Daily Devotional

Psalm 122:6 - “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May those who love you be secure.” (NIV)

One of the saddest moments of my life was walking through the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC.  At one point on the tour, the museum highlights how Jews were abducted, packed into train cars like cattle, and shipped off to concentration camps to be exterminated or used as slave labor.  Then, as I read about these atrocities, I approached an actual boxcar that was used to transport Jews to their deaths, and the only way I could continue the tour was by walking through the car to the other side.  

As I stepped into the boxcar, I was mortified to see hundreds of pairs of shoes from the victims of the holocaust piled into a senseless heap.  I could smell the musty odor of the old leather and feel the confines of the car closing in around me.  For a moment I was transported back in time, forced to relive the horror of the experience and empathize with the human beings who were slaughtered like animals.  Those shoes came from real people whose lives had been cruelly suffocated in a Nazi gas chamber.  

As I write, the Jewish people are under attack once again from a terrorist organization whose express purpose is to eradicate them from the land of Israel by any means possible, including intentionally murdering civilians and taking over 230 hostages.

With anti-Semitic demonstrations breaking out across the globe and increasing demands for Israel to cease fire, I believe it’s my responsibility as a pastor to speak up and be clear.  

The nation of Israel has a right to defend itself from terrorist attacks and take action to prevent those attacks from happening again in the future.  That is one of the God-given functions of government – to protect the innocent, enforce the law, and ensure justice (Romans 13:1–7).  

Imagine people telling the U.S. they had no right to respond after being attacked at Pearl Harbor…or no right to punish Al-Qaeda after the terrorist attacks on 9/11.  

Please understand that I am not advocating a blind, unquestioning acceptance of everything the modern state of Israel does.  As Christians, our hearts should be full of love and compassion for Jews and Palestinians alike.  Both sides are caught in an incredibly complex and tragic situation.  Both have acted out of hate and fear.  And both need Christ desperately.

But we ought to be clear and unequivocal.  HAMAS is an evil terrorist organization that unilaterally attacked Israel on October 7.  Article 13 of their founding charter states: “Renouncing any part of Palestine is equivalent to renouncing part of the [Muslim] religion… There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except through jihad.”

In light of the current situation, how can we pray for the peace of Jerusalem?  Here are some suggested ideas, and I invite you to pray with me.

  1. For God to restore peace, order and security throughout Israel and Gaza.
  2. For God to grant wisdom to the leaders of Israel to know how to best protect their nation and people from further terrorist attacks.
  3. For God to free the Palestinian people from the control of Hamas and provide them with a government that genuinely desires peaceful co-existence with Israel.
  4. For the protection and safe return of all who are being held hostage.
  5. For the protection of civilians and innocent bystanders.
  6. For the healing and restoration of all who have been injured and traumatized by the senseless violence.
  7. For comfort for all who have lost loved ones.
  8. For protection and strength for those providing emergency medical treatment, care and relief.
  9. For the strengthening and witness of the Church in this region.
  10. For God to bring many people to faith in Christ during this time of crisis. May they realize that Jesus is the only true solution for lasting peace and reconciliation between enemies.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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