Although Israeli Arabs are allowed to volunteer for military service in the IDF, the numbers of those who do are small because many secular and religious Muslim Arabs want to see the destruction of Israel and the Jewish People.
The Loving Discipline of the Father
“Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you.” (Deuteronomy 8:5)
God, as a loving Father, chastises, disciplines and trains His beloved children—even through hunger, hardship and suffering in the desert (Deuteronomy 8:5).
“Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you … to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” (Deuteronomy 8:3)
The Hebrew word for desert or wilderness is midbar, which has the same root letters as the word m’daber (to speak).
It is God’s word that sustains us, and He often speaks to our hearts during our desert/wilderness times of spiritual dryness.
There in our desert, He tests us “to see what is in our heart, whether we will keep His commandments or not.” (Deuteronomy 8:2)
The rabbis call this testing a “chastisements of love.”
We see this same sentiment in the Book of Hebrews, as well:
“For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and chastises every son whom He receives.” (Hebrews 12:6)
God’s discipline, however, is not only fatherly; it is also motherly. The Book of Proverbs links Shaddai, one of the names of God, with God’s discipline.
“Do not despise the chastisement of Shaddai.” (Proverbs 3:11)
Although Shaddai is related to the word for destroyer and Self-Sufficient One, it comes from a Hebrew root word meaning a woman’s breast (as in a source of food for babies).
This specific name, Shaddai, represents the maternal, gentle, nourishing characteristics of God.
What does a name that reflects God’s maternal nature mean in the context of God’s discipline?
It tells us that His discipline is not only strict and just, but also merciful and tender. We can, therefore, “count it all joy” even when going through times of discipline and suffering because we know that God’s love for us is entirely balanced (James 1:2).
We can rest assured that His discipline will bring us to maturity, and we will be ready to possess the Land when we come out the other side.
Possessing Our Own Land
“The Lord your God will drive out those nations before you, little by little. You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once, or the wild animals will multiply around you.” (Deuteronomy 7:22)
God has given each one of us territory that He wants us to possess for His Kingdom. However, in order to do so, we must first face the challenge of dispossessing the enemy.
Our victory or deliverance will likely not happen suddenly or in one fell swoop.
Since God says He will drive out these nations little by little, we might find that the process of transformation toward our freedom in Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) is gradual (Deuteronomy 7:22).
And as we begin to take the Land, we must remember that our victory has nothing to do with our righteousness or integrity as Believers, but it has everything to do with God’s integrity, power, judgment and discipline.
God makes it clear that it was not because of Israel’s own righteousness that the Israelites went in to possess the Land, (for they were a stubborn, stiff-necked, rebellious people), but because God gave His Word to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob, and because the nations that lived there were wicked (Deuteronomy 9:5–6).
These words should give us hope for our own lives. When we are confronted by a sense of our own unworthiness, ashamed by our sinfulness—our stubbornness and rebellion—we can still count on God’s faithfulness to the covenant we have with Him through Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah).
We know that our own righteousness is like filthy rags before the holiness of God (Isaiah 64:6); however, we also know that God’s Servant “poured out His life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:12)
Through the sacrificial death of His Servant, Yeshua, God activated the promised new covenant with His people—a covenant in which He would “forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Jeremiah 31:34)
Because of our covenant relationship with Him, God will never leave us nor forsake us.
Though the way ahead may appear dangerous or impossible, we can always trust the faithfulness, merciful discipline, and leading of our Heavenly Father.
“For the Lord will not cast off His people, nor will He forsake His inheritance.” (Psalm 94:14)