Aid Instead Of Arms

Sunday, July 20, 2014
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Listen while you read: "Rock Of Ages Cleft For Me"1 (Lyrics)

1 Kings 9:20-21 – All the people left from the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites (these peoples were not Israelites), that is, their descendants remaining in the land, whom the Israelites could not exterminate — these Solomon conscripted for his slave labor force, as it is to this day. (NIV)

The current explosive situation in Gaza is affecting the entire world politically, economically, and even spiritually. Ever since the establishment of the Jewish State in 1948, Palestinian refugees have posed a large-scale humanitarian problem. Prior to 1948, the British maintained the government on a colonial basis, set up after World War I. When Britain left the Palestine Protectorate, both the Jordanians and Jews carved territory for themselves, ousting the Palestinians from both sides of the River Jordan.

War was inevitable between Jews and Arabs, with the Palestinians often being caught in the middle. Bigger Arab states like Syria and Egypt tried to eliminate Israel, but they were beaten back on several occasions by Israeli forces. Throughout the following decades, the situation worsened, which meant that the whole region became ripe for terrorist groups to take over the leadership of the displaced Palestinians.

Extermination is a terrible word, but the region has experienced it on many occasions. In today's verse, we sadly read about the extermination of regional peoples and the enslavement of the remnant by the ancient Israelite nation. Throughout the centuries, extermination of the regional people – whether Philistine or Israelite – continued through the barbarism of the Egyptians, Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Islamists, and Crusaders. Rural Palestinians and Jewish communities were often uprooted, attacked, and slaughtered at the hands of invaders. Sadly, much of the history of the whole holy land region has been anything but holy: "inhumanity land" may be a more appropriate term.

So what can we do about the current crisis? What can Christians do to help? Praying for peace helps, but until extremists on both sides lose their power over the masses of the people, the ceasefires will always be broken and the wickedness of war will be prevalent.

We should be wary of propaganda from both conflicting sides. When we pass on unsubstantiated reports or heavily support one side over the other, we are not promoting peace: we are just escalating and expanding the conflict. If we truly follow the Prince of Peace, then we need to do our best not to get caught up in the conflict. Cooler heads and sincere prayers, humanitarian support and expressing the truth are what is needed. Children on both sides of the divide cannot sleep because they are afraid of war, and of one another. That fear escalates into hatred where ignorance, falsehoods, and propaganda are unchecked. As Christians, we need to find a better way than continuing the bitter wickedness.

Questions for personal reflection:

What do I truly know and understand about the present conflict between Israelis and Palestinians? Are my sources of information unbiased?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, we pray for both the Palestinian and Israeli people. We ask for a ceasefire to be resumed quickly and accepted by both sides. We pray for protection of those civilians caught in the midst of conflict, as well as for strong, compassionate leaders to emerge from both sides, who will truly seek peace instead of war, justice instead of revenge, conciliation instead of conflict. Help us to do whatever we can by seeking truth over propaganda, as well as providing aid instead of arms. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.

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John Stuart <>
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thanks for sharing John.

    Good one John. Thanks.

    Very interesting. Thank you.

    Thank you for the information contained in today’s devotional, John.
    God bless your ministry.

    You should read “A Cup of Trembling” by Dave Hunt. It provides an expansive prophetic view of Jerusalem and the Middle East.

    Amen — a timely & excellent devotion.
    Do continue to write.
    God bless!

    Thank you for trying so hard to connect a very sad and serious issue with our Christian faith. So very difficult, but surely this is what we must do. Now is the hour. Thank you.
    Please continue to help us to understand and to look for ways to apply God’s teaching to our daily life.

    Dear John – thank you for your bravery in putting forward this devotional regarding the conflict in the area of Israel. You are oh so correct that biases do pollute our uninformed minds. From church leaders to political leaders to radical splinter groups we face the daily barrage of ‘he said/she said’ mentality. Sadly, there are very few in this world who are capable of encouraging true peace. I do hope that any negative comments that come your way are not heeded.

    Dear John,
    As you know, I usually like your devotionals this time, I was disappointed. The spiritual application was lost due to the highly political tone of your material.

    Very interesting devotion John.
    I can’t see how there can be peace with the Palestinians when their Muslim brothers say that they want to annihilate the Jews. And did they not fire rockets first.
    The Muslims want to take over the entire world and are making inroads in many nations including ours. Christians and Jews are considered infidels to be killed, as stated in the Koran.
    We should pray for the peace of Israel as Jesus commanded.

    Hello John.
    The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will preserve Israel, and we are to pray and trust Him.
    Throughout the history of the Hebrews, only God has preserved His chosen people, and He will not fail to do so, that His name will be glorified, not another nation or people.
    Do something, Be an example of the beloved Paul, proclaim the way of salvation, that is the command of Jesus. Than you will gain insight concerning the great spiritual battle for souls in your own backyard.

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