Israel at War
The Middle East is once again on fire
I don’t believe I’ve ever sent a Surviving Tomorrow newsletter on Sunday, so I’ll keep this brief and churchey. :-)
By now, you’ve likely heard that Israel was attacked by Hamas yesterday.
Scale is helpful:
2,977 Americans were murdered by Islamic terrorists on 9/11.
Yesterday’s attack on Israel is the per capita equivalent of 23,357 deaths.
That’s nearly eight World Trade Center bombings.
In other words, it’s absolutely massive.
The Western media is calling it an “unprovoked attack.”
Hamas believes the entire state of Israel belongs to them and sees Israelis as an occupying force that has imprisoned them in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. After all, Palestinians had been living in the area for centuries before the Jews returned in 1948.
Israel, in turn, believes they hold the oldest claim to the land, dating back to Joshua’s conquest of Canaan at some point between 1400-1190 BC. (What we do know for sure is that the Jewish state of Israel was dissolved by the Roman Empire in 70 AD.)
Israel claims they’ve worked hard at peace, even withdrawing from Sinai, Gaza, and parts of the West Bank.
Hamas claims Israel has been encroaching and expanding their settlements.
In other words: It’s a mess.
The covenant that God made with Abraham was to bless his family to be a blessing to all the families of the world. Clearly, Israel has failed to live up to her end of the deal.
God also promises correction and punishment for disobedience. Israel continues to live in disobedience to God’s Law — and Christians believe they’ve also rejected the Messiah and the new covenant of grace.
Let’s never forget the never-ending Jewish-Muslim battle is a family conflict between cousins, tracing back to Ishmael and Isaac. God actually gave Abraham a prophecy in Genesis 16:12 about where Ishmael’s hostile character would lead: “He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.” Family traits are hard to shake.
If Abraham had never slept with Hagar, the Middle East wouldn’t be in this mess. As my wife Michelle often says, “Sin has shrapnel.” Brothers and sisters, we have no idea how long our good and evil actions might reverberate.
Israel will now smash Gaza.
They’ve already cut power to the 2-million-person state to hinder Hamas’s ability to communicate and coordinate.
They’ve been letter-dropping and texting Palestinian citizens all morning, telling families to evacuate so the IDF can obliterate all Hamas infrastructure.
This will likely follow with another lengthy occupation.
So there is war.
First it was the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, then the 1956 Suez Crisis, then the 1967 Six-Day War, then the 1973 Yom Kippur War, then the 1982 Lebanon War, then the 2006 Lebanon War, and now this.
And there are rumors of war:
Turkish planes assembling.
Syrian jets scrambling.
Jesus in Matthew 24:6 tells people what to do with wars and rumors of wars: “See that you are not alarmed.”
“For this must take place, but the end is not yet.”
“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom…”
It gets worse:
“There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.”
The really bad news?
“All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.”
If you read the rest of the passage, it’s clear that we’re really only near the start.
Psalm 122 is a song of David entitled Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem.
That seems fitting in the season ahead.
After the 9/11 attacks, the USA did not turn the other cheek as Christ commanded. They invaded and occupied, killing 432,000 civilians and displacing 38 million more.
Let us hope and pray Israel acts more like Jesus and less like America.
Twitter/X is ablaze with hashtags, calling all of us armchair bystanders to pick a side:
We should avoid false dichotomies.
We stand with humanity.