- What does God think about the assassinations, the terrorist attacks, the missiles and war?
- How should we be praying, thinking about, and responding to the complicated situation in the Middle East?
- What is to become of Israel?
- Are we watching end time events line up?
Most political commentary on the Middle East depends heavily on guessing the private thoughts and intentions of key figures on the global scene.
But there’s only one person I know who has access to that information.
The only one who knows all of the facts, all of the history, all of the private discussions, all of the suffering, and even all of the secret heart intentions of every world leader, is God.
Given our inability to mind-read and the fact that we only ever have a tiny fraction of the information, may I recommend two essentials in times of international crisis:
- Seek God’s perspective – He is the only One who knows the truth
- Pray that nothing would hinder the spread of the Gospel
First: Seek God’s perspective
God knows the end from the beginning. He knows the number of hairs on our heads. He has also written down what will happen, so that we have an idea of what to expect. We also have a real and living relationship with this mIghty, omniscient God, through the invaluable blood of the Messiah, Jesus. We can boldly approach His throne and seek His counsel.
We can scour the news sites and our social media feeds looking for wisdom, but digging deeper into the Word of God will yield better results. If you want to know what’s coming to this earth, get to know your Bible and believe it! God always does exactly what He says He will, but often not the way we imagine.
It’s important to remember when looking at the prophecies fulfilled by Jesus that He really was actually (not metaphorically) born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), and really was actually (not metaphorically) pierced in his hands and feet (Psalms 22:16), his clothes really were divided by lot (Psalms 22:18). He really was called out of Egypt (Hosea 11:1), and he really did walk on the water (Job 9:8)… Even though the promises of His coming as a warrior King are yet to come, it’s important to note the fact that these prophecies did come true in a literal manner, just as He said. God does not make idle promises – his ways are higher, not lower. More significant that we imagine, not less.
Many of the Bible’s prophecies have come to pass already, but much is still to come. Do you know what God has through His prophets? Are you familiar with Ezekiel 36-39? Daniel’s end time visions? Isaiah, Zechariah and Revelation? Have you meditated on the words of Jesus about the end of days?
When Jesus talks about the ten virgins in Matthew 22, we see a picture of ten believers, all with a lamp (representing the Word of God) but only half with oil (representing the Spirit). We need to be reading the Bible, asking the Holy Spirit for His guidance and insight as we read, so that we are ready when the Bridegroom returns.
God is able to illuminate passages of Scripture to us as we seek to understand his Word, and He is also able to lead us into truth. Indeed, Jesus tells us that it is the job of the Holy Spirit to do so! If you ask God to show you and lead you to information He wants you to see and understand, I believe, according to these promises that He will:
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. (James 1:5)
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. (John 16:13)
Keep your eye on what’s happening in the world, but more importantly, keep in close communion with God, with your ear to the throne. We are to watch, pray, and prepare the way for His coming.
Secondly, pray that the Gospel would not be hindered
If we believe that Jesus was sent that we may have eternal life, we should be seeing life and world events through the lens of eternal perspective. Indeed, Paul writes:
All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. (Philippians 3:15)
Second only to God’s glory in importance is His desire for an inheritance among the nations – a bride for his Son. He doesn’t want anyone to perish and holds out his arms continually to whomever would believe in Jesus, and accept His gift of eternal life. God is gathering more and more people into His kingdom in our days – especially in the Middle East – and we need to understand that the spread of the Gospel is top priority.
Providing a great example to us today, famous Welsh intercessor, Rees Howells, had to navigate prayerful determination to see the world reached with the Gospel during a time of huge international upheaval in World War II. His biography explains how their Bible College became a house of prayer for all nations, passionately interceding for entire countries as well as for those individuals sharing the Gospel.
“One form that this prayer Warfare took was intercession on a national and international level concerning anything that affected world evangelization.
Every creature must hear; therefore, the doors must be kept open. Their prayers became strategic. They must face and fight the enemy wherever he was opposing freedom to evangelize. God was preparing an instrument — a company to fight world battles on their knees.
“The first battle of prayer on this international scale was in 1936 when Germany sent her soldiers into the Rhineland, and broke the Locarno Treaty. “We knew that France would be on fire in a day,” said Mr. Howells, “and it meant nothing less than a European war, and the consequent hindrance to the spread of the Gospel. Only those who were in the College can realize the burden the Holy Spirit put on us. ‘Prevail against Hitler’, He said to me, and it meant three weeks of prayer and fasting.”” (Norman P. Grubb, Rees Howells – Intercessor)2
Howells and his entire College fought long and hard in prayer throughout the war, with the goal of keeping doors for the Gospel open as top priority. The greatest threat that he saw from the Nazis was the hindrance of the Gospel. They saw the most remarkable answers to prayer throughout the war, many of which are documented in the book, and are well worth reading.
Is that how we view the Middle East? Are we thinking about God’s desire to reach a huge end-time harvest for eternity? Are we cognisant of the kind of leadership and conditions that will allow the Gospel to flourish? Or have we become embroiled in human politicking? Brother, sister, lift your head! See the lost in every country and join in God’s heart to seek and save. Get with God’s programme and pray His plans for salvation into being.
We need to make sure we are praying in line with God’s plans for the Middle East, not against them. We are preparing the way of the Lord.
- Pray for the rapid spread of the Gospel, and for a great harvest in the Middle East
- Pray for God’s people to come into greater understanding and alignment with His end-time plans
- Pray for all those sharing the Gospel in the region to be strengthened, anointed, and empowered in their ministry
These are difficult days, but we are not at the end yet. There’s a great time of joyous celebration and victory coming…
Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. (Proverbs 19:21)
- Mark Tessler, A History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Second Edition, 1994
- Norman P. Grubb, Rees Howells – Intercessor, 1973, Chapter 30 THE EVERY CREATURE COMMISSION
This article was originally published on One For Israel and reposted with permission.