Nov 17, 2023
A Sermon Reflection
How much do you know about the nation of Israel and the history of the Jewish people? This past Sunday, at Restoration Church of Sanford, we had the benefit of hearing from Pastor Amir Kashtan, a Messianic Jew and expert on the history of Israel. Pastor Amir grew up in Israel and served in the IDF as a young man. He now pastors a church in Hamlin, Florida near Winter Garden. You can hear his message HERE.
Pastor Amir’s message was compelling as he shared, from his heart, from God’s word and from his vast knowledge regarding important information that would help us to discern truth amongst the confusing events that began on October 6 in Israel.
He reminded us of God’s faithfulness to His people, despite longstanding persecution against the Jewish nation. He spoke of his love for his people, of the deep devastation that has occurred, even in his own family, and of his steadfast assurance that God would indeed fulfill all of the promises He has made to His holy nation.
It was truly overwhelming to hear the timeline of suffering and persecution that the Jewish people have endured. But it is amazing to consider the perseverance of these people, despite the great hardship they have faced throughout recorded history.
As I reflected on Pastor Amir’s words, I considered that the people of Israel are perhaps one of the great apologetics of God and His commitment to His Word. There’s much more that could be argued for in this case, but consider just a couple of verses from the Old Testament,
“I will establish my covenant with him (Abraham’s son, Isaac) as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him.” Genesis 17:19b
Simply put, the Lord made a covenant with the Jewish nation that assumes the nation will last forever. The Lord calls this covenant “everlasting.” It is simply amazing that the Jewish nation has persevered given their ancient roots and the amount of persecution they have faced throughout history.
We must ask, what other nation has endured for so long under such deadly and hateful persecution from so many other nations?
Had the Jews disappeared, God’s promise would be void, and God himself would be proven unfaithful. But God has sustained and preserved this people and the continued existence of the Jewish people argues, against reason, for the reliability of the God of the Bible.
Furthermore, the Lord tells us in Genesis 12, as He formed the covenant with Abraham, that through him, all the families of the earth would be blessed. As Christians, we know that the greatest blessing to come from this family would come through the only begotten son, Jesus Christ, and his work on the cross.
However, it is hard to ignore the other overwhelming blessings that have come to us through the Jewish citizens of the world. The Jewish people make up only 0.2% of the world’s population, but they have won 22% of the Nobel prizes awarded. And, they have blessed the world with incredible advancements in multiple arenas. It was Jews who invented pacemakers, defibrillators, lasers, many of our vaccines, nuclear energy, and drip irrigation, just to name a few of their great accomplishments.
The world has indeed been blessed by this nation who was blessed by God so that they could be a blessing to all. In great irony, the Jewish nation has even been a blessing to their enemies. But isn’t that just like our God, the One who allows the sun to rise on the evil and the rain to pour down on the unjust and who calls His people to love their enemies and pray for those who persecute us?
As I reflect on the close of the service, I was reminded of Pastor Amir’s call to action for our church and, really, for all followers of Christ. He called us to seek the truth and to pray for Israel. He recommended a few resources on social media where we can find true and helpful information: @kashtan4israel, @standwithus, @ldf and @israel.
As we take heed to his call to pray, may we remember God’s sovereignty and faithfulness as we seek the Lord for salvation amongst Ethnic/Physical Israel (those who are descendants of a Jewish family but not saved ).
May we remember the blessings of God and the kindship that we share with our Jewish brothers and sisters who are in Christ (Spiritual Israel) and may that endear us to them as we pray for their courage and their safety.
And, as we pray for all who are victims of Hamas, may we be reminded that the battles we see are the evidence of the ongoing spiritual battle that is alive and well in this world. The enemies of God seek to steal, kill and destroy but we know how the story ends. The battle belongs to the Lord.
May this embolden us to pray fervently for God to use us to fight against the darkness by shining the light of Christ and His Gospel brightly for the world to see.