Which Voice Are You Listening To?
by Lonnie Lane
It seems to me that the most critical and destiny-driving issue before us in this election is not even being talked about. Oh a sentence or two here and there, but it’s not being addressed beyond a cursory mention. It doesn’t have the gravity that I believe it has in the spirit realm. If you recall, “In the beginning God…” (Gen 1:1) means that the spiritual realm was “here” before the physical realm. That means the spiritual realm determines what happens in the physical. If you doubt that, consider how your thoughts and emotions determine what happens in the physical in your life. It’s a law of “being,” so to speak. Spiritual issues determine our destinies.
So what’s the spiritual issue that may well determine America’s destiny that’s not being addressed: The division of Israel? That is the over-arching issue. But since it’s not a popular one with the media, we’re not hearing about it. But if you were sitting in the board room in heaven while God meets with His head angels, I’m quite sure it would be at the top of the agenda. The words God spoke to one lone man named Abram one day millennia ago doesn’t just echo through history; today it is roaring. Speaking about Abram’s descendents, God told Him distinctly, “I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you” (Gen 12:3). As Yeshua said to the people listening to what He had to say, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt 11:14; Mk 4:9, 16, 23), the implication being that not everyone will hear what the Spirit is saying.
I’m praying to hear God’s Voice in all the voices in the media out there. I want to hear His Voice in the midst of what’s being put forth as truth. There sure are lots of facts out there, but only what comes from God is truth. Mind informs mind but spirit informs spirit. Which are you listening to? Or even listening to the most? The things of the Spirit have never been “politically correct.” In fact, quite the opposite. Yeshua’s “campaign” as well as those of the prophets testify to that. I do admit to listening to or reading some of what is being said through the media. For that reason I can say that there are some commentators that are seeking for truth and even a very few brave voices speaking out for God-like values. If you listen for it, you may be able to hear God’s voice in what they’re saying.
My decisive input must come from God and His Word and what the Spirit is saying, and not what my mind is being told is real. In the final analysis, how God sees things is the only “reality.” So how do we know what He’s saying? We pray and we listen. We hear with the ears of our spirit, because we come to God and ask Him and listen. Yeshua said, “My sheep hear my voice” (John 10:27). So I’m assuming we can hear Him. And we can let Him show us in His Word what He’s saying and how what’s being said lines up with His Word. God will show you if you ask Him.
Though the media may not always address the issues paramount to God, we can. We can go to God and seek Him for our country. If we want to be on God’s side, we will pray for morality and godliness to be restored to our country. And we can pray that America stands with Israel and that whichever candidate will best align themselves with God’s agenda, He will cause to become our president, regardless of what the polls have to say. The polls don’t ask God for His opinion, but His vote carries a lot of weight. When He sent Israel out in battle, only a few men were able to overtake vast armies. It’s not numbers that determine God’s victories in the final analysis. He can change the hearts of people to direct them in the channels He chooses. Solomon said, “The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes” (Prov 21:1). As we look to God in our dependence upon Him to rescue us, He causes our hearts to align with His. That’s the rescue, to be one with Him and we need rescuing today big time!!
Israel overcomes her enemies today by the grace of God. We would do well to pray that she is able to continue to defend herself effectively. Some believers feel that because Israel is not following their Messiah on the whole yet, they needn’t pray for her or for salvation for the nation. This is error. We don’t pray for Israel because we agree with what modern day Israel is about necessarily; we pray for Israel because God said to: “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; May they prosper who love (her)” (Ps. 122:6). When Jerusalem is at peace, the world will be at peace. We pray for Israel and the Jewish people because when we are close to God, we will love what He loves.
That the stock market took a suicidal plunge last week may be the result of various economic indicators, or even moral indicators related to greed, but do you think there’s a clue in the fact that it happened on Erev Rosh Hashanah? Rosh Hashanah began on the evening of the day it fell 777 points. Rosh Hashanah is really called Yom HaTeruah, which means the Day of the Trumpet Blasts. This is significant. It may be God’s clue that He’s trying to say something, that He’s blowing a trumpet to sound an alert. That’s what Yom HaTeruah is, a day to sound an alert that for the next ten days, called the Days of Awe, we are to look into our lives to see if we are right with God and our fellow-human beings. These are the days to make things right where they haven’t been. These are the days to cry out to God for His mercy and forgiveness, which will be accomplished on Yom Kippur, the day of Atonement, (this year on October 9th). This is a time to “listen” to what God is saying to us, individually and nationally.
During the Ten Days God decides whether the Hebrews are worthy of their names being written in the Book of Life. We who are Yeshua’s, and continue to walk with Him, know our names are written in the Lambs’ Book of Life. But what about America? It may well be that these ten days and the days to follow will determine the quality of life in this country. What graciousness God has extended to us in His infinite mercy, to get our attention at this time so that we have a chance to cry out to Him for our nation and to pray that our leaders would listen to what He would say to America at this time. We could be standing at a crossroad of destiny. Let’s pray that the path we take is the pathway to God’s blessings, provision and peace indeed to His salvation.
So while the media may not recognize our standing with (and not against) a unified Israel as critical, you and I can, in our prayers, in our thoughts and in our discussions with others, to help bring about the balance of truth. A dear friend of mine was asked to contribute her understanding of just such issues. I thought it would be informative and helpful to many of you to read what she had to say. So I now turn you over to my friend who has lived in the Middle East and knows of what she speaks. Following are her words.
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I consider it a great privilege to have been asked to share a few thoughts with you. The challenge will be to share a very small snapshot of a very large picture. Hopefully what you hear today will give you a desire to want to see and understand more of that picture and you will begin to create your own album of understanding. However, just like when you put together a jigsaw puzzle and you focus on assembling a little section of related parts, that little section would be difficult to understand without having the finished puzzle picture on the box cover to refer to, to give you context of where that small piece fits in the whole picture.
The more you understand the big picture of God’s redemptive plan beginning with our father Abraham, the more you will be able to understand the smaller snapshots of events. Today we live in the perilous times described in 2 Timothy 3:1. The cascade of distressing events continuously bombarding us from every news outlet can at the least cause anxiety and at the worst "cause men’s hearts to fail them for fear." Luke 21:26 But I have GOOD news for you GOD HAS EVERYTHING UNDER CONTROL and He knows you by name. That being said, it is important that we become like the sons of Issachar described in the Scriptures in 1 Chronicles 12:32 who "understood the times and knew what Israel ought to do." What time is it concerning the big picture? And what are we to do as our piece in the scheme of things? And more specifically what does the land of Israel have to do with this big picture and what should our response be for such a time as this?
Before we begin to scratch the surface of answering this, I want to preface all of this with two points. Number one, I pray that as you consider what you hear today, and not only today, that you will be like the Bereans in Acts 17:11, who although they were listening to the great apostle Paul, they yet "searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so." Isn’t it interesting that they were able to validate what we would now call "New Testament doctrines" that Paul was preaching, by searching the only Scriptures that were written at that time the Old Testament? I wonder how many of us would be able to do that today since we often neglect the whole beginning of the book God has given us. Jesus Himself used those same Scriptures after His resurrection when walking with some disciples on the road to Emmaus who did not recognize at first who He was and were distressed by the recent events. Luke 24:27 states "And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself." Jesus Himself used only the Old Testament to validate His ministry, death and resurrection.
In these days of the battle for truth and many conflicting voices and dangerous deceptions, the entire Word of God must remain the gold standard by which all doctrines, traditions of men, prophetic words and religious practices are evaluated and judged. In fact, we have a responsibility to be disciples who diligently study the word (not just what others say about the word) and spend intimate time knowing the Lord the Living Word so that we can discern His instruction, His ways and His heart and rightly divide the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15). Being rooted and grounded in the word and knowing our God will make us like the strong oak which is not easily shaken or uprooted by the winds of adversity and the storms of life. The point: Do not swallow everything you hear. Check it out with the Scriptures.
That brings me to the second point having to do with "hearing." I want to teach you a Hebrew word that is crucial for this or any discussion. It is the word Sh’ma which when translated into English means "to hear." But in Hebrew, the word contains a richer meaning than the mere transmission of words or sounds to the physical ear. To hear involves thee active verbs: to hear, to understand, to do. The implication is that you are to actively and attentively listen to what is spoken, then meditate on it so that you understand the message and its relevance to you. And lastly, to respond to what you have heard and now understand in other words to act on it. Or as James said (because he understood what the word sh’ma meant) to not be hearers only but doers of the Word (James 1:22). Mental assent to a belief is not enough. As James says, even the demons believe and tremble. Faith without works is dead. Hearing is intimately connected with action with response and with obedience. You will receive little benefit for example if you are sick and go the doctor and hear the diagnosis and the prescribed treatment recommendation and you agree with what you have heard the doctor say, but you never do the treatment.
The great thing is that the Hebrew word "sh’ma" is not limited to man hearing what God has to say. It is the same word used of God hearing what man has to say. In Psalm 34:17, "The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears (sh’ma), and delivers them out of all their troubles." Do you see, that when you cry out in your distress, the Lord attentively listens, understands what you are going through, evaluates the situation and then acts on your behalf? What if He only did what we do many times, just hear about a problem but never act on it? Read about God’s response to the children of Israel in Exodus 6:5-7. God heard (sh’ma) the groaning of the children of Israel in bondage, remembered His covenant and then told Moses to tell the people that this was going to be His response: He would bring them out, rescue them, redeem them, take them to Himself, and bring them into the Land. Wow! In these days ahead, you will need to cry out to the Lord and you need to remember that He will sh’ma. Then you will need to also "sh’ma" and act on the instructions He gives you that may be critical to your natural and spiritual survival.
Jesus talked about what determines our ability to withstand the storms that come against us. You are familiar with the story in Matthew 7:24-27 about the two houses, one built on the rock and the other built on the sand. Many have interpreted this to mean that the rock is Jesus and yes, He is, but look more carefully. The houses were the same, the storm was the same. Both men heard the same sayings of Jesus. The only variable that determined whether their house withstood the storm was whether they took action whether they DID His words by incorporating what He said into their lives. Jesus said that "whoever HEARS these sayings of Mine and DOES them I will liken him to a wise man who built his house upon a rock. And the one who HEARS these sayings of Mine and does NOT do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand...” So "sh’ma" made all the difference.
To summarize so far, be careful what you hear, who and what you listen to and whose teachings you sit under; be careful to check it all out prayerfully with the Word of God and then translate the accepted truth into practical application in your life and in your relation to the people and world around you.
Let’s get back to our original question of what time it is and what are we to do in response specifically regarding Israel. It is first of all, the time of the birth pangs described in Matthew 24 which describes the cascade of events leading to the glorious return of our Messiah and His kingdom on the earth. It is the time of the gospel being preached to all the nations. It is the time of the preparation of the Bride of Messiah. And it is also the time of "the restoration of all things." In Peter’s famous sermon in Acts 3:21 he talks of Jesus "whom heaven must receive until the restoration of all things which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began." This explicitly states the Lord’s return is predicated on certain things being restored and that these things are described by the Old Testament prophets. What are these things?
The answer to this question could, and has filled many books and is too large to address now. But let me say that restoration implies that certain things were in existence that now have been lost. God is restoring in 4 major areas: l) The church to its sometimes called Jewish roots but a better term might be its "God-ish” Biblical roots; 2) the restoration of the church with the Jewish people; and 3) The restoration of the Jewish people not only to their physical land but to their Messiah. More and more Jewish people are coming to see that Jesus, or Yeshua which is His name in Hebrew, is their true Messiah. 4) Then finally the ultimate restoration will be of Jesus to planet earth once again.
Jesus said to the Jewish people in Matt. 23:39 "For I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed in He who comes in the name of the LORD.’" It is the Jewish people who call Jesus back. Do you see that this is all about the second coming? First there had to be a physical nation to come back to, then the Jewish people had to come back to it, then they are spiritually restored and then He comes back to His beloved Jerusalem. That is why the enemy of our souls fights so hard to destroy the people and nation of Israel. He wants to prevent the return of the Lord which spells his end. Our part is to love and support the people and purposes of God in this hour.
Part of what has been lost and is now being restored is the knowledge of our Biblical heritage in relation to how we are to properly relate to the Lord’s Word, His Jewish people and His Land. The Lord Himself is intimately connected with all three and you cannot separate or discard or devalue one in relation to the other in His grand redemptive plan. To begin with, our Scriptures were written through the Jewish people first of all by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Tim. 3:16 and 2 Peter 1:20) and entrusted to them who first received it, as guardians of it. The discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls years ago confirm how accurately the Word has been kept and passed down and revered by the Jewish people. God’s Word revealed to them was meant to be shared with the rest of the world. And God’s Word will not pass away. He watches over His Word to perform it concerning all He has promised to all of His people. His redemptive plan unfolds in progressive revelation from Genesis to Revelation. His instructions about kingdom culture and how we are to relate to each other are still valid for His covenant people today.
Secondly, As Derek Prince liked to point out, we owe a great debt to the Jewish people. Jesus said in John 4:22 that "salvation is of the Jews" and from them we have received our patriarchs, prophets, apostles, Scriptures and our Messiah. God called them to be an instrument of divine revelation, a witness about God to the world, and the source of lineage of the Messiah. God continues to demonstrate His existence and power through His dealings with the Jewish people even today. God called the Jewish people as a nation beginning with His choice of Abraham.
God is so entwined with the Jewish people by covenant that He told Moses at the burning bush in Exodus 3:15 to tell the children of Israel "the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob has sent me to you. This is My name forever and this is My memorial name to all generations." God’s name is forever identified with His people.
Jesus Himself has kept the same identity when in Revelation 5:5 His title is the "Lion of the tribe of Judah." Paul in Romans 5:5 reminds us about the Israelites "to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises: of whom are the fathers and from whom according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen." God has always had a faithful believing remnant with whom we identify. Paul reminds us that we also as believers are intimately linked with Abraham. Like us, Abraham was justified by faith for he "believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness" and "if we are Christ’s then we are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise." (Gal. 3:6 & 29) Paul further reminds us of our being grafted into this commonwealth of believing Israel in Romans 9-11 and calls it the “one new man” in Ephesians 2:13-15. God has not cast off His people nor replaced them with a Gentile "church" in His purposes.
How important is God’s relationship with Abraham and his physical descendants? Genesis 12:3 outlines the beginning covenantal promises to Abraham and says: "I will bless those who bless you and curse him who curses you." Jesus underlined this theme again in Matthew 25:40 when He talks about those who did or did not feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked etc, and He says "as much as you have done it (or did not do it) to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me." The word "brethren" there refers to His physical brethren according to the flesh the Jewish people. Those acts have eternal rewards or consequences as He points out. Remember what we just said, God has bound Himself eternally in identification with His chosen people. All you have to do is study the Word of God and the history books to see how faithful God has been to this one promise.
Those nations over the years who have come against Israel have declined to do as the Word says and have ended up in the dustbin of history. As believers, we are to align ourselves with God, to love what He loves and to hate what He hates. Your personal well being and life blessing are affected by how you align yourself with His covenant people. Unfortunately church history is full of accounts of horrible persecution of the Jewish people in the name of Jesus, including the Crusaders who made their way to Jerusalem and burned the Jews alive in their synagogues while they sang hymns to God. There is much to repent for.
The third component of this cord is the Land of Israel which is ground zero today for the conflict of the universe. It is vitally important to align yourself with God and His purposes concerning this issue for eternal destinies are at stake both individually and nationally as Scripture clearly points out. The critical question is, whose land is it? Who owns it? The answer may surprise you it does not belong to any people group. In Ezekiel 36:4-5 and Joel 3:1-2 the Lord clearly calls it "MY LAND." It is HIS real estate. He owns it and therefore like any legal owner has the authority and power to make decisions about that property and who will occupy the premises. Acts 17:26-27 and Deut. 32:7-8 state that God "determines the pre-appointed times and the boundaries of the dwellings" of all people. Of course, "all of the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof" but God has specifically chosen this piece of real estate as His headquarters from which He will rule and reign in the coming days. He has promised that He "will return to Zion and dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth, the Mountain of the LORD of hosts, the Holy Mountain" (Zech. 8:3). He is not returning to New York City or Paris, or Islamabad, etc. but to what He calls His Holy city, Jerusalem, of which much is written.
In the meantime He has given the land in stewardship as a covenantal promise to the Jewish people FOREVER. In Gen. 13:14-17, God tells Abraham to lift up his eyes "for all the land which you see I give to you AND YOUR DESCENDANTS FOREVER." Again in Gen 15:18 and Gen. 17:7-8 God repeats these facts as part of a covenant not only with Abraham but with his descendants "for an everlasting covenant" and as "an everlasting possession." Just in case we are a little slow to get the point, He spells it out again in Psalm 105: 7-12: "He is the LORD our God; His judgments are in all the earth. He remembers His covenant forever. The word which He commanded, for a thousand generations. The covenant which He made with Abraham, and His oath to Isaac and confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant, saying, ‘To you I will give the land of Canaan as the allotment of your inheritance.’" Look at the words used in this verse serious words oath, covenant, commandment, everlasting. God has bound Himself with an oath regarding this land.
As with any real estate situation, there are conditions of stewardship. The people of Israel did not obey the rules especially concerning the sabbatical rest for the land so they were exiled temporarily but God kept His promise to bring them back and Israel became a nation in 1948 after the horrible Holocaust. Since the day of its rebirth, Israel’s enemies seek to destroy the Jewish people and wipe them off the face of the earth. Read Psalm 83 - it is like reading the headlines of today’s paper and even names the enemies who say in verse 3-4 "For behold Your enemies make a tumult and those who hate You have lifted up their head. They have taken crafty counsel against Your people, and consulted together against Your sheltered ones. They have said, ‘Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more.’" Sound familiar? Do you notice that these enemies are against the Lord and therefore against His people? Satan’s strategies never change. He cannot defeat the Lord so he attacks what God loves and what represents God in the earth the covenant people of God. But the good news is that God has promised in Jer. 31:35-37 that the Jewish people will never "cease from being a nation before Me forever."
We have already argued that the proper stance regarding God’s people determines blessing or cursing in our lives according to the Word but what about nations? God gives us the answer in Joel 3:1-2: “For behold, in those days and at that time, when I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; and I will enter into judgment with them there on account of My people, My heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; they have also divided up My land."
And now we come to the issue that directly affects the United States of America and therefore our individual lives as citizens. Unfortunately, our President has determined that there will be a "two-state solution" in God’s Land. The Jewish inhabitants of Gaza have already been displaced and now the Gaza Strip is a terrorist territory where rockets are launched daily into the villages of Israel. Now on the table according to this so-called "road map to peace" is the expulsion of the Jews from what the media calls "the west bank" but in actuality is ancient Judea and Samaria where the patriarchs lived. There are negotiations on the table for the division of Jerusalem. The United States is the main player pushing and pushing for this division of the land. Why is this so serious? I think you see by now that God is very jealous about His people and His land. Any attempts to divide up what is not ours puts us as a nation in absolute contradiction to the revealed will of God and on a collision course with the God of the universe. Individuals live their lives and are judged at the time of their death regarding the eternal choices they have made. However, God deals with nations in real time on the earth and judgments happen in the course of history. We are in trouble as you may have noticed.
I am not saying that Israel is right in all that she does. Many of the people are secular and do not actively serve the Lord. But do not let that be a stumbling block to you. The scripture clearly says that God’s order is to restore the people physically to the Land and to restore them spiritually to Himself. He will fully accomplish this in His time and in His way. His covenant is unconditional and His demonstration of who He is in the earth is separate from the faithfulness or unfaithfulness of the Jewish people. There are many scriptures where the Lord says that He acts through this people on His own behalf for His name’s sake and to demonstrate to the nations that He alone is God. God has promised in Jer. 31:35-37 that the Jewish people will never "cease from being a nation before Me forever."
What I am saying is that in these days we are not to be politically correct, nor swayed by the media propaganda that spews lies about the Land, but we must be biblically correct in our understanding and support for what is valuable to the Lord.
There is so much more I could and want to say but now you have a lot to digest and hopefully you will be motivated to learn more. And now also that you have heard, you must personally see if these things be so, strive to understand, and then make choices about what you believe and about what you align yourself with and what you will do. I pray that you will always choose life and choose God’s ways and that you will educate yourself about these things and pray for the peace of Jerusalem. May the Lord bless you and keep you. May Psalm 27 and Psalm 91 help to anchor you in the coming storms gathering on the horizon. God is with you and will not leave you, nor forsake you, nor fail you but choose wisely!
Reprints of this article is permitted but must include: Reprinted by permission of Messianic Vision, www.sidroth.org, 2008
Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible Copyright ©1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, Calif. All rights reserved. Used by permission.