Truman later expressed his faith in the reborn state of Israel saying, “I believe it has a glorious future before it – not just [as] another sovereign nation, but as an embodiment of the great ideals of our civilization.”
Interestingly, one of Israel’s own spiritual leaders has since expressed a different view of his own people and their allies. The late rabbi Meir Kahane (1932-1990) even signaled his concern that friends of Israel could play into his people’s inclination to forget the Source of their ideals.
Rabbi Kahane, who also founded the Jewish Defense League in the United States, wrote, “For so long as the Jew has even one ally, he will be convinced …that his salvation came from that ally. It is only when he is alone – against all of his own efforts and frantic attempts – that he will, through no choice, be compelled to turn to G-d.”
If the rabbi’s comments are insightful, could what he said about Israel would also tell us something about ourselves? Who among us is not inclined to put our hope and trust in just about anything—other than the God who made us for Himself?
So here’s what I’m thinking that I’d like to hear you consider. It comes in two parts.
First, do you agree that one way of explaining “the chosen people” (even to the point of making sense of the current international turmoil in the Middle East) is that Israel has been chosen by God to play our role in the great drama of history? Does it make sense to you, as it does to me, that, in the ongoing story of the Old and New Testaments, the Jewish people are like real life actors who follow the script of human nature bumping into and interacting with their God–to give us a picture of ourselves? Does it make sense to you that, in their successes, we see the embodiment of the great ideals of the Kingdom of God? In their failures, do we see the consequences of turning our back on our God, to our loss and at the expense of all who depend on us?
Second, and even more importantly, do we see in this drama the way One of the “chosen people” was chosen from among the rest to be not only “the perfect Israelite” but also our “stand in” in the real drama of life? Can we see that Jesus of Nazareth was born of a Jewish mother (and Fathered by the Spirit of God) for the purpose of living and dying in our place– literally, and actually? (Romans 5:6; 2Cor 5:21)
Do both of those ideas together help us get perspective on President Truman’s “faith” in Israel, Rabbi Kahane’s realistic understanding of his own people, and the grace-based plan of God to offer us the opportunity to be embraced as sons and daughters by our ultimate Father in the merits of the our real-life “Stand-in”?