again and again down through four thousand years of HIStory, to instruct and remind this world collectively, and us individually, that there is no one, no thing, and no things, that is or are greater than He. God is the irresistible force; we are the movable object. We are as dust, without the capacity to resist or deter Him or His will (about Israel or anything else); other than having been granted by God the freedom to reject His plan and His will for our personal lives. But the will of God is, and has always been, that we acknowledge Him; recognize our alienation from Him; accept His loving, merciful, and gracious offer of reconciliation to Him through Jesus; and then bask in the joy of being His servant and child forevermore. This is why the Christmas season should be a time of unconstrained holy celebration, gratitude, and joy that the God of all purposefully came to this earth in the form of His Son to redeem, reclaim, and restore each of us. And how do we know all of this; but by God confronting the world through the use of Israel’s prophets and apostles to confront and confound the “wise” through their revelatory writings of GOD’S GLORIOUS AND MAJESTIC PLAN OF SALVATION---THE CREATOR (there really is one) COMING AND DYING FOR HIS creatures.
(adapted from The Boone County Spotlight; used with permission)
Don West is a new columnist and speaker for Prophecy Matters. His passion for Israel and prophecy is instantly contagious. He is a professor at North Arkansas College in Harrison Arkansas. Dr. West holds a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Arkansas.