Happy Independence Day, my dear friends

There is a Jewish prayer that says, “Our Father in Heaven, Rock of Israel and its Redeemer, bless the state of Israel – the first flowering of our Redemption….”

In my opinion, every true believer who loves the GOD of Israel, the people of Israel, and the Land of Israel should be praying that (the entire prayer is included below).

The state of Israel is not just another country on the planet like the others. It’s true that every country has a unique history and heritage, sometimes speaking a unique language. But how many countries have their history, heritage, and physical borders recorded in the Holy Scriptures? Only one! How many peoples were warned in advance that they would be forced to leave their homeland because of their sins, and were then promised – in advance – that the Creator in His mercy would return them to that same land?? Only one! (Deut. 30:1-5)

In short, the people of Israel and the Land of Israel were always uniquely destined for each other, by Divine decree. Only when the Land and the people were brought together could both be expected to flourish.

Israel’s Independence Day celebrates that return and rebirth, not only as a victory for the people and a revival of the land, but also as a vindication of the Holy One:

“For I will take you from the nations, and gather you from all the lands; and I will bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.  Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put My Spirit within you and bring it about that you walk in My statutes, and are careful and follow My ordinances.  And you will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will be your GOD….

Then the nations around you that are left will know that I, the LORD, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted that which was desolated; I, the LORD, have spoken, and I will do it.” (Ezekiel 36:24-36)

Thus, the day is one of joy for every lover of the Creator, everywhere in the world: This is a GOD who keeps His promises!

For those who lived through Israel’s rebirth, however, it was a frightening time of uncertainty. Not everyone fighting for their lives knew the promise that the Holy One would perform a unique wonder for them:

“Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Can a land be born in one day? Can a nation be given birth all at once? As soon as Zion was in labor, she also delivered her sons. ‘Shall I bring to the point of birth but not give delivery?’ says the LORD. ‘Or shall I who gives delivery shut the womb?’ says your GOD.” (Isa. 66: 8-9)

Many who did know Him and His promises, in Israel and abroad, saw immediately that a miracle was happening before their eyes – not because of human desire (although that was great) or because of the goodwill of the other nations, which was not so great (they suggested a Jewish home in Uganda or Madagascar…). It was entirely because the Creator decided that the day of Israel’s rebirth had finally come. “This is the day which the LORD has made; let’s rejoice and be glad in it.” (Ps. 118:24)

The citizens of the reborn nation literally fulfilled the prophecy: “When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter and our tongue with joyful shouting. Then they said among the nations, ‘The LORD has done great things for them.’ The LORD has done great things for us; we are joyful.” (Ps. 126:1-3)

Think about it: YOU, and those alive during the past 70 years, have witnessed something that the rest of humanity for the last 2000 years could only read about.

What’s more: YOU who live outside of Israel have the opportunity to personally take part in this mighty work of the Creator, which is still ongoing. YOU are mentioned in His words of comfort to lonely, bereaved Zion!

“The children you lost will yet say in your ears, ‘The place is too cramped for me – make room for me that I may live here.’ Then you will say in your heart, ‘Who has fathered these for me, since I have been bereaved of my children and cannot conceive, and I am an exile, and a wanderer? And who has raised these? Behold, I was left alone; where are these from?’ This is what the Lord God says: ‘Behold, I will lift up My hand to the nations and set up My flag to the peoples; and they will bring your sons in their arms, and your daughters will be carried on their shoulders’….” (Isa. 49:20-22)

Still, we recognize that Israel’s return to the Land is only “the first flowering of the Redemption”. There is much more to come, before “the kingdom” returns, ruled by the Creator’s righteous servant-king who will “bring forth justice to the nations.” (Isa. 42:1)

Among other things, the Holy One needs to perform a second stage in His Redemption. After Ezekiel prophesied in his vision, bringing the “dry bones” of the house of Israel back together, he saw that “there was no breath in them” until he prophesied a second time – calling to the Spirit to come and “breathe on these slain, that they may come to life.” (Ezek. 37:7-10) The Hebrew word translated into English as “the breath” also means “the Spirit”, confirmed by what follows: “’And I will put My Spirit within you and you will come to life, and I will place you on your own land. Then you will know that I, the LORD, have spoken and done it,’ declares the LORD.’” (v. 14)

Who would not want to take part in this unique miracle? We can all ask the Creator who we love to give us a task that relates to the Redemption of His people Israel. At the very least, we can stand against those who deny the Creator’s promises, seeking to release them from their blindness.

Be blessed by the Most High from Zion and Jerusalem,

Prayer for the State of Israel

(From the Hebrew prayer book, adapted for supporters of Israel living abroad)

Our Father in Heaven, Rock of Israel and its Redeemer, bless the State of Israel, the first flowering of Your people’s redemption. Shield it with Your wings of lovingkindness, spread over it the Tent of Your peace, and send Your light and Your truth to its leaders, ministers, and advisors, to furnish them with good counsel from Your Presence. Strengthen the hands of those who defend Your holy land, grant them deliverance, O our GOD, and crown them with a crown of victory. Grant peace in the land and grant its inhabitants eternal happiness.

Please visit all the people of Israel, our spiritual brothers and sisters, in all the lands where they are scattered, and lead them walking swiftly and erect, to Your city Zion and to Jerusalem, the abode of Your Name; as it is written in the Torah of Your servant Moses [Deut. 30:4]: “Even if your outcasts are at the end of the heavens, from there the LORD your GOD will gather you, from there He will fetch you. And the LORD your GOD will bring you to the land that your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will make you more prosperous and more numerous than your fathers.”

Draw their hearts and our hearts together to revere and honor Your Name and keep the words of Your Law, and quickly send the Messiah, son of David, Your anointed Righteous One, to redeem those who await Your ultimate salvation.

Manifest Yourself in the proud splendor of Your boldness to all the inhabitants of Your world, and may everyone having a soul within them affirm – as we do, who love Your Name – that the LORD, the GOD of Israel, is King and His Kingdom is absolute over all. Amen.


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