Sunday, June 24, 2012
Sunset, daybreak, the steady hand of God turns the earth through another day. His grip is sturdy, forceful, capable and secure; all peoples of the earth are firmly in His grasp. As “Master Artisan of the Universe,” not one detail is missed as He rotates His object of love in His hand.
He turns it to the only land on earth declared Holy by the Lord Our Maker. There He gazes into the eternal city, nestled in the mountains of Israel. Yet in southern Israel heartbreak is heard from the people of God; the cries of mothers wanting safety for their children are heard.
Since last Monday southern Israel has again been under a barrage of rocket fire originating out of Gaza. Despite a ceasefire, Ashkelon and Sderot were pummeled with over 20 Grad missiles. More than 150 rockets have been fired into the Land of Promise in less than a week; nine Israelis were wounded, when a rocket hit an apartment building in the Western Negev. Tragically, an Israeli-Arab was killed by an explosion. These rockets are being launched from the area Israel disengaged from in order to make peace in 2007. Families were pulled from their homes and bodies out of the ground in hopes for peace and we now have terrorists firing on those same families from where their homes and schools once stood.
Where is the worldwide media outrage? There will be little to none. These attacks have been happening for so long and so often that they have become commonplace, mundane, but not for the families living under their constant barrage. How do we simply ignore this? Since when has human life become so valueless that its constant threat is no longer newsworthy? Or is it simply because those under attack are Israeli Jews? There is but one final authority in these matters and surely we may call upon God to act on behalf of His people. However, there is a call upon all those who consider themselves people of faith to do the same.
Begin now, right now by making a decision to stay informed. Get involved with organizations that are supporting Israel’s right to exist in peace. Contact your spiritual and political leaders regarding these issues.
Say a prayer for the peace of Jerusalem.
Saturday, June 23, 2012
Any earthly space can become precious. In the case of a Grizzly Bear mother guarding her cubs, any who dare enter the area of safety she determines for her children does so at their own risk. It is precious space. To the returning WW2 veteran, a walk through the grave markers near the cliffs of Normandy is a walk upon hallowed, precious ground. While any turf may become precious, only one place on earth has been chosen to be holy and only God Himself may declare it so.
To the Jewish people the promises made by HaShem to His chosen is an indisputable fact embodied in the Torah. It is the place of their miraculous freedom, having escaped from slavery in Egypt long ago. Forty years of wandering in the desert prepared them for a land of milk and honey. Resident enemies could not stop God’s promises then and will not prevent them now.
A soul needs a body in this life. For two thousand years the Jewish people again wandered in the wilderness of a displaced people, but now they return to the place called Holy. The Holy Land is the physical entity of the soul of a people, a culture; a nation. In fact, the presence of the Jewish people in the Land of Promise is vital to the soul of mankind. If the Bible has any importance in the hearts of believers everywhere then Israel must exist and the Jewish people must inhabit and rule that land.
How strange it is to now see this land divided into an obscure patchwork of territories. Why would the deliberations of a world political body that has little actual impact on global affairs have precedence over the declarations and miraculous works of God Himself? They should not. They must not.
In the final analysis, Israel is not the “Precious Land.” No, it is the Holy Land. Jerusalem cannot be divided. The Holy Land cannot be divided, it is not only precious space…it is Holy Space.
And so, I pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
Thursday, June 7, 2012
Over the entire history of Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel, peace has mostly eluded her. Even the redemptive work of all mankind was momentarily pushed to the side as the Galilean saw the “City of Peace” and had a very Jewish moment: “As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.”
As I write at 30,000 ft and reflect on today's events it is at once encouraging and sobering. I am returning home from the Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast on Capital Hill. This year’s event celebrated 45 years of the reunification of a previously divided city into one. The Prayer Breakfast, sponsored by the Israel Allies Caucus Foundation, is dedicated to the support of Jerusalem as the united capital of the State of Israel. I was privileged to participate as one of the plenary speakers along with many congresspersons, rabbis and notable leaders. Benjamin Netanyahu sent a personal aide with a personal greeting.
The encouraging part of the event? The bipartisan involvement of so many of our legislators in support of Israel was heart lifting. The Congress of the United States has a growing and active caucus dedicated to advancing the partnership of our nation and the State of Israel. Many others in the house and senate who are not officially in the Israel Allies Caucus support its goals. Another encouraging aspect is the developing coalition and meaningful cooperation of the faith community, Jewish and Christian alike, working together to advance the "peace of Jerusalem" and the safety and prosperity of Israel.
The sobering part? To hear from those in the highest levels of our Legislative branch of government express deep concerns about our current administration's treatment of our closest ally in the Middle East. The direction our federal government has taken with regard to Israel in the last few years is a significant departure from 64 years of strong support and high regard. While the damage can be repaired, it will take years to unwind the convoluted message that has been spread to the world about our commitment to our allies, especially in the Middle East.
My own concerns are not exclusively geopolitical. If Holy Writ is to be taken seriously, blessings are promised by God Himself to those who stand with the Children of Abraham; curses to those who stand against her. While Christians claim ownership of those same promises made to our common patriarch Abraham, it must be pointed out that we are "grafted in" and that "[we] do not support the root, but the root supports [us]." We cannot stand by and allow the tree upon which we depend to be abandoned or harmed by us as individual Christians or by the nation to which we belong. Quite the contrary, Israel must be nourished, even to its roots.
Prayer for the peace of Jerusalem must be done in faith and action. It must be done. So now I wipe a tear and pray for the peace of Jerusalem,