Depending on God:: by Mark Susswein

Horses and chariots in biblical times were considered to be the latest advancement in the art of warfare. In those ancient days Assyria and Babylon were not just militarily ready for battle, they were powerfully ready; fearless men ready and able to fight any and all who dared to go up against them.

These were not only powerful armies, they were brutal armies who knew, as the saying goes, “Winning wasn’t everything; it was the only thing.” The Assyrians and Babylonians achieved more than their fair share of victories by any and all means necessary.

To pay for those soldiers, horses, chariots, and all that goes with being a powerful military, those nations were, to put it mildly… wealthy. As Isaiah tells us, “Their land is filled with silver and gold, and there is no end to their treasures; their land is filled with horses, and there is no end to their chariots” (Isaiah 2:7, ESV).

Assyria and Babylon were nations having wealth beyond imagination. That kind of wealth leads to pride, arrogance and temptations. Before you know it, that wealth is the driving force for good or evil. We know scripturally that wealth or money itself is not the root of all evil. Here is what Paul wrote to young Timothy.

“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs” (1st Timothy 6:10, ESV).

As followers of Jesus we cannot allow the love of money to replace the faith and trust we have in God. In all things we are to depend on Him, from our health (physical and spiritual) to our finances. And, let’s be clear here. That doesn’t mean God is against any individual or nation who is economically strong, but those who have been blessed by God in that area would be wise to show gratitude to the Provider by exercising generosity to others out of their abundance.

“A generous person will be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor” (Proverbs 22:9, CSB).

Today’s Israel is a great example of a nation being blessed with wealth and power. In recent years that nation has discovered oil and natural gas – lots of oil and gas – greatly increasing her wealth and power. Did I mention lots of oil and gas? (Hmmm…. Gog Magog War coming soon to a theater near you? “Have you come to seize spoil?” (Ezekiel 38:13a, ESV).

Also, Israel is one of the most advanced and well-armed militaries of the world today. Israel continues to be “independent” with the things of this world instead of being “dependent” on the Almighty God.

By the way, how dependent on God were “we the people” as we allowed Covid19 to fill us with fear and trembling? And what about the Church? Before I ask the following of “we the Christians,” please get your thick skin on. Where were we? What were we doing?

Shamefully, taking counsel from the world; that’s what we were doing. We accepted the world’s lie that we were… not essential.

The Church cannot and should not ever depend on the world’s counsel. We, brothers and sisters, are not of this world. It is up to us to get on our knees and seek His counsel in any and all situations and circumstances. We are to depend on Him.

Hey, you pastors, preachers, ministers, leaders – and yes, you Christians – here is another question to ponder:

What is the plan when this or something worse takes place?

This would be the time to study the Book of Acts and do what our brothers and sisters did long ago beginning with, “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42, ESV).

That is a pretty good start. Read the rest of that chapter in Acts, and then, as Paul Harvey used to say, “Now you know the rest of the story.”

Back to Israel.

Her spiritual problem correlates to her not having to or desiring to depend on the God of Israel. Let’s not be surprised. This has been Israel’s pattern all throughout her history. She, when the good times rolled, depended mostly on what the “Promised Land” produced along with her livestock and military to keep it “all good.”

Today’s Israel now has re-defined research and development in various technologies, along with some amazing medical and environmental breakthroughs that have not only benefited themselves, but also has blessed the world through those life-changing advancements as well.

But, what about depending on God? Where is He in all of this? Where is the praise, honor and glory for all He has done and continues to do as blessing after blessing and miracle after miracle rain down on her?

From just about the beginning of Israel’s history, it was God who set His nation and people free from the bondages of slavery in Egypt. It was God who parted the Red Sea, making a path to freedom. And, not that long ago, it was God who miraculously intervened to ensure Israel’s victory since Israel’s War of Independence of 1948. In the 1973 “Yom Kippur War,” at the last minute, she “somehow” was victorious. In both of those wars, Israel was sorely undermanned. She was at a huge military disadvantage in just about every category. All that can be said about that is… but God.

Not depending on the God of Israel was Israel’s problem then, and today. Nothing has changed, and neither has God.

In the Old Testament, God’s solution was to send His judgment upon Israel by using the powerful pagan worshipping nations of Assyria and Babylon to eventually defeat and exile Israel and Judah respectively. They were literally evicted by the Landlord of landlords.

Today, “independent” Israel has allowed her wealth and power to fill her up with that same pride and arrogance which she has stubbornly hung on to generation after generation.

Israel’s lack of dependence on God will be addressed by way of “The Time of Jacob’s Trouble.” That will be the time when God will be, for the most part, dealing with the Jewish nation. It will be the most horrific time in her history – even more so than the Holocaust. And, spoiler alert: There will be restoration and salvation for the Jewish nation. Stay tuned and don’t touch that prophetical dial as we watch God’s plan unfold to the letter as was written by the Hebrew Prophets long ago.

As for the Gentile nations, they too will eventually be judged by the Almighty God once and for all; the Prophets tell us so.

Modern-day Israel so wants to be like the wealthy and powerful nations of the world instead of being what God called her to be – a holy nation, and a light unto the Gentiles.

“And you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:6a, ESV).

“For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth’” (Acts 13:47, ESV).

Like Isaiah saw then, we too are able to see and understand the hundreds and hundreds of biblical prophecies written thousands of years ago having been fulfilled (90% of them), and many more of them are coming to fruition as we speak (we are living in the days of the last 10%).

We believing Jews and Gentiles have been blessed to know in advance what the future will be for Israel, the nations, and so on. Biblical prophecy, as Jan Markell from Olive Tree ministries often says, “It is not to scare us, but to prepare us.” Amen?

The day is coming when Israel will say, “Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord!” That statement, my friends, is the beginning of Israel’s dependence on God! Praise His name!

Bless You All,

Mark Susswein: