For the week of January 9, 1999 / 21 Tevet 5759
Torah: Shemot / Exodus 1:1-6:1
Haftarah: Isaiah 27:6-13
In days to come Jacob will take root,
It is hard to believe that it wasn't that long ago that the prospects of the nation of Israel existing - let alone making a difference in the world - were bleak to say the least. Imagine living one, two, or three hundred years ago and reading the many Scriptural passages that spoke of Israel's destiny. And yet not only did Israel have a future, but a glorious one!
From the beginning Israel has been a nation of destiny. Starting with God's promise to Abraham, Israel was to be a blessing to the rest of the world.
Seeing what Israel has been through these many centuries, it can be easy to accept a survivalist mentality. Just the facts that there is still a Jewish people and that the State of Israel exists at all are miracles in themselves. It is understandable that Israel possesses such strong senses of self-protection and preservation.
But Israel's destiny is not to simply survive. Survival is an essential ingredient, but it is not the only desire God has for this nation.
Like a well-planted tree, Israel will "Fill the world with fruit." Israel is destined to make a significant positive difference in the world.
This reminds those of us who follow Israel's God that we are on earth not for ourselves, but for the well being of others.
The Messiah of Israel came into the world to show us this: "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45).
Yeshua understood his nation's destiny. As Israel's true and everlasting King, he came to show us what God's intention for us really is.
When you have been through great difficulty, it can be difficult to think about others. With God's help we can. With God's help we will.
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