The Apple of God’s Eye
By Sam Nadler
On May 14, 1948, the state of Israel was born. God continues to build this nation through regeneration of His people. The Lord is building Jerusalem, not only through political influence in the world, but more importantly, by bringing Jewish people to faith in their Messiah. Jeremiah 31:3 states “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, I have drawn you with lovingkindness.”
These words could be one of the most profound statements in the Bible since God’s love is a personal matter. The word for “loved” in Hebrew is ahav, which means a deep desire from the heart of God. Does God still personally care about the welfare of the Jewish people? Paul answers this question by saying that God’s hands are outstretched all day long to a rebellious and disobedient people (Rom. 10:21).
God’s Unfailing Love
He continues to reach out and just can’t “take a hint.” Where are His hands today? They are your hands and my hands. As our hearts are yielded to His heart, then our hands reach out on His behalf. Yeshua wept over Jerusalem because of their lost spiritual state (Luke 19:41). Today He is still weeping for He personally loves and cares for the lost sheep of the House of Israel. This is hard for most people to understand, since in the human experience, everybody has a breaking point and eventually gives up.
However, God’s love is unique. What we know in our everyday experience is one thing, but the “eternal”, by definition, is hidden from our experience. The word “everlasting” in Hebrew is olam which comes from the root that means “secret” or “hidden.” That is why we have a “peace which surpasses comprehension” (Phil 4:7). This love of God is beyond our understanding. I have two sons and I would never even consider giving up one of them, but “God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten son” (John 3:16). This is a love that goes beyond our experience or understanding. His love for us is based on His character. God is not only love, He is also immutable. Therefore, His love will never cease. He loves you eternally and He will never give up on you.
Witnesses of His Love
How is God’s faithful and perpetual love revealed to Israel today? Through you as you continue to pray and reach out to the Jewish people. In fact, God has two witnesses to His faithful love today. Paul proves that God has not forsaken His people through the witness of Jewish believers who have a present tense Jewish testimony (Rom. 11:1-6). Additionally, Paul shows God’s faithfulness through the witness of Gentile believers, for they are specifically called to make Israel jealous by ministering His mercy to them (Rom. 11:11-31). As Messiah’s perpetual love constrains our hearts, we, too, will reveal His faithful love to Israel (2 Cor. 5:14). His call upon Israel is as sure as His faithfulness to His word. It is His faithfulness that is on the line. Both Jewish and Gentile believers are necessary to be a living demonstration to the Jewish community of the eternal love of God that will never give up on them.
Family Loyalty Counts
God’s love can powerfully change our lives! God continues to draw us to Himself with His lovingkindness, which is chesed in Hebrew. Chesed is a word that speaks of a relationship commitment to one another, a covenant love and kindness. It is what one would expect to receive when in covenant with another. This word chesed has the same root that is used for a stork, chasidah. The stork is known as a self-sacrificing bird and is so called for being kind and affectionate to its young. Chesed (lovingkindness), or loyal love, teaches that family counts. Therefore, we are to care for our family members. God sees Israel as His family – even as the father of a prodigal or runaway child. The father forever seeks the runaway’s return. As Psalm 89:29 reiterates, “My lovingkindness I will keep for him forever, and My covenant shall be confirmed to him.” During Yeshua’s earthly ministry, He proved His faithfulness and loyal love to His Jewish family. His credentials as the Jewish Messiah were demonstrated in His priority to save His people from sin, which was evidenced when He initially sent His disciples to the lost sheep of the House of Israel (Matt. 10:5). Since God cut the covenant with Abraham and his descendants, we can understand Yeshua’s reticence in ministering to non-Jews, for they were outside of the Abrahamic Covenant (Matt. 15:26). In general, God made all redemptive covenants with Israel (Rom. 14:8). However, the promise of the Seed was extended to all families of the earth. Through faith in Messiah, all can receive the spiritual blessings of the covenant that God has made exclusively with the Jewish people (John 3:16; Eph. 2:12). All who believe in Yeshua receive His grace (chesed) and are grafted into His olive tree.
Drawn By the Beloved
Likewise, God, through this covenant relationship is faithfully drawing each one of us to Himself, continuing His lovingkindness toward us, never letting us go. Why? Because His character is love, He, therefore, has the constant conduct of love (1 John 4:8). He loves us personally, perpetually and powerfully.
I have often thought how glad I am that it says, He will “draw me”, not “drive me,” to Himself. He draws me as a beloved and does not drive me as a master. Israel needs the Beloved. He doesn’t draw us with better laws, but with greater love. What’s going to get me all the way to heaven? His love, which will never give up or fail me. What will bring national Israel back to God? Israel will be drawn back by God’s powerful love – even through us, as we yield our hearts to Him. God’s word never returns void. As He made His covenant with Israel born our of love, by the same love, He will keep and sustain Israel. He loves His people with the most zealous love as He says in Zechariah 2:8, “For thus says the LORD of hosts, “…he who touches you [Israel], touches the apple of His eye.”
Likewise, all our relationships work best when we relate God’s way, which is through love and mercy. Through our testimony of God’s great love, He will continue to draw many into His covenant relationship. Even now, God’s hands are outstretched all day long to His people. Therefore, let us pray for the peace of Jerusalem and that Israel will recognize her Beloved Messiah (Psalm 122).