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Our final proclamation this evening in the last of this series of messages is the last two verses of the epistle of Jude, which we think are glorious.
“Now unto Him who is able to keep us from falling and to present us faultless before the presence of His glory, with exceeding joy to the only wise God, our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever, amen.”
Can you say amen?
Now this being the final message in this series I felt it would be appropriate to take as my theme how to pray for Israel. I’m trusting that you and others who eventually receive this message will be prompted by the Holy Spirit to pray for Israel. I’m going to give you eleven suggestions to make prayer for Israel effective in your life and ministry. I’m not suggesting that you could go through all of these in one prayer session, they’re different aspects of approaching prayer for Israel. They are all based on personal experience and observation.
Suggestion number one, stay within the parameter of God’s Word. That’s one reason why I took so much time to go through what I believe is revealed in scripture concerning God’s purposes for Israel. Because, to pray outside the purposes of God or contrary to the purposes of God is to waste your time. I gave some examples of that, I won’t go back. But let me give you just one pattern prayer in Matthew 24:20. Jesus, speaking about a crisis that has not yet developed but will developed in Israel, He says to those who are followers of His:
“Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath...”
Now that sets very clear parameters to how they are to pray. He doesn’t say pray that you won’t have to flee because you will have to flee. That is fixed in the purposes of God. The only limitations you have that you can pray, that you may not have to flee in the winter because it would be a great hardship, especially for pregnant women; and pray that you may not have to flee on the Sabbath because in the present state of Israel, fleeing on the Sabbath would be very difficult and would make you very conspicuous.
So I’m suggesting that’s a pattern of how to pray within the parameters of the Word of God. Don’t ask God to do something He said He will not do because you won’t change God. You need to have an understanding of God’s prophetic purposes for Israel in order to pray effectively for them. There is a good deal of praying for the Jews which is sentimental. It’s soulish. And, I don’t think it accomplishes much.
I have learned by painful experience that the Holy Spirit is ruthless. He will bring us into line with God’s purposes whether they suit us or not, whether we think they’re right or not, they are right. One of the features of American culture today is the slogan “The customer is always right.” And a lot of people approach God as customers. They have their wants and their requests, they want a certain style, a certain color, a certain price. But, it’s not true that the customer is always right. That’s a psychological gimmick of people who want to sell things. The truth of the matter is only one person is always right and that’s God. If you want to pray intelligently and effectively, you’ve got to start from the fact that God is right and what He says is what’s going to happen. But, He gives us the privilege of praying into being His Word. That is the most powerful prayer that you can ever pray, is in line with the Word of God.
In 1 Chronicles 17, David had a plan to build a temple for the Lord. The prophet Nathan told him to go ahead, it’s a wonderful idea. But God dealt with Nathan in the night and said, “That’s not my idea. David is not the one to build the temple for me. So go and tell David, You wanted to build a house for me but the Lord says, I’m going to build a house for you.” That’s God’s level, it was as high above David’s level as heaven is above earth. David said, “I’ll build a house for the Lord.” The Lord said, “No, David, I’ll build a house for you.” So David came before the Lord the next day and in his prayer he said these words, “Do as you have said.” You cannot pray a more powerful prayer than that. Praying God’s Word into being makes you, in a sense, irresistible.
In the New Testament the virgin Mary received the astonishing news that she was to be the mother of the Messiah and when the angel gave her that message she didn’t understand it, she didn’t know how it could happen but she said, “Be it unto me according to thy Word.”
I believe the greatest miracle ever experienced by a human being, other than Jesus, was the birth of the Messiah through a virgin. It came to pass when she said, “Be it unto me according to thy Word.” You cannot pray anything higher than the revealed Word of God. One of the great functions of intercessors is to pray into being what God has already said will happen. That’s why God has set intercessors on the walls of Jerusalem. I said it in one of my meetings, the Hebrew word for an intercessor in Isaiah 62 is Maskir, which means someone who reminds someone else. So, according to the Hebrew understanding, the function of a secretary is to remind her boss of what’s on his calendar. And as an intercessor, a maskir, masculine; maskira, feminine, your job is to remind God of what’s on His prophetic calendar and say to Him, “Do as you have said.” There’s more to intercession than that but that is the base of intercession. Therefore, an intercessor has to be familiar with the Word of God, has to be clear about God’s purposes and their outworking.
So that’s the first principle I want to lay down. When you pray for Israel stay within the parameters of the Word of God.
Second is based on Psalm 100:4 which says:
“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise...”
This is a great fundamental principle which unfortunately many Christians are not familiar with. The only way of direct access into God is through the gates of thanksgiving and the courts of praise. If you do not come with thanksgiving and praise you can lift up your voice like the ten lepers who cried to Jesus from a distance and, He will hear you. But you don’t have direct access to God. There is no way into His presence except through the gates of thanksgiving and the courts of praise.
This applies to praying for Israel. The most effective way to pray for Israel is to begin by thanksgiving. God has given us a pattern in the prophet Jeremiah 31:7. God says this:
“Sing with gladness for Jacob and shout among the chief of the nations...”
How many times have you read the word shout in the psalms? Have you ever shouted? (Someone shouts Hallelujah!) That’s right. That wasn’t much of a shout but at least it was a good try! I’ll show you how it should be done. Hallelujah! Will you join me and shout Hallelujah? (Everyone shouts.) That’s more like it! I tell people I’m not a singer, I can’t keep a tune, but I can shout.
Here we are, going back to Jeremiah 31:7:
“Sing with gladness for Jacob and shout among the chief of the nations...”
Would you count the United States among the chief of the nations? All right, then you have an obligation to shout. You’ve got to choose the right time and place but don’t mutter, be clear, be bold, be articulate if you can.
“Sing with gladness for Jacob and shout among the chief of the nations, proclaim...”
You know this little book of ours, Prayers and Proclamations, that’s a way you can proclaim. Sometime in this message Ruth and I will give you some pattern proclamations for Israel. Proclaiming is releasing the Word of God into a situation. I’ve told people, and it’s in this little book, when Moses stood before the Lord and the Lord said, “I want you to go back and redeem my people from Egypt,” Moses said, “I’ve got nothing to go with. What can I take?” The Lord said to Moses, “What have you got in your hand?” Moses said, and this is a little paraphrase, “Just a staff like every shepherd carries.” He didn’t think there was much to his staff. The Lord taught him a lesson. He said, “Throw it down on the ground,” and it turned into a snake. Moses ran from his own staff, he had no concept of the power that he held in his hand.
Well, then the Lord said, “Pick it up by the tail.” I’m sure in Arizona you have some experience of snakes. Everybody knows you don’t pick a snake up by the tail. But Moses did it, I’m sure, with trembling and it became staff in his hand again. The Lord said to Moses, “Take your staff and go.” This is a little paraphrase, “That’s all you’ll need.” If you follow the story of the exodus, Moses never needed any other instrument or weapon but his staff. Every miracle was released through the staff of Moses including the opening of the Red Sea and the closing of it on the Egyptians.
I want to suggest to you, you may be like Moses, you have a staff in your hand and you don’t know how powerful it is. The staff in your hand is your Bible. You release its power by proclamation. Boldly and in faith you proclaim the Word of God into any given situation and you release God’s supernatural power into that situation. And so, the Lord says in this verse proclaim. Release my promises into the destiny of Israel.
And then He says:
So, there’s a time for giving praise. I believe probably at the end of this message we will take some time to praise the Lord. I hope so.
“...and say, O Lord, save your people, the remnant of Israel.”
Notice there are five things the Lord said to do: sing, shout, proclaim, praise and pray, because to say, “O Lord, save your people” is prayer. So those are five responses we can make to the promises of God. Sing, shout, proclaim, praise and pray. But notice pray comes at the end. What makes prayer effective is going through the previous stages. So, enter into God’s gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise. And specifically give Him thanks and praise for what He is doing and for what He’s going to do for Israel.
The third suggestion I have applies both to Jews and to Gentiles. It is confess your sins against one another to the Lord. You see, the true intercessor is one who has come to confess sin before the Lord. The perfect pattern of this is Daniel. Daniel was one of the most righteous men recorded in the Old Testament. In fact, there are two major characters in the Old Testament of whom no sin is recorded. One is Joseph, the other is Daniel. But when Daniel saw that the time had come to pray for the restoration of his people to Jerusalem, he came before the Lord in prayer. Though he was an outstandingly righteous man, he identified himself with the sins of his people. You see, if you’re going to be an intercessor you cannot stand there and say, “They have done wrong.” That doesn’t get you anywhere with God. You have to say, “We have done wrong.” You have to identify yourself with the sins of your family, your inheritance, your culture, your nation, whatever it is you’re praying for. Let me say to you dear Americans, there are plenty of sins in the history of America with which to identify. When you’ve dealt with the sins against the blacks, then move on to the sins against the Indians which have hardly been touched on by most Christians.
Let’s look at the pattern of Daniel in regard to Israel. He says in Daniel 9:5:
“We have sinned...”
Not they have sinned but we have sinned.
“...and committed iniquity. We have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from your precepts and your judgments.”
Is that true of Israel? It certainly is.
“Neither have we heeded your servants the prophets who spoke in your name to our kings and our princes, to our fathers and all the people of the land. O Lord, righteousness belongs to you, but to us shame of face as it is this day. To the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, those near and those far off, in all the countries to which you have driven them, because of the unfaithfulness which they have committed against you. O Lord, to us belong shame of face, to our kings, our princes and our fathers, because we have sinned against you. To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against you. We have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in His laws which He set before us by His servants the prophets. Yes, all Israel has transgressed your law and has departed so as not to obey your voice. Therefore the curse and the oath written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out upon us because we have sinned against Him.”
We could continue but you see the pattern? Don’t be self-righteous, don’t stand at a distance like the Pharisee in the temple who said, “I am not as this Publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all I possess.” The Publican, the tax collector, said, “Lord, be merciful to me a sinner.” Jesus said the Publican went to his house justified, the Pharisee didn’t. Pharisaical prayers are abominations to the Lord.
Let me just relate something that happened this past June. I was a speaker in a conference in Jerusalem of the ICCC. Do you know what the ICCC is? It’s hard to get all the C’s right. It’s the International Christian Chamber of Commerce. It’s a group of international businessmen who have decided to commit their businesses and their expertise to promoting the Kingdom of God. They’re not living for profit, they’re living for God. It’s international. It’s headed by a Swede, there are Germans, there are British, there are French. A branch has just recently opened here in the United States. They decided this past June to hold their international conference in Jerusalem. One of the things they did was to contact a number of Jewish businessmen in Israel and say, “Listen, is there any way we can get together and by working together promote the products of Israel overseas?” Believe me, that excited the Jewish people. They don’t have many people that approach them like that. Anyhow, it so happened I was the speaker on the final evening and my theme was “The life of Jacob as a pattern for what’s going to happen to Israel.” I explained how when God told Jacob after about 14 or 15 years time had come to go back to his land and his inheritance, he set out with his wives and his eleven children and all his possessions. He got as far as the stream that is the border of Israel on the east and he received news that his brother Esau was coming to meet him with 400 armed men. The last time they’d been together, Esau had been trying to murder Jacob. He became a little anxious. That night a mysterious stranger met him, a man wrestled with him all night. But the next day he said, “I have seen God face to face.” And at the end of his life when he was blessing the two sons of Joseph he said, “God, the angel who redeemed me from all evil.” So that one person was a man, God; and an angel, a messenger from God to man.
This is very vivid to me because I encountered the same person the night I got saved. And so this has always been clear to me. There’s only one person in the universe that answers to that description, a man and God, and a messenger from God to man, the one who was manifested in human history as Jesus of Nazareth. My theme was the Jewish people will never gain real possession of their land and be secure there until they’ve met that person. He’s there waiting to meet them.
Well, Jacob resolved his problem with the angel but he had to meet one other person, his brother Esau. I personally believe if Jacob hadn’t met the angel he would never have acted the way he did. But when he saw his brother Esau coming, he bowed to the ground seven times before him. He humbled himself before his brother.
I suggested to those people Jacob could be viewed as a pattern of the Jews, Esau as a pattern of the Gentiles. I said at some time there has to be a reconciliation and a self humbling by both Jews and Gentiles.
And, at the end I did something unrehearsed. I said, Perhaps the Lord wants to see a little of that here tonight. If there are two Jewish believers and two Gentile Christians who would like to confess their sins one to another...” Well, before I finished speaking two young Jewish believers, both of whom were friends of mine, stood up and began to come. And then the two men who were directing the conference, Gentiles, came up. I stood back and they stood facing one another just in front of the podium. This must have lasted half an hour. They really confessed their sins against the others to the others. The Britisher confessed of how Britain had mishandled the mandate for Israel, had been unfaithful to their commitment. What was interesting, because I had happened to say by way of passing that contempt is one of the greatest wounds you can give a person. The two young Jewish men both confessed the Jewish contempt for Gentiles. Then they did everything, they bowed down, knelt down before one another and actually kissed one another’s shoes. It was totally unplanned by me. Ruth is correcting me, they had taken their shoes off.
Well, it was something of a breakthrough in the congregation at that point. People started to weep, a lot of people took their shoes off, and something went through the congregation. I think this is a pattern. The Jews have got to confess their sins against the Gentiles. They’re not sins of persecution but they are sins of contempt. The Gentiles have plenty of sins to confess against the Jews. I doubt whether intercession will be fully effective until the problem of unconfessed sin has been dealt with. We have learned a principle which has been learned by many intercessors, that you need to confess the sins of the group you represent. You’ve got to stand in prophesy just as Daniel did because he was a righteous man but he didn’t say of his fellow Jews, “They have sinned,” he said, “We have sinned.” It seems to me it was Daniel’s prayer was what opened the way for the return of the Jews from Babylon to Israel.
So, confession is an essential part of effective intercession.
My next suggestion, number four, is identify with God’s ultimate purpose, which is what? Why has God tolerated the appalling wickedness of humanity for hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years? What is He waiting for? My answer is He’s waiting for a people for Himself. That’s what God is going to get out of history. Not an institution, not a lot of buildings, not a lot of government schemes, but a people for Himself.
Ruth and I have had impressed upon us Titus 2:11–14, which we will now say:
“The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts we should live soberly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”
That’s what God intends to get out of history, His own special people, zealous for good works. That’s why He waits with endless patience while wickedness runs its course, because God has a chosen remnant, both Jew and Gentile, and He’s not going to let history close till every one of them has come to Him through Jesus.
So when you pray for Israel, don’t start by praying for political issues. You can do that but that’s not primary. What’s primary is that Israel will become the special people that God is after. He’s going to go on until He gets it.
The next principle is connected with that, based on Zechariah 4:6. This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel.
“Not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.”
That’s the Lord of armies. So, if it was a question of might or power, God has it all. But might and power, military power will not do what needs to be done because what needs to be done is to change the heart of men and women. The only agent that can do that is the Holy Spirit.
So, you can get very upset about the political situation in Israel, and we often do. But, bear in mind that God is tolerating a lot of things He doesn’t approve of because He’s waiting for His own special people. The only power that will accomplish that is the mysterious, invisible power of the Holy Spirit.
In 2 Corinthians 3:3 Paul brings out this principle. In this chapter he’s kind of stating his qualifications to be a preacher and it impresses me that he didn’t say he studied under Gamalian. He doesn’t trot out his degrees but he says, “If you want to know my message, go to Corinth.” He said, “Because when I arrived there no one had ever heard the gospel and it was a wicked city full of every kind of immorality and wickedness.” But he said, “Go and look at the people that have heard my message and then you’ll know what I believe.” You see, that impresses me, pastors and others here, the real justification of your ministry is what you believe. Paul could have said all sorts of things about his rabbinical learning but that wasn’t what interested him. He said, “If you want to know whether my message works, go to Corinth and there you’ll find the demonstration of the results of my ministry.”
And then he said to the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 3:3:
“You are manifestly a letter of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh of the heart.”
That has become so vivid to me. The only agent that can write on human hearts is the Holy Spirit. And if the Holy Spirit isn’t in our preaching, we can lecture people, admonish people, challenge people, accuse people, but nothing will happen. It’s only in the measure that the Holy Spirit flows through us that people’s hearts can be changed. God is looking for a people whose hearts have been changed from hard stone to vibrant, responsive flesh. He’ll wait till He’s got it. It’ll often inconvenience us, we’ll have to deal with awkward people who get in our way and interfere with our pleasures, and make life difficult for us but God says, “Too bad. I’m waiting till I’ve got the people that I’m looking for.” That will only come by the Holy Spirit.
One of the greatest and most effective intercessory prayers is to pray for the release of the Holy Spirit upon Israel. It’s beginning to happen but it needs a great deal more.
Suggestion number six, pray according to Psalm 102:13 and 18. Let’s turn to that and read it. Psalm 102:13 and 18. This is a revelation that was given to the psalmist in a mood of deep despair. I mean, he had come to the end of everything. He felt God had lifted him up and then thrown him away. What can be worse than that? The opening verses of the psalm was all a dirge, a mournful dirge. But then, dear brothers and sisters, if you’re struggling with depression—of course, none of you are, except that it’s the most common, single psychological problem of Christians—if you should be struggling with depression, do what the psalmist did. Look away from your problem and look to the Lord. Because as long as you focus on your problems you’ll have to live with them. And so much counseling is just causing people to focus on their problems. There is no solution. But the psalmist said in verse 12:
“But you, O Lord, shall endure forever, and the remembrance of your name to all generations...”
And there was a total change of mood at that point. He had a revelation of the end time visitation of God upon the Jewish people and he said:
“You will arise and have mercy on Zion, for the time to favor her, yes, the set time has come. For your servants take pleasure in her stones and show favor to her dust.”
That’s one of the marks of God’s servants, they take pleasure in Jerusalem’s stones and show favor to Jerusalem’s dust. Do you have that mark?
Then it says:
“So the nations shall fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth your glory.”
God’s intervention on behalf of Israel is destined to demonstrate His glory to all nations.
“For the Lord shall build up Zion, He shall appear in His glory.”
The Old King James said it “when the Lord shall build up Zion, He shall appear in His glory.” One of the great indications that we’re approaching the end of the age and the Lord is getting ready to appear in His glory is that he is rebuilding Zion. So, every one of us who love the Lord should be happy for that.
The psalmist said the time to favor her, the set time has come. The Hebrew word for set time is Moed, which is the word used of all the sacred festivals of Israel—Passover, Pentecost, Yom Kippur, the new year, everything. So, God has a calendar and on His calendar there are certain Moedim entered before Him. You see, that’s your business as an intercessor, is to remind the Lord of what’s on His calendar. Then you become the Lord’s maskir, or more probably maskira.
One of the most effective forms of intercession is to say, “Lord, this is the set time to favor Zion. Please do what you’ve said.”
I’ve asked Ruth up because we have a rather complicated grace that we say at meals four times a day because we eat four times a day. Not because we’re greedy but because it’s easier to avoid putting on weight if you eat smaller meals more frequently. I make no charge for that but advice. So, we are going to say the grace we say before every meal. I can’t help smiling because there was a meeting in Britain two or three years ago and I was talking along this line and I said, “Come up, Ruth, and we’ll say our grace.” Well, Ruth got the giggles and I didn’t really know what she was giggling about. She said, “I was thinking about all those people, they’d been a long time without food and if we say grace it will just stimulate their appetite.” Anyhow, we said it amidst our giggles. The family grace started in 1938 with my first wife in Jerusalem and it was very simple, like everything my first wife did.
“Dear Heavenly Father, bless our food in Jesus’ name.”
But gradually accretions have taken place, namely through me. So we’ll give you the whole thing. It takes a little while, I warn people when we eat with us when we say amen that doesn’t mean the end.
“Dear Heavenly Father, bless our food in Jesus’ name and the hands that prepared it. Show mercy and favor to Israel in this set time. Send revival to the United States, Great Britain and the English speaking world. Amen. Quicken our mortal bodies by your Holy Spirit and help us to eat wisely.”
Then we make a proclamation. We’ll do 1 Thessalonians 5:23–24:
“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify us completely and may our whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls us who also will do it.”
So that’s a little pattern. The reason I did that was to show you it’s effective to pray that God will do what He said He will do at the set time. When you identify the set time, then you know how to pray.
Another very obvious prayer is Psalm 122:6. Many of you, I know, are familiar with that.
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. They shall prosper who love you.”
Some people consider it part of the prayer, I think it’s part of God’s reward. When you pray for the peace of Jerusalem and love Jerusalem, you will prosper. You know how it goes in Hebrew, it’s kind of a alliteration. (section where Derek says it in Hebrew)
Now I want to say again when you pray for the peace of Jerusalem you have to pray with an intelligent understanding of God’s prophetic purposes. It doesn’t just mean that peace will come down upon Jerusalem and everybody will stop fighting everybody else. Not at all. But it means go on praying until God’s purposes for the way the peace is to come to Jerusalem shall be worked out. The truth of the matter is Jerusalem will never know peace until the Prince of Peace comes. You say, “Well, why should I pray for Jerusalem. I live in Phoenix, I live in Dallas, I live in Miami, wherever it may be. Even in New York.” The answer, as I understand it, is God has so arranged things that no other city on earth will know permanent peace until Jerusalem knows peace. So when you pray for the peace of Jerusalem you are also praying toward peace for your particular city.
The next suggestion I have is bless and be blessed. I want to turn to Numbers 24:9. You see, when we pray our grace, which we’ve just been through, you realize every time we pray it we’re qualifying for the blessing of God. I mean, it’s foolish to turn that down. I don’t mean the blessing of God is easy because if you start praying for Israel you’ll get all sorts of opposition you never experienced before. That reluctant prophet, Balaam, who was hired to curse Israel did his best to curse but under the overruling of God ended up by blessing more and more and more. And every time he tried to curse worse, he blessed more. His final words in Numbers 24:9, speaking to Israel, he says:
“Blessed is he who blesses you and cursed is he who curses you.”
So you’ve got a choice. You can either get a blessing or a curse. If you bless Israel God will bless you, if you curse Israel God will curse you. I have a book called Blessing or Curse, You Can Choose. The theme of this book is, first of all, are you under the blessing of God or the curse of God. Because, a lot of people are under the curse of God and don’t know it, that’s why their lives are going wrong.
The next theme is how to get out from under the curse and get into the blessing. I deal with most of the common causes for curses. One of the commonest and the most destructive is anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism automatically brings the curse of God upon an individual, a community, a church, a nation or a civilization. I have here in Chapter 8 of this book the testimony of a Palestinian Arab who is a personal friend of ours. His name, which is given in the book, is Nabil Hadad. He was born in Haifa, immigrated to the United States, went into business, became very successful. In fact, at one time he owned nine McDonald’s. Then he went bankrupt. And in the course of all that met the Lord and was baptized in the Holy Spirit. Then God began to deal with him about his finances and he heard Derek Prince preaching on blessing or curse. Then he says at the bottom of page 85:
“For months the Lord continued to show me additional areas of curses in my life. Each time I repented and claimed my release on the basis of Jesus becoming a curse for me. One day as I was worshiping I said, ‘How great you are! You created the universe and everything in it.’ The Lord asked me if I really believed that. I said, ‘Yes, Lord.’ He said, ‘What about the Jewish people? Do you still hold resentment in your heart against them?’”
Now, 98% of Palestinian Arabs have resentment for the Jews, and they have some pretty strong historical reasons for it. So God said to him, “What about the Jewish people? Do you still hold resentment in your heart against them?”
“I remembered how my whole family had always cursed the Jews.”
And this is a pretty typical Palestinian Arab family. He was a good class and they were nominal Christians. But they always cursed the Jews.
“I was trained to hate them from my earliest years. Now in the presence of the Lord I said, ‘I renounce any resentment in my heart toward the Jewish people. I forgive them.’ Immediately something changed inside of me. Shortly after this I saw that God in His Word had told Abraham, the father of Jews, ‘I’ll bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you.’ Then I realized that my finances had not been under a blessing but under a curse, a curse of insufficiency. I had never been able to make enough money to meet my needs. Even if I made $250,000 I would need 300,000. Later when I made 500,000 I would need 700,000 to cover my expenses. Since 1982 when I was released from the curse of anti-Semitism and the curse of insufficiency that went with it, my income has always exceeded my expenses and my needs. And, I am able to give liberally to the work of the Kingdom of God. God has also healed my body and my emotions. I am totally free from depression. I can truly say I am walking in victory. My testimony has helped many others to be delivered from the curse and to live under God’s blessing.”
And we know for a fact that to be true. He has a particular ministry to Jewish people. He relates to them in a special way. And also to Moslems. And quite a significant number both of Jews and Moslems have met the Lord through Nabil Hadad. But first of all the Lord had to do something in his heart. So there’s a pretty up to date testimony. It doesn’t pay to curse the Jews. It doesn’t pay to have resentment in your heart against them. If you want to be blessed then you have to bless Israel.
Point number nine about prayer, don’t tell God what to do. Have any of you ever done that? All right, let’s turn to Isaiah 40 for a moment, just a short passage. Isaiah 40:13:
“Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord or as His counselor has taught Him? With whom did He take counsel and who instructed Him and taught Him in the path of justice? Who taught Him knowledge and showed Him the way of understanding? Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket, and are counted as the small dust on the balance. Look, He lifts up the isles [or the coastlands] as a very little thing, and Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor its beasts sufficient for a burnt offering. All nations before Him are as nothing and they are counted by Him less than nothing, and worthless.”
Notice the declining order. First of all, all nations are as the small dust in the balance. Then they are as nothing, then they are less than nothing. God says, “Do you think I need your advice? Do I need to be instructed by you?” Well, that’s a very common failing of Christians, they think that God needs their advice and they’re prepared to tell Him what to do and how to do it.
And that’s often true in the political realm. When it comes to election time a lot of Christians tell God who should be elected. They’re sometimes wrong! You see, last year there were elections in Israel and in the United States. I was in Israel when the elections took place and just before the election we had a most unique meeting when a lot of different Jewish congregations came together near Tel Aviv. I mean, you know the saying, if you have two Jews in a city you need three synagogues. Do you know that saying? One for one of them to go to, one for the other and one which neither of them would be seen dead. Well, some of that carries over when they become believers. It is not easy for the Jewish congregations in Israel to relate to one another, although tremendous progress has been made. There are seven Hebrew speaking congregations in Jerusalem and they meet regularly once every month for fellowship—which is a tremendous stride ahead.
Anyhow, we were down there near Tel Aviv and the remarkable thing was there was no disharmony among any of us the whole time. We felt we had prayed through about the election. And, I think a great majority of Jewish believers were convinced that Shamir ought to be reelected. But, he wasn’t.
Then a little while later here in the United States there was the presidential election and as I understand it, many committed Christians believed that Bush should be reelected. But, he wasn’t. So don’t try and tell God what to do.
Let me add a little comment. If Shamir had been reelected in Israel, most Americans would have thought it was a terrible mistake. And if Bush had been reelected in the United States, most Israelis would have thought it was a terrible mistake. Because, I’m sorry to say that Bush and above all, Baker are regarded as anti-Semites. And so they are. My dear friend Lance Lambert, speaking about the political situation quite early in 1992 before there was any talk about elections, said this: “In view of the policy being followed by the American administration in regard to Israel, the American administration is on a collision course with Almighty God.” And in November they collided. That’s the explanation.
You see, as I understand it, the restoration of Israel is priority number one for God at this time. Before anti abortion, before all the other issues, priority number one is the restoration of Israel. If the space given in the Bible to this theme is any indication, there is chapter after chapter after chapter dealing with the restoration of Israel. Nobody can line up against that and prosper. I don’t believe God has given authority to any politicians to decide how much of Israel should belong to the Jews because God has already said, “I’ve given it all to them.”
Now as I said in a previous meeting, I saw this with my own nation Britain. I saw the British government emerge from two world wars victorious, but I was actually living in Jerusalem when the British administration not openly but in an underhand way took its stand opposing the birth of the state of Israel. Israel with 600,000 people survived a war with six Arab nations numbering 40 million. The British didn’t think it could happen. They thought we’ve got to back the winning horse. But you know what happened? Israel survived, the British Empire didn’t. It disintegrated without any obvious political reason. Immediately the British government took its stand against the birth of the state of Israel. I tell my dear American friends be very careful. It happened to Britain when it was the most powerful empire on earth. And no matter how powerful the United States may be, if it takes a stand against God’s purpose for Israel, ultimately it will fall apart.
I am not politically minded but I have a certain understanding of the scriptures. So, come back to may little suggestion, don’t tell God what to do.
Let me also say this and I think it’s important to say it. Nationalism is a sin. Patriotism is a virtue. The difference is patriotism puts the interests of God’s kingdom before the interest of my nation. Nationalism puts the interest of my nation before the interest of God’s kingdom. The great recent warning is what happened in Germany at the time Hitler came to power because there were many fine born again German Christians at that time, especially in the area of Prussia. But, their nationalism overcame their commitment to Jesus. And so many of them, most of them, identified with Hitler and supported him to their own unlimited loss.
So, I say to American Christians, don’t make that mistake. America is not indestructible, Israel is. I don’t know of any passage in the scripture that guarantees the continuation of the United States. Do you? There’s a lot in the Bible that guarantees the continuance of Israel. So, don’t set yourself up against God. Humble yourself. If you really want to pray effectively for your own nation, 2 Chronicles 7:14 has the key:
“If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves...”
You see, until you’ve humbled yourself, all the rest doesn’t apply. I’ve taught people for more than thirty years here in the United States you need to pray for your government. I’ve quoted that scripture hundreds of times. But only just recently, I think it was last year, God very quietly intimated to me American Christians haven’t met the first requirement, they have not humbled themselves. All the rest is dependent on self humbling.
Let me give you a little advice from personal experience, the experience of Ruth and myself, and we’re not wearing the badge for humility, I want you to know that. You know about the man in the church who was given the badge for humility? Then they had to take it away from him because he wore it. Well, we don’t have a badge for humility but we have learned certain things the hard way and we have learned that without our recognizing it, there was in our lives a great deal of pride. Partly because I was a successful preacher. But that’s a contradiction in terms, isn’t it? Being proud of being a successful preacher.
Come up, sweetheart, we’re going to do another proclamation. They’ll have a real full diet of proclamations.
So, about three or four years ago we started proclaiming the last three or four verses of Psalm 19. I want to say, when you start proclaiming something you have no idea what it will do to you. This is how it goes:
“Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins. Let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless and I shall be innocent of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.”
You see, we said who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. God took us at our word. We took a, quote, Sabbatical in Hawaii in 1990–91 to seek God. He began to deal with us with our secret faults. There’s no time to go into this but God showed me one thing out of scripture. The only way to have your sins forgiven is to confess them.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
But if you don’t confess your sins, God loves you but your sins are not forgiven. We discovered we had a lot of secret faults. And the essence of them all was summed up in the word presumptuous sins. What is one short, simple word for presumptuous? Pride, that’s right. God required us repeatedly to humble ourselves before Him and before one another.
This is my recipe for self humbling. Confess your sins to God. And, if you’re married, confess them to your spouse. It is very hard to be arrogant with a wife or a husband to whom you have confessed your sin. I believe that’s essential for successful intercession.
Let me read a verse in Isaiah 59. I’m outside my outline now but I think I’m in the will of God. There’s two verses in Isaiah which we Gentile Christians always tend to refer to the Jews. The name Jew is not on it. Isaiah 59:1–2:
“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save, nor His ear heavy that it cannot hear. But, your iniquities have separated you from your God and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He will not hear.”
The one supreme barrier to answered prayer is sin. Sin is not a respecter of nationalities or denominations. If we really want our prayers answered we have to let God put His finger on our secret sins and then deal with them.
God took me back in my own life 40 years to something I had done and never confessed as a sin. It had never been forgiven. I mean, I’m a child of God, I’m a servant of God, but there were areas in my life which were a barrier between God and me.
What I’ve been saying now is not in my outline, I didn’t plan it, it’s probably the most important thing that I’ve said. John Bunyon, the author of Pilgrim’s Progress, remarking about his preaching in Grace Abounding, his autobiography, said, “I observed that a word cast in by the by did more execution than all the rest.” In other words, he said, “The words I didn’t even plan to speak were the ones that really did the job.” I think tonight, without planning it or intending it, I’ve zeroed in on the number one problem of this congregation. And practically all congregations in America at this time. We have become presumptuous. We have presumed on the grace of God.
About 250 times the Bible speaks about the need for the fear of the Lord. That’s the one thing that will keep you from being presumptuous.
So let me come to the end of my—there’s two more, this is number ten and eleven if you’ve been following. Number ten on how to pray for Israel, pray for the harvest of the Gentiles. Let me take you back to Romans 11:25 which says:
“Blindness or hardness in part has happened to Israel until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, and so all Israel will be saved.”
All Israel will not be saved until every Gentile appointed by God for salvation has come in. So, we as people concerned about Israel have a very important reason to be concerned about the salvation of the Gentiles.
This thought has occurred to me sometimes. Jesus said in one of His rather cryptical statements, “The first shall be last and the last shall be first.” I think in a way that applies to Israel and the Gentiles. Israel were number one, Jesus went first to them and He didn’t go to the Gentiles. Alas, Israel didn’t meet God’s conditions and so God went to the last, the Gentiles. Israel thus became in turn the last. But now I believe the last will be first, there’s a changeover. The grace of God is moving like a cloud from the Gentile world to the Jews. It’s only begun to move and yet there are masses and millions of Gentiles to come in. But that’s the direction that God’s moving.
Finally, and I sometimes tease myself because when I say finally it very seldom is finally. However, in Philippians 3, Paul says, “Finally my brethren,” and goes on for two more chapters! I have at least a precedent. But this is the last thing that I want to say in my list of suggestions for how to pray. Take the sword of the Spirit. Proclaim! It’s one of the most powerful things that you can do for Israel. You remember what Paul said in Ephesians 6:17?
“Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God...”
Now, you are not born with the sword of the Spirit in your hand when you’re born again. Paul says take the sword of the Spirit. If you take the sword, the Spirit will wield it but if you don’t take it the Spirit has nothing to wield. So, one very effective way to take the sword is by proclamation of the Word of God. Every time you do that you’re thrusting with the sword against the forces of darkness.
Ruth and I are going to give you a little pattern of proclamations. Come on, sweetheart, you’ve got to know the way here by now!
“Let all the earth fear the Lord. Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke and it was done, He commanded and it stood fast. The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing. He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect. The counsel of the Lord stands forever; the plans of His heart to all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom He has chosen as His own inheritance.”
And the name of that people is Israel. Everything that the nations plan contrary to God’s plans for Israel will not come to pass.
Jeremiah 31:10, this is only part of the verse:
“He who scattered Israel is gathering him and will keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock.”
I think we’ll say that again.
“He who scattered Israel is gathering him and will keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock.”
So regathered Israel is ultimately secure because God will not merely regather them, He will keep them.
Psalm 125:3 we have to say from the NIV and this is only part of the psalm:
“The scepter of the wicked shall not remain over the land allotted to the righteous.”
I believe the scepter of the wicked is Islam. It says the power of Islam will not ultimately continue to dominate the territory allotted to the righteous. At the same time, the Lord has to make the Jews righteous so it’s a double process.
Then Psalm 129:5–65:
“Let them all be confounded and turned back that hate Zion. Let them be like the grass upon the housetops which withers before it grows up.”
And notice we’re not against a nationality, we’re only against a certain category of people—those who hate Zion. Let’s say that again.
“Let them all be confounded and turned back that hate Zion. Let them be like the grass upon the housetops which withers before it grows up.”
In other words, they will never come to maturity. They may have many plans and schemes, but they’ll never come to full maturity.
And then Psalm 17:7–9, where we put Israel in where the psalmist said “me.”
“Show your marvelous lovingkindness by your right hand. O you who save those who trust in you from those who rise up against them. Keep Israel as the apple of your eye. Hide us under the shadow of your wings from the wicked who oppress us, from our deadly enemies who surround us.”
That’s the exact situation of Israel today. Let’s do that once more.
“Show your marvelous lovingkindness by your right hand. O you who save those who trust in you from those who rise us against them. Keep Israel as the apple of your eye. Hide us under the shadow of your wings from the wicked who oppress us, from our deadly enemies who surround us.”
So that’s my eleven suggestions. You probably lost track of them, I will read them very quickly and then we will move on with the meeting. I’m not going to take time to comment on them, I’ll simply read them.
Number one, stay within the parameters of God’s word.
Number two, enter with thanksgiving and praise.
Number three, whether Jews or Gentiles, confess your appropriate sins against the other.
Number four, identify with God’s ultimate purpose: a people for Himself.
Number five, only by God’s Spirit.
Number six, plead for mercy and favor in this set time.
Number seven, pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
Number eight, bless Israel and be blessed.
Number nine, don’t tell God what to do.
Number ten, pray for the harvest of the Gentiles.
And number eleven, take the sword of the Spirit—proclaim.