“They will chop down her forest,”
declares the LORD,
“dense though it be.
They are more numerous than locusts,
they cannot be counted.” — Jeremiah 46:23
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.
In these verses from the prophet Jeremiah, we read about the pending destruction of Egypt, words of destruction eerily similar to those Moses spoke hundreds of years earlier to a different Egyptian pharaoh. The times had changed but the story remained the same. Would Egypt ever learn?
In describing the destruction that would come to Egypt, God said, “They will chop down her forest,” declares the LORD, ”dense though it be. They are more numerous than locusts . . .” In describing the enemies about to conquer Egypt, God compared them to locusts. This wasn’t by accident. This is a direct reference to one of the 10 plagues that hit Egypt in Moses’ time. By making this connection, God was telling Egypt that they should have learned from their past. But they didn’t.
After the monumental and miraculous destruction of Egypt brought about in Moses’ time, you would think that Egypt had learned its lesson and would never touch Israel again. Yet, we read in 1 Kings 14:25–26 that just after King Solomon’s death, Shishak, king of Egypt, ransacked Jerusalem and even audaciously stole all Solomon’s gold shields. Later on in 2 Kings 23:29–30, the Egyptian Pharaoh Neco killed the righteous king of Judah, Josiah. Numerous times throughout biblical history Egypt violated Israel’s trust and either attacked or betrayed her.
Through His prophet Jeremiah, God was saying enough is enough. The time for judgment had come.
Today, we have to ask the same question: Will Israel’s enemies ever learn? Throughout history God has punished those who oppress Israel. Why do nations continue to provoke Him?
In the second part of Genesis 12:3, God says, “whoever curses you I will curse.” As God said, it will be. Take a look at Joel 3:1–2, “In those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will put them on trial for what they did to my inheritance, my people Israel, because they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land.”
God has restored the Jewish people to Judah. The nations have already divided up the land. The only thing left is judgment. As two parts of the prophecy have already come true, we must have faith that the rest will be fulfilled in due time. Enemies of Israel, take note!
However, Genesis 12:3 also teaches us that “I will bless those who bless you.” God will bless those who bless Israel. During this year of celebration marking the 70th anniversary of the modern State of Israel, take a stand. Speak up for Israel. Stand up for Israel. Pray for Israel. Bless Israel today, and may God bless you in return.
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