"AS YOU HAVE DONE TO ISRAEL IT WILL BE DONE TO YOU"
Obadiah 1:15 "The day of the Lord is near for all nations. AS YOU HAVE DONE TO ISRAEL, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head."
The present dilemma that much of the world finds itself in, as it relates to how to think and respond to Muslims in general, is of great interest — especially so for Europe and the United States. We have Donald Trump releasing yet another shocking statement, saying that NO Muslims should be allowed into the United States for the indefinite future. This statement seems to be the most extreme of the many almost unbelievable comments that Trump has made. We see that even Europe, while at first mainly embracing the idea of taking in Syrian refugees, now has cold feet regarding their humanitarian embracing of Muslims- that had been originally expressed before the Paris attacks.
A prevailing narrative is "75-85% of Muslims love peace" and we shouldn't overreact to the extremists. However, Trump and others are pointing out that there will always be 5-25% extremists, therefore the more Muslims, the more risk there will be. If we were to think only from a security interest, Trump's extreme position would be seemingly defensible. Of course, if we go down that path of security concerns trumping over human rights, then we can get on a slippery slope to the abyss. Do we force pregnant Muslims in our nation to abort their male children because they could become a future security risk in the United States? Or perhaps sterilize Muslim women after 1 or 2 children? Or even before any children? Ultimately we must ask, is it OK to be prejudiced against 75-80% because 5-25% might become radicalized? And if so, then what degree of prejudicial discrimination is OK?
It truly is an intense debate and it seems everyone is processing and giving opinion as to "the Muslim dilemma.” Our "Christian" standpoint is being challenged as many leaders in the Body of Christ are in essence espousing security concerns over "loving our enemies.” (Obviously there is a different standard and assignment for the church as compared to what government must do) Furthermore, many humanistic idealists (especially European) who considered themselves humanitarian champions of tolerance now find themselves weak on that utopian sentiment. A great moral quandary seems to have risen it's head and it is now front and center in public debate. Are we humanitarian or protectionists? Do we prioritize loving others or protecting ourselves? Or better perhaps, how we do both?
AS YOU HAVE DONE TO ISRAEL...
What’s most interesting to me is how much of the world finds itself where it should be eating its words of judgment and condemnation of Israel. I absolutely believe that this is the essential lesson that’s being missed. For some time Israel has been the determiner of many nations’ destinies, as well as that nation’s overall protection. In essence, Israel is the anvil upon which the destiny of nations are being forged. Unrighteous and unfair judgments against Israel have severe repercussions because that's seen by our God as dishonoring what He has specifically asked of the nations. Israel is His firstborn of many nations (Ex.4:22) and through whom the covenants of grace came to everyone else and Israel is to be honored as such. It doesn’t mean that everything Israel does has been or is righteous. It just means when you’re unfair with your judgments and condemnation of Israel, it is observed by heaven -- doubly so if you instigate a war, an ordinance, or economic boycott against them. (Gen. 12:3 “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you”). It means you are most likely under the influence of an antichrist spirit. While many of us may debate the role or centrality of Israel, the devil himself knows that Israel's restoration and revitalization is inextricably connected to God's end-time restoration of all things. This is why Israel is always in the news, and specifically so since 1948 when the impossible took place and Israel became a nation once again.
Europe has been progressively making unjust condemnations, demands, ordinances, and declarations against Israel, because Europe (and others) have not understood the intense battle that Israel lives under day to day. France then topped it off by initiating a boycott against Israeli goods the very week jihadists committed their heinous acts of terrorism in Paris. This isn’t just ironic. Much of Europe, the United States, and the world has carried a narrative that Israel is an aggressor nation that is unfair in it's treatment of the Palestinian people that live among them. No other nation on earth would allow avowed enemies who are bent on their destruction to even remain on their soil -- yet Israel is chastised, boycotted, and vilified for requiring Muslim jihadists to go through extra security measures as they live and work among them. Yes, many of these Muslims have no intention of destroying Israel, but when the Palestinian government has in it's official charter the quest to eliminate Israel, then it is to be expected that its subjects cannot all simply be embraced as refugees to be pitied. I personally had a unique opportunity to see and experience this reality first hand in Israel and honestly I was aghast at the kindness, tolerance, and humanitarian concerns that Israel displays in every way imaginable. Time does not allow me to properly cover and convey that here.
Now the world has an opportunity to experience Israel's reality and the challenges of "the Muslim dilemma.” It's quite noteworthy that Israel was quickly the lead nation that helped France with intelligence and strategy right after the Paris attacks, though France has been the most dangerous European nation for a Jew to live in because of the prevailing anti-Semitic sentiment in that nation.
If all nations, including the United States, want to figure out how to best protect themselves and bring security for it's citizens -- the first answer lies in Obadiah 1:15. "As you have done to Israel, it will be done to you." I have closely observed over the last couple of decades that whenever Europe and the United States are at peace, they have tended to then focus unjustly on Israel. Over the last 3 years there have been inordinate pressures and unjust measures against them. I can only imagine how far they might have prejudiced Israel if not for "the Muslim dilemma" that hit their own door steps. Though I deeply desire the end to Muslim jihadists, I have to clearly recognize how they are an instrument of the justice of God on the earth.The point is, the nations (especially the United States) must learn how important it is to understand Israel in their very difficult effort to protect themselves while they agree to allow a people to co-habitate with them who has declared them to be their enemies.
It’s also important to note that the extremists seem to be key in creating the desperate conditions that have provoked over 25,000 Muslims to come to Christ every day. The more vicious they are the more disillusionment there is with status quo Islam. We now have more Muslims that have come to Christ since 9/11 than in the entire history of Islam put together. The present narrative is not about radical Muslims taking over the world — it's about the veil being lifted and Muslims encountering the One who passionately loves them. Our personal test as believers is whether or not we will choose to love Muslims, despite the security risks. Many of us are failing that test, but thank God many are understanding the opportunity before us to love radically. I know we are totally within our rights to think of our personal and family's safety. However, let me remind us of Mt. 5:43-45. “You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” May we be motivated to correctly represent the heart of our Father.
So, I pray we all better understand what is playing out on the world stage and how God is going after the collective hearts of nations. Israel has just gone through several months of almost daily attacks by Muslim jihadists whose only goal is to kill indiscriminately as many Jews as possible. I have not seen hardly a report on those stabbed or the families affected and this is most likely news to many of you -- because it is the norm for mainline media to ignore or understate what happens to Israel. Yet I have read several times of the terrorists shot and killed by Israeli security and they are always called “Palestinians” instead of terrorists or jihadists. Our own government has called for “restraint on both sides.” That would be almost as offensive as a Muslim nation calling for us to have “restraint” as we went after the San Bernardino jihadists. This distorted perceiving, processing, and reporting will be something the Lord will justly go after. Meanwhile as believers, we have no need to demonize anyone. Whatever other kingdom assignment we may feel we have, it must fall under the heading of LOVE. May we be ones that prioritize love so much that we are indeed “children of our Father."