With controversy swirling over Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to Bibi Netanyahu to address Congress over the vigorous objections of the White House, and President Obama’s evident antipathy toward Israel and sympathy toward Islamic kingdoms, it’s worth revisiting the issue American support for Israel.
(President Obama’s recent decision to attend the coronation of the new Saudi king rather than the 70th anniversary commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz is a telling sign that his sympathies seem to lie more with the Muslim world than with Israel.)
Numerous articles in recent years have chronicled what writers identify as diminishing support for Israel among American evangelicals.
So should America and American evangelicals stand with Israel?
As I have written before, there are many reasons for the United States to support Israel. One is our longstanding history as a nation with the Jewish people. Judaism has always been - until this recent flood of Muslim immigrants - America’s second religion, after Christianity.
Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, which is reason alone to stand with her. She has been a staunch ally of the US since the earliest days of her modern founding, and simple friendship and loyalty dictate that we return the favor.
And unlike the Muslim nations which surround Israel, Israel does not want to destroy the United States.
The Palestinian Authority has given the U.S. no reason to trust it or to believe that any two-state solution has the remotest chance to work.
The UN offered Arab Muslims a two-state solution in 1948. While the United States recognized the state of Israel within minutes of the 1948 UN declaration, the surrounding Muslim nations spat on the two-state solution and went to war.
The sober truth is that the vast majority of Muslims in the Middle East are interested only in a one-state solution: a Muslim one with Israel wiped off the planet, gone. Palestinian school children today study maps of the Middle East on which Israel does not appear. It would be the height of folly to believe any single thing Muslim leaders say about living in peace with Israel. They do not want to live in peace with Israel, they want to obliterate her.
But beyond all these quite sound reasons to stand unapologetically with Israel against its adversaries, there is one additional, overriding reason.
We should stand with Israel because God does.
God made a profound promise to the father of the Jewish people, a promise which he has never revoked and which is still in effect today. “I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse” (Genesis 12:3).
God here declares one simple, abiding truth: he will deal with the nations of the world as they deal with Israel.
A nation which stands with Israel will receive a blessing from God. A nation which stands against the Jewish people (Nazi Germany comes to mind) will rest under a curse.
You can argue all day if you’d like about whether the United States is a Christian nation. The evidence is indisputable that it is, but one thing no one can dispute is that the United States has been kind to the biological and spiritual offspring of Abraham.
It has been the friendliest place on earth for the followers of Christ, who according to the apostle are also
“sons of Abraham” (Galatians 3:7). And the United States has historically provided a safe place, a haven, for the physical descendants of Abraham (the Jewish people), who have been able to freely practice their faith here and enjoy the prosperity and possibilities this Christian nation affords to all people of good will.
So if someone is looking for a reason for America’s security and success, he needs look no further: God has blessed America because America has blessed the sons of Abraham.
And there is yet one more reason to support Israel. America owes the Jewish people a lasting debt for preserving for us the “oracles of God,” as Paul describes them in Romans 3:2.
The Jewish people zealously protected, preserved, and passed on the very words of God as recorded by the ancient prophets and historians in Israel. Our faith as a Christian nation is rooted in Jewish soil. No Judaism, no Christianity.
Abraham is our father in the faith, the Ten Commandments our guiding standard for both personal and public morality, and the Jewish prophets of old still a source of inspiration. (You can ask Martin Luther King, Jr. about that.)
Nobody pays attention to the ancient code of Hammurabi any more, but the ancient code of Moses has always provided moral and public policy guidance for the American people and still does today. The 55 framers of the Constitution cited the Bible more often than any other external source in their writings and speeches, with a full 34 percent of all their citations coming from the pages of Holy Writ. (The next most frequently cited source clocked in at eight percent.)
The bulk of these citations are from the book of Deuteronomy, which records the public policies and laws God gave to ancient Israel, and which served as an inspiration and guide for the Founders as they established American law and jurisprudence.
Ten Commandments monuments can be found today in city after city in the United States, and copies of the Decalogue once hung on the wall of virtually every classroom in America and can still be found in courtroom after courtroom, including the United States Supreme Court. For the preservation of that abiding standard, the Jewish people are to be thanked.
Our Messiah, the one we regard as the Savior of the world, walked this earth as a Jew and practiced the Jewish faith. Simple regard for the person of Jesus commands respect for the faith he himself followed and the people to whom he belonged.
Paul says quite plainly that the Gentile world owes Israel a debt which it is morally bound to repay. Speaking of the Jews, he says, “For if the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings, they ought also to be of service to them in material blessings” (Romans 15:27). Indeed, Paul says we owe it to them. Hard to get much clearer than that.
Israel is preciously short of friends these days. For the first time in our history, the Jewish people do not have a friend in the White House. So they must be able to count on the friendship, loyalty and support of the American people. Let’s make sure we do not let them down.