(Taught at Musalaha Youth Leaders’ Conference in Odenwald, Germany)
Gen 49:18 I wait with hope for Your salvation, YHVH! יהוה לישועתך קיויתי
The key to reconciliation between those who have beforehand been at enmity – at least in thought or perception if not in deed – is the same for youth (and their leaders) as it is for any other age or group of contemporaries: knowing and being thankful that God has reconciled Himself to you personally and to your own people on the cross of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Rom 5:1-11). As believers in Messiah, we are to relate to other believers not according to the flesh – be it nationality, race, color, etc. – but as a new creation, redeemed by the blood of the Son of God.
Yeshua teaches us that the pure in heart will see God. Without exception, I am certain that all of us want to see God’s face. We see God in the face of Jesus, and the day is coming when we shall see Him as He is and be changed into His likeness, according to God’s eternal purposes. But there is another dimension ממד to seeing God. It is written for our instruction that Jacob, after he received his new name, Israel, saw God in the face of his brother Esau (Gen 33:10). As you remember, they were brothers, but not friends. Neither trusted the other, and one had wanted to kill the other. But Jacob acknowledged YHVH God as the one who had blessed him with all that he had, and the grace of God enabled Jacob to see in Esau – his estranged brother – a man in the image of God. God used Esau to conform Israel to the likeness of His God. Remember: we become like our God! (Ps 135:18)
Jesus came as the Son of Man – as an Israeli, as a Jew, as a servant – and we all refused to see the reality of God in Him until we repented and believed the gospel. I am convinced that the Jewish and Arab believers will not come to agree with each other on some very important matters to each of us, but when God does a miracle in us to make us one even as He is one – Father, Son, Holy Spirit – we will all be in agreement with Him on these issues! The children of Jacob/Israel are representatives of mankind at large. I say this because Israel is an example for the Church, which is made up of all kinds of people from every tribe and nation, and we all come to the same book and to the same God, YHVH, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob.
For Israeli and Palestinian youth, the personalities and character of Jacob’s children can be seen today in our own peoples and history. They were intended to be one family and nation with YHVH as their God, even as we believers in Jesus as Lord and Messiah are to be one body with Yeshua as Head. They were striving with each other and plotting against those specially chosen or loved, even as today we participate in similar things. They committed violence against each other, seeking to gain the upperhand, or to prevent the other from having what was rightfully his. The Israeli disciples and apostles of Jesus were similar, as you look at their personalities and character.
In all this, the ultimate key for the children of Israel to be reconciled to each other, and to have guilt and shame removed, and for peace to come within and amongst them, was/is to accept the sovereign will of God the Father, acknowledging the Son of His love, whether Joseph to Jacob, or Jesus to God. Our reconciliation with each other – and what our youth need to understand – is not based on who we were – or who our people still are – but on our personal relationship and fellowship with God the Father and His son Jesus Christ. We are to learn to live in the reality of our salvation (which we have received!) through the forgiveness of sins.
It is written that God is creating a generation to praise Him. Let the Palestinian and Israeli youth be among that generation and turn the hearts of the fathers upon them. This display of love and unity will be the most effective evidence of reconciliation which comes only through faith in Jesus the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.