Oct 12, 2009

The God of Israel Watches

Jim FletcherBy Jim Fletcher

Today’s column will be a bit more personal. I honestly feel compelled to do it.

Several years ago, I was visiting with a friend who lives in Samaria, what Brian Williams, the New York Times, and Barack Obama know as the “West Bank.”

In point of fact, the heart of Israel is the biblical, ancestral land known in the Bible as Judea/Samaria, or the Land of Israel.

We were walking my friend’s property; she is a religious Jew (Judaism) and very friendly with evangelicals. This was during the period when the Gaza pullout was going on and there was a real fear among Jews and evangelicals that somehow, God’s plans would be thwarted (not exactly their words) by a Palestinian state.

So that you’ll know, I do not subscribe to this theory, nor do I subscribe to the theory that Iran can obliterate Israel. Scripture tells us that no weapon formed against Israel will prosper; it won’t work.

This is a fundamental issue that goes to the heart of our faith. It’s not only easy, but joyful, to have great faith in the midst of a worship session during a pro Israel conference, or when your pastor preaches a pro Israel message (a more uncommon occurrence today).

What isn’t easy is believing the Bible when your faith is tested in some way. It’s not easy when you listen to Islamist psychos declare that they’ll bury Israel and the West. I seem to remember a certain Soviet premier banging his shoe on the podium at the UN, bragging about what the Russian Bear would do to the U.S. His body has been rotting in the ground for many years now; we’re still here.

For a long time now, Israel’s enemies have plotted her destruction. Read Psalm 83 or Ezekiel 36. Everyone is always going to teach the Jews a lesson.

Now, we have biblical promises too that those who support Israel will be blessed. No question. But does that mean we won’t face troubles, persecutions? I don’t think so.

A few years ago, I got serious about my support for Israel. I have not had many peaceful days since then. In 2003, the publisher I worked for created a publishing division, Balfour Books, that is specifically pro Israel. Jewish and Christian authors who write on a variety of issues.

I left that publisher a few years later. This summer, I bought Balfour Books from them. My aim is to continue publishing and promoting books that teach people about Israel, ancient and modern. We have published books like Entebbe, about the famous hostage rescue, and God’s Covenant with Israel, a terrific history book for the layman.

However, I feel the opposition. It is daily. Weird things happen, like orders ship and get lost, and it should be routine. Actually, a multitude of strange things happen and they cannot be coincidence. I have many friends in publishing, and while they have challenges, they do not have the challenges that Balfour Books has. That’s a fact. I could list a whole slew of setbacks, but will give you just one example:

One day I had finally made contact with a well-known Israeli and, via email, was about to set an appointment with him on my next Israel visit. I set down my coffee cup when an email popped up from this person’s secretary. I clicked on the email and…my computer went dead. It was fried. Computer crash. I had not backed-up my hard drive in a few days, so I lost the contact name and could not get back in touch with them.

I guess that book project didn’t need to be published!

The economy is also a factor, obviously. Families buy groceries before they buy books and I understand. I do that, as well!

But we are alive and books are in the warehouse and orders are coming in. I hope you will check us out at balfourstore.com. If you email me, I’ll send you our new catalog via email. If you would be so kind, if you like what you see, please forward our website and catalog along to like-minded friends. It all helps.

I will tell you without hesitation that saving myself the hassle of nursing along a small publishing house that promotes Israel is stressful. I often fantasize about running a lawn-care business. But I bought and promote Balfour because of my visit with my Israeli friend, in the land of her forefathers.

It was a cloudy day, rainy. She wrapped her sweatered arms around herself, tight. We looked at the valley below, and then to the hills, dotted now with Jewish homes — just as Isaiah and the other prophets predicted. She looked at me and pressed a hand to her heart.

“We have difficulties, Jim; we have many enemies. But I know — I know — that the Messiah is very close.”

My friend does not, for the moment, believe in the same Messiah I do. But she is part of His people. And I know that this life’s present difficulties pale in comparison to seeing Him one day soon.