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Israel feels a bit apocalyptic at this moment. Besides the election results, the coronavirus dominates the news. Announcements of new cases, directives to go into isolation for those returning from different countries; France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, have just been added. Lists of places where those infected have been are being published with orders for those exposed, to quarantine themselves. Large events are being canceled…you get the picture. So far, people have not panic-shopped, but it is coming.
Such times test how we have been living…have we been walking with God, or loving the world instead? Have we been trusting in Him or the economy? Such times are also a chance to awaken to our need for God and turn to Him wholeheartedly. Such times also demand a response; of prayer and of intercession.
Gen. 18:22 And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.
In a time of judgment, Abraham continued to stand before the Lord in prayer and intercession.
More than ever, we are called to continue to intercede for the fullness of God's plan. Especially is this important in light of Israel's role in this plan.
We looked briefly at Israel's condition, Israel's role in God's redemptive plan, Israel's need — prayer
Israel's condition and status before the Lord:
Romans 11:28 Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers.
Although "from the perspective of God's eternal choice, Israel will always be His covenant people," (MacArthur), and although His gifts and calling are irrevocable, yet for the gentiles' sake, they are (temporary) enemies.
Some, who pray for Israel, tend to pray out of an unreal or romantic feeling for Israel. Take this in: Israel, although beloved of God and called of God, is in enmity with God, as far as His Son Yeshua, is concerned. We are in a state of war with God over the Son of David, the Son of God.
Israel's calling and role in God's redemptive plan
Although this enmity has lasted two thousand years, nevertheless, it is temporary. Israel's place and purpose in God's plan are enormously important and central to His plan. God, in His faithfulness, has committed Himself, irrevocably to our forefathers by covenants! Of this, we are most unworthy; gracious is the Lord!
Rom. 9:4 who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises;
Rom. 9:5 of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.
It seems like this includes just about all things that pertain to God's unfolding redemption in the earth. But we looked only at the first one mentioned: adoption. "To them belong the adoption as sons" (NET Bible)
What is the adoption?
Rom. 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.
Rom. 8:23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.
Briefly, the adoption is the fullness of salvation, which culminates in the resurrection and eternal life of our physical bodies. Can we say it this way? It's the fruit on the tree of Calvary.
What Paul is saying is that Israel is central to the completion and fulfillment of His plan of redemption! This is alluded to in the Old Testament, see Isaiah 25:6-8, and Paul teaches on this in 1Corinthians 15:51-58
According to Paul, Israel's restoration, first the physical and then the spiritual, is the move of God towards the fulfillment of His eternal plan to restore all things (Acts 3:21)
Rom. 11:11 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles.
Rom. 11:12 Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness!
Rom. 11:15 For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?
This may not be all real to you, but if God has committed Himself to fulfill His plan in connection with His covenant commitment to Israel, praying for her restoration should be of the highest priority of the Church!
Israel's need — Prayer
Rom. 9:1 I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit,
Rom. 9:2 that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart.
Rom. 9:3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh,
The view of Israel's place in God's plan, as it is expressed in Romans 11, is the reason Paul expressed such a passion for Israel's restoration, even to be willing to be accursed from Messiah! Wiped out of the book of life, and into the lake of fire! (Remember that Paul was taken up to the presence of God after his conversion. He knew what He was willing to give up! (2Corinthians 12:2)
What Paul is expressing in these verses is God's own passion. It is what is burning in the heart of God! That is what drove Yeshua to the cross; the desire to see His Father's will fulfilled. And He did become accursed! See Galatians 3:13
We prayed for Israel
- For the breaking of Israel at the foot of the cross
- For God to release us from the chains of unbelief and rejection of our King
- For light to dawn on Israel, and for the opening of Israel's "eyes" as the Lord has promised: "They shall see Me, whom they have pierced."
- We prayed for God to bring us from death to life, in Him
- We prayed for Israel's reconciliation with her Savior and Lord
- We asked for awakening and revelation to whole communities, neighborhoods, people groups in the land
- Lord, this is your desire, you are married to Israel, she is beloved by covenant, for the fathers' sake - come for your people dear Lord, and draw them to you once again
- Lord you are Faithful, Long-suffering, Patient and Kind, you are Truth and Justice and full of Mercy and Compassion - Let your Grace fall upon this nation as a great flood, to sweep Israel into your arms
- Lord, you met Saul on the road to Damascus, You turned his hatred into a passion for You and Your people, you can do so again massively with many. If you can turn one such man, you can turn many, who now hate you, and make them lovers of Messiah
- Lord, bring Israel to Peniel…Let Israel prevail in wrestling with you, till you win! (See Hosea 12:4-6)
- We implored the Lord for His return, for His reign on the earth, for His salvation to come, from the reign of Man
- We asked the Lord to finish the mystery of Israel and unfold His eternal plan for the earth
- We asked the Lord to look at the suffering of the whole earth (according to Romans 8:19-22) and be moved to restore Israel for the world's sake.
We prayed for the Body of Christ in the world
- We asked the Lord to restore Israel for the sake of the Church (Romans 11:11-12, 15) As Israel's fall was a means of bringing salvation through the gospel to the ends of the earth, so Israel's restoration be the means of God's completing of His Body. We called on the Lord to fulfill His Will in this way.
- We asked the Lord to use this "apocalyptic" time of the coronavirus to awaken many believers out of "sleep."
- We asked the Lord to call many of His people in the Body to Himself, to His Word.
- We asked the Lord to awaken people to their need and call to prayer and the seeking of His face.
- We asked the Lord to call His people and awaken them to their need to live by faith and trust in Him.
- We asked the Lord to call His people to stand before Him in intercession.
- We asked the Lord to turn many churches in the west from their programs to Himself
- We asked for the revelation of God's eternal plan, as it regards Israel's role, and what is at stake
- We asked the Lord to visit the Church and call her to stand before Him.
- Lord give your Body a passion for you, as Paul expressed in Romans 9:1-4
We prayed for Israel's government
- Lord, we don't know what to say….bring order where there is political chaos, show mercy where there is such unmercifulness in the political wars, bring truth where there is corruption.
- Lord establish a government that will serve the people
- Lord we cry to you for an answer to the country's need for true leadership
- Raise up champions to battle corruption, on all levels, state and municipal
- Do something extraordinary
- Rein our leaders in, O' God, they live on borrowed authority, we pray for the best combination of political parties for Israel's good.
- Lord give us competent ministers in their field, rather than just political appointments of unqualified people.
Thank you for praying. In such serious times as these, let us take God seriously, so He takes our praying seriously.