It was on this day in 1973 that a founding father of Israel, and its first Prime Minister, David ben Gurion, died in the city of Tel Aviv. He was a driving force in the establishment of the Israeli state in 1948 and, on May 14th of that year, delivered Israel’s Declaration of Independence. Upon his retirement from public office, Ben Gurion was referred to as the Father of the Nation, the Israeli equivalent of George Washington. When Washington was eulogized, it was said of him that he was, “first in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen.” From an Israeli point of view, the same could be said of David ben Gurion.
After the War of Independence a European reporter interviewed ben Gurion. Upon seeing a Bible on his desk, the reporter asked him about the role of Scripture in the modern state of Israel. The Prime Minister, who often acted in ways that seemed to contradict Scripture, acknowledged that the God of the Bible was the reason for Israel’s existence. Ben Gurion may not have been the ideal spokesmen for the Bible, but he believed in it. More importantly, he believed in the God of the Bible. Furthermore, Ben Gurion’s testimony to the reporter made it clear that he believed God intervened in the affairs of men to bring about His purposes.
This is a lesson to which we are first introduced in the beginning. God took a man by the name of Abram from the Ur of the Chaldeans, and told him:
“Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1-3)
According to Paul in Galatians 3:29, those who are in Messiah are beneficiaries of that blessing. But we are also charged with the responsibility of carrying forth the message and the covenant that was given to Abraham so long ago. This is to serve the purpose that was given to Abraham – to be a source of blessing to all the peoples of the world. While it’s sometimes hard for us to see ourselves as being crucial to the Kingdom, the reality is, we all have a very important role to play. Just look at American history.
God took an obscure Virginia farmer and used him along with a collection of farmers, merchants and tradesmen to defeat the greatest military force in the world at that time. That man, of course, was George Washington. Likewise, He took a peasant from Poland and placed him in position to be Israel’s first Prime Minister. He took a childless man from Babylon and made him the father of a great nation of faith. If God can do that with those men, and with many others throughout history, then He can do the same for you and me. If we submit to His will, He can use us to fulfill His great purpose.