Isaiah 43:1b – 3a “Fear not for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God; the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour…”
We love to quote and to appropriate these verses for ourselves, don’t we? And why not? This is the true and inspired Word of God.
But just know this. Every time we claim one of these incredible promises from the prophets or the law or the books of wisdom, we also affirm our unbreakable bond to the Jewish people and must acknowledge that these words were intended first for them. This is where our spiritual heritage lies. We have believed in the Jewish Messiah, the Holy One of Israel, our Saviour (vs. 3).
This means that, as much as we can claim these precious promises by virtue of our faith in Yeshua (Jesus), we must also understand that there is no expiration date on God’s Word to His people Israel.
I’ve kind of come at this a little backwards logically because of the way most of us in the church think. These promises are for me, therefore I must be connected to Israel and to the Jewish people. But in fact, these promises were made to the Jewish people, to the children of Israel. God the Father chose these people as His own and through them gave us the Messiah, Yeshua. We have believed in Yeshua and are now the beneficiaries of a spiritual heritage established by God Himself through the children of Israel. Some say the church has replaced Israel—that God no longer has plans for ethnic Israel. No way! God is not a God who goes back on His promises. And if I can claim these promises for me, then how can they no longer apply to the original recipients? That makes no sense and more importantly, is not consistent with the character of the God we serve.
There is much more that can be said about this and that needs to be said, but I hope that this will spur some deeper consideration and dialogue about the place of Israel in God’s eternal plan.
“Lord, thank you for the spiritual heritage I have through Jesus and the Jewish people. Jesus was fully human and fully divine, meaning that his lineage through Israel was not a coincidence. As I claim the promises made to Israel, help me to consider your plans for your people Israel and to bless Israel at every opportunity.” Amen
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