I'm thrilled that I was invited to join the celebration of the grand opening of America's embassy in Jerusalem. This is a historic moment, and the decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move our embassy there is the just and respectful move for the people of Israel. Jerusalem is the seat of Israel's government, and they reserve the right to determine their own capital city, as does any other sovereign nation throughout the world.
Israel has survived as a people and as a nation against all odds. They have suffered unprovoked wars, genocide, slavery and every physical and rhetorical attack imaginable. The reasons for standing with Israel are clear and overwhelming, but in case there's any doubt, here are the five most important ones:
First, God has promised to bless those who bless Israel. In Genesis 12:3, the Lord says of Israel, "I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." I firmly believe this promise from God is as true today as it was centuries ago. And I take his promises seriously. There's no denying God's sovereignty and his hand both in history and in each of our lives. I dare not test God of the consequences for denying our friendship and support of Israel.
Second, Israel is a strategic ally — helping them helps us. Israel is our strongest ally in the Middle East — militarily, economically and technologically. This cannot be overstated. The Israelis regularly provide essential intelligence in confronting the global war on terror and combating Islamic extremists. The Middle East has been a place of near constant upheaval and violence, and it is imperative that we remain friends with the leading power in the region.
Third, Israel shares our democratic values. The government of Israel adheres to the rule of law and treats its citizens fairly and equally under the law. As such they are a role model for other nations. In a part of the world dominated by totalitarianism, they are a beacon of hope.
Fourth, Israel's enemies are daily plotting their destruction: The nation of Israel reemerged 70 years ago from the ashes of the largest, most appalling genocide ever endured by any people group in history: the Holocaust. One would hope that the memory of this darkest moment in history would forever serve as a reminder to stand side by side with the descendants of David as they resist the forces of death and destruction assembled against them. Yet hardly a day goes by without a rogue leader or violent insurgent group proclaiming "death to Israel" — all without the United Nations so much as batting an eye. We musn't be short-sighted and ignorant of the perennial hatred and bigotry that the Jewish people have endured. We can't let our guard down for a moment — for the forces arrayed against Israel are the same forces arrayed against us.
Fifth, God Gave the Promised Land to the Jewish people as their eternal home. Every other nation was founded by an act of human will, but Israel is unique in that it was established by an act of God. It was promised to Abraham by God in an eternal covenant. Genesis 17:8 reveals, "The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you." The existence of Israel from its beginning is truly a miracle, and the fact that Israel exists to this present day is testament to the Lord's timeless promise.
These are but a few of the many reasons why we must stand with our friends in Israel. They need us now more than ever — and we need them. Join me, then, as we are instructed in Psalm 122: "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! May they be secure who love you! Peace be within your walls and security within your towers!"
May a peaceful Jerusalem be an ever louder chorus of God's providence and his faithful hand in the world he created.