“Is God the God of Jews only?”
David’s 2nd Blog from Israel
Greetings once again from Israel. I promised in my last blog that I’d give you some more specifics about what Heaven’s Family is doing here. But first, I’d like you to know that Heaven’s Family’s Board of Trustees has recently been working on fine-tuning our Mission Statement, which I believe it will help you understand why we’re working here. Here it is:
Our mission is to help build the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ on earth. We do that by linking needs that are of concern to Christ with resources that He has entrusted to those who love Him. Through strategic partnerships, Heaven’s Family invests in reaching the unreached with the gospel, discipling Christ’s followers, and serving the suffering—those whom He referred to as the “least of these” (Matt. 25:31-46; 28:19-20).
Notice that our mission begins with “reaching the unreached with the gospel.” And that is exactly why we’re working in Israel. It may surprise you, however, to know who we’re specifically targeting.
You probably know something about the conflicts that have been simmering and often igniting here since Israel gained statehood in 1948. Consequently, modern Israel consists of three political regions that have various names depending on who is describing them. One of those is the “West Bank,” so-named because it sits on the west bank of the Jordan River which separates Israel from Jordan. The West Bank contains the largest share of the “Palestinian Territories” or “Occupied Palestinian Territories” (again, depending on who is describing them).
Although I can’t tell you, for security reasons, precisely where we’re reaching Israel’s unreached, I can tell you that it is somewhere in the Palestinian territories among Arab Muslims. This week I’ve seen the work firsthand. And it has been very encouraging. Oh how I wish I could tell you more details! But I risk jeopardizing the work if I do.
When you spend time in the Palestinian territories, you gain a perspective that might otherwise escape you. Former Muslims who live in the Palestinian regions who are now followers of Christ are a persecuted minority, and they live within another minority that suffers its own restrictions and deprivations.
The Palestinians are often demonized as the perennial bad guys by pro-Israel Evangelical Christians in the U.S., but once you’ve actually traveled in the Palestinian regions and talked to the people, believers and non-believers alike, you begin to realize that the issue is much more complex than most pro-Israel Evangelical Christians understand. And it is always risky to take a hardline stand when you are semi-ignorant.
In the case of the Arab believers living in the Palestinian territories, we even run the risk of favoring unbelievers over and above our own brothers and sisters in Christ. How would you feel if you were a follower of Jesus who lived in the Palestinian territories and you perceived that American Christians had taken sides against you in favor of those whom you perceived were your oppressors? How would you feel if your spiritual family across the ocean was sending money to help your unbelieving oppressors and ignoring your plight?
In my next blog, I’m going to explore this topic a little further, with hopes of shedding some light on assumptions that are often held dear by American Evangelicals, assumptions that could stand some scrutiny.
Jesus died for everyone! To claim that God loves Jewish unbelievers more than He loves Gentile unbelievers is difficult to support from Scripture. And the only verse that intimates that God loves those who reject Jesus more than He loves those who have believed in Him is 2 Dumb 4:2c!
Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also… (Rom. 3:29).