by Matt Crouch
“I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” — Genesis 12: 3
Fifty years ago this week, the tiny nation of Israel found itself engaged in an intense struggle for its very existence as it fought to defend itself from a coalition of large, neighboring countries bent on its destruction. As Israel officially celebrates its miraculous victory in the 1967 “Six Day War” — a victory that brought the re-unification of Jerusalem under Jewish sovereignty — it is also a perfect opportunity to review and understand why it is so crucial for each of us to stand strong in prayer and support of this nation and people so persecuted by man, but so blessed by God.
To many people today, Israel appears to be little more than an insignificant nation and a source of unending conflict in a Middle East already torn apart by perpetual war, strife, and oppression. In fact, from its very re-birth nearly seventy years ago, this Jewish nation no bigger than the state of New Jersey has been a target of other Middle Eastern nations and militant entities who would love nothing more than to wipe Israel off the map — and to obliterate the very memory of the Jewish people.
But the truth is that the nation of Israel is a precious creation of God, who promised Abraham thousands of years ago that He would raise up a people for Himself whose numbers would be “as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore” (Genesis 22: 17). And even though, as Scripture recounts, the children of Israel often wandered from obeying God, and were ultimately exiled across the earth, God promised that He would never forget or forsake His chosen people, and that they would forever be inscribed “on the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49: 16).
God promised that He would turn the hearts of His people back to their land and restore to them the inheritance He had given their forefathers (Jeremiah 16:15). While that happened, in part, over many generations as Jewish people and families trickled back to the region that was once the ancient nation of Israel, God’s own scriptural question — Can a nation be born in a day? (Isaiah 66: 8) — was miraculously answered when Israel was officially re-born on May 14, 1948, and His people began to return in great numbers to their inheritance — a phenomenon that has continued non-stop over the past nearly seventy years.
And while over those seven decades it has had to contend nonstop against opposition and enemies antagonistic toward its God-given right to exist, today Israel stands as an oasis of freedom and hope in a Middle East aflame with hatred and dark oppression.
It is clear, both from Scripture and from history, that God has always had His hand on the nation and people of Israel to do them good, to bless them — and to use them to bless all people on earth. And that truth brings us to the reason it is so crucial for each of us to boldly and courageously stand in support of Israel: God commands it!
When God declared to Abraham His intention to create from him “a great nation” (Genesis 12: 2), He added this promise: “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (v. 3).
Of course, Christians have always embraced God’s command and promise that we “pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee” (Psalm 122: 6). We are deeply thankful that it was through His people Israel that God brought salvation to all humanity by His Son Jesus.
There was no one who embraced these promises — or who modeled a love and commitment for Israel — more than my own parents, TBN founders Paul and Jan Crouch. Beginning in the early 1970s, they led dozens of tours to Israel and the Holy Land. And those tours weren’t just to provide people with a great vacation, but to give individuals an opportunity to embrace, bless, and boldly stand for Israel. And every group TBN has taken over the years has gone, not just to experience the land God promised to His people, but to actively support the land of Israel and its people.
Over the years my parents also had abundant opportunity to affirm before many high-ranking Israeli officials the commitment of the Christian community to their land and people. That included meeting with nearly every Israeli prime minister from Menachem Begin to Benjamin Netanyahu, along with several of Israel’s presidents, making it clear with each of those meetings that believers around the world were praying for the “peace of Jerusalem” and for the nation and people of Israel. Since then Laurie and I have taken up my parents’ mantle, accompanying thousands of Christians on tours of the Holy Land, and meeting and praying with Prime Minister Netanyahu and other Israeli government officials.
We believe that this commitment to intentionally and consistently bless the land and people of Israel is a big reason why, over the past five decades, God has so abundantly blessed the outreach of TBN. Beginning with one tiny television station back in 1973, today TBN’s thirty-member (and growing) family of networks stretches across the world, broadcasting God’s incomparable message of hope and grace to every inhabited continent in over a dozen languages.
That broadcast outreach includes a state-of-the-art TBN studio and facility located in the heart of Jerusalem on a hill called, in Hebrew, Givat Hananiah — which means “Hill of Grace.” That’s right! From the “Hill of Grace” in the heart of the “City of David” TBN is blessed to produce television content that is communicating God’s message of hope and grace to the world. That includes such important programs as The Watchman With Erick Stakelbeck, hosted by Christians United for Israel, and Why Israel Matters from Christians in Defense of Israel — which both powerfully demonstrate God’s continued love, care, and protection over His chosen people.
The truth is that despite the opinions and intents of nations, peoples, and entities to denigrate and destroy Israel, there is only One whose opinion and purpose matter in the end. And more than anyone else He is calling believers, the Church — those of us who have been redeemed through the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus — to join Him in seeing His will accomplished “on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).
Will you join Laurie and me, along with millions of Christians across the earth, in a continued commitment to support, bless, and pray for Israel? A blessed nation and people of Israel is irrevocably His will — and He promises a blessing to you and yours if you stand in agreement with Him!