The call that rested upon Israel’s shoulders was as great as her inadequacy to carry it out. In fact, the whole of the Old Testament describes the tension between the divine call and the insufficiency of the earthen vessel to fulfill it.
As the newly forged nation was en route from Egypt to the Promised Land, her very soul needed to undergo a transformation. The people of Israel, at that point, were still a nation of former-slaves, the memory of Pharaoh’s whip cracking over their backs was fresh, and oppression still overshadowed their spirits.
Consequently, as the Hebrews ventured deeper into the wilderness, a major identity crisis took place. They had no clear concept of who they were; who God was; or the purpose of their wilderness trials.
And while they witnessed the miraculous acts of God on their behalf again and again, “the people thirsted there for water; and they grumbled against Moses and said, `Why, now, have you brought us up from Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?'” (Ex 17:3). In their frustration the Hebrews, in effect, questioned God’s intentions and trustworthiness.
Yet, despite their confusion and lack of faith, God found their angry cry significant enough to answer, as He commanded Moses, saying: “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob and tell the sons of Israel: `You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself. Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation'” (Ex 19:3-6).
They asked, “What do you want from us, and why are we going through this?” God answered, “You shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” In that short and direct answer, God redefined and confirmed the ancient call of Father Abraham.
From the Lord’s point of view, the world with all its depravity and darkness was in need of a priest. Even as God appoints a minister over the congregation of His people to carry out the priestly duties of instruction and intercession, so He appointed a “priestly nation” to minister to the congregation of the nations.
And what was that ministry to look like? Israel’s ministry was to bring the nations to God in INTERCESSION and to bring God to the nations in DEMONSTRATION!
Pure and simple – this was God’s call for Israel: To be a priestly nation, blessed and prosperous, serving Him and the nations in holiness and righteousness.
Many years later, while chastising the backslidden (northern) kingdom of Israel, the Lord said, “I also will reject you from being My priest” (Hosea 4:6). Apparently, God was very serious about the priestly duty Israel was to fulfill on behalf of the nations, and chose to remove this mantle from them during that season.
Understanding this, we can better appreciate some of the Lord’s actions on earth while clothed in human flesh. Remember when the Lord Jesus called the seventy, equipped and anointed them to go out in His name?
This act corresponded directly to the Sanhedrin, a body of seventy elders stationed in ancient Jerusalem. These seventy, whose origin is found in Numbers 11:16-17, were to represent the mind and the heart of God as He led His people Israel in their national call.
By the time Jesus stepped onto the scene, this institution was clogged up with humanistic traditions, crippled by its lack of prophetic discernment, and manipulated by religious orthodoxy.
Jesus, therefore, appointed HIS OWN seventy, anointed them with His Spirit, and sent them out with fresh authority to carry out the will of The Father, thus fulfilling Israel’s original call. And the fact is that Israel could never carry out her priestly mission apart from the presence of Jesus and the Spirit of the Living God.
For surely, God’s promise to Father Abraham to become a blessing to ALL nations through his seed never reached its fulfillment until Jesus the Messiah began to establish His Kingdom rule among us.
Israel has no other identity but to be a “servant nation,” a priest to the rest of the world. And though often unaware of the call, the people of Israel are serving God’s purpose even now, before the promised spiritual awakening, as they offer service to the rest of the world using their God given gifts and talents in multiple fields.
Consider these facts:
• Between 1901 and 2013, the Nobel Prize has been awarded to 855 laureates, with at least 193 of them (22%) Jewish. (Remember that the Jewish population of the worlds stands at roughly 0.02%)
• The modern State of Israel is home for a tremendous amount of innovation and breakthrough technologies which serve people groups all over the world in:
- computer and chip technology
- invented the USB flash drive
- medicines and disease cures
- medical devices
- water conservation
- solar energy
- surgical robots
- space cameras
- PillCam – the first pill that can be swallowed to record images inside the digestive tract
- GPS technology
- producing drinking water out of thin air
- cell phone innovation
- and a whole lot more…
And, if these are gifts the Jewish nation offers the world while yet blinded to the light of the gospel of Messiah, could we even imagine what benefits and blessings she will gift the world with AFTER her spiritual awaking?
Could that have been what the Apostle Paul referred to when he wrote concerning the Jewish people, saying, “For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?” (Romans 11:15).