The first time I heard this declaration was several years ago by Kim Clement. It was again proclaimed recently by Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a national broadcast as he stood before Israel's governing body, the Knesset, that "Israel is forever!" What a powerful statement to speak over this beautiful nation and people. And as one reads Scripture it is very apparent God has every intention of His land being preserved forever.
A tour group from The Covenant Center journeyed together a few weeks ago for nine days to Israel and learned for ourselves how very special this land truly is. With a skilled and articulate journalist as our guide, we not only visited many sites and ruins that were nationally certified and documented for the historical events that took place; but we were given the opportunity to observe the people, their commerce, museums of archeological and historical importance, as well as the museum of the documented atrocities perpetrated upon them through the ages.
As we landed in Tel Aviv, I immediately sensed the weighted presence of God. His peace and presence continued with me throughout the trip. History is found everywhere you look and everywhere you walk. I was deeply awakened to how small my personal world has been. Even with the years of reading about Israel and studying the Scriptures, actually planting my feet on the ground of this Holy Land, was life changing.
This land holds a people who have suffered greatly through the centuries. They have withstood enslavement, ridicule, mockery and humiliation. They have been misrepresented, misjudged, maligned, betrayed and experienced some of the most evil and hideous acts to exterminate them as a people from the earth. And yet as we toured the land - there was evidence everywhere how God has preserved them and they have endured. What a testament to God's love and His preservation, even through diabolical times. What a revelation of His provision and goodness in sustaining His people. My heart and faith exploded within me as I observed God's divine protection and guidance for HIs children. As spoken in Psalm 91: "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, will abide in the shadow of the Almighty... It is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His pinions and under His wings you may seek refuge. HIs faithfulness is a shield and bulwark. You will not be afraid of the terror by night or of the arrow that flies by day...for He will give His angels charge concerning you to guard you in all your ways."
God chose this land and people to enter a covenant relationship with Him, and He has preserved them as a people and gathered them as a nation. One can witness everywhere the divine protection and peace, as well as the God given creativity and artistic gifting through the many advancements and discoveries in medicine, technology, agriculture, conservation, new inventions, salt-water desalination and so much more that has enhanced the quality of life for every person in the world.
I observed a people who have learned to savor the moments of joy and family. They display the ability to celebrate life, even in the midst of wars and rumors of wars, bombings and aggression by other peoples and nations encircling them. We witnessed festivities on the streets, small parties and the celebration of life with balloons and music in young men's bar mitzvahs. We also observed their cautiousness with strangers and yet their kindness and desire to compassionately love and serve others; demonstrated by the medical attention and care given to their enemies lying in their hospitals, injured on Israeli soil during premeditated attacks. Their enemies live in their land, building expansive settlements while also being given a voice in their government. Israel is a democracy. This is a people who respect the gift of life and desire to live in peace, even with those whose goal is to destroy them. And upon visiting the Western Wall, it is evident that they are a people who are devoted to God and who deeply love and honor Him.
In observing the many ruins and hearing the rich history of Israel - their struggles and disappointments as well as their victories, I found a country blessed by God's hand as they have walked through so many centuries of war and militancy from others. I observed a nation of people banded together with their face like flint and with the dignity and strength to fight for their land, as well as the national acceptance of them as a nation. Most importantly they desire to live in peace.
Even though they are a prospering nation, they too have needs. With God calling His people to return to their land, many are aged and unable to work, needing assistance with food, shelter and health care. I personally witnessed on what was a thriving street by day, several elderly women wandering alone, late in the evening, looking for food and other items.
So as you pray for the nations, may I encourage you to remember Israel and its people in your prayers. And if you choose to visit one day, please know their economy is greatly supported by tourism. They welcome all people to come and experience the history, culture, food and beauty of this special nation. It is evident that God will continue to show His divine protection and love as well as His strong right arm over Israel, for we know He will continue to trumpet throughout the earth and declare to the nations that "Israel, truly is forever!"