No person of faith and no one who sees the news today can help being keenly aware of the ongoing strife in the middle east. Palestinians seek a homeland. Israelis defend their inheritance from God. Nations around the world watch in horror as lives are lost, and a culture of death and hatred is driven deeper and deeper into the souls of men, women, and children.
Israelis claim that they are entitled to their land, and so they are. God gave them a land "flowing with milk and honey." During a time of famine in the days of Joseph, they left their land and lived in Egypt. There they were enslaved, but God sent Moses to rescue them and restored their land under Joshua, the judges, and the kings of Israel. Since then, they have lost their land and been restored many times. Each time they lost their land, they were not worshiping God. Each time they were restored to their land, the thing that distinguished them and set them apart was their belief in God.
This is true even in the 20th century. Israel did not exist as a nation before World War II. Nevertheless, even though Jews did not and could not represent a geopolitical threat to anyone, the Nazi regime singled them out for annihilation. Who stood up against the enemies of God's people? No one. One by one, the nations of the world ignored the evil being inflicted by the Nazis. As the evil grew, it became more bold. Suddenly, Jews were no longer the only target. World domination sounded even better to Hitler and his henchmen. And so, having stood by watching the persecution of Jews, European nations were overrun. American ships were sunk; their passengers murdered. A dominion of death was established and seemed almost unstoppable.
The nations of the world began to recognize evil for what it was. Hitler defied God and God's chosen people. The Japanese emperor not only defied God, but claimed to be god. The rest of the world began looking to God, and it was then that the tides began to turn. It was bloody. There was great suffering. There was nothing easy about it. But in the end, Hitler died and the "emperor who would be God" was defeated.
Reviewing the driving themes of Hitler's maniacal leadership, world powers sought to make things better. Israel was established as a nation. Arabs who had aligned themselves with Germany were forced to give up land to make this possible. They were not forced to give up all of the area that was once the nation of Israel, though. In fact, Israel did not receive even one bank of the Jordan River, the waters that marked Israel's return to the promised land under Joshua. On the other side, it was cut off from the Mediterranean Sea along the Gaza Strip. To the north, the eastern banks of the Sea of Galilee (Lake Tiberias) were left to the Arabs.
Being unhappy that Israel existed, Arab nations joined in 1967 to launch an unprovoked attack against Israel. It was one of the shortest and most decisive wars in history. Not only did Israel defend itself, but inflicted such blows to their attackers that Arabs agreed to surrender the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights. All of these areas were deemed necessary by Israel to make its borders secure. And they were right.
It is a funny thing. Arab nations now back the idea of establishing a separate Palestinian homeland. The territory to be used for this would come from Israel. But the same Arab nations never wanted to establish a Palestinian homeland before they attacked Israel. If they had wanted to do that, they could have done so without invading Israel. The motivation of Arab nations is obvious to anyone who will open their eyes. Arab nations want to overcome Israel. They could not do so with direct force, so they instead back the regime of a known terrorist, Yasser Arafat, and promote his cause as though it is a quest for peace and justice. These are the ways of the world, and these ways have only brought discord, fighting, and death.
How did Israel achieve their success in 1967? By being a nation whose very existence honors God. The one thing that makes Jews distinctive as a people is the Godly heritage that is in the world because of them. When you hear the word "Jew" or "Israel," the first thing that comes to mind is "God's people." Jesus Christ was a Jew. He called Jews as His disciples. He brought salvation first to the Jews, and then to the rest of the world. Through the Jews, the entire world has been blessed with the knowledge of God, and with the grace of God in salvation through Christ Jesus. In Christ there is peace.
Ah. Now we are talking about something that we all want. Peace. How can we know peace? By knowing Christ. Since the days of Adam, God promised to send one who could restore harmony between God and people. God gave us words through the prophets that would let us know when that one had come. Jesus Christ fulfilled those prophecies. He was born of a virgin in Bethlehem. He lived a holy life. He was persecuted and killed, even though the judge could find no fault in Him. But that was only the beginning of the story. Christ arose from the grave, conquering and defying death as God alone can, and the Holy Spirit has been sent to dwell in us, giving us peace.
Jesus Christ is God's way for peace. If you would know peace in the world, in the Middle East, or in your own life, there is one way. Know Jesus Christ. Be Christ like. Be Christian.
God bless you--