Mightier than oaks

“I destroyed the Amorite before them, though he was tall as the cedars and strong as the oaks. I destroyed his fruit above and his roots below. I brought you up out of Egypt, and I led you forty years in the desert to give you the land of the Amorites. I also raised up prophets from among your sons and Nazirites from among your young men. Is this not true, people of Israel?” declares the LORD”. (Amos 2:9-11)

The rapid chain of events that occurred since the kidnapping of the three Jewish teenagers escalated into a military operation called “Operation Protective Edge”. Much has happened since my last post. The day following the funeral of the three youths, a 16-year old arab boy was kidanapped and murdered by Jewish extremists. It was an unjustifiable, horrendous act, just like the murder of the three Israeli teens. The situation deteriorated from that point. Even though Hamas had been firing missiles into Israel on a regular basis, it stepped up its rocket attacks and expanded the target area to include not only residential communities in the south, but places in the middle of the country, from Tel Aviv along the coast all the way to Haifa. Jerusalem, said to contain the third holiest in Islam, was not exempt from Hamas’ rocket fire. The result of those attacks upon civilian population centers in Israel caused many to remain close to sheltered and protected areas, both while at home and while outside. Not all the missiles reach their target. About 25% of them are destroyed while still in the air by Israell’s anti-missile defines system called “Iron Dome”. This missile-intercept system has proven itself to be of great advantage to Israel and many have claimed that it not only saved their lives, but gives them a feeling of safety as well. Herein lies the problem.

I’m not at all against this system. Quite to the contrary, I think it is doing an excellent job and is a tremendous asset to Israel, particularly at this time. The problem I see with it is that ever since the present Opertaion started, people have been praising it, rather than, well…on God. That’s no big surprise. I didn’t really expect that many would give God credit for protecting Israel, but I did expect a few to. All over the news, people are applauding this system and saying what a “life saver” it is. Many take pride in it and mention how Israel is strong, how it can defend itself and how the army is strong and able to defend us. Only here and there someone would openly express praise and thanksgiving to God and give Him the credit for the miracles that have taken place so far in this latest war with the terrorist organisation, Hamas. Those who acknowledge God’s action in our midst are few and far between.

God brought Israel out of Egypt and provided for the people through their wandering in the desert for 40 years, meeting all of their needs. When they reached the land of Canaan, God destroyed the Amorites for them. The Amorites, who were “tall as the cedars and strong as the oaks”, were probably the strongest of the Canaanite people in the land. Yet, God destroyed them and gave their land to Israel. The words which Amos wrote are as true today as they were then. But, Israel has forgotten. We forgot we had the protection of One far greater than any “iron dome” – God! We forgot that He took down the strongest of the nations. We forgot that it was God Who gave us this land. We began to rely on our own strength. As it was then, so it is today.

Amos went on to say in the same chapter: “The swift will not escape, the strong will not muster their strength, and the warrior will not save his life. The archer will not stand his ground, the fleet-footed soldier will not get away, and the horseman will not save his life. Even the bravest warriors will flee naked on that day,” declares the LORD” (vs. 14-16). Why? Because of the sin of the Nation of self-reliance, instead of God-reliance. I am sorry to say that not much has changed since the time of Amos. Israel still relies on itself and on the strength of our military, as well as upon the accuracy of the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system. Only when in dire need, do we wake up and realize God is there to help. Only then do we call upon Him to act.

The Israeli Defense Forces (“IDF”) is trained well and is probably the most moral military in the world. But, instead of trusting in our “horsemen”, “archers” and “warriors”, we need to trust in our God. He is our help and our shield, a very present help in time of trouble. Undoubtedly, many of the missiles who should have hit their targets didn’t because God intercepted them and moved them out of the way. There is no other way to explain that only one civilian death occurred as a result of the more than a thousand rockets that have been fired from Gaza into Israel, headed for civilian population centres. As I read the verses of Amos, I saw in them a warning – a warning for Israel to turn back to God, now, and stop with its 21st century idol worship (of the Iron Dome), a warning that each person can receive individualy. We were not called out of Egypt to rely on our own strength, talents and skills. We were not given victory over enemies considerably greater in numbers than us, only to think “I am strong, so I can handle this on my own, I don’t need God”. If God cut down the mightiest of oaks as a lesson to Israel, we should, no, we must, remember that He can humble the proud. He did it to laymen and to kings alike, including Nebuchadnezer, until he lifted his eyes up to heaven and acknowledged God as the one true king and God.

This is a difficult time for Israel. Our successes could lead us to become proud. This is a time to act with humility, trusting that God would direct our steps and guide our paths.

Please, pray for Israel, that the eyes of our leaders would be opened to see that God is our protector, that He is far greater, tremendously more accurate and always more reliable than any “Iron Dome” defense system. Our trust and faith in God is absolutely essential if we are to become the nation that God wants us to be and intends for us to be – a light for the nations


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