My Servant, My People

After more than 2,500 years of exile dispersed among the nations, the gathering of the descendants of Israel is a miracle. Their return to the Promised Land, the land of their everlasting inheritance, is confirmation of such. Thus, with the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 as an independent nation, we have witnessed the fulfilment of God's Word. Clearly, the promise, revealed by the ancient Jewish prophets, is a blessing for our generation to experience, to participate in, and to praise the LORD, Who has accomplished these great things.

The promise portrayed through the joining of two sticks, was the sign given to Ezekiel the prophet which he revealed to the exiles in Babylon centuries earlier. "And when the children of your people speak to you, saying, 'Will you not show us what you mean by these?'– say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Surely I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his companions; and I will join them with it, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they will be one in My hand."

'And the sticks on which you write will be in your hand before their eyes. Then say to them, "Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again."'" (Ezekiel 37:18-22)

Note, that "they will be one in My hand" . The hand of God indicates the 'behind the scenes' fulfilment. This is intentional. God rewards those who believe in Him. The events may be seen by all, but not everyone will interpret them as being performed by Him. Though they see the same events, they do not see God's hand. Therefore, only those who have faith (who believe in God and His Word) will see His hand, and be inclined to ascribe greatness to Him for these marvellous events.

As great and wondrous as the gathering, the return, and becoming an independent nation are, the ancient prophecy is not restricted to these only. There are other features and characteristics, equally significant, which as yet have not come to pass. Notably, the people of Israel will become one; and they will be one on the mountains of Israel; and there shall be one king over them.

Rather than being fulfilled with one event, the prophecy appears to be a work-in-progress. God is fulfilling His promises at the appropriate time, according to His agenda.

Moreover, the promise of Israel becoming one nation holds much more than what the State of Israel currently demonstrates. Undoubtedly, the State of Israel is an independent single nation, and it is home for all returning exiles, yet the Jewish people are divided on many issues; they are not yet unified as "one nation" , according to the promise.

Understandably, coming from different nations, backgrounds, and cultures, there are numerous issues to navigate and obstacles to overcome, in simply living together. But to become 'one nation' is another matter entirely. The prophet Ezekiel indicates that some cleansing is required because the Jewish people have picked up some excess baggage while living among the nations, which, if not dealt with, will work to their detriment.

"They shall not defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. Then they shall be My people, and I will be their God." (Ezekiel 37:23)

The Land is essential for binding the nation, and in making them one. Finally after so many centuries of wandering, the Jewish people have somewhere they can call home. Yet, it is more than a home; this is the Land that was given to the Patriarchs of the Faith; it is the Promised Land, where even the air is different. Living among the Gentiles has taught the Jewish people to adapt, in order to survive.

The Rabbis comment that the history of the Jewish people can be seen foreshadowed in the lives of the Patriarchs. Consider then how Abraham and Sarah, when driven from the land by a severe famine were required to adapt while living in Egypt. "And it came to pass, when he was close to entering Egypt, that he said to Sarai his wife, 'Indeed I know that you are a woman of beautiful countenance. Therefore it will happen when the Egyptians see you, that they will say, "This is his wife"; and they will kill me, but they will let you live. Please say you are my sister, that it may be well with me for your sake, and that I may live because of you.'" (Genesis 12:11-13)

Normally, this would not have been an issue, but Egyptian custom and law placed the life of Abraham in danger–living among the Egyptians required adaptation. So too, the Jewish people have had to adapt while living among the Gentiles, in order to survive.

Consequently, rather than seeking the things of God for which they were created and destined, they have been preoccupied with blending in so as not to offend. But now, in the Land the Jewish people are rebuilding the ruined cities and resettling the waste places. They are possessing their possessions, and becoming re-acquainted with "the land that I will show you" (Genesis 12:1).

It is as if the bonds of wickedness have been loosed, the heavy burdens lifted, the yoke broken, and the captive set free to seek God in the Land where the Patriarchs sojourned with God.

Let us note clearly that it is not the Americas, nor Australia, nor Europe, nor Asia, nor any of the islands. Only in the Land will the Jewish people experience these miracles. Only in the Promised Land will Israel take root and bear fruit. Only there will they become "My people" – "one nation" .

The Land of Israel makes possible what was not achievable while living among the Gentiles. The Land allows them the opportunity to pursue His righteousness, publicly, openly, without the fear of harassment or ridicule, which they regularly experience while among the nations. The Land is the ideal cultivating place for them to know God, to seek first His kingdom, and to walk in His ways.

The prophet Isaiah writes: "For as the earth brings forth its bud, as the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations." (Isaiah 61:11)

The gathering, the returning, and the living together are like things sown in the Land which will bring forth the bud, namely, the Jewish people as one nation. This nation whom God has destined to be "My people" .

Another vital feature of the promise, which is also connected to Israel becoming one nation, is the nation's leader. "David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgements and observe My statutes, and do them." (Ezekiel 37:24)

This aspect of the prophecy extends beyond the present time, and refers to the future Coming Kingdom. At that time, in the World to Come, the great King David will be Israel's king. Note, the king and the people will have "one shepherd" over them. Who is this Shepherd? None other than the Messiah. As it is written,

"When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy messengers with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides His sheep from the goats.

"And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.

"Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world. . . '" (Matthew 25:31-34)

Of particular interest and importance, with Ezekiel's prophecy, is the fact that David is referred to as "My servant" . The future king of Israel will not be an intelligent Western diplomat or politician; neither will he be an egotistical Eastern guru or meditating mediator, but rather he will be God's servant. In the history of mankind, there have been two great kings, and David was one of them. In contrast to this lofty position, role and authority, David performs his best when he is serving God. David is King when he humbles himself to be "My servant" , and the people of Israel are 'one nation' when they are "My people" .

Note too that "they shall also walk in My judgements and observe My statutes, and do them." The future Kingdom will be a time when the righteous flourish and prosper. The Law of God will be taught, kept and obeyed. From God's perspective, "Only those who walk in My judgements and observe My statutes can be My people and My servant."

"Jacob My servant" is another important feature in the promise, "Then they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant. . . " (Ezekiel 37:25)

Note, My people, and the one king over them, My servant David, shall both keep My law in the Land that I gave Jacob My servant.

God's people (My people) reach their ideal best under God's ruler (My servant), living by His rules (My law) in the Land He has promised to His servants.

Undoubtedly, this is the promised rest for Israel, "where your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell there, they, their children, and their children's children, forever; and my servant David shall be their prince forever." In the World to Come, Israel will be in the place (the Land of Israel) from which the greatest and richest blessings will flow to all nations. At that time, the nations will come to Jerusalem to learn of God's ways, and the law of God will go forth from Jerusalem. At that time, righteousness and peace will flourish throughout the earth. (Micah 4:2)

But that is not all. "Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forever more." (Ezekiel 37:26)

An everlasting covenant of peace with Israel will confirm to all nations that the people of Israel are God's Appointed Nation. They were not destined to roam and wander in exile, but rather to be custodians and witnesses of truth and justice, mercy and peace. It will be a time of unprecedented peace and prosperity because the knowledge of His glory will cover the Earth as the waters cover the seas. The people of Israel will have peace in every place, and with all nations. . . achieving what they were destined to be. . . "a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." (Exodus 19:5-6)

Note, ". . . I will set My sanctuary in their midst forever more." The holy things will be fully restored and functioning. Everything that beautifies Him and elevates His holiness will spring forth and spread throughout the Earth. The Kingdom is the LORD's. All Creation has been made to magnify His holiness. There will be no other sanctuary to any other god, idol, or the works of man's hands; every sanctuary will be for the glory of His Holy Name.

"My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people. The nations also will know that I, the LORD, sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forever more." (Ezekiel 37:27-28)

We have witnessed the miracles of the gathering, the returning, and the establishment of the State of Israel. These are only the beginnings of the fulfilment of God's promises, because God remains faithful, and His Word true. May we praise God for the great things He is doing. May we see with the eyes of faith, and may His Kingdom speedily come. Even so, come King Messiah!