Inside View Nov/Dec 2019
We often refer to the Jewish people as God’s uniquely chosen nation. That’s because Israel is unlike any other nation. God raised it up for His particular purpose: to be the channel for His plan of redemption.
From the time God judged Adam and Eve for joining Satan’s rebellion against Him, He promised to defeat Satan and restore His Kingdom through a Son born of the seed of a woman. Scripture tells us this Son is the Jewish Messiah, the Promised One anointed to deliver us from the curse of our sin.
This is the time of year when we celebrate the birth of God’s promised Son, Jesus Christ. We are indebted to the Jewish people for being, first of all, the conduit through whom God has revealed His Word. Without the Bible, we wouldn’t know who God is or why the world is filled with evil or what God’s plan is to redeem us from sin. Absent the Bible, we wouldn’t know who Jesus is or why He came to Earth.
We also are indebted to the Jewish people for being the channel through whom God sent His only begotten Son. Jesus said, “Salvation is of the Jews” (Jn. 4:22). God worked through them to bring redemption and hope to the world. Furthermore, God will someday bless the world through Israel when the Messiah returns to Earth.
This time of year provides the perfect opportunity to thank the Jewish people for being a blessing to us. A sincere word of appreciation, acknowledging how God has blessed you through Israel, might warm a heart.
Have you ever considered the price Israel has paid so you could be blessed? Because God entered into a covenant with the Jewish people, He has held them to a higher standard than other nations.
To send His only begotten Son to a largely pagan Earth meant God needed to ensure there would be people to receive Him who knew the Almighty’s ways and feared Him. When Israel faltered, turned to other gods, and failed to keep God’s commands, He allowed pain and suffering to afflict them. His covenant promised blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience.
On the one hand, no other nation has a divine promise of a homeland for eternity; yet, on the other hand, no other nation has suffered such hatred and oppression.
We are the beneficiaries of all God has been doing through the Jewish people. Without Israel, we would be lost and without hope. The Bible tells us that despite our attempts to be good and pleasing to God, all our efforts fall short of His glory. Only by believing that Jesus is the Messiah who sacrificed Himself for our sins and rose from the dead can we restore our broken relationship with God.
Be grateful for every Jewish person God has brought into your life. The Jewish people are a living expression of God’s faithfulness and His promise to bless all the nations of the world.
If you’d like to tell your Jewish friends how thankful you are for them, we have a suggestion: Give a Hanukkah gift basket and enclose a note of appreciation. Hanukkah is the Festival of Lights, commemorating the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem in 165 BC after its desecration by Antiochus Epiphanes. This year Hanukkah begins on the evening of December 22 and runs through December 30.
A Hanukkah gift basket is usually filled with Middle Eastern foods, such as olive oil, hummus, tahini sauce, fruit preserves, crackers, and so on. It may also contain skin lotions and creams. You can find the baskets in stores that sell Jewish or Israeli products. Or you can collect the items and make up your own.
This year, we have a limited number of Hanukkah baskets that you can order. We can send them directly to your friends with our Hanukkah card or to your home so you can enclose personal notes and deliver them yourself.
It’s important that we be grateful this year, not only for the birth of Jesus Christ, but also for the Jewish people—a nation God raised up to be the channel for His salvation to an exceedingly needy world.