How To Stand With Israel
Israel is at war. Over 1,200 Israelis have been murdered by terrorists since this past Saturday and countless others held hostage. The news of the brutality of the Hamas terrorists is an evil that is unthinkable. Israel has every right and the responsibility to protect and defend herself. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday, “We did not start this fight, but we will finish it.” As Israel is engaged in war, the question we must ask ourselves is, “how do we stand by our nation’s friend and ally in the Middle East”?
Let me give you a few notes from our “Israel At War: A Call to Prayer” service held at our Midweek Fire service on Wednesday night.
#1. Understand The Roots Of The Conflict
To pray and support Israel effectively, it is important to understand the nature of the conflict. This is more than an historic or political war. At its root is a spiritual conflict. 1 John 2:18 states, “Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.”
The spirit of the Anti-Christ is:
- anti-peace. It seeks conflict and chaos.
- anti-love. It sows hatred.
- anti-semitic. It hates the Jewish people and desires their destruction.
This demonic spirit is the only explanation for the hatred and brutality we’ve seen and heard about in recent days.
#2 Pray For Israel
God made a covenant with His people, “…I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1–3, ESV).
Paul wrote to the Romans and Corinthians how we owe a debt of gratitude to our Jewish brothers and sisters who were the ones through which God chose first to reveal His plans and purposes. We have been grafted into their family through faith in the Messiah, Jesus Christ. It is appropriate and scriptural to pray for the peace and protection of Israel and God’s people.
This is not an unhealthy idolization of Israel. It is an appreciation for the role they have played in God’s storyline and a desire to see them come to know Jesus their Messiah just as we have.
What should we pray?
- Pray the Scripture.
Psalm 122:6-9, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! “May they be secure who love you! Peace be within your walls and security within your towers!” For my brothers and companions’ sake I will say, “Peace be within you!” For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good.”
Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
Psalm 46:8-10, “Come, behold the works of the Lord, how he has brought desolations on the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire. “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
- Pray for God to bring peace and security back to the Holy Land.
- Pray for a quick resolution and no escalation.
- Pray for every person (in Israel, Gaza & the West Bank) who has been affected.
- Pray that God’s righteousness will rule and reign over conflict.
- Pray that every plan of the enemy would fail.
- Pray for salvation – for the Jews, Gentiles, and Palestinians.
# 3 Reject Hatred
As Christ followers, we must reject hatred in all its forms. Anti-semitism is “a hostility or hatred towards Jewish people.” You see it on display in the open chants, “Death to Israel,” or “Gas the Jews” and in the parades that celebrate the massacre that have taken place. Yet it is also at the root of more subtle statements that seek to place the blame for Saturday’s massacre entirely on the Jewish people.
On the other side you also see hatred pointed towards Muslims and the Palestinian people living in Gaza. There are innocent civilians in Gaza who are under the radical tyranny of Hamas. These are precious people who also need Jesus. Pray for their protection and salvation.
#4 Support With Finances
In 1 Corinthians 16, Paul directed the church to prepare a collection so that he could deliver it on their behalf to Jerusalem. As I stated earlier, Gentiles owe a debt of gratitude to the Jewish people, through whom God chose to reveal the gospel. They were the first to receive the new covenant and we’ve become beneficiaries. Paul wrote in Romans 15:27, “For if the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings, they ought also to be of service to them in material blessings.”
There is an opportunity and need to bless Israel with our material blessings. We have been in touch with Convoy of Hope. They are preparing to distribute aid when it is safe and appropriate to do so. I encourage you to do something. We have established a fund on our Church Center app that you can contribute towards. When giving, please select “Convoy of Hope” in the drop down menu.
This Sunday we will take a moment to remember Israel in prayer. We also begin a new series entitled, “I’ve Got Issues: Our Mess, God’s Message.” I look forward to seeing you.
PS: We recorded Wednesday night’s special message concerning Israel. It will be uploaded to our podcast next week.