I read a fascinating story in the Jerusalem Post this morning and it gave me fresh hope for the nation of Israel. “Taking a page out of David Ben-Gurion and Menachem Begin’s playbook, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will begin hosting a regular Bible study group in his official residence for researchers, public officials and invited guests, “reports the Post. “Netanyahu announced the establishment of the study circle on Friday at a ceremony marking 30 days since the passing of his father-in-law, Shmuel Ben-Artzi. The study group will be named after Ben-Artzi, a noted poet and Bible teacher. Both Ben-Gurion and Begin, when they each served as prime minister, hosted regular Bible study groups. Netanyahu said he was establishing the class to perpetuate love of the Bible.” Interestingly, in recent years Netanyahu — who has never described himself as a religious person — appears to have been developing a deeper interest in Bible study. In January 2010, Netanyahu delivered an address at Auschwitz saying the prophecies of Ezekiel 37 have come to pass in our lifetimes. In March of 2010, Netanyahu’s son, Avner, won the National Bible Quiz in Israel. In July 2010, Netanyahu told Larry King that he likes to study the Bible on Saturday mornings with his son, Avner.
These are excellent steps by the Prime Minister, and he should be commended for them. Indeed, let us pray that the study of the Word of God has a powerful, personal impact on the Prime Minister and his family and each of his colleagues and guests. Let’s pray that many Israelis would follow the Prime Minister’s lead and begin reading the Holy Scriptures again, and that Bible studies in people’s homes would spring up all over the Land of Israel. Let’s pray that pray that more and more Israelis would develop a new and deeper curiosity about Bible prophecy, both the dramatic prophecies in the Scriptures that have already been fulfilled, and those that will come to pass soon, including the all-important prophecies about the Messiah.
Such a national reawakening to the importance of the Scriptures has happened before in Israel’s history. Remember men like Nehemiah, Ezra, Josiah, and Joel? These were beloved governors, priests, kings and prophets whom the Lord used to turn the Jewish people back to the Scriptures and the need for national and individual prayer, fasting and repentance. One of my favorite examples is found in 2 Kings 22. I’d encourage you to read it afresh, for it is the remarkable story of King Josiah. At the age of 8, Josiah took the throne. When he was 18, he instructed the temple to be cleaned and renovated. In so doing, he learned that a long forgotten copy of the Scriptures had been found in the temple. Indeed, someone brought him the dusty scrolls and read the Word to the king. “When the king heard the words of the book of the law, he tore his clothes” in repentance for all of Israel’s sinful ways, and his own. Then the king commanded Hilkiah the priest and several other servants, “Go, inquire of the Lord for me and the people and all Judah concerning the words of this book that has been found, for great is the wrath of the Lord that burns against us, because our fathers have not listened to the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.” In 2 Kings 23, then, comes the equally amazing story of King Josiah gathering all the people of Israel tand reading the Word of the Lord to them. Together, convicted of their own sins, they chose to make a covenant before the Lord to obey His all of His commandments. “Before him,” the Bible says, “there was no king like him who turned to the Lord with all his might, according to the law of Moses; nor did any like him arise after him.” Let us pray that Israel once again experience a national renaissance of hunger for the Word of the Lord. Amen.