In my life I have had many Christians tell me that America needs to "Stand with Israel," even though Israel stands against Christ. The verse most often quoted is from Genesis 12:2-3 when God told Abraham, "And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." I was told that if America stands with Israel, we will be blessed, but if we stop financially supporting or we refuse to go to war to protect them, we will be cursed. Is this a good application of what the Bible teaches?
Today's Bible reading in the Operation Save America bible reading schedule includes these verses.
Joshua 5:13 ¶ And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?14 And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant? 15 And the captain of the LORD'S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.
This is a fascinating passage. Joshua sees "a man" with a sword. Joshua asks the man, "Do you stand for Israel? or Against Israel?" The answer in modern language is, "That depends where Israel stands. I am the captain of the armies of YHWH." God never gave Israel unconditional support. He had promised to bless their obedience and curse their disobedience in Deuteronomy chapters twenty-seven and twenty-eight. Blessings and curses would follow on the basis of covenant faithfulness. Anyone who says otherwise needs to read more Old Testament history. In the following chapters Israel will be both blessed and cursed. Israel will be blessed when they obey YHWH and cursed when they disobey. Their obedience when they go to fight against mighty Jericho will be blessed. Their disobedience when attacking little Ai will be cursed.
Joshua bows to the earth and worships the man before him. The man does not forbid the worship. Instead the man utters the same words that Moses heard before the burning bush, "Loose the shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is Holy." These words reveal who Joshua was talking to. Joshua of the Old Covenant has come face to face with Joshua of the "New Covenant." This is the pre incarnate Christ. The question for Joshua is, "Do you stand for Jesus?"
Jesus said, "He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth." Luke 11:23. That is to say, you are either "Pro Christ" or "Anti Christ." There is no middle ground.
So what about the verse that tells us to "Stand with Israel" in Genesis 12:3? Paul gives us the true meaning of Genesis 12:3 in Galatians 3:8, "And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed...16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ." Paul says that the seed to be blessed is specifically Christ. God would bless the nations in Christ. God does not command the nations to unconditionally bless secular Israel while they conscientiously reject Christ as LORD and Savior. We are to pray for their peace and reconciliation with God, but we are not to bless rebellion.
In the very next chapter of Joshua, we see Rahab, a Canaanite harlot who was under the curse, being blessed as a result of her obedient faith. She will be grafted into the tribe of Judah and become a progenitor of Christ. Then in Chapter seven we see a man of the tribe of Judah, Achan, disobey and coming under the curse. This is a great illustration of how God metes out blessing and curses. A gentile has been grafted in, and a Jew has been cut off. God does not bless and curse people on the basis of Race but on the basis of Grace. God's blessing and curses are meted out in terms of grace and faith in Jesus, who is the true Israel of God and the LORD of Hosts.
Ro 11:19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. 20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: 21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.