I will bring back the captives of My people Israel; They shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; They shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them; They shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them. I will plant them in their land, And no longer shall they be pulled up From the land I have given them,” Says the Lord your God. (Amos 9:14–15 NKJV)
God’s promise kept
One of the greatest tangible proofs that the Bible is true is the way prophecies are made and fulfilled and the way promises are made and kept. The most obvious of all these prophecies and promises are the ones God has made and kept with His chosen people, the Jews. No volume written about the promises of God would be complete without a review of the promises to the Jewish people and the Jewish state of Israel. If you are looking for proof that God will keep His promises, take a trip to Israel and observe the miracle of a people dispersed among the nations for almost two thousand years who have returned to the land of promise and made the desert bloom and whose nation has against all odds reemerged as a world leader — just as God has promised.
Israel plays a prominent role in the plan of God. Not only did God use these people to give His Word to the world (Romans 3:1–2), but the Jews were the vehicle He used to give His Son to the world as well (Romans 9). In our modern world, all eyes are on Israel. Pick up a newspaper or magazine, scan the internet for world news and you will find mention of Israel in some form or fashion. This little country, the size of the state of New Jersey, has, in many ways, become the center of world trouble, just as the prophets prophesied and just as God promised. Keeping an eye on Israel keeps our finger on the pulse of world history and Bible prophecy.
Way back in the unfolding chapters of Genesis, God made a promise to Abraham, saying, “Get out… to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation… and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:1–3). Then the Lord enlarged on His promise of giving Israel a land, saying, “I will establish My covenant… for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants… also I give to you and your descendants after you the land… as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God” (Genesis 17:7–8). God repeated His promise of the land not only to Abraham and his son Isaac but to Jacob as well: “The land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants… and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 28:13–14). God kept His promise. Joshua led the children of Israel into the promised land and took possession of it.
Israel became a world power under the kingships of David and Solomon. But because they began to follow other gods, the kingdom was divided, and ultimately, the Jews were taken into captivity by foreign nations. The holy city of Jerusalem was ravaged by the Romans, and the Jews were left without a land or a country. But what God had promised, He would perform in His own timing and in His own way.
God had warned Israel He would not tolerate her worship of foreign gods. The Lord scattered the people among the nations, warning, “You will be left few in number among the nations where the Lord will drive you… you shall find no rest (Deuteronomy 4:27; 28:65). True to His word, the Jewish people were scattered in AD 70 when Titus and his Roman legions destroyed Jerusalem. For two thousand years they lived as a despised and persecuted people without a land to call their own. One in three Jews in all the world were annihilated in Hitler’s concentration camps. Against all odds, these chosen people maintained their identity and lived with the constant hope that they would celebrate their annual feasts “next year in Jerusalem.”
A sovereign nation
God promised there would come a day when He would regather the Jews from all over the four corners of the world, bring them back into their own land, and reestablish them as a nation. He promised, “I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land” (Ezekiel 36:24). And what HE promised, He performed. On May 14, 1948, the United Nations took a vote that startled the world and recognized the reestablished state of Israel as a sovereign nation after two millennia of exile. Never in recorded history was a nation reborn in such a fashion. The ancient Hebrew language was restored, and in a short time, Israel grew to become a world power. Twenty-five hundred years earlier, through the prophet Isaiah, God had promised, “It shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people… assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth” (Isaiah 11:11–12).
Today, Israel is a thriving nation, blessing the world with its advanced scientific and medical research, leading the way in helping keep the world safe with one of the world’s most sophisticated intelligence networks and powerful military structures, and bringing hope and help through its contributions to literature and the arts. Walk the streets of Jerusalem today and you will see Russian Jews who fled persecution and pogroms; dark-skinned Ethiopian Jews, descendants of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba; Sephardic Jews from the Arab world; and Ashkenazi Jews from Eastern Europe all blending together, just as God promised, into one nation, God’s own chosen people. If you want to know if God keeps His promises, just look at Israel and the people we call the Jews. No wonder we call it the promised land!
A promise and a prayer
Now the Lord said to Abram… “I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed (Genesis 12:1–3)
Lord, how blessed to see and know that You are faithful, that what you promise, You will always provide — in Your own way and in Your own timing. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Taken from The Promise Code by O.S. Hawkins. Copyright © 2022 by Dr. O.S. Hawkins. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson. O.S. Hawkins is the chancellor of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has served pastorates, including the First Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and the First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, for more than 25 years. A native of Fort Worth, Texas, he has a BBA from Texas Christian University and his MDiv and Ph.D. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. For almost a quarter of a century, he served as president of GuideStone Financial Resources, with assets under management of $20 billion, serving 250,000 pastors, church staff members, missionaries, doctors, university professors, and other workers in various Christian organizations with their investment, retirement and benefit service needs. He is the author of more than 40 books and regularly speaks to business groups and churches nationwide. All of the author’s royalties and proceeds from the Code series support Mission:Dignity. You can learn more about Mission:Dignity by visiting MissionDignity.org.
Read more articles by Dr. O.S. Hawkins at: https://www.goodnewsfl.org/author/o-s-hawkins/