The support of the United States for Israel is so crucial because so much of the world is openly anti-Israel. Just before the end of 2019, the International Criminal Court refused to dismiss the ridiculous false claims against Israel filed by the Palestinian Authority. The ICC only has jurisdiction in disputes between nations, and the PA is not and never has been a nation. Yet the judge allowed the case against Israel’s “occupation” and “war crimes” to continue.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “The claim by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court that Jews do not have a right to live in the Jewish homeland is pure antisemitism. So is the claim that Jews have no right to defend themselves against those who seek their annihilation. As we celebrate Hanukkah, the ICC issues decrees that are just as antisemitic as those of the ancient Seleucid Empire against the Maccabees.”
The International Criminal Court has willingly allowed itself to become a political weapon in the ongoing war against Israel. Any court that is open to criminalizing self-defense and condemning Jewish people living in the land of Israel is a deadly threat.
Here’s another example. In November of 2019, the United Nations passed a series of resolutions condemning Israel. There were six resolutions issued concerning various countries and human rights issues. There were twenty others issued concerning Israel. Most of these passed overwhelmingly. Even countries like Canada, which once routinely voted with Israel, voted for these condemnations. Here are some excerpts from the resolution “Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the occupied Syrian Golan,” which passed by a vote of 156 to 6 with 15 countries abstaining.
“The General Assembly, Guided by the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations and the need to respect the obligations arising from the Charter and other instruments and rules of international law, Reaffirming the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force, Recalling its relevant resolutions, including resolutions 73/97 and 73/98 of 7 December 2018, as well as those resolutions adopted at its tenth emergency special session,
Bearing in mind the extremely detrimental impact of Israeli settlement policies, decisions and activities on the ongoing regional and international efforts to resume and advance the peace process, on the prospects for the achievement of peace in the Middle East in accordance with the two-State solution of Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security within recognized borders, on the basis of the pre-1967 borders, and on the viability and credibility of that solution,
Condemning settlement activities by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, as violations of international humanitarian law, relevant United Nations resolutions, the agreements reached between the parties and obligations under the Quartet road map and as actions in defiance of the calls by the international community to cease all settlement activities.”
It goes on and on for five full pages…and this is just one of the 20 resolutions condemning Israel. Several of these resolutions talk about the Temple Mount, but without exception, they refer to it only by its Islamic name, “Haram al-Sharif.” The Jewish connection to the holy site, dating back some 3,000 years, is ignored. Only Islamic claims are considered.
In this time of crisis and uncertainty and fear, everything that can be shaken is being shaken. The things in which people put their faith—the economy, the political system, the education system, and even the churches—have been closed. This is something none of us have ever experienced before.
All of our idols are coming down. Do we have idols in our lives? Yes. An idol is anything that gets between us and God. Anything. It could be money or family or shopping or sports or fame or education or status. Whatever we treasure and consumes us is an idol. It could even be your church. Your idol could even be your pastor.
We must not put our faith in man. We have to put it in God because any faith in man that we exalt and lift up is idolatry, even if it is in your pastor. It breaks my heart to say this, but God shut down the church. The government did not do it. God did it.
He shut churches down so His people would get on their faces and pray and repent. He shut churches down so His people would get in the Word. Most of them are not in the Word, and do you know what they use as an excuse? “Oh, I use my iPhone.” Yeah, you use your iPhone for a lot of things. You use it to surf pornography, but you are reading the Word of God? You are not burning with the fire of God, and God is saying, “I am going to drive you to a place where you are going to have to seek My face. You are going to have to get in the Word. You have no choice. All of your idols I am pulling down.”
The Bible convicts us to the bone of our soul. Jesus said in Matthew 7:21 – 23:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and, in your name, do many wondrous works? Then I will tell them plainly, I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!”
Now, evildoer in the original means a worker of iniquity, a worker of lawlessness. They are a law unto themselves. It is similar to an invisible virus. Remember what Satan said to Eve? Let me put it in our language today: “Hey Eve, God is easy, He loves you, he won’t punish you for disobeying.”
Do you know what that is? That is exactly the theme of the seeker-friendly church in America. It’s a gospel of accommodation. Churches are accommodating Sodom and Gomorrah to fill the pews. It’s a gospel that doesn’t preach against sin, doesn’t speak about immorality. The immoral feel comfortable in that church. That is why the divorce rate is as high inside the church as outside it.
When was the last time God called you to repent? You tell your stories of success but, friend, a lot of those are self-inspired narratives. By the way, that is an acronym for S.I.N. You only tell the part that makes you look good. You don’t want to tell them the rest of the stuff. I’m hearing the rest of the stuff! And the idols have to come down before God can do His work in our lives.
Isaiah, Esther, Nehemiah, and so many more heard God’s call and took a stand. Today, God is calling once again…but that raises a vital question.
When God calls, who will answer? Those who have the heart to obey regardless of the cost. The prophet Isaiah was one such man. In his day, God’s people were in a desperate spiritual condition. Their king, Uzziah, who had once been a good man dedicated to following God, had violated the law and been judged as a result. His death created a power vacuum at a time when the kingdom was surrounded by enemies and danger lurked on every side.
At that moment, Isaiah was given a vision of God’s power and majesty—a reminder of the help that was available to the Jewish people if they sought God’s face. But there needed to be a go-between, someone to speak to the people for God. Isaiah heard God’s call and volunteered for duty. He said, “Here am I; send me.” Notice that he did not ask God to find someone else to take on the challenges of the job. Isaiah was willing to step up and take responsibility to stand for God’s Chosen People.
During my most recent trip to Israel, I thought of Nehemiah when I was looked out at the walls of Jerusalem. When the Jewish people were in crisis, with the walls of the Holy City destroyed and no defense against their enemies, this one man decided that he would make a difference. When Nehemiah heard of their desperate plight, he received it as a call of God and answered “Hineni”—here am I.
That decision changed the course of the entire nation. Nehemiah gave up his secure life in the palace for the uncertainty and danger of building something to encourage, defend, and help the Jewish people. He had a position of prominence and power, but he was willing to lay all that aside to defend the Jewish people from destruction. Nehemiah answered the call.
Isaiah and Nehemiah were certainly not the only ones to hear and answer the call of God. Throughout the Old Testament, we see stories of those who heard God’s voice and responded “Hineni.” Abraham, the very first Righteous Gentile left his home in search of a new land. Ruth abandoned her relatives in Moab to return to Israel and care for Naomi.
It is time for us to rise up and declare in faith that we do all that is possible to deliver Israel from destruction, just as Esther and Mordecai did centuries ago. It is time for us to stand in the gap. And I believe with all my heart that it is time for us to receive the signet ring of heaven’s approval and authority so that we can see God’s power on display in every part of our lives.
Today, God is once again looking for men and women of courage and faith to answer the call and stand in the gap for the sake of Israel and the Jewish people. Will your answer be “Hineni”? We are the people He is calling to be a great wall of defense for His Chosen People.
EDITOR’S NOTE: No matter how severe the threats of disease or economic collapse or war may be, God is faithful to defend and protect His children.
In 1983, I traveled to Lebanon to deliver food, medicine, and Bibles to the people there. Minutes before reaching the city of Sidon, the PLO bombed the area. Had our arrival been any earlier, we could well have been caught in the crossfire. We distributed supplies and then headed for Beirut. We met with U.S. marines on a beachhead by the Mediterranean Sea, ministering to them, giving them Bibles, and praying with them.
Later that evening, the troops returned to their barracks at Beirut International Airport, approximately 500 yards from the beachhead. Our team unrolled our sleeping bags and made our beds on the sandy beach. A little after 6:00 a.m. the following morning, I was standing on the beachhead talking to a contingent of Marines who had just taken up their posts. Suddenly, a terrific explosion rent the air.
We would soon learn that as the American troops were beginning a new day, the Marine sentry at the gate looked up to see a big yellow Mercedes truck barreling down. The sentry reported that the driver of the truck smiled at him as he crashed through the gates. The truck was on a course for the lobby of the barracks. The sentries, armed only with loaded pistols, were unable to stop the speeding vehicle. The truck carried explosives equal to about six tons of TNT.
The driver rammed into the lower floor of the barracks and discharged his deadly cargo. The explosion was so great that the four-story building collapsed in a heap of rubble. Many of the dead had not been killed by the blast itself but were crushed beneath the cinder-block building as it pancaked in on itself.
News would soon spread that Islamic Jihad, a pseudonym for Iranian armed and funded Hezbollah terrorists, had taken credit for the attack that had blown up the Marine barracks. The explosion and collapse of the building killed 241 American servicemen: 220 Marines, 18 Navy personnel, and three Army soldiers. Huge guns from warships off the coast of Beirut began to shell the area in retaliation.
Upon hearing the explosion, my friends and I hurriedly gathered our belongings and headed for Nahariya, Israel, on the border. I had followed the sea to Beirut, but it would be dark soon. That became a problem as we drove south. I made several wrong turns that took us to Tyre and into the midst of the funeral procession of a Hezbollah operative. Our vehicle was an Avis rental car from Jerusalem with a distinctive Israeli license plate—not a good thing to have when you’re surrounded by raging, grieving terrorists!
Somehow God blinded their eyes, and we were able to get through the city. Once we reached the outskirts, I made another wrong turn. Instead of going to Nahariya, we were headed down a dirt road toward Damascus. Soon our vehicle was spotlighted and tracer bullets raced overhead, then 37-millimeter mortars began to crash into the desert near us. We had been on God’s business, and now we were being targeted! Next, our car’s engine sputtered and died. We had left Beirut so quickly I had forgotten to check the fuel tank. Now we were lost on a desert road, amid hostile fighters, and out of fuel. What else could happen? There seemed no way to survive. It could only be a matter of minutes before our vehicle would be blown to shreds. One of the men with me shouted, “We’re dead!” “You’re not dead; you’re talking! We have to pray,” I responded.
As I began to petition heaven for our safety, I was startled by a rap on the car window. Despite my bravado, I jumped at the sound. I thought, “This is it! We’re going to meet our Maker on the backside of nowhere. God help us!” Standing there was a young Arab wearing a kaffiyeh—the traditional head covering—and hefting not a weapon but a fuel can. I wondered how he could possibly have known we were out of diesel. He went to the back of the car, removed the fuel cap, and poured the diesel into the tank. He then walked over to the passenger door and pointed at the lock. I hesitated only briefly before pulling up the lock. He opened the door and climbed inside.
“Drive,” he ordered. We had no idea where he was taking us. I looked in the rearview mirror at my passengers, shrugged, and complied. For 32 kilometers the young man did not speak another word, only pointed in the direction he wished the car to go. After what seemed like hours, he barked, “Stop.” The man opened the door and climbed from the car. He stuck his head back inside, said, “Safe,” and then slammed the door.
I turned to look at my friends in the back seat…when I turned back, the young man was gone. We were out in the open. There was no place for him to disappear as quickly as he had. No one spoke a word until we drove over the border into Israel. One of my friends looked at me in awe and asked, “Can you explain what just happened?” I couldn’t, other than that God answered the prayers for safety that had been prayed over us before we left Beirut.
Psalm 91 is a wonderful song of God’s precious protection over His people. As the Believer reads through the chapter, it is soon evident that God doesn’t promise that we will never find ourselves in tight places, in desperate situations, or be exempt from trouble or affliction. It does promise that God will walk with us through each trial and tribulation. He is omnipresent—everywhere—and is our Strong Deliverer, our Mighty Tower, our Strong Refuge, our ever-present help in time of need. God has promised never to leave us alone.
Psalm 91:1–2 says: He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” Like the psalmist, the Believer has a choice to make: Dwell in the “secret place” or walk in the counsel of the ungodly and stand in the path of sinners. The place of Psalm 91 is a place of safety and protection, a place where we are totally dependent on God. It is a place of strength for the obedient; the only true sanctuary. All the blessings of God are available to the one who “abides under the shadow of the Almighty.”
God’s protection is not some nebulous, abstract thing; it is a demonstrable element. God’s Word declares that we are surrounded, embraced, sheltered, and overtaken by His kindness and are secure in Him. How all-encompassing is God’s love for us and protection over us! Another thing you have to do to ensure God’s protection, besides walking with God and obeying Him, is to speak your faith. The psalmist declares, “I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress’” (emphasis added).
The psalmist gives us a mighty tool in invoking the Lord’s protection. He reminds us that we must speak up. The tongue is a powerful force, either for good or evil. When we speak the Word in faith, it is a powerful reminder of God’s grace and favor in our lives. When faced with the temptations of the Enemy in the wilderness, Jesus did not just “think” His responses. No, He spoke out against the wiles of Satan. His physical weakness from the lack of food did not deter His faith in the Father. He declared the Word with power and conviction, and as a result, received the benefits of God’s protection.
Storms do come to us even though we would much prefer that God hold them at bay. However, “Sometimes God calms the storm; sometimes He lets the storm rage and calms His child.” If you, like me, have ever seen God’s profound protection during times of tremendous trouble, you have benefited from an unfathomable grasp of His divine protection that may have been missed had He simply spoke, “Peace, be still,” to the storm. It is in these times that our faith is multiplied, and we receive new and awe-inspiring awareness of God and His matchless love. God’s mercy and shield are more than enough to keep us safe in the stormiest of situations.
No matter what diseases or plagues or economic unrest may come into your life, remember, “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27).
In the entire New Testament, Jesus taught His disciples only one prayer; some today refer to it as the Lord’s Prayer. Though many of us recite it from memory in services or on occasions where various denominations gather, how often do we really think about its significance or expect this prayer to actually be answered? Let’s look at it for a moment and think about praying it as if you were melding with the words of the prayer and, more importantly, with Jehovah to see His will accomplished on the earth:
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. — Matthew 6:9-13
Author Jan Karon wrote a series of books about a vicar in the fictional village of Mitford. The main character was often heard to pray what he called “the prayer that never fails.” During her various books about the pastor and his congregation, we learn that prayer was, “Thy will be done.” Author, pastor, and theologian Dr. Charles Swindoll wrote: “Prayer was never intended to make us feel guilty. It was never intended as a verbal marathon for only the initiated. Real prayer—the kind of prayer that Jesus mentioned and modeled—is realistic, spontaneous, down-to-earth communication with the living Lord that results in a relief of personal anxiety and a calm assurance that our God is in full control of our circumstances.”
Jesus told us we should pray that His kingdom be ushered in on earth as in heaven. This is what the earthly Church is meant to do—shepherd His kingdom. How can we possibly do this if we truly do not know Him or are not one with Him?
Looking back on my life, I see clearly that those times when Jesus has moved the most powerfully were when I leaned the most heavily upon Him. Whenever He has moved mightily was when “I” moved out. Jesus would show up and softly speak, and when I obeyed, I would see His will done on the earth as if we were actually standing before His throne in heaven. This is receiving the kingdom of God like a child. It is through those who have spent time with Jesus, who commune with Him through prayer and reading the Word, who obey His voice, that His kingdom becomes real on earth.