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What Believers Need to Remember About the Israel-Gaza Conflict
   Thursday, August 21, 2014   at   10:00 AM

The nearly summer-long conflict between the Israeli Defense Force and the terrorist group Hamas no longer dominates world headlines. And that's unfortunate, because we can't recall a more stark contrast between right and wrong on the world stage in many years – or a more prominent reason why God commands Christian believers to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

The current conflict, you may remember, began in June, when Hamas kidnapped three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank. The bodies of Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaer and Eyal Yifrah were recovered more than two weeks later. On July 2, the day after the three Jewish teens were buried, a Palestinian boy, Mohammed Abu Khdeir, was kidnapped and murdered. Six Jewish males were arrested for the crime on July 6.

Since then, Hamas has launched rocket attacks from Gaza against Israel and the Israeli Defense Force has retaliated. Many of Hamas's rockets, consistent with its tactics, originate from civilian sites like schools and hospitals. The IDF has sought to destroy the missile sites after notifying civilians in the area of their intentions.

Cease-fire agreements between the two sides have been temporary and fragile, and always broken by Hamas. Despite that, anti-Israel sentiment has increased across the globe.

The loss of life in this conflict is tragic, but it seems to us that moralizers around the world who blame Israel for the bloodshed are looking at a different conflict than the one that is occurring. The IDF's mission is defensive, not offensive. If Hamas ran out of rockets tomorrow, there literally would be no more conflict.

For believers, there is one side to take in this conflict: Israel's. God's command in Psalm 122:6-9 is clear: “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! “May they be secure who love you! Peace be within your walls and security within your towers!" For my brothers and companions' sake I will say, "Peace be within you!" For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good.

In this nation, fortunately, we don't know what it is like to be surrounded by nations dedicated to our destruction. That's what life in Israel is like every day. Christians in this nation would do well to keep God's commands where she is concerned and not jump to ill-advised conclusions about how to defend itself against the murderous terrorists at its borders.
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