Read Ezekiel 35
Focus on verse 10
I find it interesting that when one survey’s media headlines of the last century or so one of the most common nations to be mentioned is Israel. It seems like there is rarely a time when that little patch of dirt on the east end of the Mediterranean is not the focal point of some sort of conflict. So why is this piece of ground so important? Apparently it is not oil since the richest oil fields are not found there. It is not agricultural land; Ukraine has the best of that. It does not appear to be rich in gold or silver, or lumber, or any other natural resource. The Jews claim that God promised it to them, and nearly all the nations surrounding are at best tolerating the presence of the Jewish state, or at worst actively terrorizing the Jewish people at every opportunity.
Iran has openly stated that their objective is the destruction of Israel. Groups like Hamas, and Al Qaeda consistently target Israel and any nations aligned with her with their terror attacks. More recently ISIS has claimed the international spotlight with extreme acts of violence particularly against non-Muslims.
Today’s reading reminds us that the conflict that continues to carry on in this region of the world goes back much further than the last century. Israel is there because God promised that patch of land to Abraham and his descendants. If we go back to the life of Abraham, we discover that Abraham had two sons by two different women. His oldest son was named Ismael whose mother was Hagar – the Egyptian servant of Abraham’s wife Sarah. Ishmael essentially came about as a result of Abraham and Sarah’s impatience and perhaps lack of faith regarding God’s ability to keep His promise to provide Abraham with a son through Sarah. When Sarah eventually did conceive at the age of ninety something – the conflict began almost immediately. Who would be the heir that would inherit the blessing and promise of Abraham? Would it be Ismael? Or Isaac? When Hagar and Ishmael were sent packing by Sarah God told Abraham that Ismael also would become a great nation, and that he would be in perpetual conflict with the descendants of Isaac.
Ishmael is the patriarch of those who follow Islam, while Isaac is the patriarch of those who follow Judaism. That is ultimately the reason why that little patch of dirt on the east end of the Mediterranean Sea continues to be in conflict. I suspect it will continue to be that way until Jesus returns to settle the matter. When He does, He apparently will return to Jerusalem from where He will settle the score once and for all. At that point all that will matter is that one finds oneself on Jesus side of the conflict, because, if I correctly understand the end of the story…He wins.