The above picture of the orange grove reflects life in modern day Israel. As you can see, the trees can hardly contain the abundant harvest of oranges.
This is a far different scene from what Mark Twain saw when he visited the land in 1867. In his book The Innocents Abroad, he described it as “A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds... a silent mournful expanse.... a desolation.... we never saw a human being on the whole route.... hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country.”
Not a lot had changed by the time Israel became a nation in 1948; the land was still barren and a desert in many places.
However, the above picture is but a small sampling of the changes that have occurred in Israel during the past seventy years. The land has blossomed just as Isaiah predicted long ago.
The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad;
the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus;
it shall blossom abundantly
and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
the majesty of our God (Isaiah 35:1-2).
In Zechariah 8:12, the prophet spoke of a time of future blessing for Israel:
For there shall be a sowing of peace. The vine shall give its fruit, and the ground shall give its produce, and the heavens shall give their dew. And I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things.
Is what we see today the fulfillment of these passages or simply a precursor to what’s ahead? Even if it’s the latter, it’s still a remarkable sign of God at work in modern day Israel.
I believe this picture speaks volumes in regard to God’s keeping of His covenant with Abraham and His later promises to the nation of Israel through His prophets. It’s just another sign that we are living in the last days.
And someday, Israel will return to the Lord just Zechariah says they will do (12:10-14).