The Bible is full of messages for our time. It’s hard to read any biblical passage and not find an application for our lives, or a story that doesn’t parallel a situation today. Particularly when it comes to Israel, the history of the Jewish people seems to repeat itself.
I was recently reading the account of when King Hezekiah organized a big Passover gathering in Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 30). Passover, coming up in a few weeks, is a pilgrimage festival which God commanded His people to travel to Jerusalem annually to celebrate. For many years, Passover was held in Shiloh, where the tabernacle rested. Yet, during the times of the Kings, the festival sort of fell by the wayside.
When Hezekiah invited all of Israel to Jerusalem, many came, even from the Northern tribes, which were often at odds with the Southern Kingdom. It’s a beautiful account of a time when Israel gathered together to worship God and destroy many of the idols in the Land.
Israel Under Siege
My attention was arrested by the story immediately following the Passover, when Sennacherib the king of Assyria, laid siege to the cities of Judah. I couldn’t help but compare it to recent events as the US White House is proving to be the most hostile-toward-Israel administration in history. While the US ambassador calls Jews building in Judea and Samaria “stupid” and says the restoration “infuriates” him, the State Department wants to establish a Palestinian consulate in Jerusalem, and negotiate a disastrous Iran deal.
The king of Assyria is back!
Our country is unfortunately engaged in actions comparable to the prideful King Sennacherib who said to the people of Israel: “Do you not know what I and my predecessors have done to all the peoples of the other lands? Were the gods of those nations ever able to deliver their land from my hand?” Further “they called out in Hebrew to the people of Jerusalem who were on the wall, to terrify them and make them afraid in order to capture the city.” 2 Chronicles 32
Today, the popular opinion is that the solution to conflict in Israel is to divide the Land and give a portion to Israel’s enemies. Others, like those engaged in the BDS (boycott) movement, insist that the very existence of a Jewish State is an injustice. They argue that peace can only come when Israel surrenders its very heartland and capital city. Similar to antisemites of old, they lay siege to Israel, this time with the weapons of diplomacy and economics.
Our response and responsibility
As always, we can and should search out what we can learn from the biblical accounts. Lovers of Israel need to stand strong for the Jewish State in these times. We can encourage Israel with the words of King Hezekiah, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria (the White House, United Nations, boycott movement, etc.) and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with [you] than with him. With him is only the arm of flesh, but with [you] is the Lord our God to help [you] and to fight [your] battles.”
Just as in the days of the early Passovers, the Lord will once again prove Himself a mighty deliverer of His people. And it won’t go so well for those who oppose Israel! Let’s make sure we are firmly on the right side, passionately engaged in supporting and finding opportunities to strengthen the Jewish State.