There is an idea that all Jewish people believe in God and follow Him. Under this assumption, it is easy to believe that all they need is to hear the Messianic prophecies and they will come to faith in Yeshua. In Israel, however, this assumption is far from the truth.
The majority of Israelis are secular. There are atheists, agnostics, and many that are just apathetic about God and religion.
I remember celebrating Pesach (Passover) with a friend who is apathetic about God. The Passover Seder is filled with readings from Exodus and songs of praise about what God has done. Families will meet together and spend the first hour or two before the meal in traditional readings and songs. It is truly a wonderful time of remembrance of God delivering Israel from Egypt. However, why do people throughout Israel read about God and sing about God when they don’t believe in Him? My friend explained that he and his family celebrate the holiday because God is a part of their past. In other words, God is treated as a special historical figure.
To this day this comment has fascinated me. “God is a part of our past.” I can’t think of a comment that is so saddening yet represents so well the way many Israelis view God. How do you share with someone God’s great love for them if they don’t even care about the subject? “An active and involved God who cares? He’s not around anymore.”
It is heartbreaking that Israelis fail to see that God is active today and loves them. Satan has used many things to harden the hearts of Jewish people to the idea of a God. He has used a long exile filled with rejection and hatred from many peoples and nations which culminated in the Holocaust. You can look back to the blog entry “Why don’t Jewish people believe in Jesus?” to read more on that subject.
So what does this mean practically?
While we may work very hard at presenting Messianic prophecy that points to Yeshua as Messiah, if our audience isn’t convinced that there is a God, these powerful prophecies don’t have much impact upon them. Many Jews don’t view the Bible to be the Word of God and therefore the prophecies have little meaning to them. It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t share the Messianic prophecies with those we know and meet, but rather that sometimes there are more effective ways to speak to Israelis.
Our testimony and our faith are crucial in seeing secular Israelis come to faith in Yeshua. Living by faith helps to show that God is real and still active. Also, we can remember the words Yeshua spoke to his disciples: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” God has poured His love into us by His Spirit, a love that everyone longs for. When people see that love, even the most hostile toward God and toward followers of Yeshua will have their hearts softened.
In light of this, please be praying for those that believe that God is a part of their past. Pray that they would see that God is real and active, not merely some historical figure, and put their faith in Yeshua the Messiah, His Son.