Daily Devotional for Sunday March 23, 2003
The answer for the Middle East
( Genesis 21:10, 12:2,3 )
The answer for the Middle East. To even talk about the situation in Israel today, you must understand that the roots of this issue goes back over 4,500 years to Abraham. Abraham was promised by God to have a son with his elderly wife Sarah. When God didn't answer as quickly as Abraham wanted, he decided to take matters into his own hands. So he took his wife's handmaiden Hagar, slept with her, and had a son named Ishmael. Of course, it was shortly after this, that God's promise to Abraham and Sarah was fulfilled and they had a son named Isaac.
As you can imagine, having his wife Sarah and son Isaac living with Hagar and Ishmael did not work out and Abraham eventually sent Hagar and Ishmael away to live somewhere else. It is from Isaac that the Jewish people descended from. It is from Ishmael that the bulk of the Arab people descended from. The Jewish people worshipping the God of the Bible. The Arab people worshipping pagan gods and ultimately adopting Islam. What is happening today is literally the byproduct of Abraham's sin 4500 years ago!
I often talk about living life God's way, or exercising our freewill to live our way. When I deal with God's plan for marriage, I am often asked about why God allowed the great men of the Bible to have multiple wives. GOD NEVER ALLOWED THIS! This was in absolute rebellion to His plan, and whenever we decide to rebel against God's way, there will ALWAYS be consequences. We are still seeing every night on our TV news the consequences of Abraham's rebellion 4500 years after the fact! Read the story of David and the consequences from his sin with Bathsheba. Read the story of Solomon and the consequences of his sin later in his life from having foreign (those who did not honor the God of Israel) and multiple wives.
The fact is, GOD IS NO RESPECTER OF PERSON. Even the great men of God in the Bible, when they went against God's plan, PAID THE PRICE FOR THEIR REBELLION! You can not go against God's way and not expect to suffer the consequences from your choice to rebel, no matter if you are Abraham, David, Solomon, Joe in Kansas, or Sherry in California!
As in all things, Jesus Christ is the only true answer to peace in this great conflict. Sadly, both sides have rejected Him. The Jewish people have rejected Him as the Messiah and the Muslims only see Him as a prophet. The only ONE who could change the hearts of men to reconcile their differences and live in peace is sadly rejected by both sides. Nobody on earth knows Jesus as well as the Jewish people. He was a Jew. But even 2,000 years after His death, He is still rejected by His own people. The Muslims also know Jesus very well. They study His life and teachings, but thoroughly reject that He is the Son of God. Both groups have rejected the one and only person that could bring peace to this troubled area of the world.
So understanding that this is a 4,500 year old conflict between two faith groups that have rejected Christ, the answer is quite simply there will NEVER be real, lasting peace in this conflict. There will be seasons of peace, and we all pray for that today, but the only real peace will come when the Prince of Peace Himself returns. Bible prophecy is very subjective since it deals with future events, and the prophetic passages of the Bible can be interpreted to say many things. But one thing all Bible prophecy scholars agree on is that Israel will be the center of the events marking the end times. It is on the Mount of Olives that Christ will return. It is on the plains of Armageddon that the last great battle will be fought. Israel will be the center of the action as the last days of this world as we know it unfold. That is why we should all pay close attention to the events in Israel and be aware of what is happening in that part of the world.
I love you and care about you so much. The natural question is what can we as Christians do during this difficult time. Pray!!! My bible says the Jewish people are STILL God's chosen people. Even though each one who dies rejecting Christ is eternally lost, the Jewish people still remain God's chosen people. We need to pray for them. My bible says to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and that those who bless the Jewish people will be blessed (Genesis 12:2,3). So pray for Israel, pray for the Jewish people, pray above all that they will one-by-one open their hearts to the truth that Jesus IS the Messiah that they are looking for.
Likewise, pray for the Palestinians and the people of the other Arab countries involved. Pray that God will soften the hatred in heir hearts and allow them to see that Jesus was not just a great prophet, but that He is the SON OF THE LIVING GOD! Not the son of Allah of the Quoran, but the Son of the God of the Bible! ***You see my friend, while general peace will never be totally achieved, peace CAN come to one heart at a time as they accept Christ as their Savior! THAT needs to be the focus of our prayers. That during this great time of turmoil, war, and death, the message of Christ's love will reach the hearts of men, women, and children on both sides. That Jews and Muslims alike will hear that Jesus loves them, died for their sins, and can give them everlasting life. Let our prayer be that THIS message is heard and received above all else!
JESUS IS THE ONLY ANSWER FOR THE MIDDLE EAST!
In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ, Bill Keller