"Blessed are you, Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD? He is your shield and helper and your glorious sword. Your enemies will cower before you, and you will tread on their heights" (Deut. 33:29, NIV).
When former Israeli National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen was named head of the Mossad, Israel's intelligence agency, he noted that Israel was only established because of the help of God and that God's help is just as needed today. And Cohen was right! It has often been said that Israel's secret weapon is faith. More accurately, Israel's greatest weapon is God, yet it is our faith in Him that activates His intervention.
In Deuteronomy, after Moses had concluded blessing each of the 12 tribes of Israel, just prior to his death, Moses gave a general blessing to the entire nation. He said: "Blessed are you, Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD? He is your shield and helper and your glorious sword. Your enemies will cower before you, and you will tread on their heights" (Deut. 33:29).
The Jewish sages explain that it is precisely because Israel looks to God as our "shield and helper" that God becomes our "glorious sword," allowing us to overcome our enemies. Indeed, our faith is what has helped Israel overcome overwhelming odds and is the reason why we are still here.
In the 1800s, the kaiser of Prussia asked his head adviser if he could prove the existence of God. Otto Von Bismarck replied, "The Jews, sir, the Jews." There is no natural explanation for how a tiny group of people, twice exiled from their land, and persecuted repeatedly for millennia, could still be around today.
Moreover, the fact that the Jewish people have returned to their homeland, a feat never accomplished by any other nation, is nothing less than miraculous. As Moses said, "Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord?" The only explanation for the miracle of the existence of the Jewish people and the State of Israel, is the existence of God.
However, what I love most about this verse is that it instills hope and inspires faith for the future. Just as God has helped Israel beat the odds for the past 70 years, we can be sure that He will continue to do so for the next 70 years—and longer! Even as Israel faces unprecedented challenges today, we can trust in God for unparalleled salvation.
We are watching history unfold before our very eyes. We are watching ancient prophecies come to fruition. And like Israel, when we activate our faith, we can activate God's intervention during these tumultuous times. The God of Israel is great. The God of Israel lives. And the God of Israel will protect and guide all who call to Him.
As the Scriptures say: "The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth" (Ps. 145:18). Let us say Amen!
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein is the founder and president The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship). The organization has offices in Jerusalem, Chicago, Toronto and Seoul.
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