ver the last week, as we fervently pray for the situation in Gaza, the Spirit has emphasized several passages from Isaiah 51
, a chapter whose main theme is “righteousness.”
Verse 1: LISTEN to me, you who pursue righteousness, Who seek the LORD…
Most sincere Christians, be they pro-Israel or anti-Israel, are deeply concerned for issues of righteousness and justice. Yet, as we watch the media portrayal of events unfolding in Gaza—with the numbers of dead and wounded rising on both sides–it can seem like a numbers game, like a World Cup soccer match: 7-1, Germany defeats Brazil. The “game” seems so lopsided: many, many more seemingly innocent Palestinian Arabs are dying, while the deaths are comparatively low on the Israeli side! And this is no ordinary “war”: just as important as the battle on the ground is the intense PR war being fought on the internet and through social networks, as each side “spins” the narrative in order to claim the moral higher ground of being the greater victim. It is a great challenge to discern what is truly “right” and “wrong” in this complex situation. Where is God’s righteousness to be found in all of this?
Verse 2: “Look to Abraham your father…”
There is a deep and Biblically consistent truth revealed here: God’s righteousness is first and foremost NOT a matter of the accurate accounting of human right and wrong; nor of how many bodies are piling up on each side. Rather, it is about His ELECTION, His right to be God and ruler of this world, and to choose according to His sovereign will. Isaiah, just as the Apostle Paul in the Book of Romans, points us to God’s choice of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Jacob…ultimately of Israel (nation=people and land), as the first “rank” of understanding God’s righteousness. God is ultimately righteous because He is the sovereign King and Creator of the world, not because of a moral standard which He imparted to Mankind, nor because Abraham was the most righteous and just man who ever lived! (Of course, in the next “ranks” of His righteousness, there are incredibly high standards of morality and justice which we must seek to obey)
Verse 3: Indeed, the LORD will comfort Zion…
The lesson for us in these End Times is this: In order to be able to discern righteousness and justice accurately, especially where it concerns Israel/Jerusalem/Zion, we must first accept the doctrine of election, specifically of His election of Israel and the Jewish people through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and ultimately the unique chosen-ness of the King of Israel, and King of Kings, Yeshua! This does not mean that everything Israel does is “right”, any more than it does for every believer, also chosen by God. He is the one who predestines, calls, justifies, and glorifies. (Rom 8:28-30) If we don’t keep this Biblical priority in mind, of His right to be faithful to His gracious election even though we are totally undeserving, we will be in constant danger of deception–of trying to figure out who is more right or wrong in the midst of very complex situations, and ever more clever brain-washing from the media. Let God be found true, though every man be found a liar…(Romans 3:4)