“Turn again, O God of hosts! Look down from heaven, and see; have regard for this vine, the stock that your right hand planted….”
Psalm 80, which we prayed together last Sunday, had a tragic timeliness to it as many of us carried in our hearts the violent events unfolding in Israel. Personally, I’ve applied my sermon from that morning to my prayers for the conflict in Israel:
Our God: You, O LORD, are the powerful, good shepherd. Stir up your might and save the suffering!
Our Lament: How long? Why are you waiting? Don’t you hear the cries, and see the violence?
Our Story: The Israelis and Palestinians are both a part of your story. Your care, faithfulness, and intervention are evident throughout their histories. Even though right now the story is fearfully dark, from your perspective (“the Rock that is higher than I”) there is more of your purpose yet to be fulfilled. I remember You are the Author.
Our Plea: “Turn again, O God of hosts!” Give your attention to Israel. Interfere and intervene and save and restore!
And the cry woven throughout the psalm: “Restore us, O LORD God of hosts! Let your face shine, that we may be saved!”
You can also express your concern for this situation by responding to an invitation from the Anglican Relief and Development Fund (ARDF) and CMJ-USA to enable CMJ-Israel to “to bring aid and support to survivors of the conflict.” Support their work by making a donation to ARDF, and stay updated on prayer requests and needs by clicking here.
I’ll close with a few words from a friend of mine who has been sharing the love of Jesus among Israelis and Palestinians for decades. After speaking of the heaviness and heartbreak arising from these violently tragic circumstances, he says:
“I have to reiterate that which we know to be true, but is sometimes hard to hold onto: that these are all people made by God, loved by God; and he is active, he is present, he was present, he remains present, long before any of us thought of going there… And somehow God is working for his good purposes in this world, but these things certainly are not good, and the devastation and the destruction is a work of the enemy. And we’re just crying out to the Father for mercy, for grace, for protection, for somehow the end to the evil and the emergence of wholeness and peace and restoration. It’s very hard to imagine right now, but that is our cry.”
Let us join in this cry, praying for all involved.
Your Pastor in Christ,