First Steps to Loving and Understanding Our Jewish Neighbors - page 3

 


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First Steps to Loving and Understanding
Our Jewish Neighbors

by Randy Newman, M.Div., Ph.D.
Senior Teaching Fellow for Apologetics and Evangelism,
C.S. Lewis Institute

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 : But ethnic pride has also been a curse because, along the way, some Jewish people have forgotten God. Despite warnings like the one in Deuteronomy 8, it is easy to think we are the source of our success instead of appreciating the gracious hand of God. Through Moses, God warned:

Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God … Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied … then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. Deuteronomy 8 v 11-142

  This warning is for all of us, whether Jewish or Gentile. Everyone must be wary of a reliance on self that forgets our constant dependence on the One who gives us every breath, step and thought. Without Him, we cease to exist—both individually as persons and corporately as a people.
  For some, this ethnic pride has theological roots—but not ones that accurately reflect the teaching of Scripture. God’s Word goes out of its way to say that God did not choose the nation of Israel because of any merit of its own.

The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the Lord loved you and kept the oath he swore to your ancestors that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Deuteronomy 7 v 7-8

Tragically, for some, this pride has angry roots. I have interacted with enough Jewish people to hear a recurring theme of resentment that God didn’t prevent or stop the Holocaust and other evils. For these people, their success, especially the establishment, protection, and prosperity of the nation of Israel has been in spite of God rather than because of Him. Their cry of “Never again!” means that they will prevent another Holocaust by fighting to the death to provide a safe haven for Jewish people in Israel—even if God doesn’t come through for them. I write these words with tears and an ache in my heart but I know these sentiments are real for at least some of my people. If you’re tempted to think condemning thoughts right now about Jewish pride, consider the universal and insidious nature of pride. And reflect carefully that you too may, from time to time, take credit for things that actually come from the hand of our gracious God. Examine your heart and see if you harbor any bitterness toward God for not always behaving the way you want Him to. Spend time considering how necessary the cross was to atone for your sins, and drink deeply from the well of gospel grace that chose to rescue you from your own self-reliance. And then ask God to give you the same burden for the Jewish people that Paul had, agreeing with his description of them as…

zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Romans 10 v 2-4

 

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