By Lilly Cohen
I feel slightly protective about Israel and its people. Ridiculous, I know. But then, feelings have never listened to logical reasoning. So I continue to feel protective. See, I want them, for once, to have the thing they have never experienced and long for so desperately: peace. To live a life without a constant threat of annihilation, blame and hate.
So yeah, I’m protective… And that protective urge seems to have rubbed off on those I love. “What should I pray for?” is one of the questions my little sister asks often. And to be honest, up to a few weeks ago, I just didn’t have a good answer to that question. Because really, what should she pray for? What should I pray for? In fact, what should anybody who stands with Israel pray for? For the peace of Jerusalem? For protection and safety for innocent lives on both sides? Yes of course. But not really the core issue is it?
I got my answer from an unexpected source. I’ve been friends with Saul for about two years. Probably because we both enjoy a good, lively discussion. Not an argument. Oh no. Just debating the opposing sides of different issues. I expected that evening’s visit to be no different. So plonking down my handbag on his kitchen counter, I hurled right into the first discussion topic without any preamble, “I’m concerned about Israel’s safety come next year.” Saul raised a bushy eyebrow and waived his hand dismissively. “I wouldn’t worry. We have the best protection any country can ask for.”
I stand immobilized for a second or two. Because I fully agree. Israel does. “He Who watches over Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps, right?” I quoted Psalm 121. Saul laughed. “Ah no. Not with our track record. Not with our terrible history.”
“But you said you knew Israel would be okay. You said she has the best protection any country can have…” I stammered, slightly out of my depth. His answer was typically human, and in retrospect, typically what I answer so often in my own life, “We have the best army. Our intelligence is brilliant. And there are important people looking out for Israel.” In that moment I knew what my sister should pray for, what I should pray for and yes, what every person standing with Israel should pray for.
The one thing that God desires from me, from you and yes, from Israel, is dependence, trust, a realisation that apart from Him, we can do nothing. I continue to be amazed at how the story of Israel and its people echoes so clearly in my own life. I read Isaiah, Jeremiah and Hosea and I hear the cry of a Father, a First Love to Israel, to me… “I love you with a love that never ends. Come to Me, trust in Me, lean on Me. I will protect you. Forget your allies, your fast horses, your fortified cities, your well-trained armies… I am your Rock and your Fortress. I am your Safety.”
As God works in my life, as He teaches me to submit to His authority with an awe and reverence reserved for Him alone… As He teaches me not to look to man to fulfil my desire for acceptance and safety and validation – that He is sufficient for me… As He teaches me daily that He is who He says He is and does what He says He will do, that He keeps His promises… And as He teaches me to walk in the faith that He will supply all my needs. Him, not me or my loved ones.
Abba, that is then also my prayer for Israel… As You teach me, show her also the strength and the protection of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Let her rest in the knowledge that it is not her strong allies, her important people or her strong army that keeps her, but that the Rock of Ages looks after her protection and safety. Show her Your love and tenderness, make her hear Your voice so that she can walk in faith, knowing that You are who You say you are, that “not a word failed of any good thing which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass” (Joshua 21:45). Show Israel in the same amazingly tender way that You’ve shown me…Share this page with your friends
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