A Question of Obedience
Summary ... Many people say that refusing to obey an order from the government will put the nation in grave danger. That, however, is not the case. In fact, quite the opposite is true. It is a matter of faith in God, not fear of man.
There are many people in Israel calling for soldiers of the Israel Defense Force (IDF) to disobey any orders to remove Jews from their homes in Gaza and northern Samaria. There are also many others saying the soldiers should obey all orders from the government, no matter what they involve.
Both sides are well represented by soldiers, rabbis, politicians, and ordinary citizens. The arguments given by both sides cover a broad spectrum: military, political, humanitarian, economical, and religious. Those arguments given in relation to God's promises to Israel are, however, the only valid ones.
Approximately 4,000 years ago God made a covenant with Abraham to give him and his descendants the land of Canaan, located "from the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates" (Genesis 15:18). God restated this covenant to Isaac (Genesis 26.2-5) and to Jacob (Genesis 28.13; 35.12). Eventually God made this same covenant with the entire house of Israel, as a nation: "For My angel will go before you and bring you in to the land of the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivites and the Jebusites; and I will completely destroy them.... And I will fix your boundary from the Red Sea to the sea of the Philistines, and from the wilderness to the River Euphrates; for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand, and you will drive them out before you." (Exodus 23.23,31).
God declared that Israel would be His "own possession among all the peoples". This requires Israel to "obey My [God's] voice and keep My [God's] covenant" (Exodus 19:5). That is the key to this whole issue: whether Israel should obey God or man. It is not so much a question of refusing to obey government orders as it is refusing to disobey God's commands.
Many people say that refusing to obey an order from the government will put the nation in grave danger. That, however, is not the case. In fact, quite the opposite is true. It is a matter of faith in God, not fear of man. God commanded Israel to live in the Land of Israel. Moses said, "So the L-rd commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the L-rd our God for our good always and for our survival, as it is today" (Deuteronomy 6:24). Notice that Moses said, "for our good always" and "for our survival". Israel will survive by obeying Torah. Joshua said, "This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success" (Joshua 1:8). King David wrote, "In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?" (Psalm 56:11; 118.6).
It is by trust in God and obedience to His word that Israel will survive. No man will be able to save Israel. Moses said, "Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the L-rd your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you" (Deuteronomy 31:6).
The people of Israel live because the God of Israel lives!
[ Published: February 12, 2005 ]
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