15 September, 2006

The Jewish Economy

Fascinating news out of Israel, cementing the idea of a nation blessed by God as laid out in Deu 7:6: "For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth." As a side note, there are those (many) critics who will argue that Israel has 'lost' it's right to these blessings and promises but it's an argument based on jealousy (why Israel and not me?) and a misunderstanding of the place "worldly nations" play in God's plan. The burden of proof rests with the critic to show where, in Scripture, God doesn't keep His promises and where we're told these promises have been 'moved' to another nation.

Nonetheless, with history has a guide, it's not difficult to see the amazing results of God portecting His chosen people. The rebirth of the nation of Israel, the regathering of the Jews, and their ability remain a nation whilst surrounded by millions of Jew-hating religious fantatics. God's protective hand cannot be denied.

According the Israeli sources, this was, by far, the best year in the country's economic history:
• The surplus for the first half of 2006 reached 5 percent of GDP - historically unprecedented, globally rare and with huge positive implications for the future of the country.
• To compare, Canada's 2006 surplus is forecast to 'only' hit 0.6% of GDP. Canada was the only G7 country to record a surplus in 2005.
• Incredibly enough, Israel's surplus occurred against a background of a sharp rise in oil prices which traditionally creates a significant negative impact on the economy.
• Israel has the highest average living standards in the Middle East.
• Agriculture in Israel is very effective, as is able to covering about 75% of domestic needs, despite the limited land available.

An opinion piece in the Jerusalem Post reads as follows: "Let's interrupt at this point to note that the foregoing can be simply rephrased: The Israeli economy as it existed in the first 50 years of the state...is no more. This is a rich country, getting rapidly richer. The government budget has also been in surplus, government debt has been declining and the government's role in the economy has been steadily shrinking. The labor force is growing, employment is rising and inflation is not an issue for anyone except professional economists."

One could argue that God doesn't dable in 'trivial' issues like a nation's economy but the fact of the matter is that ever since God promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob their descendants would be blessed above all people", the Israelites have enjoyed unparalled success and good fortune, in everything ranging from wars to economy to individual personal wealth to sustainable argiculture in a rather small area. This theme can be traced back to the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt to their time in Promised land to today. But this isn't the interesting point. What's really worth remembering is the inevitable reaction of the Israelites after they had enjoyed periods of incredible blessings: they turned away from God, often put their trust in themselves, and invariably they were punished, often severely, because of their behaviour. It's always been a rollercoaster of faith and dedication for the Jews and it's quite apparent that the Jews are on a personal high, especially with the way their economy is booming and the power of their military. This misplaced trust has set the scene perfectly for the invasion of the land as prophesied in Scripture. This is to be the punishment of the Jews. And exactly as in times past, once the Jews realize they've neglected their God and it's only through Him can they be saved, they will cry to him, and He will listen.

"And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God. Zec 13:9

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