“‘When they grasped you with their hands, you splintered and you tore open their shoulders; when they leaned on you, you broke and their backs were wrenched.’”— Ezekiel 29:7
This month, Israel honored its fallen soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice in securing and protecting God’s Holy Land, and celebrated its 71st anniversary as the modern Jewish State. Join us as we explore through the timeless teachings of Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein how God has watched over His land and His people since biblical times. To find out how you can support God’s “watchmen on the wall,” visit holylandmoments.org/help.
During the time of Ezekiel’s prophecy found in chapter 29, Israel was about to be captured by the Babylonians. Israel had already become a vassal state to the emerging Babylonian empire and was obligated to pay taxes to the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar. Egypt was in a similar position. It had lost many territories to the Babylonians and the enemy showed no sign of letting up.
Egypt and Israel shared a common enemy and that led them to form an alliance. However, when the Babylonians came to attack Israel, Egypt looked the other way. Egypt deserted Israel in her time of need. The prophet Ezekiel described it this way: “When they [Israel] grasped you with their hands, you splintered and you tore open their shoulders; when they leaned on you, you broke and their backs were wrenched” (Ezekiel 29:7).
Ezekiel came to scold the Jewish people for placing their trust exclusively in the Egyptians and not in God. At the same time, he lashed out at the Egyptians for deserting Israel and prophesied their decline. This was both a punishment for Egypt and a reminder for Israel: “Egypt will no longer be a source of confidence for the people of Israel but will be a reminder of their sin in turning to her for help” (Ezekiel 29:16). Egypt’s weakened state served as a lasting reminder to the Jews that it was foolish to trust in lowly man; only God Almighty was deserving of their trust — and ours as well.
Today, Israel continues to struggle between trusting alliances with countries and having faith in God. But a video posted during Israel’s offensive Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012 showed that we are definitely learning. In the video, soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces are dancing and singing as they waited at the entrance to the Gaza Strip. As they danced, they sang the following words: “We are believers and the sons of believers, that there is no one on whom to rely, except for our Father – our Father in heaven!”
Friends, let us learn what some of Israel’s greatest soldiers already know. When it comes to the uncertainties in life, there is only one source of strength and one source of security: the Lord our God. Let us trust in Him and rejoice in our faith. For He will do miracles for us – just as He did in Egypt long ago.