Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.—Genesis 15:6
The year 2018 is important for Israel and the Jewish people as we celebrate the modern State of Israel’s 70th Birthday. You can be part of this momentous milestone with Rabbi Eckstein’s 70 devotions offered now through April 19th, Israel’s Independence Day. These devotions are tied to our Keys to Israel – six fundamental principles underlying God’s covenantal relationship with His chosen people and His Holy Land using the acrostic I.S.R.A.E.L.
This devotion is part of ten devotions focusing on the letter “I” — Important to God — and will explore Israel’s importance to God as expressed through His promise to Abraham more than 3,000 years ago.
Next time you are at the beach, or any place with sandy soil, scoop up a handful of sand. In essence, you are holding an object lesson of God’s promise to Abram. Remember the promise — “I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore” (Genesis 22:17)?
God didn’t promise Abram wealth or more possessions or even fame. God promised Abram a nation, a people who would be so great in number that they would rival the stars in the sky or the grains of sand on the seashore. It is a promise that we Jews have held on to through thousands of years, during times of exile and persecution. It is a promise that has connected us — physically and spiritually — to our homeland, Israel.
But remember when God gave that promise to Abram? In Genesis 15, Abram had no children, no sons, and he was beginning to despair of ever having an heir. God came to Abram in a vision and comforted him; He renewed the promise given to Abram in chapter 12: “Look up at the heavens and count the stars — if indeed you can count them . . . So shall your offspring be."
And how did Abram respond? Abram believed: “Abram believed the Lord, and he [God] credited it to him as righteousness.” That was all that was needed. It was his belief that made Abram right with God. The fulfillment of God’s promise did not rest on what Abram did — or did not do — but on Abram’s faith in the One who gave the promise.
The lesson is the same for us. We can do all the right things — go to worship, engage in Bible study, act charitably toward others — but ultimately that’s not what makes us right with God. Rather, it is the combination of both our faith and our actions — our holy deeds — plus, our heartfelt confidence that God is who He says He is and that that He will do what He promises to His people, that bring us closer to God.
Faith in the Promise-Keeper and following His word are what sustained the Jewish people for centuries. They are the bedrock of our conviction that Israel is our home. Let your faith and deeds in the Promise-Keeper be the bedrock of your life as well.
Join the celebration and get the entire Keys to I.S.R.A.E.L. curriculum for free — for you, your small group, or even your church.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President