Over the years as I’ve studied the Bible, I along with others in Bible Study group have queried the idea, “Why didn’t the Israelites of the Old Testament get it? And if they had where would be be today?” Recently I had an epiphany. However along with the realization came more questions and more epiphanies.
One of the questions that arose: Just who were and are the Israelites? It’s pretty clear cut in the Bible, although when they became the Jewish people it starts to get a little fuzzy. As we look at contemporary times the question becomes are they the people living in Israel; are they just Jews or do Christians qualify too?
One of my epiphanies based on my studies and queries: Israel is more than a place on some human map. Each and every one of us is Israel, an Israelite; one of God’s chosen people. Not that the place on the map isn’t important, but what we each hold in our hearts is what’s most important. That outranks a strip of land in God’s eyes any day.
That brings us back to my original question: Why didn’t they get it and what if they had? Just like us, the Israelites of old were humans with free will. What we see in retrospect is a reflection of ourselves. Because even with modern technology and knowledge, even with Christ dying for our sins we still don’t get it. We still reject God, try to do things on our own, think we can do it all and don’t need God.
Funny thing, while we are considering ourselves so much better than the Israelites, we don’t see, don’t realize that while we push God away, try to do it all on our own, God doesn’t leave. He refuses to be pushed away. Instead He patiently waits, giving little nudges along with second, third and even hundredth and beyond chances. He waits for us to have that epiphany, to open our eyes and hearts and let Him in. When we admit, we are weak and He is strong. When we feel alone, we are not, for He is closer than any one. When we feel unloved, we are loved by Him more than we can ever imagine.
We may not be different from the Israelites, but we don’t have to remain distant from God. We have a choice. We can choose to continue on our path holding God at arm’s length and trying to do it on our own. Or we can choose to let God in, let Him do His will in our lives. I think I like the second choice.
Even though Epiphany is past we should still embrace the revelation of Christ to the world. Thanks to ChurchYear.net here is a prayer that I want to share and plan to pray as I continue my journey with Christ throughout the year:
O God, Who by the guidance of a star didst this day reveal Thine only begotten Son to the Gentiles, mercifully grant that we, who know thee now by faith, may be so led as to behold with our eyes the beauty of Thy majesty. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.