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Complaining Israel

Source: Art Sadlier, Sunday September 11th 2011

Unbelief is the cause of complaining by God’s people. Failure to believe the promises of God leaves the child of God in discouragement.

The same thing can be said for the nation of Israel. God has promised to bless Israel and meet her needs. History proves that God has done just that. Unbelief and disobedience has also caused the Lord to withdraw His hand of blessing from Israel. Israel’s long dispersion is ample proof of that.

Back in Exodus God promised to send a deliverer to bring Israel out of the bondage of Egypt. When the deliverer, Moses, came along and set about to rescue Israel, the faith of the people failed at the slightest trial God allowed to arise. When the Lord miraculously brought Israel out of slavery the first thing that they did in the wilderness was complain about lack of water. Instead of trusting God to supply (which He did) they complained. They murmured about the food God was supplying them. God gave them a cloud to shade them by day and a cloud of fire to warm them by night. He gave them shoes and clothes that never wore out. But they complained about the hardness of the way. He gave them victory over their enemies, but they complained about Moses' leadership.

God promised them a land in which they would not lack any good thing. Yet they murmured and complained. Why? The scripture tells us that they had an evil heart of unbelief. God hates unbelief and will never accept it. Unless there is repentance, He will always judge unbelief.

Today we see Israel repeating the same unbelief in their present circumstances. God has blessed the modern state of Israel almost beyond belief. He has protected them from their many enemies who are committed to their destruction. He has caused them to prosper in a miraculous way. From agriculture, to industry, to scientific achievement, and in every area God has blessed them. Now we learn that God has given them oil and gas in abundance. The promise of God has been fulfilled and the desert has blossomed like a rose.

How has Israel responded to the blessing of God upon them in these recent times? The answer is just the way Israel of old responded to the blessing of God. They are murmuring and complaining instead of claiming the clear promises of God for the future. They are planning to give away the Promised Land to their enemies, a significant majority of Israelis are committed to giving up Judea and Samaria for a Palestinian State. Instead of believing God to bless and provide (as He has for them for the last sixty years) they are doing just exactly what their forefathers did in the past, murmuring and complaining.

A sizeable number of Jewish people both in Israel, and in America are opposed to a Jewish State based on the promises of God given in scriptures. They desire a secular state similar to the socialist states in Europe.

Almost all of Israel’s politicians are in favour of giving up much of the Promised Land to Israel’s enemies in the vain hope for peace with the Palestinians. They have no vision of the restoration of the kingdom promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The following news commentary sums up this situation. ”Over the past decade, left-leaning Israeli liberals – those who reject the biblical mandate of their nation – have come to see Christian Zionists as more dangerous than the Muslim fanatics threatening Israel with physical destruction.” In the present situation these Jews are actually on the side of the Palestinians. They are just as estranged from God as were many of their rebellious forefathers were; they are the real enemies of Israel.

Israel is a badly divided nation. At times it seems almost like a civil war in Judea and Samaria as the IDF, at the urging of liberals, set about to destroy the homes of those Jews who have a vision of occupying the Promised Land. Until that problem is solved they will continue to flounder and not gain the peace they seek.

Much of Israel's press is controlled by the liberal sector of society which is opposed to the idea that Israeli’s are the people of God.  Israel’s weakness is at the very core of her being. It is this unbelief and rebellion against their Messiah and His long promised kingdom that is preventing God from bringing them the ultimate peace and blessing He has promised them.

In Moses' day the Israelites disobeyed the Lord as He instructed them to go in and posses the land at Kadesh Barnea. They said in effect, "We can't trust God to keep His promises to us." Instead of obeying they complained and disobeyed. There is an amazing parallel between that day and the present hour. The Israelis today refuse to believe that God can or will fulfill His word to the nation.

In Moses' day God proved Himself to Israel through the many miracles He wrought on their behalf, yet they did not trust and obey at Kadesh. In this present day God has proven Himself to Israel through the many miracles He has performed for them; yet like Israel of old, they will not trust and obey the Lord.

The following headline from "Israel Today" reveals the same old unbelief and rebellion against God that their forefathers displayed over and over again. “Israeli media called it a phenomenon, an unprecedented display of social discontent. For numerous consecutive weekends this summer hundreds of thousands of Israelis gathered in cities across the country to demand what they called 'social justice' – the ability to maintain a decent standard of living at reasonable cost.”

How like Israel in the wilderness so long ago. Fear, unbelief, murmuring and complaining; Israel has not come very far in the 3,500 years.

The good news is that Jehovah has not given up on His chosen people. He will finish His purposes for Israel. The sad news is that the blessings of God will only fall on believing Jewish hearts. The end of the story is found in Zechariah and it is a good news/bad news ending.

The good news, “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn” (Zechariah 12:10). Someday, perhaps, in the not too distant future a spiritual awakening will come to Israel. The scales will be lifted from their spiritual eyes. They will recognize Christ as their Messiah and Saviour.

Notice what will quickly follow, we read about it in Zechariah 13:1, “In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.” That event will be followed by a deliverance and the redemption of the nation. We read about that in Zechariah 13:8-9, “And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.”

There has always been a believing remnant in Israel in the past, the same is true today as we see God preparing Jewish hearts for the salvation soon to come. How sad to see so many in Israel today who have been exposed to the grace and goodness of God and yet have within an evil heart of unbelief.

How sad to look at the professing church of Christ today and to realize that there are many who have the same evil heart of unbelief.

We are not the judges of who is  saved and who is not saved, “Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn” (Matthew 13:30).

The Lord knoweth them that are his, I must search my own soul.