July 16: 13 Tammuz
It was on this day, in 1906, that the Home Construction Company organized and began to build homes outside of ancient Jaffa. Over time this area would become known as the city of Tel Aviv. In Hebrew, Tel Aviv means the “hill” or “mound of spring.” We could shorten it and say “Spring Hill.” The importance of the name is this area is where modern Israel truly began to spring forth. In that manner, Tel Aviv also alludes to a place of new beginnings.
When one flies into Israel, today, one of the first things you will see is the city of Tel Aviv which is now a bustling metropolis. Like most other large cities, Tel Aviv has much to offer, both good and bad. And even though Tel Aviv has played a significant role in what the Creator is doing as it relates to the reestablishment of the state of Israel, Zion is what He’s really focused upon.
“So the nations shall fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth Your glory. For the Lord shall build up Zion; He shall appear in His glory.” (Psalm 102:15-16)
When God speaks of regathering Israel and building up Zion, He isn’t focused on any one city. In other words, His purpose doesn’t focus exclusively on Tel Aviv or on Jerusalem for that matter, because there’s more to Zion than a geographical location – it’s about more than just a city. Rebuilding Zion is about restoring a people and a nation. As believers in Messiah, we are part of that nation and part of what He is building up. Paul said:
“If you are Messiah’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:29)
The Bible makes it clear that the land of promise is part of that promise. You can’t extract the covenant land from the covenant. The point is, if we’re part of what He’s building up and if that’s connected to the land, then the land is part of our heritage, too. Perhaps that’s why so many visitors to Israel feel “at home” when they are there. In reality, they are even though they were born and raised in a different country. When we come into the covenant and become partakers of the covenants of promise, then we become partakers of the heritage promised to Abraham and to his seed.
In the meantime, of course, most of God’s people live outside of Israel in every nation on earth. That fact did not take Him by surprise but it was He who, intentionally, placed us in these different nations for a reason. Therefore, until the time comes that He gathers us unto Himself, we must blossom where we’ve been planted. We need to do what we were placed here to do, in the place that He determined that we should be. It is really important for us to remember that there are many others who are supposed to be part of this family of faith and we, through our obedience to Him, must influence as many as possible in the time that’s allotted to us. We must play our part in His plan as He builds up Zion. We do our part by following His will and dying to ours. As the Scripture says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, they that labor, labor in vain” (Psalm 127:1).
May our prayer, today, be that the Father will make clear to us what we are to say and do as we strive to fulfill our role in the restoration of Zion. May we truly be a people that shines as a light in the midst of darkness.