God Does Not Break His Promises
Just a few years ago, the hill by my house known today as Oz Vegaon was a garbage dump. Today I was on that hill celebrating the brit (circumcision) of a new baby boy born just eight days ago as we welcomed him in to the covenant of Abraham. What changed? How did a garbage dump turn in to a place where we celebrate an eternal covenant between God and Abraham’s descendants?
Three years ago, all of Israel came to a stand-still as we heard that three teenage boys had been kidnapped by Arab terrorists. They had been on their way home from school when two Arab terrorists disguised as religious Jews offered the boys a ride home. They got in the car and shortly after realized that they had been abducted.
One of the boys bravely and secretly alerted the police by calling on his cell phone. In the recording released by the police, you hear him whisper “They kidnapped us” clearly trying to say it so that the terrorists would not hear. Unfortunately they did, and the next thing you hear on the recording is gun shots and then silence.
What happened next was an eighteen-day search for the three boys. The entire country was mobilized and on edge. The army, assisted by local volunteers, began scouring the hills in the area of the abduction. The Shabak (equivalent of the US FBI) began using all their assets to try to discover the whereabouts of the boys. A social media campaign called “Bring Back our Boys” was launched worldwide to ramp up awareness and pressure. Everyone was optimistic that there would be a good end to the story and that the boys would return home to their families.
But they didn’t. On day eighteen, the bodies of the three boys were discovered in the Judean Hills just a few miles from where they were taken. They were killed within the first ten minutes of being abducted. People all over Israel and the world were devastated.
The mothers of the boys spoke out going on TV, speaking at the UN, contacting world leaders. There was so much sympathy for the families of the boys in all corners of the world. World leaders joined in the chorus condemning the terrorists.
At the end of the day, it was all words. Words are nice but if you do not follow through with action then they are practically worthless. Talk is cheap as they say. You cannot love your spouse, your kids or a friend and not be willing to do something for them.
Here in Israel it has been a long-standing tradition that in response to terror, we build. The aim of the terrorists is to scare us away from our God given homeland. This is the land that God promised in the Bible to the Jewish people, the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We take this very seriously and we will not back down when others try to remove us from our land.
The issue here in Israel can be summed up very simply: Our enemies do not want us here and we are not going anywhere. So we continue to build and love this land that was given to us by the Creator.
The response to the kidnapping and murder of the three boys was to take a hill right near where the boys were kidnapped and transform it in to a nature reserve. It has a beautiful park, a synagogue, multi-purpose buildings and wooded areas for picnics. It is an inspiring place that now hosts many meaningful events.
That is the background of this garbage dump that is now a nature reserve. As I was standing this morning watching this little infant enter in to the covenant that is over 4000 years old, I could not help but recall what God tells Abraham when he is being circumcised.
“I will give you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojourns—the whole of the land of Canaan—as an everlasting possession; and I shall be a God to them” (Genesis 17:8)
Abraham’s descendants are alive and well and maintain the covenant with God. We continue to circumcise our boys and we continue to live in the land. We have come home and we are here to stay.