A Lesson for Hard Times – Gleaned from Israel’s History

“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” – C. S. Lewis

The world is going through a hard time…again.

Just a few weeks ago Israel commemorated the 9th of the Hebrew month of Av, as they have been doing for millennia. This solemn anniversary culminates the annual three week “dire straits” period of mourning over the destruction of the first and second temples in Jerusalem as well as other disasters in Jewish history.

As the world faces the current pandemic and the other events that have brought fear and strife to many nations, I want to go back in history, focusing on Israel in order to draw a parallel to our current difficulties.

2 Kings 19:15-19 records Hezekiah’s response to a fearsome threat of impending destruction in Jerusalem. What did he do? He brought it before God. He literally spread out the pieces of paper with the written military threat, in the temple, and cried out, “Open Your eyes, O LORD, and see; and hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to reproach the living God.” (verse 16)

Hezekiah was a king in crisis, in spite of having restored Israel to following God’s way of holiness, and in spite of having destroyed the idols! Now he was in the middle of a storm, just as big as ours or bigger. With encouragement from his “buddy” Isaiah, he persevered in faith—through conflict and trouble. In the end, he was victorious.

This is where we are today, watching Israel and other nations being pressured from every direction. People are changing before our eyes—looking inward at their individual needs and responding with anger at governments and those in authority. We are in a time of trouble which is affecting the health of the nation as well as the economy, security and future.

In Israel, we face military threats, as in the time of Hezekiah. Meanwhile, brother is turning against brother. Will we and our leaders rise up and run to God as Hezekiah did? Or will we put our trust in something else (foreign gods and idols), succumbing in the end to their authority and not God’s? Have we even noticed that, in the meantime, the enemy has arrived at our borders with Gaza and Lebanon, waiting for our destruction?

The book of Lamentations is read in its entirety on the eve of 9th of Av. In the face of the coronavirus, the words ring truer than ever. I feel as if we have never been closer to the physical and spiritual condition of Jeremiah’s day than now. Mankind so easily forgets God until a time of dire need arises.

With God’s righteous judgement impending, may the world not be found lacking (like Sodom and Gomorrah) in men and women of righteousness, those who know the Lord and are ready to stand in the gap for their nation. As we draw closer to the fulfillment of all things, we join in agreement with the closing words of Lamentations 5:21:

“Turn us again to Yourself, O Lord, and we will be restored.”

Thanks to Yeshua, we are the righteous of this day, standing as Hezekiah stood. May the Spirit of God lead us in intercession for our people and nation.

This article originally appeared in Oasis newsletter, September 2020, and reposted with permission.