Love Your Enemies

As the Gazan death toll increases, the world’s disapproval of the Jewish states also mounts. With zero deaths on one side, and well over 100 on the other, people are turning against Israel. The only Israeli to die in any connection with this war so far has been an old woman in Haifa who had a heart attack as she was running for the bomb shelter when a siren sounded in the middle of the night. People in Israel are profoundly grateful for the army and its unrivalled “Iron Dome” defence system (which has become “more popular in Israel than hummus and falafel” according to Business week [1] ). But more than that, in addition to admitting there has been “a bit of luck” regarding the total failure of any Hamas rockets to achieve their goals, there is talk of prayer and of God’s protection.

Even as we who believe the Bible may know that of course the God of Israel has not been sleeping or slumbering on the job, it is important to remember to also take a Biblical view of those who are seeking to harm Israel at this time.

O God, do not keep silence; do not hold your peace or be still, O God!

For behold, your enemies make an uproar; those who hate you have raised their heads.

They lay crafty plans against your people; they consult together against your treasured ones.

They say, “Come, let us wipe them out as a nation; let the name of Israel be remembered no more!” (Psalm 83:1-4)

The goal of Hamas has been clearly stated – to wipe out Israel as a nation. But this boiling loathing and desire for annihilation did not start with Hamas, or even with Islam, even though they may be willing conduits for Satan’s ongoing anti-Semitic schemes right now. What we see happening in this war is supernatural in many ways. The driving force of Hamas’ murderous hatred is far beyond a natural response to hardship and oppression, and the miraculous cover over Israel is also beyond natural explanation or purely down to super defence systems.

There is no doubt that the lot of the Palestinian people is one of hardship and oppression, and that most human beings in their situation would have an axe to grind, but the extreme murderous hatred that pours from radical Muslim terror groups – with no regard even for their own lives – is on another level entirely. It is also important to remember that while God is grieved at some of the actions of Israel towards the Palestinians, the real reasons for the sad and complex situation are often more due to the Palestinian leadership than the Jewish state.[2]

So how to respond? The Israeli army seeks to warn civilians before they strike, and has been keen not to kill a single Gazan man, woman or child that is not part of the Hamas militia. But is seeking to protect Palestinian innocents enough? Let’s see what the Psalmist prayed for Israel’s enemies back in their time:

Fill their faces with shame, that they may seek your name, O Lord

…that they may know that you alone, whose name is the Lord, are the Most High over all the earth.

(Psalm 83:16,18)
Here we see a godly desire that through their defeat, Israel’s enemies would see that the God of Israel is the Lord. Asaph, the composer of this Psalm, desires that they would be brought to a place of seeking God’s name, and of understanding that He alone is the Most High.

God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, and just as Yeshua taught us, it is important never to become cold hearted or to stop praying for our enemies, and for those who are hurting us.

Even as I write, I have heard that someone has invited Yeshua to be their Lord from within Gaza on a website that shows real time decisions for Yeshua taking place all over the world [3]. There are people of God within Gaza, and there are Gazans who are now crying out to God for mercy in their horrific situation. Some will enter eternity even as a result of this war. Let us also hold them up in prayer for revelation, the blessing of knowing God, and protection for believers even as we pray for the safety of Israel.

[1] ‘Israel’s Iron Dome Is Amazing, and That’s a Problem’ – article in NewsWeek July 11, 2014

[2] For a brief explanation about the less well-known causes of the conflict, see this video from the Jerusalem Institute of Justice

[3] GodRev.com (God Revelation – real time decisions all over the earth)

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