Updated: Oct 20, 2021
Here is a brilliantly insightful article by Shani Ferguson, a dear sister in the faith, and daughter of our long-term ministry partners, Ari and Shira Sorkoram. Shani and her husband Kobi now direct Maozisrael Ministries.
–Asher Intrater, President of Revive Israel and Tikkun Global Family
Israel’s Trademark Character Trait
By Shani Ferguson
Of all the people God could have chosen to name Himself after, He chose a guy named Israel. Sure, he was the grandson of the beloved Abraham, but if you read the story of his life, he wasn’t necessarily what one would look for if you were to say, handpick a guy to represent a holy God. As we pursue understanding God and His ways, it’s worth asking what it was God saw in Jacob that made Him change Jacob’s name as well as solidify it with His own.
Israel is not just a people—it is a character trait of a people. While believing culture has historically idealized gentleness and agreeableness in the pursuit of life and their faith, God made a clear statement about how He values someone who—with the right heart attitude—will wrestle like a maniac.
It’s hard to explain to those who don’t live here for a long time, but Israel regularly wrestles with significant dynamics that other nations and societies don’t even know exist. So, while it’s easy to look from the outside and try to superimpose what may work in another country on Israel, it’s worth noting that while the ride may be bumpy, somehow, Israel—the wrestler— (eventually) always ends up on top. After all, they are the descendants of Jacob, who wouldn’t stop wrestling until he got the blessing.
So while I often disagree with decisions our government makes, at no point is there a feeling that any power-hungry Israeli is looking to use the COVID crisis to recreate a Nazi Germany type discriminating culture or dictatorship. Whether any of us agree with the vaccinations or not, this is a nation that exists only by the supernatural intervention of God. Much of this supernatural intervention was done through unbelieving Israelis who couldn’t help but fulfill God’s will. And while Israel has not yet been fully restored to God, there are decent people in our government who are trying to wrestle through a way to balance the medical limitations of this nation with its financial and emotional needs.
The Green Passport is one example (which in principle I personally don’t care for) of trying to avoid the alternative of everyone sitting at home in lock-down. This “passport” document that would allow Israelis to avoid quarantines and give them access to things like gyms and crowded events, was at first only going to be available to the vaccinated and COVID-recovered population. Now, after more wrestling of how to include as many people as possible, the government will be permitting people who test positive for antibodies to be included as well. At the same time, protests are being held and court cases are being filed to work through the details of this new world we live in. This is what a wrestling nation looks like.
Israel may not be making all the right decisions, but it is trying, and being a small nation, can adjust quickly when better options are set out on the table. We believers would do well to cover our decision-makers in prayer for wisdom rather than evoking lines about Hitler and the Mark of the Beast being around the corner.
Yeshua lived in a time of brutal, evil rulers, yet His commentary about them was along the lines of, “Give to Caesar what is his and if you’re forced to carry a soldier’s tunic, carry it an extra mile.” When Pilate told Yeshua he had the power to crucify or set Yeshua free, Yeshua explained he would have no power if it wasn’t first given to him by God. He told us to be alert and to pray earnestly for godly leaders, but there was never an implication that acquiring political influence was a prerequisite to the success of the Kingdom of God on the earth.