Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee. When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel. For the Lord’s portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.(Deuteronomy 32:7-9)
It is an undeniable fact that the Nation and People of Israel are unique among all people’s of the world. The Jews truly stand alone, even if they wish it were otherwise.
No other people have contributed as much per capita to the betterment of the human race in areas such as spiritual, intellectual, philisophical, medical, and in countless other aspects of civilization.
The Judeo Christian civilization, which flowed out of the experience and writings of Moses and the Hebrew Prophets, has been the most successful, benevolent, civilizing, and humanly enriching culture the world has ever known.
No other people have had to endure such universal and irrational hatred as have the Jews.
Truly, Israel’s existence is a miracle.
I want to make it clear that I am not merely praising Israel, this is not a mere gushing statement of admiration for the Jews, I mean that literally Israel came about due to a miracle, recorded in the book of Genesis.
Consider Israel’s place in salvation history. Israel came about after the tower of Babel incident, in which every nation on earth defected from faith in God.
And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.(Genesis 11:6-9)
God scattered the nations of the earth which had entirely defected from Him, then set about to create a new nation.
If you or I wanted to create a new nation of people, we would find the healthiest, most virile young couple possible, and give them the decree, “be fruitful and multiply…”. But God’s thoughts are different than ours.
When God wanted to start a new nation, he selected a Chaldean moon worshipper, Abram, (“Exalted Father”), a man in his seventies, married to a barren woman, Sarai, whose womb was long dead and who had passed the childbearing years with nothing to show for it.
God promised the formerly idolatrous Abram a land (Canaan), and that a great nation would come from his loins, a great name,and reciprocal blessing and cursing on other nations in regards to Israel, and finally that one of Abram’s seed would bless every family on the face of the earth!
Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.(Genesis 12:3)
What God required of Abraham was that He believe in the promise, and in that faith, obey the Word of God.By crossing over from Idolatry to faith in the only God, Abram became a “Hebrew” which means, “one who crosses over”.
Abram’s faith in God required him to believe the Word of God over the evidence of his own aged body and the deadness of his wife’s barren body as well.The issue was not their bodies, but rather it was the veracity of the God who called Abraham.
God revealed himself to Abraham and to Sarai as the God who “quickens the dead” and who “Calls things which be not as though they were”.
(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. (Romans 4:17-21)
This is not to say that there weren’t times of real unbelief and temptation.
Genesis 16 tells the story of the birth of Ishmael. Sarai and Abram reasoned together, (after about ten years of waiting for the miracle child), that perhaps Abram should take Hagar, an Egyptian servant girl, and bear a surrogate son through her, and thus fulfill the promise of God.
Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the Lord hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife. And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.(Genesis 16:1-4)
Because Abraham and Sarai had a lapse of faith and reasoned within themselves instead of trusting God, Abraham had a son, Ishmael*, by Hagar, the handmaiden. Ishmael was not a miracle baby, he was born by natural means, 13 years before the promise was fulfilled.
The promise was fulfilled, and Isaac was born when Abraham was 100 years old, and Sarah was 90. The existence of Israel is a literal miracle.
*There is much more to say about Ishmael, the (Natural) son of Abraham, who would also become a great nation, and highly important to God and to the world, but also a rival to the miracle child, Isaac.