Conclusion: Our seventh step into spiritual awakening
One way I am praying for God to redeem the escalating crises of our day is by using them to expose our need for help beyond human capacity.
Our astounding technological advances of recent years have made our world not safer but more dangerous. Our growing secularism has directed our innate passion for transcendent causes into partisan tribalism. Our rejection of objective truth has rendered many Americans unable to recognize and condemn even gross immorality such as the atrocities committed by Hamas’s terrorists against innocent Israelis.
NOTE: This resource article belongs to a series regarding the foundational issues behind the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas. The full series is also available as a free ebook.
“Israel was born in battle”
These facts remind us that the ultimate answer to all human conflict lies not in human agency but in divine transformation.
This is why we each need Jesus: “In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them” (2 Corinthians 5:19a). And it is why believers need to share the gospel: “and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation” (v. 19b). With this result: “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (v. 20).
Our message is clear and simple: “For our sake [God] made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (v. 21).
This is why Paul said of his fellow Jews, “My heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved” (Romans 10:1). And it is why apostolic Christians paid such a high price to reach the larger Roman world so that “the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe” (Acts 15:7) They were willing to give their lives so the world could say, “Since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).
Now their passion must become ours.
In Conflict: The Evolution of Warfare from 1945 to Ukraine, retired Gen. David Petraeus and historian Andrew Roberts describe Israel’s 1948 War for Independence in fascinating detail. They note that the war began when the infant nation was invaded by “five armies comprising over twenty thousand well-equipped Arabs from Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Transjordan (later Jordan), and Saudi Arabia.”
When the war was over, some six thousand Jews had died—1 percent of the entire population of the country—but they had gained 30 percent more territory than they had been allotted by the United Nations Partition Plan the Arabs had previously rejected. While “the whole country remained within Arab artillery range, and the state’s wasp-like waist was only nine miles to the sea at its narrowest,” the nation survived.
Petraeus and Roberts quote Chaim Herzog, the head of military intelligence for the IDF in their War for Independence and a future president of the nation: “Israel was born in battle.”
We can and must join them.
Seven ways to pray for shalom
Here is the battle being waged behind the conflict in the news: “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).
This means that while Israeli forces counter Hamas and Western nations rally to Israeli’s support, you and I need to wage this battle on our knees.
In my belief that God redeems all he allows, I have been seeking ways he could redeem the war between Israel and Hamas to advance his kingdom through spiritual awakening. Thus far we have identified these steps we can take to join him in this movement:
- Make God your king every day.
- Share the good news of his word and love with the world.
- Love all people as Jesus loves all people.
- Pray fervently for spiritual awakening in the Middle East and in our culture.
- Trust God to transform any heart by his Spirit.
- Work for peace through righteousness in the world.
To these we can add a seventh illustrated by this concluding chapter: wage spiritual warfare with passionate and sacrificial commitment.
Specifically, I encourage you to offer seven biblical prayers in these days, asking God to:
- Give leaders on all sides wisdom leading to peace through righteousness (Proverbs 3:5; James 1:5; 3:18).
- Protect noncombatants and provide for their needs (Psalm 121:7–8; Zechariah 7:10).
- Protect and strengthen Christians and churches throughout the region as they share their faith and serve with compassion (1 Peter 4:10).
- Give victory to Israel over those who would annihilate her (Deuteronomy 20:4; Isaiah 54:17) while giving the Palestinians a new future with justice and peace (Amos 5:24).
- “Comfort all who mourn,” both Jews and Palestinians (Isaiah 61:2–3).
- Help all in the region to “repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations” (Isaiah 61:4).
- Reveal his Son to Muslims and Jews in miraculous ways that lead them to faith in him as Lord (cf. Acts 9:1–19; 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9).
Next, I urge you to help answer your prayers by your unconditional commitment to Christ as your personal King. He is calling us to stand boldly and unapologetically for our Lord in a culture that is more antagonistic to biblical truth and morality than at any time in American history. Our faith is increasingly dismissed as outdated and irrelevant. Evangelical Christians are caricatured and castigated as “dangerous” to society.
In such a time, God’s command takes on foundational relevance: “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! May they be secure who love you!” (Psalm 122:6). “Peace” translates the Hebrew shalom, which describes a deep sense of well-being and righteousness with others and God.
Let us pray and work for such shalom for Israel, the Palestinians, the nations, and ourselves, to the glory of God.