Once again those who are determined to uproot what has been planted have struck deep into the garden of God. This time they have plucked three tender shoots from the soil of promise not far from the burial cave of Father Abraham in Hebron. It has been reported that these innocent young men are being held as bargaining chips for the release of terrorists—who desire to water God’s garden with blood.
“Our boys were kidnapped by a terrorist organization. Plain and simple, there’s no doubt about it” (Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu).
A week before the abductions I invited two American friends to travel with me to Hebron, not by armored bus or with an armored guard. Rather, we took a taxi and spent time walking and talking in the place of the patriarchs who received the promise of the Master Gardener that he would plant their seed in this soil. Of course, that was well before partition plans and political proposals that ignore the fact that this land is God’s garden.
Since the shutdown of the Garden of Eden and the end of human occupation there, it could be assumed that God took off his gloves, put away his gardening tools, and would never again cultivate the ground for the ever-disobedient humans he had created. On the contrary, he actually prepared the soil of a special plot of ground and over a period of many years planted something more important than trees, more complex than fruits or vegetables, and more beautiful than flowers. He uprooted a group of people who languished in the harsh Egyptian soil and transplanted them in his new garden—the Land of Israel.
Before you think I have gone too far by calling God a gardener, consider this. There is only one time in the entire Bible that God says he will do something with all his heart and with all his soul.
“I will rejoice over them to do them good and will faithfully plant them in this land with all My heart and with all My soul” (Jeremiah 32:41, NASB).
This marvelous promise paints a picture of a Gardener who has both the strength of heart to dig and protect the garden, along with the passion of soul to plant and cultivate the seeds. When the words “with all” are added to the phrase—twice—the deep commitment of the Gardener jumps off the page of Scripture.
I have much love and respect for my many friends who are called “settlers,” but ought to be referred to as God’s plants. They are simply living proof that the promise to Abraham from the Gardener in heaven is still in effect many generations after the ancient Amorites were uprooted from God’s garden plot because of their iniquity.
“As for you [Abraham], you shall go to your fathers in peace; you will be buried at a good old age. Then in the fourth generation they will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete” (Genesis 15:15-16).
From the first time God planted Israel in his garden more than 3,000 years ago (Exodus 15:17), until their re-planting in the State of Israel in 1948, there have always been those who have disregarded and disrespected God’s garden. For a plethora of reasons, they think that those who have been planted in the land will wilt away under the hot sun of the threat of terror and war or the lack of the refreshing water of prosperity and peace. But their enemies must know that even if they water the garden with blood, they cannot and will not uproot those whom God has faithfully planted—with all his heart and with all his soul.
While we wait in prayerful hope and expectation for the release or rescue of these young Israeli sprouts, I have been calling out their names of purpose in prayer before the Gardener: Eyal…strength, Naftali…my struggle, and Gilad…endless joy. When I think of all three I call upon Eyal’s last name, Yifrach…he will flower!
My prayer is also for all Israelis that they will be strong in this struggle and experience endless joy knowing they will flower in the soil of God’s garden…no matter how it is watered!
But make no mistake, those terrorists who spill innocent blood in God’s garden will be held accountable by the one who said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground” (Genesis 4:10).