Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel.’” — Ezekiel 37:11-12
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 19, 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 “S” — State of Israel — and will explore the modern Jewish State as the embodiment of God’s promise to His people that Israel is their rightful, eternal inheritance.
Just 73 years ago, the Jewish people found themselves standing in the ashes of the Holocaust. Over six million Jews had been murdered, nearly two million of them children, just for the crime of being a Jew. It was the worst devastation that the Jewish people had suffered in the nearly two millennium of exile, nearly two thousand years of persecution, expulsion, humiliation, and assimilation.
More than one-third of the entire world Jewish population was obliterated. Like the prophet of Ezekiel, we looked down in the valley of death, Sheol, weary and weak, and asked, “Can these dry dead bones live again?”
And behold a miracle! God breathed life into those dry bones and they came together, bone to bone, sinew to sinew. They took on flesh and spirit, and the nation lived again! As God said through the prophet, “ . . . these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off’ . . . ‘My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel.’” (Ezekiel 37:11-12).
Several years after the Holocaust, the modern nation of Israel was born. On November 29, 1947, in nothing less than a miracle, the United Nations voted to support the creation of the modern State of Israel. Opposition arose almost immediately, but on May 14, 1948, eight hours before the end of the British Mandate of Palestine, the Jewish state of Israel was reborn.
The sudden re-emergence of the nation of Israel echoed the words from Isaiah 66:8, “Who has ever heard of such things? Who has ever seen things like this? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children.” Overnight the nation of Israel came to life once again!
Against all odds, the Jews returned to their homeland. No other people in history have returned to their land after being exiled, but the Jewish people did it twice. We endured those first years after 1948 when we were outnumbered and outgunned. We didn’t give up when challenged in war after war, terror, and bloodshed. Amidst inconceivable conditions the nation of Israel not only survived, but thrived.
The land itself, which had been barren for thousands of years, began to give forth its fruit once again. Hebrew, a language all but forgotten to most of the nation was resurrected and spoken by in the streets once again.
Today, Israel is a light unto the nations (Isaiah 42:6) as the only democracy in the Middle East. Israel is on the cutting edge of technology and medical breakthroughs, gifting the world with ideas and ways that make life better, safer, and healthier.
As we give gratitude to God for the miracle of modern day Israel we recognize that God is involved in the works of the world; that the God of Israel neither nor slumbers nor sleeps (Psalm 121:4), that anything is possible with God (Genesis 18:14), and that nothing — be it armies, terrorists, or anti-Semitism — will stand in the way of His plan and purposes (Psalm 33:10).
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