We are all aware of the circumstances which led to the birth of the promised seed to Abraham and Sarah. The principal angel of the three that appeared to Abraham in Mamre emphatically declared to him, “I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son” (Gen.18:10). Sarah laughed in disbelief considering that both she and Abraham were old and well stricken in age; and also that it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women (v11). But what was considered to be an impossibility with men was not so with the Creator of heaven and earth. The laughter of unbelief from Sarah was answered by an assurance from Yahweh: “Is anything too hard for Yahweh? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son” – v14. And so at the appointed time Isaac was born as promised. The bringing to birth of the promised seed through whom the nation of Israel came was a work of God.

And down through the centuries of time, Yahweh has not stopped working amongst His chosen people. The 20th century has certainly witnessed remarkable evidences that Yahweh is at work on behalf of Israel. Leaving aside the dramatic events in the early years of this century, the most miraculous event surely was the birth of the modern nation of Israel on May 14th 1948. The birth of this nation against all odds was just as unlikely and seemed just as impossible as the birth of Isaac thousands of years previously. But what was true of Isaac was just as true of the nation.

“Is anything too hard for Yahweh?” – NO! – because we have come to appreciate that with God nothing is impossible.

Ezekiel in his 38th chapter prophesied that Israel would not only be back in their land prior to the Lord’s coming, but that they would be dwelling there safely without walls, bars, or gates (v11). With the absolute hatred shown by her Arab neighbours, this also seemed impossible. But then came the amazing Camp David Accord between Israel and Egypt in 1979 and, in more recent times, the even more remarkable peace agreement between Israel and the PLO, signed on the White House lawn on September 13th 1993.

Recently the writer had the pleasure of reading a most interesting book given as a gift, entitled “The Norway Channel”. It dealt with the secret talks in Norway between Israeli and PLO officials, which led to the Middle East Peace Accord signed in September 1993. This book, written by one of the BBC’s top reporters, Jane Corbin, tells how this Accord “between representatives of two ancient enemies – an accord that had eluded presidents, secretaries of state, special envoys, and numerous back channel negotiators – was accomplished by an unknown Norwegian couple”.

As Jane Corbin relates in the book: “for nine months, in Norwegian country mansions and homely log cabins, far from the prying eyes of the media and the critical forces within their own communities, Israelis and Palestinians ate, drank, walked, and laughed together as they hammered out a peace deal. There were moments of high drama, screaming matches, and sometimes farce, but the participants resolved never to look back into their troubled history and blame one another. They would only look forward, to the futures of their children and of the generations to come”.

What impressed me on reading this book was the realisation of the, at times, mysterious and obscure ways in which Yahweh works to bring about His purpose, so emphatically stated by His prophets.

Since the signing of the Accord in September 1993, further remarkable events have transpired in Israel, testifying to the veracity of God’s Word. Ezekiel predicted that Gog would come against Israel “to take a spoil … to take a prey”, to a nation which had obviously become rich in “silver and gold … cattle and goods” – (vv 12, 13).

“The Australian” newspaper ran a special supplement in the May 4th edition, to coincide with Israel’s 47th anniversary . The leading article highlighted the economic benefits that have come Israel’s way since the signing of the Accord.

“All of a sudden nothing seems impossible”, were the quoted comments in the article of Dr. Ehud Kofman, the Israeli Finance Minister’s top adviser on international business. The article in “The Australian” goes on to say: “Indeed, Israel is already reaping the early dividends of the peace process despite its staggeringly slow pace. The climate of rapprochement inaugurated by the 1991 Madrid Conference opened up huge markets from which Israel was previously barred – China, India, the Central Asian Republics, Russia and Black Africa.

“Sixty five of the 75 countries which voted 20 years ago for the UN resolution equating Zionism with racism have already resumed relations and trade with Israel. The rest, including Israel’s number one new target – Indonesia, are expected to follow soon.

“The figures reflect the political change. Since the Gulf War, Israel’s exports have grown almost 80 per cent, at an average annual pace of 12 per cent. Three-quarters of the increase went to new markets in Asia. A dramatic rise in exports with the emphasis on high tech, illustrates Israel’s ‘economic victory’ over the Arabs, no less important than its military prowess.

“Twenty years ago Israel’s gross national product was half that of its immediate neighbours.

“Today, it is bigger than the combined economies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinians.”

We, of course, know that the amazing economic growth of modern Israel will eventually lead to catastrophe for the nation when Gog comes down to take a great spoil. Surely we are living in the days when this event cannot be too far away. And when for Israel in that day, all will seem lost and the hope of salvation an impossibility, suddenly their Redeemer will appear to achieve “the impossible”.

“Is anything too hard for Yahweh?”