As I write this, the Rocket War, as some have dubbed it, has commenced in Israel. Hamas is lobbing rockets, with intent to destroy, into Israel, and Israel is firing back.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Psalm 22:6
Okay. I'll walk through this minefield.
The popular stance in the evangelical church is to view Israel as God's chosen people. But chosen means...chosen. As in, destined for Heaven. True, God's original selection happened within the family of Abraham, descending from his physical seed. But--and this is a big but--the true Israel was a nation within a nation. The true Israel in the Old Testament was the group of people who walked in covenant with God. And that was a mere subset, a remnant, of the people who shared DNA with Abraham.
Chosen means chosen. ALL of the people God chooses go to Heaven. ALL of them. And going to Heaven requires us to be bought by the blood of Jesus. And most Jews reject Jesus as Lord. That means they are worshiping a false god. That means no Heaven for them. With me so far?
I grew up playing favorites. Now that I think about that, though, I think favoritism is God's privilege alone. Like jealousy or wrath, some things belong to God alone.
So who are God's favorite, the apple of His eye? Who are God's chosen people? They are the people of the covenant. They are the Church. I have a hard time saying that the Israel we know today has God's "most favored nation" status. I have a hard time saying a Jew is more favorite or more almost-Christian than an Arab. I don't think that makes much sense in light of Scripture. Unsaved is unsaved. Close only counts in horseshoes.
Back to Psalm 122. Bringing this across the hermeneutical bridge, on this side of the Cross, when God is at work gathering His people from every nation, tribe, and tongue, can we honestly say that our focus should be praying for one geopolitical nation? I seriously doubt it. The whole context of this psalm is going up to the place of worship with other people of God (people who WILL go to Heaven). But if you're not worshiping the Triune God, you're not worshiping the True God. I'll just leave that there.
To be Biblically accurate, praying this prayer means praying for the peace of...I think, maybe...the Church.
There. I said it. When I pray for the peace of Jerusalem--and I do every Tuesday--I pray that God would send workers into that harvest, that He would take the blinder off the citizens of the physical Israel...but mostly, I am praying for the Church.
So as the rockets lob back and forth, I don't assume that Israel is the hero, the victim, or the favorite. The formation of the current nation of Israel left the residents at that time in very bad condition. No wonder they're angry. Jews-as-hero and Palestinians-as-villain does not take into account the fact that there are two sides to this story. Neither does it take into account Imago Dei. The situation there is very complex with thousands of years of history. Let's pray for everyone there. Everyone. Let's pray for the Gospel to permeate that region of the world and for a rich harvest of saved souls!
Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name.
Think of the places we'll go and the people we'll see and that God will be represented well by us today.
Your kingdom come.
I pray for the Church on Tuesday.
(I love the Church. But there's a lot of stinkin' thinkin' about the Church--like wherever there are believers, that's a church. Yeah, no. Yuk. Someone needs to lay the smack down:
Some don't get it so they hate. They say she's on a paper chase. They say she's really fake.So they go and start a ministry so they can do the work. But they don't understand how Jesus feel about His church.And, yeah, they make disciples; they got plenty of conversions.They take care of the widow and the orphan they be workin; but none of them are churchin'. No church structure; no elders and no discipline; they don't have a conductor; and so they don't submit.But quite a few of them baptize; People, how I pray that you'd look at this from God's eyes.Take responsibility inside the whole counsel, not just the area where you might have a mouthful.Who should people submit to? Who will conduct the discipline? If excommunicated, what body will be missing then?Look at Ephesians where Paul gets practical, 1 Timothy and Titus if you think I'm irrational. (The Bride, Lecrae.)
I pray that God will strengthen the Church, shaking out the false teachers and false gospels. I also spend time on Tuesdays praying for our ambassadors in chains, the persecuted Church. I pray for specific people we know about, like Saeed Abedini, and for the people we don't know who are being persecuted, imprisoned, tortured for their faith in Jesus Christ. I pray that God will comfort them and give them His Word to stand on. I pray that they will bless those who curse them and love those who hate them, that their light would shine in the darkness. And I pray that God would be merciful and bring them home quickly.
Your will be done.
I also pray that God's will for my family will be done in terms of parent-child relationships. I pray over every child that they will honor their father and mother, that they will listen to their father's instruction and not forget their mother's teaching, that it will go well with them. I pray that Brett and I will be honorable: that we will be wise; that we will affirm the strengths we see in each one and parent the weaknesses. I pray that with our adult children, we would all learn how to relate as adults.
Give us this day our daily bread.
On Tuesday, I pray for Brett's business, that God would prosper him along the way; that Brett would use the skills he has and acquire the ones he needs; that God would bring him new clients, both buyers and sellers; that God would strengthen his sales team, both in terms of relationship and in business.
Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Forgiveness, self-examination, repentance.
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
Protection from evil and from Satan's schemes.
For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory.
Speaking of the Church, I love my local church. When I'm done praying for my family each day, I also work through the prayer requests that come from the church. It's a way for me to love this body of believers.
Up next, praying Wednesday...