(by Alan C. Lazerte)

The National Anthem of the State of Israel is "Hatikvah", which means "the Hope"; the hope of returning to Zion and Jerusalem. This hope, though held throughout eighteen centuries of dispersion, was finally birthed after the Holocaust, in 1948.

No anthem verse I have ever seen mentions the God of Israel. It is indeed strange that Canada's anthem does mention "God keep our land", but Israel's anthem does not; particularly when the traditional Canadian "God" came to us through Israel !

The word "hope" (or "hoped", or "hopes") occures about 150 times in the Bible; about an equal number of times in both "Testaments". The most outstanding verse in the Hebrew Scripture is Jeremiah 14:8: "O the hope of Israel, the Saviour thereof in time of trouble, why should Thou be as a stranger in the land?" That is a good question, and as I came to write this article I was forced to look at it squarely. The same prophet, Jeremiah 31:31

prophesies: "Behold the days come, says the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers....but....I will put my law in their inward parts and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people"

My head wanted to condone Israel's admitted assasination/kidnapping attempt of a Hamas leader recently in Jordan; but my heart (and a "gut-feeling" of dread within) prohibited my doing so. Not that we don't understand Israel's dilemna and heartache over the ongoing mass murder of Jewish civilians in the midst of what is supposed to be a "Peace Process" . Nor is it because we don't understand that in war the most immoral foe of necessity sets the level of barbarity. Nor are we in Canada, sitting comfortably in our armchairs watching on television from "afar off", in any condition to be harsh with Israel. We have our own potential nightmare right here on our doorsteps , home-made!

Being among those who love Israel and the Jewish people sincerely, probably as a gift from God, we want the very best for them; we literally feel their pain and share their anger though physically mere spectators. We want to help, but how can we really help?

After some sixteen years of intense involvement in Christian-Jewish dialogue and relations, and in pro-Israel activities (including the International Christian Embassy, Jerusalem) I have concluded that we need to focus as follows:

Firstly, continue with what we have been doing; helping and comforting the Jewish people. (Isaih 40:1-2): "Comfort ye, comfort ye my people says your God. Speak you comfortably to Jerusalem...." This has been the ICEJ's mandate !

Secondly, as did the Apostle Paul, in Romans 11:14 , to urge, even "provoke" the Jewish people to seek their God; "Hear O Israel, the LORD our God is one" (Deuteronomy 6:4). In seeking the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob Israel will find their Messiah!

Thirdly, and very importantly, go back to basics: prayer and intercession individually, in groups, in Churches. "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous person availeth much" ! (James 5:16)

If we do these three things, God will move in behalf of Israel.

One final item. The Gospel according to Matthew "hinges" the Hebrew Scriptures to our New Testament; and it was specifically written, and placed first, in order to convince Israel that the Messiah of the New Testament is the fulfilment of the Hebrew Law and the Prophets. The parable of the "prodigal son", although used by us in relation to returning "backsliders", was and is a picture of Israel in dire distress "away from the Father's home"; but the son finally came to realize that it was better "to return to my Father's house".

There was a popular and anointed gospel song in the 1970's entitled "I will Return To The God of My Fathers". LORD God of Israel we pray now, in Yeshua's Name, as we read this item, that this song soon becomes Israel's song; for this is her only real "hope"..."a living hope"; the hope guaranteed by You and Your Word! Amen.

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