What amazing times we live in...
The daily, 24-hour swirl of dramatic news around the world and Washington, D.C., can almost make us want to “check out.”
After all, we muse to ourselves, do those stories REALLY make a difference in my everyday life?
I still have children to feed, clothes to wash, beds to make and other work to complete. The world will do just fine without me watching every twist and turn. Right?
Wrong. As Christians, we must resist the temptation to disengage. Being “in the world, but not of the world” doesn’t give us a pass to ignore events around us. (Read John 17:14-22 for context of that phrase.)
Take the growing controversy over the role of the United States in the affairs of Israel. We might be tempted to say, “It doesn’t impact me. After all, haven’t they been fighting in the Middle East since I can remember?”
Yes. Now grab your Bible and see if that fighting doesn’t date back even longer.
As we hear debate about the future of Israel, we must resist the urge to dismiss it merely as something “political.”
Sure, politics plays a part. And we’ll hear more and more about the political football called Israel as the presidential elections heat up before 2012.
But we must listen to the debate—and participate, as we’re called—with a biblical worldview.
How? Start by asking questions. And look for answers from the Bible—God’s true and authoritative Word—and not from pundits on the news channels, writers like me, or even other friends or relatives who may, or may not, be fully informed.
Let’s start with a two fundamental questions:
As a nation, does our American friendship towards Israel matter? See Genesis 12:3 as a starting point: “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
Also ask yourself these questions—and be careful and discerning as you look for answers while you do your homework.
--What would happen to the precious sites of Christ’s physical life on this earth if Israel returned to pre-1967 borders?
-- Was the Middle East more or less stable prior to 1967, when Israel had little to no buffer from invading neighbors?
--If Israeli leaders concluded that the United States government would not back them if they were attacked, do you think the Israeli military would be more or less aggressive towards countries that threaten them?
--Has upheaval in surrounding countries, like Egypt, made Israel more or less secure?
--Are Israel’s enemies more or less likely to provoke a military action if they believe the United States will not back Israel?
--Regardless of U.S. actions or policy decisions, can the mere words of American government leaders destabilize the region? Is proper care and wisdom being demonstrated?
--Should we take seriously the words of the radical Muslim group, Hamas, and the rulers in Iran, who have promised a return of the Jewish Holocaust (even though many of those same rulers deny the Holocaust during World War II even happened)?
--Would those who truly despise Jews for their religious beliefs really like them—or become less hostile towards them--if they gave up more land? (In other words, is land their only reason for hating Jews?)
--Was there peace when the Israelis negotiated the return of some disputed lands a few years ago?
--If Israel was overrun by Palestinians, would the United States be more or less secure?
--Has history—and Old Testament prophecy—shown any examples of the Jewish people truly living in peace, without facing resentment from those with opposing religious or personal beliefs?
Please ask questions. Avoid the temptation to ignore the questions of the day. Pray for wisdom as you seek answers. And, most of all, pray for protection and restraint for all who live in this powder keg of clashing religions and worldviews.