The Character of a Nation

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By Dr. Douglas F. Levesque, Founder of The Levesque Institute

The Biblical world view naturally held by America’s founders, and so successfully ingrained in the national psyche in succeeding generations, is a national phenomenon unparalleled in history.  Such a pervasive viewpoint fueled America’s decision making and action taking for centuries.  It is the not-so-secret reason behind the United States meteoric  rise to superpower status, economically and militarily.  It is also the rationale that put the U.S. in support of Israel’s right to exist as an independent nation state.  Does not the Scripture endorse Israel as a nation, and one beloved of God at that?  Do we not see ourselves the same way?  Surely we are akin to such an idea of ordained nationhood?  For sixty years America has backed this point of view with diplomacy, foreign aid, military alliance, and sometimes . . . a blind eye.  The relationship between the two nations has been give and take, but also one of frustration and disappointment.  With both nations preparing to be led by new and differing governments, with manifold forces intent on severing the bond at any cost, with a nuclear Iran on the immediate horizon, how are we to behave now toward our tempermental ally?  The character of Israel and America is being put to the test.  An understanding of one another is vital now more than ever.

Israel Wrestles With God

The Biblical promises made to Abraham, and renewed through Isaac, began to materialize through the patriarch Jacob.  In fact, it was he who was called “Israel” by the Almighty.  His unique personality and situation are a key to understanding the nation and mindset of Israel today.  With a name meaning ‘supplanter’ or ‘trickster’,  Jacob has set the pace for what others think of him.  He tricked his father, ‘stole’ his brother’s birthright, exploited his position and contract with his father in law, then encountered some of the same traits among his twelve sons.  It is this same “Israel”  who, when encountering the Angel of the LORD, wrestled with him, and would not let him go.  Perhaps Jacob’s sense of promise, passed on no doubt from grandfather and father, made him justify what we deem a flaw in his character.  Who was he to be so familiar with God?  What made him think that he should win at any price? Why was he compelled to succeed at his own friends and families expense?  The same questions that perplexed Jacob about his own identity,  perplex the modern day Israel still.  And yet, they wrestle with God.  They continually fall short of yielding to the will of God, but then again, so does the United States.  Can we accept that?  Do we understand that?  Can America be faithful in a high stakes marriage with Israel that is like a partnership between the Kings daughter and the Kings friend?  Both have much to gain and much to lose.  Both have a character they believe to be chosen, destined, and promised, yet are intertwined with God in a wrestling match that they cannot win, but dare not give up on.

Israel Wants Divine Blessing

Everyone wants to have a sense of spiritual or universal mandate.  Even imperialists and secularists talk of higher consciousness.  The Muslim Mullahs feel compelled to conquest, and the Catholic Cardinals claim a destiny to rule.  Israel, like Jacob, wants desperately to get “its'” blessing from God.  After all, they are children of promise.  The Biblical framework has Jacob (“Israel”) preparing to meet Esau, whom he had previously defrauded, and from whom he now fears annihilation.  While prayerfully waiting for this meeting, the LORD shows up and engages Jacob in hand to hand combat.  Of course, such a meeting is always a one sided affair unless God’s intention is not to destroy, but to direct.  When Jacob realizes who he is face to face with, his defensive posture turns into an all out press to grab hold of God and not let Him go.  The LORD finally ends the confrontation with Jacob getting an answer to his prayer, although not in words, but in a real sense of assurance, and a successful meeting with Esau.  Today, Israel is in real and surreal ways, reaching for Divine fulfillment of it’s national potential.  Can anyone blame them?  America has a similar sense of needing God’s hand.  In fact, the very reason Americans support Israel is to capture God’s favor and blessing for doing so.  Israel sometimes takes advantage of this reality.  Let us hope there is a reciprocal understanding of each others motives and intentions.  Jacob’s character was enhanced by striving after Divine blessing.

Israel Walks with a Limp

As a permanent reminder of the special meeting with God, Jacob was “touched” in his thigh and so walked with a limp throughout his days.  Israel continues to be hobbled by their special relationship to God, and their place of favour in the Bible.  It is meant to direct them and keep them reliant upon the Almighty as opposed to political allies, military prowess or Mossad intrigue.  At times, the limp seems to make them an easy target, or a weak competitor, but make no mistake, that same limp is a mark of survival from a meaningful scuffle with the LORD himself.  If Israel walks different from us it is because it has to walk at it’s own pace, and often by itself.  A golden ally will be cognizant of these integral character traits, and strive to be a friend at all times.  Israel, likewise, should be patient, explanatory, and appreciative of The United States role and desire to be a partner in equitable national efforts to please the LORD.

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