Ok, here’s the deal. I know that many of us sincerely believe that when God said to father Abraham, “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you,” he once and for all determined who we should be siding with in the Middle East. But over time I’ve become convinced that many of us have misunderstood the promise. That’s why I posted “The Promise” yesterday.
But after I pushed the “go” button, my Middle East expert (who also asked me to post his picture here) told me that I reminded him of a longwinded caravan boss who once drove him to distraction.
I think he has a point– even though I really want you to read yesterday’s post. So I thought maybe I’d try to give you a short version here in hopes that you’ll go back and read the longer one.
(1) One reason our spiritual convictions might not be a basis for political favorites in the Middle East is that “our side” may not be what we think it is. According to the Apostle Paul “They are not all Israel, which are of Israel” (Rom 9:6). Just as importantly, (2) even though Paul foresees a future for a restored Israel in the last days (Rom 11), he is just as clear that present day Jerusalem (at least in the first century) corresponds more to Ishmael than Isaac, the son of promise (Gal 4:25). So (3) if we want the blessing that God promised to Abraham, we need to bless any Jewish or Arab person who is “in the Messiah” (Gal 3:13-16) while praying that people of every nation would soon join their ranks.
I believe that, together, these points show why followers of Christ should be known for being peacemakers, who are concerned for justice and mercy on all sides of the Middle East conflict– while seeing both Jewish and Arab people as people for whom Christ died.
Now, I’m sure that this is going to be too short for those who really believe that God will bless those who bless Israel regardless of their spiritual condition. If so, I hope you’ll check out The Promise– at least for the pictures :-).