Do You See God's Firstborn As Family?
Much is happening in the world of Israel. I have spoken to leaders in Israel who have echoed the same sentiment - whether the threat of Iran acquiring nuclear capabilities, political disunity and civil strife, or attacks from terrorists - they have not seen such a dark time of trouble in many decades of living in the land. What is the needed response of the worldwide church? Psalm 122:6-7 says, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May they prosper who love you. Peace be within your walls, prosperity within your palaces.”
The word ‘family’ comes to mind when I think of the trials Israel and the Jewish people are experiencing. In other words, will we be like family to them? Do we see God’s firstborn Israel as family?
In our biological families, we may have disagreements, theological differences, and times when loving is hard. Yet, we stick together, weather the storms, and love unconditionally. I believe that is God's heart for us regarding Israel and the Jewish people.
One of my heroes is the Dutch woman Corrie ten Boom, who was imprisoned in the notorious Ravensbruck concentration camp for helping Jews during World War II. When you look at her father's life, Casper ten Boom, you see how the ‘apple didn’t fall far from the tree.’
Casper, a watchmaker, was often called the city of Haarlem’s ‘Grand Old Man.’ He was known for his godly character, love of God, and good deeds. In May 1942, when a Jewish woman knocked on the door of his house asking for help as her husband had been arrested and she and her son were seeking to hide from the Gestapo, Casper did not hesitate. Knowing that helping Jews could cost him his freedom, he told the woman, “In this household, God’s people are always welcome.” Even when the Nazis began requiring all Jews to wear the Star of David, he voluntarily wore one as well. On February 28, 1944, the Gestapo raided his house, arresting him, his daughters Betsie, Nollie, and Corrie, his son Willem, his grandson Kik, and other members of the Dutch resistance.
When interrogated in prison, the Gestapo told Casper they would release him because of his age so that he could "die in his own bed.” He replied, "If I go home today, tomorrow I will open my door to anyone who knocks for help.” When asked if he knew he could die for helping Jews, he replied, "I would consider that the greatest honor that could come to my family.” At age 84, Casper died after nine days in prison. His daughter Betsie would perish at Ravensbruck, his grandson Kik died in Bergen Belson concentration camp, and William would succumb to tuberculosis acquired while imprisoned. Corrie was freed from the concentration camp by a ‘clerical error’ a week before all the women her age were sent to the gas chambers. The ten Boom family saved 800 Jewish people during the war. Corrie would go on to be a self-described “Tramp for the Lord,” traversing 60 nations and writing many books sharing the good news of forgiveness, healing, and the power of God.
The ten Booms stood firm in their love for the Jewish people, housing some of them for years like members of their own family. Although they paid a high cost in this life, I am convinced they are enjoying many eternal rewards for their faithfulness to bless God’s covenant people.
For many who read these blogs, you ascribe to Judeo-Christian values. The term used in Ephesians 2 speaks of the arising of ‘one new man’ as the ‘middle wall of separation’ is abolished between our Jewish brothers, sisters and us. Let us now see them as family. May we love, pray for and stand with our family in Israel until the day occurs as Isaiah 62:6-7 proclaims, “I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; They shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the Lord do not keep silent, and give Him no rest till He establishes and till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.”
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