Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Israel: God's chosen people

Some people use Isaiah 58:12 as support for the modern nation-state of Israel:

Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

Of course this prophecy is about how Israel is seeking the Lord "as if they were a nation that does what is right, and has not forsaken the commands of its God." (v.2) That's pretty damning. Israel is claiming to seek the Lord when they have really forsaken the commandments of God.

Of course I have to make a distinction between Israel the people and Israel the nation-state. There is no biblical reference to a nation-state, as it is a modern idea.

Isaiah continues this discourse saying, "Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. (v.3, 4)

(v. 6, 7)
"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?

Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter

when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?"

Is this not a relevant prophecy to the nation-state of Israel today? God calls to set the oppressed free, and Israel builds a wall, like a prison, for the Palestinians. God calls to share food with the hungry, and Israel cuts off the water supply to the Palestinians (80% of Israel's water goes to the Jews, with smaller populations none-the-less). God calls to provide shelter for the wanderer, and Israel bulldozes the homes of Palestinian refugees to build track homes for Jewish settlers.

(v. 9, 10)
"If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,"

... then God will supply Israel all her needs, and they will be like a "well-watered garden."

It seems Israel should seek God, and keep his commands. This seems to be the stem of their problems. If they did not oppress the Palestinians, if they fed the hungry (as Hamas does), if they kept God's commands and actually sought after God as a nation that "does what is right," perhaps this would have come out differently.

Perhaps I'm reading this wrong, but it's at least a clear reproof on those using this passage as one supporting the modern nation-state.

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