Jan 5, 2009

The Keys To Haifa

By Jim Fletcher

I once had an interesting conversation with a former chief of staff for David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister. We were discussing the establishment of the state, and I showed my lack of discernment when I asked:

“Why didn’t Ben Gurion fight harder to gain control of Jerusalem during the War of Independence?” I was curious why the Jews agreed to a state without Jerusalem as its capitol at the time in 1948.

“I asked him the very same question once,” my friend replied. “The prime minister had tears in his eyes when he answered, ‘Because I had to have the keys to Haifa.’”

Ah, fascinating! Ben Gurion’s answer is a reminder that sometimes we must wait on the wisdom of someone smarter than us. In our case today, we must wait on God’s timing in all matters, particularly the area of fulfilled prophecy.

You see, Ben Gurion’s point was that it was better to establish the state first, then grapple with the issue of Jerusalem at a later date. What he meant by “having the keys to Haifa” was that the first goal was to have a port capable of receiving shiploads of Jewish refugees, traumatized by Hitler’s psychotic dreams, but capable of forming the basis of the new Jewish state.

Do you see? If, say I had had the reigns in 1948, I would have thought it best to gain the maximum: get a state and Jerusalem. But God had other plans. He provided that seaport in Haifa for the receiving of millions of Jews for the new state of Israel. Then, as He often does, He let years pass before the final fulfillment: Jerusalem was captured by the Israel Defense Forces in June, 1967. It has remained in Jewish hands ever since.

Those of us who love Israel become anxious over circumstances, timing, personalities. We fidget and fret that “things aren’t good over there,” or “Israel is in trouble.”

On the contrary, Israel is right where she needs to be, covered by her great God. As the writer, Claude Duvernoy, termed Him, “The Lord of History” controls what goes on. I like that, The Lord of History.

All of us have to learn patience and to wait on the Lord. Too often we wonder if the latest hiccup in the Middle East is signaling the Gog-Magog War. Or if the nations are preparing to invade Jerusalem. Or we wonder why God doesn’t “save” Israel.

He will! But His timing is so much better than ours; the example of Ben Gurion is so revealing. It was better to wait for the right moment and sure enough, the Holy City was taken from its Arab jailers and today any of us can walk around it and marvel at the history, feeling safe and soaking up the warm embrace of fulfilled prophecy.

Now, we are anxious about the threats from Hamas in Gaza, and Hezbollah in Lebanon. We want Bibi Netanyahu to win the elections and “save” Israel. We want the terrorists to be vanquished yesterday. We want the world to acknowledge the God of the Bible.

In time.