There is little doubt that Israel’s 70th anniversary celebration this year as a sovereign nation is bittersweet. The Bible’s record of God’s chosen people going from “favored people” to “wayward people” rings close to home for all Believers (“Believers” is short for “believers in Yeshua/Jesus as Messiah”) — from the Exodus to the Holocaust to being “hated of all nations” (Matt. 24:9).
Take a moment and think back on your own personal accomplishments. You probably overcame adversity to reach long-awaited goals. Some deem hard-earned success a matter of “karma,” but I’ve never found that word in the Bible — Hebrew or Greek. Therefore, I conclude that relying on karma only provides an escape from personal responsibility. Come to think of it, the Greeks do have a word for karma; its “hooey.” Ha! — got you on that one, didn’t I?
How did Israel manage to become a nation despite such adversity? The Israelis achieved statehood through strong leadership, vision, determination, great sacrifice, and a willingness to depend on God — and considerable chutzpah. This ministry numerous times has covered the story of Israel’s successful declaration as a modern state. You are familiar with the names of Theodor Herzl and David Ben-Gurion, but a unique situation during Israel’s struggling years made another name worth remembering.
God’s Instrument for a Fledgling Nation
A young Jewish woman who immigrated with her parents from Kiev, Russia to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and then from Milwaukee to Israel with her husband in 1921 became a force for the Zionist movement during WWII. Her name was Golda Meir. She led the charge to increase Jewish migration to Israel because of the Nazi regime. Remember, Muslim officials at the time controlled the number of Jews who could enter Israel.
Golda Meir was also one of the signers of Israel’s declaration of independence in 1948, and she served in several important areas at the request of then Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. She became Israel’s prime minister in 1969, serving until 1974 and guiding Israel through the Yom Kippur War in 1973.
The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob appointed the leaders to guide a new nation. I believe that God orchestrates the role of men and women, boys and girls to accomplish His great purposes. At the necessary time, by the providence of God, Golda Meir was appointed by God. As I mentioned earlier, her leadership role was a very unique development for a fledgling nation in 1969 — but that’s God!
Success from Adversity
What do you think adversity taught the leadership and citizens of Israel in their developing years, and even today? What does God teach us in adversity? Please consider the following four suggestions.
1. Adversity in government teaches us to pray for our authorities.
God leaves us no other option. Just a few weeks ago, many Americans paused to pray for our leaders and our country during a National Day of Prayer.
Paul wrote to Timothy (1 Timothy 2:1–2): “I exhort therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men: for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.”
Our own nation will soon celebrate 242 years of sovereignty. The following article opens the eye regarding our nation’s roots. This article is printed in The Bulletin, 1992 Vol. 9, No. 1 from the Christian Information Bureau in Bend, Oregon.
The Constitutional Convention had met in Philadelphia on May 25, 1787, but it was getting nowhere. The weather was hot and tempers flared. On June 28, Benjamin Franklin rose to address the Assembly and said: “I have lived, Sir, a long time; and the longer I live the more convincing proofs I see of this Truth. That God governs in the Affairs of Men! — And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an Empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that ‘except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it.’ “I firmly believe this: — and I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel: we shall be divided by our little partial local interests, our projects will be confounded and we ourselves shall become a reproach and byword down to future ages. And what is worse, Mankind may, hereafter, from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing government by human wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest. … I therefore beg leave to move that, henceforth, prayers imploring the assistance from heaven, and its blessing on our deliberations, be held in this assembly every morning before we proceed to business.”
Once the Constitutional Convention offered daily prayers, it created the great document of the U.S. Constitution under the guidance of Almighty God in a very short time.
2. Adversity causes us to re-evaluate our priorities.
We all need to step back from time to time and re-evaluate the purpose of God in our lives. Periodic reflection on God’s will is a healthy exercise for ministries, nations, and individuals. Don’t forget that God’s instructions are intended to improve our physical and spiritual health. “Six days you shall labor, and do all your work” (Exodus 20:9).
3. Adversity puts everything to the test.
Israel is celebrating 70 years as a modern nation. The years have not been easy with neighboring nations constantly threatening war and the Palestinian Muslims constantly on the verge of another vicious Intifada. To most Jews, even the name that is often used to identify Israel, “Palestine,” sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard. Again, Golda Meir may have put it best.
I am a Palestinian, but don’t like the name. “Palestine” is a name the Romans gave Eretz Yisrael with the express purpose of infuriating defeated Jews. … Why should we use a spiteful name meant to humiliate us?
Christendom inherited the name from Rome and the British chose to call the land they mandated “Palestine.” Local Arabs picked it up as their nation’s supposed ancient name, though they couldn’t even pronounce it correctly, and turned it into “Filastin” [the Arabic alphabet has no “p”], a fictional entity.
Adversity determines if a commitment is an enduring undertaking or just a passing phase. It is often a “trial by fire.” Israel is continuing on its path of redemption — all orchestrated by God.
4. Adversity identifies the Believer with Yeshua/Jesus.
The Apostle Paul often wrote to the church (Philippians 3:10) that he was willing to identify with Yeshua/Jesus: “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable to His death.”
In his second letter to the church at Corinth, Paul gave an impressive list of all the adversities he had suffered during his life and ministry. But, he always kept his commitment to the Gospel, ignoring his critics and bringing valuable leadership to the Church in its formative years.
There always will be critics and naysayers — critics of nations, ministries, and of each of us as individuals. I will leave you with the wisdom of Theodore Roosevelt on the subject:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
Legacy of Adversity
In 2017, 3.6 million tourists visited Israel, overcoming adversities in their own lives in order to identify with Yeshua/Jesus. Maybe you’re ready to join a Zola Tour and help us celebrate our 35 years of leading Holy Land tours.
Standing firm with Israel and ZLM,
P.S. Despite this ministry’s critics and naysayers, we remain in the arena fighting the good fight (1 Tim. 6:12), fulfilling The Great Commission (Matt. 28:19–20), and bringing Messianic Jewish Bible teaching to Jews and gentiles on every continent. Will you prayerfully continue to uphold our worthy cause?
A Note from David and Kirsten
Kirsten and I agree with you, Tony. No one desires adversity, but Believers hold fast to the Romans 8:28 promise that all things — all! — will work together (somehow!) for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose. It seems impossible that the atrocious persecution of the Jewish people for thousands of years could work for anything remotely resembling “good.” But as Israel celebrates its 70th year, we get to see, firsthand, the Romans verse coming to life. One of my favorite verses is Galatians 6:9, which reminds us to never grow weary when doing good — because the harvest is coming!
Observant travelers to Israel get a close-up look at the harvest of souls occurring in the Holy Land. And your faithful financial support of Zola Levitt Ministries furthers the goal of bringing Jews to a saving knowledge of Yeshua as their personal Mashiach (Messiah) and Believers to an appreciation of their rich Jewish foundation (and ZLM could use your help especially now). That is the heartbeat of ZLM, and we thank you for making a Kingdom difference for people around the world, and especially in Israel.
Zola Tours to the Holy Land
What a perfect year for Zionists to personally experience the Holy Land! Come with us this fall to celebrate Israel’s 70th year. This exciting study tour is approaching quickly, so seize this opportunity while spots are still open. Please contact Zola Tours manager, Sandra, at 214-696-9760, email her at email@example.com, or visit levitt.com/tours.
Adding the Greece and Petra extensions to your tour allows you to experience New Testament locations reached by the early Gospel. We cruise to Ephesus, Crete, Santorini, Mykonos — and even the island of Patmos, where John wrote the Book of Revelation. The sights are breathtaking! Capping off our Israel tour, we travel to Eilat, from where you can see Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia at the same time — incredible! Photos don’t compare.
Fall Tour 2018
|Deluxe (Israel only)||Oct 14–23||$4,488|
|Grand Petra (Israel & Petra)||Oct 14–26||$5,688|
|Grand Athens (Greece & Israel)||Oct 8–23||$7,388|
|Ultra Grand (Greece & Israel & Petra)||Oct 8–26||$8,588|
Spring Tour 2019
|Deluxe (Israel only)||Mar 10–19||(price to come)|
|Grand Petra (Israel & Petra)||Mar 10–22||(price to come)|
Though this year’s National Day of Prayer has recently passed, it is not too late to pray for America, our political leaders, the unsaved, and this ministry.
And please remember to Sha’alu shalom Yerushalayim — Pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6),
David & Kirsten
In June, we reprise our popular series Psalms of Ascent. Psalms 120–134 may have been sung by ancient Jews going up to the Temple in Jerusalem, yet they are surprisingly appropriate for Believers today. David and Kirsten Hart present teaching by Dr. Jeffrey Seif from Israel, messages from Eitan Shishkoff and Chaim Malespin, Hebrew lessons from Sarah Liberman, plus music by Marty Goetz.
- Psalms 126 & 127
- Out of captivity and sorrow, the Lord brings joy through deliverance. The Israelites have returned to the Promised Land. From the Southern Wall of the Temple Mount, Jeff reminds us that, without the Lord’s protection, human efforts to build are in vain. (Please see Franklin’s quote above)
- Psalms 128 & 129
- At the Mount of Olives, Jeff reviews the psalmist’s clear teaching that fear of the Lord and honoring His ways bring blessings. Israel as a nation has seen much affliction, but the Lord’s support is unwavering.
- Psalms 130 & 131
- At the Western Wall, Jeff speaks of God’s ears, open to our cries for help. The God of Israel provides contentment to our souls like a mother comforts her child. Eitan Shishkoff reminds us of our need to pray for an awakening among His People.
- Psalms 132 & 133
- David wanted to build a temple in Jerusalem because he knew the Lord had chosen it. Zion became His abiding place and remains His to this very day. In this torn world, dwelling together in unity blesses us.
- Psalms 134
- This series has witnessed many coming up to Jerusalem, seeking and praising God. On the Mount of Olives, Jeff invites all Believers to journey together. Marty Goetz sings a wonderful rendition of “Benediction.”
Insider scoop: Jeff is serving as ZLP’s senior theologian and filming a brand new series, Back to Eden, with producer Ken Berg. We believe that God is orchestrating some exciting days ahead for Zola Levitt Ministries: Jew and gentile working together, hand-in-hand, to spread the life-changing news of Yeshua’s Gospel.