A Clear Call from Scripture

From May 14th, 2017 Posting

Morality in America

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” is mandated

By Dr. Tom Askew

Few commands in the Bible are less ambiguous than Psalm 122:6 – “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.”

Jerusalem has been a focal point for the revelation of God to His people from time immemorial. As a city, it has seen more than its share of conflict and invasion. In terms of current Mideast conflicts, it represents a treasure sought by conflicting religions, racial groups, and national interests. When you fulfill God’s command to pray for Jerusalem’s peace, you cannot ignore the contentions that encompass it. [MORE]

The enemies of Israel surround it at close proximity in a way that is difficult for most Americans to understand, enveloped as we are by long coastlines and relatively amiable relations with our two bordering nations. Palestinians, militant Arabic-speaking neighbors, and even the more distant nation of Iran, are all set on destroying the present state of Israel.

Since the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, more than three million Jews have moved to that nation. Their labors in turning the desert into a fruitful and productive homeland ought to be admired and lauded by all peoples, but instead, they often stand alone against their adversaries. For most of the modern state’s existence, Israel could count on support from the United States, but even that backing has weakened on recent years.

Where does the U.S. stand now?

One of the last events of President Obama’s administration struck a blow to U.S.–Israeli relations. In December 2016, then-Ambassador Samantha Power, representing the United States at the UN Security Council, sat silently when the chair called for votes against an anti-Israel resolution declaring Israeli settlements illegal. But she raised her hand high when the chair called for abstentions. Following the wishes of President Barack Obama, she let the resolution pass.

Some Middle East experts, like Jonathan Adelman of the University of Denver, expected the Trump administration to continue a lackluster stance toward Israel. To his surprise (and relief) “…new directions have emerged in the past two months. The moderate pro-Israel faction in the new administration has emerged as the dominant element advising President Trump.”

These pro-Israel voices include Vice President Mike Pence, who publicly declared in March, “President Trump and I stand with Israel… [we] will never compromise the safety and security of Israel… [we] will not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon… [we] will no longer tolerate Iran’s effort to destabilize the region.”

In addition, the new U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley in April lambasted the “breathtaking anti-Israel bias” at the UN, saying, “I am here to underscore the iron support of the United States for Israel… [which] is a beacon of stability in a troubled region.” She declared that with regard to Russia and Iran, “We are calling them out… I don’t think anything is off the table.”

The most recent move in this chess match was the letter delivered to the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in April, in which the U.S. Senate stated, “As duly elected representatives of the American people, we…are deeply committed to…advancing respect for human rights. But continued targeting of Israel by the U.N. Human Rights Council and other U.N. entities is unacceptable.” Signed by all one hundred U.S. senators, the letter affirmed, “We urge you to ensure that Israel is treated neither better nor worse than any other UN member in good standing,”

This is particularly timely in light of President Trump’s upcoming international trip, the first of his administration. Aides say that he will leave Washington on May 19 and stop first in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, before moving on to Jerusalem and then Rome. He will attend a NATO meeting in Brussels that opens on May 24 and then fly to Sicily, where the leaders of the Group of 7 will meet starting May 26.

Praying for Israel and the president’s visit

As a Christian, you should support Israel, because all other nations were created by men, but Israel was created by God. The Royal Land Grant is recorded in Genesis 13:14-18, which includes these words: “for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever.”

Pray for President Trump’s safety as he travels in this troubled region. Pray that in his consultations in Israel, the president will act in accord with the concluding words of Psalm 122: “For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good.”

Dr. Tom Askew has been an educator in both public and private schools for over 40 years, in both the U.S. and overseas. He is currently doing educational consulting and instruction for Christian schools in Arizona.