Although I’m rightly accused of having a ‘bad memory,’ there are some things that I will never forget. And, although the Yom Kippur war and the corresponding oil embargo happened over 40 years ago, they are etched in my memory as if they took place yesterday.
I’ll never forget the gathering at my Orthodox Jewish grandparents’ home in Brooklyn in 1973 for Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). It was there that the announcement was made that Israel was at war. Although I was only an 8 year old boy and the conflict was taking place nearly 6,000 miles away, I remember the undeniable feeling that ‘our people’ were being attacked.
In conjunction with that memory, I’ll never forget the line of cars that were ahead of us at the gas station as we waited, for what seemed like hours, simply to put gas in our car. I vaguely recall that there was a system put into place that determined whether you were eligible for gas on any given day – if you had a license plate ending in an odd number, you were allowed to purchase gas on certain days of the week, and those have plates ending in even numbers were allowed to purchase gas on the other dates.
Do you know what both of these memories have in common? The answer is simple and yet so complex – namely, the existence of the people of Israel!
Ever since the Lord has chosen Israel to make for Himself a name (2 Sam 7:23), Israel has been in the cross-hairs of God’s enemies who continually seek to annihilate them. The fact that this small little country, surrounded by enemies much larger than it, continues to be a people is the fulfillment of God’s promise to them that, as long as there is a sun and a moon in the heavens, Israel will continue to be a nation. Israel’s very existence is God’s answer to those who say He doesn’t exist.
During this Day of Atonement, I want to encourage you to be a people that Biblically stands with Israel. I don’t believe that we are called to support Israel’s governmental decisions blindly, but I do believe that we are to support God’s decisions faithfully where Israel is concerned. God calls us to pray for them (Ps 122:6-7); He calls us to provoke them to jealousy (Rom 11:11); He calls us to provide for the believers in the Land (Rom 15:25-27).
Whether you are old enough to remember what happened in 1973 or not, let’s be a Church that remembers God’s heart for Israel and remember that one day, “all Israel shall be saved.”