Dear Prayer Partners,
This prayer letter is written in the shadow of the war which was thrust upon Israel on Simchat Torah, the last day of the Jewish fall holidays. I want to reiterate what has been said many times since the war started. Our role at ICEJ is threefold: prayer, giving to relief aid, and standing in solidarity with Israel in our countries.
As the horrific pictures and details about the atrocities committed by Hamas are being gradually revealed, it puts extra pressure on us. Therefore, the first admonishment is: guard your heart. Stress can cause us to be less vigilant against the snares of the devil, and we are tempted to fall into our old habits. Or we simply get depressed or carried away by anger. As James says, “the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:19). Paul adds in Ephesians 6:13, that this is the time to “take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
The nature of this fight is spiritual! This war is another clash with the spirit of Amalek, this cruel enemy that attacked the Jewish people many times in history. It is characterized by focusing on the killing of women and children, the elderly and the weak. Moses reminded the people of Israel: “Remember what Amalek did to you on the way as you were coming out of Egypt, how he met you on the way and attacked your rear ranks, all the stragglers at your rear, when you were tired and weary; and he did not fear God.”(Deuteronomy 25:17-18) It is the same spirit that was behind the Nazi perpetrators of the Holocaust.
The fact that the fight is going on in the heavenlies, however, does not rule out the physical war that Israel has to wage against the people under the influence of this evil spirit. Such a war is justified by all standards of international law. But there is more to it, and we need to have clarity about this. Israel is chosen by God to represent Him on this earth, the attack against her is an attack on God Himself (Psalm 83:2), and God makes Israel also an instrument of His judgment (Isaiah 41:15).
This puts our theology to the test. Those who embrace the notion that the Church has replaced Israel and the Jewish people are now just like any other nation can easily fall prey to the tired cliches of “ending the cycle of violence” and “even-handedness”, which would in effect erase the difference between right and wrong, between light and darkness. As if the massacre of Israeli civilians by Hamas can somehow be compared to the just defence of the nation by her army, which is doing its utmost to spare civilians.
We are in a spiritual battle, and “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). Please pray for moral clarity in this conflict and do not hesitate to speak up for Israel. There are many strongholds in the minds of well-meaning people that must be pulled down.
Shalom from Jerusalem!
Vice President for International Affairs
International Christian Embassy Jerusalem