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Why Bless Israel


I know there are two sides to the theological issue I'm about to address.  It has taken me many years to reach my own conclusion on this matter. You may think differently than me, and that's fine. 


Part of the Abrahamic Covenant that God spoke to Abraham in Genesis 12:2 and 3 and elsewhere states that God will bless those who bless Abraham, and curse those who curse Abraham.  With this in mind, I'd like to relate the events found in Genesis 20.


When Abraham first left his homeland, he predetermined that his life would be in danger.  Since his wife Sarah was so beautiful, he feared that men would kill him to get to her.  For this reason he told Sarah to tell everyone that she was his sister, not his wife.  This was partly true since Sarah and Abraham had the same father but different mothers.   Purposely leaving out an important fact is not the full truth, and thus this was a lie.  If a man's wife is also his half sister, I would suggest the spousal relationship trumps the half brother sister relationship.


In Genesis 20 Abraham and Sarah lie about their relationship to Abimelech, king of the Philistines.  Since Abimelech thought Sarah was single, he took her to be one of his wives.  Upon seeing this, God told Abimelech in a dream that he was as good as dead because he took Abraham's wife to be one of his wives.  Fear and confusion suddenly swept over Abimelech.  He was told that Sarah was a single woman.  Now he learns she is married, and not just married to any man, but to Abraham, God's chosen man.  To avoid the curse of death, he returned Sarah to Abraham, along with cattle and money as a form of restitution and blessing for his blunder.  Abraham actually benefited financially from his deception, as he did in Egypt with the same deception years earlier. 


Imagine if you were Abimelech.  You've been tricked  into thinking that Sarah was single and available.  Then you find out she was married to Abraham, and God was ready to kill you for taking Sarah as one of  your wives.  It certainly doesn't seem fair, yet to avoid the curse of death, you bless the one who deceived you.  You even let the deceiver pray for you as you repent of this sin of ignorance.  In the back of your mind you think Abraham should be the one repenting, not you, but this wasn't the case in Genesis 20.  Why was this so?


The reason for this is simple.  God had previously chosen Abraham to be the father of a special people that were to represent Him to the rest of the world.  For that reason only, God told all mankind that anyone who blessed Abraham would be blessed, and anyone who cursed Abraham would be cursed.  This includes Abraham's descendents.  The blessings had nothing to do with Abraham or his descendents deserving the blessing.  The command to bless was based on God's sovereign choice for Abraham and his descendents for a special place in world history. 


Abimelech did not bless Abraham because he felt like it, because he probably didn't.  Abimelech blessed Abraham because he was afraid of God and what He would do if he didn't bless Abraham.


The same principle applies to our relationship with Israel today.  They are still the descendents of Abraham.  I don't see any Scripture stating that God has withdrawn the command to bless Israel.  Abraham wasn't always living as God wanted him to live, as seen in Genesis 20, but that was no excuse for Abimelech not to bless him.  Israel isn't living as God wants her to live either, but once again, that's not really the issue.


Abimelech blessed Abraham because he was afraid of  God.  I also think that he might have had some understanding that God sovereignly picked Abraham to be the father of a great nation, although at the time, Abraham's actions didn't show this. For these two reasons alone Abimelech blessed Abraham, and for the same two reasons, we should bless Israel.  


Abimelech was afraid of God and the curse that would come on him if he did not bless Abraham.  This is something the nations of the world don't understand today.  We should have the same fear of God that Abimelech had, but we don't.  I can't imagine what this lack of fear of God will result in.  Western nations also don't understand that Israel still has historical significance in the eyes of God.  At the return of Jesus to earth, Jesus will rescue Israel, and she will be the greatest nation on earth as God told Abraham.   


In light of these things, we should determine how we should relate to Israel, both as individuals and nations.


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