When there is pain and suffering, we all want it to end. We want the innocent protected and those exhibiting criminal behavior to be stopped and punished. But many people living in our western world do not quite understand the long history and complexity of the Middle East, making an educated response and show of support challenging.
After years traveling to Israel and the entire region, and after much thought and reflection, I believe I can summarize it in three quick points:
First, we must pray for every person in Israel: Jew, Gentile, and Arab. We need to pray for protection of all those who are innocent and at the mercy of evildoers. We pray lives are spared and that the conflict comes to an end quickly. And, of course, there must be fervent prayer for peace.
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man in Christ Jesus” 1 Timothy 2:1-5
Second, inform yourself. What is really going on? We need to know that this attack is the demonstration of Hamas’ power in concert with Islamic Jihad. They want to be seen as the sole organization responsible for delivering the Palestinian people. They also want to take ownership of the temple mount in Jerusalem. This is exactly why we need to pray for the innocent in Palestine. We want them to be safe and understand who their true enemy is and who is calling the shots.
The simple answer is Iran.
Iran is funding the Hamas government through finance and arms. Iran has a long, broken, and volatile history with Israel. Who will be blamed? Israel will get the blame for killing and destroying the infrastructure of Palestinian-held cities and for shedding innocent blood. Do not get caught up listening to people with an agenda. Seek out information from a variety of sources that have nothing to gain from the truth. We know the Enemy wants to twist and pervert the Truth. You shall know the truth and the truth will make you free. Test the Spirit. He CAN offer discernment, but first we must shut out the noise of the loudest people or those with the biggest microphones.
Third, like Paul, get involved! Find organizations in your community and church that offer support to those impacted by war in this area. Focus on those who have a personal connection with ‘boots on the ground’ in the Middle East who might help to channel your time, talents, and treasures appropriately.
Prayer is a start, but we must be a part of the solution.
Finally, remember God’s instruction to us in supporting Israel:
Genesis 12:3 “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
The message is clear, isn’t it?