Modern Israel Is Biblical TooSeptember 1, 2021 - 12:00 am
This Devotional's Hebrew Word
“He will bring you to the land that belonged to your ancestors, and you will take possession of it. He will make you more prosperous and numerous than your ancestors”— Deuteronomy 30:5
Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is Nitzavim, which means “standing,” from Deuteronomy 29:9–30:20.
As part of my work for The Fellowship, I frequently speak to groups of Christian tourists making the pilgrimage to Israel. A few years ago, there was one group that asked me to meet with them, but due to scheduling conflicts I could meet them only on the day they arrived in Israel.
When I arrived at their hotel, they were hauling their luggage into the lobby and getting checked in. They looked exhausted from the long flight. After they had a bite to eat and we were settled into a meeting room, I asked them, half-jokingly, “So, have you seen anything biblical yet?” Considering that all they had done was ride a bus through traffic to their hotel in Tel Aviv, they laughed. “No. but tomorrow we’re going to Capernaum,” one woman called out.
But then I said to them, “You know, the Bible doesn’t just tell stories about the past. The Bible describes the future, too. The Bible tells us that after a long exile, scattered throughout the world, the Jewish people will one day return to our land and build a bustling economy. The traffic you sat in and the tall buildings you see around you in downtown Tel Aviv — modern Israel — is part of the biblical story too.”
Modern Israel Is Biblical Too
This week’s Torah portion is the first time that the Bible describes the ingathering of the people of Israel to our homeland after many generations of exile. But the prophecy doesn’t stop at the ingathering. It goes on to say that we will become “more numerous and more prosperous” than our ancestors.
At no other time in history have there been as many Jews in the land of Israel as there are today. And the state of Israel, only 73 years after its founding, has indeed become a prosperous and successful economy. The biblical prophecy stated by Moses over 3,000 years ago is now no longer a vision of the future. It is the reality of our present. Modern Israel is biblical, too! Praise God!
Your turn: Listen to my new “Conversations with Yael” podcast that airs today. Bishop Paul Lanier joins me in discussing, among other topics, the High Holy Days and the relevance these holy observances have for Christians today.