Jerusalem has been burning. Over the past few months, the tension between the Jewish and Arab peoples has intensified and recently hit its boiling point, igniting what many are calling a third “Intifada”, or “uprising”, by the Palestinian Arabs. The tension is heavy and thick, mostly in Jerusalem, but also in many other parts of Israel. Since the 50-day war in Gaza ended this summer, influential Palestinian leaders have been openly calling for attacks on Israelis and Jews throughout the world. Unfortunately, their calls have not fallen on deaf ears; Palestinian Arabs have taken to the streets and viciously attacked Israelis on numerous occasions the past few months.
In the midst of this chaos, many untrue things have been reported, however, and it’s no secret how the media loves to sensationalize stories, making them larger than life, while omitting key facts in the name of “fairness” and “unbiased” journalism. That’s not to mention how the media tends to side against Israel in any case. While the situation is indeed tense, and there is a present danger, it’s important to put things in perspective, and more importantly, to take hold of God’s perspective on these matters.
Let’s consider the current violence in the United States for a moment. The recent acquittal of the police officer in the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson set St. Louis on fire – figuratively and literally. The protests extended throughout the country, many turning violent and causing extensive damage. The way the media portrays it, entire cities are burning and danger lurks everywhere. While the situation is undoubtedly violent and dangerous, the reality is that the danger is fairly limited to certain areas or neighborhoods, and the entire state of Missouri is not at war. Even the protests in other cities throughout the States are pretty contained to certain areas, and the entire country has not fallen.
The same is true of Israel. While the terror attacks in recent weeks have been deadly and violent, they have been limited to certain neighborhoods of Jerusalem (mainly those surrounding East Jerusalem), the Judea & Samaria region, and one isolated attack on an IDF soldier in Tel Aviv. I am in no way downplaying the horrifying nature of these attacks, but instead want to stress that they are not happening on every corner of the country.
What we need to be keeping a watchful eye on is the underlying cause of this recent surge of violent attacks. These attacks are always symptomatic of something larger brewing under the surface. While I strongly disagree with those who have deemed this as a “3rd Intifada”, I do agree that the growing unrest and increase of Hamas’ influence over the situation in Israel is concerning. It is something we need to actively pray over, and seek the LORD for wisdom for Israel’s leaders as they navigate these turbulent waters.
As believers in Messiah, we also need to remember that these things are indeed birth pangs of the soon and coming time of testing. We know that things will get worse before they get better…but we also know the end of the story. The ultimate victory belongs to Him, our Warrior King, who will fight for Israel when all have but abandoned her as the prophets foretold. The chaos will increase, and those around us will lose their hope. But we do not need to fear these birth pangs; they are preparing the way for our King!
In the meantime, let us continue to stand firm on the truth of the Word, be seekers of righteousness in the midst of evil, and continue to be active supporters of Israel. Israel is – and will always be – the apple of God’s eye. Allow His light to shine brightly in you wherever you are, and be an instrument of blessing in these unsure times.
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