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Friday, September 28, 2012

BITTER SOIL


The words of Israel’s Prime Minister, Benyamin Netanyahu are still hanging in the air as I write. He spoke of a past generation’s failure to act in time to save millions of Jews who perished: “Those who opposed fanaticism waited too long.” While patience is a vital element of peace, there can be no delay when dealing with those who have made their destructive intent known and have the capacity to carry out their threats.

My heart longs for the fulfillment of the angelic song announced to shepherds on the hills outside Bethlehem: “peace on earth and goodwill toward men.” Those hills and the surrounding lands have since known little peace, especially its close neighbor, Jerusalem. My most constant prayer is for its peace, yet Jerusalem lives under the continual threat of division and devastation. The Israelis do not want war with anyone, but I am deeply concerned that the world continues to allow Iran to plunge both Israel and other nations toward inevitable conflict.

Additional thought-provoking words delivered to the United Nations General Assembly by the Prime Minister were these: “The masses of our people never gave up the dream of returning to our ancient homeland,” he said. “We will never be uprooted again.” Having spent much time with current and past Israeli leaders and citizens in Israel I am absolutely sure they will not be uprooted again. They have the geopolitical standing, military means and conviction of Biblical Promise to hold their ground.

Finally, the Prime Minister spoke of: “The bitter soil of intolerance.” He was speaking of the ground out of which hatred springs. This ground is not physical but rather in the souls of men. It is not on only one side of this conflict. Hatred spreads from heart to heart and becomes the basis on which destructive decisions are made.

This bitterness may only be expunged with God’s help. The political leaders of nations must determine the course of action they will take, but each of us who believe in the power of God must also decide; will we sit idly by or will we pray?

As commanded by God to do, I pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

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