Text Size: Zoom In

Gaza, Samson, and Us

As the US turns over control of the Green Zone to Iraqi authorities, and as another powerful earthquake shakes Indonesia, the eyes of the world have shifted once again to a small strip of land on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean.

Around the world, in London, Paris, and New York, shouting crowds have taken to the streets to protest for and against Israel’s air and ground response to the Hamas Gaza-based strategy of firing rockets and mortars into southern Israel.

The breaking news in Gaza has ancient roots. A quick software search of the Bible shows that Gaza is mentioned for the first time in the 10th chapter of Genesis. There Gaza is said to be the southern border of the Canaanites (10:19).

Later in the 16th chapter of Judges we find the sordid story of a Jewish born strong-man by the name of Samson. The God-empowered man goes to Gaza, uses a harlot, and appears to be trapped by the local citizens who plan to wait for “the Jewish occupier” at the gates of the city and kill him when he leaves on the morning. Instead, Samson leaves the harlot’s bed at midnight, finds the city gates locked, and then escapes by using the God-given strength that he has just profaned by his visit to the prostitute. He rips out the city gates, and then carries them on his shoulders to a hill overlooking the city of Hebron (Judges 16:1-3).

The last time Gaza mentioned in the Bible shows up in the New Testament book of Acts (8:26). On the road to Gaza a follower of Christ by the name of Phillip encounters an Ethiopian official who is reading a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Turns out that the African official is reading from the 53rd chapter of Isaiah and is confused by what he is reading about a mysterious suffering servant who was led “as a sheep to the slaughter” as a sacrifice for “our sins” (Acts 8:26-39; Isaiah 53). Phillip has an opportunity to explain to the Ethiopian how this ancient prophecy had been fulfilled in the terrible suffering and wonderful resurrection of Jesus.

As we bring the mega-story of the Bible to current events of modern Israel, and our own lives, these connections to the ancient history of Gaza are important. The self-corrupting, sexually inflamed Samson fighting with the idol worshiping Canaanites is a picture not only of what we are watching in Gaza, but all too often in ourselves.

Even though human enemies all too often treat one another like animals, and even though there are, undoubtedly, demonic influences behind the conflicts we are watching in the Middle East, and in our own communities, the children who are suffering are not animals or demons. Gun bearing Palestinian and Jewish fighters, together with the rest of us, bear the fallen likeness of our God.

If, as followers of Christ, we allow ourselves to be politicized or nationalized to the point that we speak of either Palestinians or Israelis as if they were animals or devils, we have become a part of the problem. If we find ourselves thinking that the deteriorating humanitarian crisis in Gaza is only about “them,” we are missing the real story.

Without a change of hearts, evil will continue to be the response to evil in the Middle East, and in our own homes, churches, businesses, and communities.

Does that mean that nothing can be done and that there is no need for good political and humanistic wisdom in international crises? Am not saying that. Just seems to me that when it comes to the influence of followers of Christ, our Teacher reminded us that if salt loses its saltiness, it becomes useless.

Vote on whether you think this post is something you'll be thinking about:
Vote This Post DownVote This Post Up (+76 rating, 78 votes)

44 Responses to “Gaza, Samson, and Us”

  1. poohpity says:

    I have found in my own heart if I let one little itsy bit of anger or malice toward anyone or anything feed for even a moment I feel the presence of evil in my soul. This is something that gradually sneaks in a little at a time until it overcomes me and I wish the person harm. Then I wish myself harm and it goes on and on like a domino effect then depression, etc. Just like a building implodes from it’s interior or foundation so is our heart, mind and soul.

    Is there hope as always Yes because we know this friend who changes us from the inside out. I know it seems like a pat answer to everything but it is. He is the only one who can change a heart, to soften it. Our job is to look to Him and only Him for direction and healing. Again this sounds so easy but it is not. It is really not easy to let go of what we want to fit into His plans.

    The really tough part is asking for help! The politicians or rulers whomever they be, if they would ask more than one spiritual adviser for direction in this matter of God in the Middle East I wonder what would happen.

    I believe it is time for each believer to really go over in their heart who exactly it is that they follow. You may be amazed at what you find is at the center of your love.

  2. SFDBWV says:

    I am going to begin my comments by repeating what I stated this morning before this topic came up.

    Last night Fox News put out a story pf a young Palestinian Hamas leader who is the son of one of the founders of Hamas,

    He was converted to Christianity by a “tourist” in Jerusalem who invited him to a Bible study with him.

    He was transformed by the Word of God and the express words of Jesus who said “Love you enemies”.

    Even though he now has the death sentence on him for his conversion. He has come out publicly “hoping” that his beloved Palestinian family will examine the Bible and see the stark differences between Christianity and Islam.

  3. daisymarygoldr says:

    “ … Samson, …who through “faith”… gained what was promised; …whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies” (Heb 11: 32-34 NIV)…is applicable today…to Israelis, Palestinians, our own homes, churches, businesses, and communities.

  4. SFDBWV says:

    When I think of evil from a demonic angle my thoughts always go to the Book of Daniel. Whereby the Angel who came to Daniel explained he would have been there earlier but the “Evil Spirit” that dwells over what is now Persia. withheld his coming and without the help of Michael, he would have been even longer.

    It would seem that people have the ability to strengthen evil spirits by their own attitudes and actions. That the evil may be a hinderence to Gods will but not able to prevent God from achieving what goal He has in mind.

    I must keep reminding myself that the act of sacrifice Jesus accomplished by overcoming the world and fulfilling the scriptures by his life, death and resurection. Was for every person in the world. So then every life is precious and special.

  5. sitsathisfeet says:

    Yes, Jesus is the answer every time! A pastor friend liked to tell the story of his three boys growing up, and as they would come to him with different problems or experiences he would say well, let’s see what the bible says about that, and he would proceed to bring scripture up to them that related to that particular thing. The boys became frustrated and said, you have an answer to everything in the bible! I chuckle when I think of it, because it is so true. But even more so if we just look to Jesus who is our all and all and Lord of everything. Praise Him, and His wiil be done in my heart and life and in the world.

  6. Mart De Haan says:

    daisymarygoldr, that Scripture gives a good point and perspective. If Samson, with all of his “out of control” behaviors, could trust God for strength to fulfill God’s purpose for him, gives hope for us… to fulfill his purpose for us.

    In Samson’s case, living in a nationalistic period of “judges” it was God’s purpose to give him “soldiering” strength to defeat the Philistines.

    Living as the people of Christ, seems to me that our ability to be “salt and light” depends on the extent that we show the kind of faith that invites God to express the “fruit of His Spirit” (Gal 5:22,23) and characteristic of wisdom (James 3:17)in and through us.

  7. poohpity says:

    You know after reading in scripture that time and time again God brings order out of chaos. As Samson used his God given strength for his own benefit and when it was taken away did he look again to God. When God took the chaos in Samson’s life and brought him to his knees in weakness, then order came and he accomplished what God would have him do.

    The children that are being harmed in more ways than just physically saddens my heart because they have to live with their innocence being robbed by they daily routine of fighting. Constant religious and physical warfare their minds must feel like chaos continuously. I can not even imagine. Fear is a constant emotion over there my heart just cries for their relief, this is not a choice it is a daily happening. WOW!

  8. gr8grannyjacobs says:

    If one truly believes God makes nations and places kings, doesn’t it simplify the world problems for the believer? I watch the world events. I care for each one who is hurt in the tragedy of war and natural disasters. For a long time I couldn’t find peace in myself about these situations, until God truly blessed me with the knowledge of His control. We think we decide on who rules nations , but I firmly believe God does. I admit I don’t understand the pain and suffering we bring to one another but God does. I don’t understand disasters but God does. I have to believe He knows the way that will lead the most people toward Him and that is the way He will take. He will use Samson or anyone He chooses to accomplish his will. My prayer for myself and all who will is to be the best Samson, we can be where God has placed us. Don’t we all have some Samson in us ?

  9. poohpity says:

    Amen sister!!!!

  10. gr8grannyjacobs says:

    I hope my last post didn’t sound heartless,as sometimes the written word can be misunderstood .I will try to give an example. I have a daughter with MS. I don’t understand why but God does. I have a three year old gr8grandchild with Cerebral palsy, she will never walk or be able to do many things, I don’t understand why, but God does. I have to believe He is in control and He is just. I don’t understand why children or people anywhere have to suffer, but God does. I trust He will use all the tragedy of life for Himself and for our good.

  11. refump says:

    Mart’s statement,”Without a change of hearts, evil will continue to be the response to evil in the Middle East, and in our own homes, churches, businesses, and communities.” seem to resonate with me. How too often I try to change in my own strength & power but fail so miserably. I know how God wants me to be according to His word but I end up putting the “cart before the horse” so to speak. Instead of giving it to Him & asking him to change my heart I try to change on my own by trying to following a set of rules or “disciplining” myself or doing the “3 steps to spirituality”. As I said earlier I end up a weak frustrated failure. If I give it to Him & seek Him daily to “KNOW” Him His Spirit is release to make the change from the inside out. “As you received Christ so walk in Him”, His word tells me. I did nothing to receive Him except to turn my life over to Him so to walk in Him I need to daily turn my life over to Him so He can make me & use me in His time to build His kingdom. Without God changing my evil heart I will also respond to evil with the evil in my heart & with all the evil we face everyday conflicts will overtake us in a hurry.

  12. SFDBWV says:

    gr8grannyjacobs, dear sister we walk a very simalar pathway. Having to face such unfair and seemingly cruel circumstances for thoes we love.

    It makes us search deep within ourselves and into the nature and promises of God for answers. It is what I have come to call “miracle grow”. For God has put upon us a heavy load to understand. But because He is faithful, he gives us strength daily to survive one more day. In that day we come full circle in every emotion. Looking to God for answers and comfort. Only to find trust and faith our only course of action. Having to rely totaly on Him.

    I too have come to the realization that God is God and he will do whatever He wants. That people are secondary to His will.

    I have thought of all the campaigns God sent Israel into. The death of thousands were the result. While in the wilderness God send death into the camp time and time again to fashion the people into who He wanted them to be. Men,women and children.

    God closed the pathway through the sea and drowned all of Pharoh’s army.

    God killed every living thing in all the Earth except thoes He had placed into the Ark.

    And during the Great Tribulation, He will kill one third of all mankind.

    God is indeed to be feared.
    Who among us can boss God around or trick him or use flattery or talk Him into doing any one thing He does not wish to do?

    I have to admit I never have liked the story of Samson. I think because it smacks too close to home. Here was a man gifted by God for the purpose of God but he was too self absorbed and immature to know how to properly use his gift. He squandered it on selfish pleasures and rebellion. Even in death he was still a failure. Suicide to kill more enemies. Isn’t that what a suicide bomber does today?

    God is God and no respecter of man.

    Yet, to confound the mystery of God, he himself became flesh to die for all. So that in the eternity of time all who believe upon His Son can come home and dwell with him forever.

  13. poohpity says:

    I have met some that in their affliction have felt anger at God because of their circumstances. However I have known those that do not even realize it is an affliction to them it is life. I work with people that in their circumstances of special abilities realize that God created them unique and there is no love greater than what I have been blessed with being around them. In the simplest form they express love and care for everyone around them.

    It is not for God to respect us because He loves us and wants the best for us. It has always been our choice to travel a path that leads to destruction not God’s choice for us. His choice for us was to walk together with Him in a beautiful place with no tears, pain or suffering.

    Samson was not a failure he was a human hero not perfect but a chosen by God type of person just like many in the bible and many in today’s times. Steve you are a hero to Matthew even though you are not perfect and Matthew is a hero to me because everyday he chooses life rather than the alternative. Anyone who chooses to build his muscles up to bike and not stay shut up inside is a hero to me. The children who have physical or mental problems do not know anything any different so they accept their limitations except if a parent gives in to feeling sorry for them and not seeing what a special creation they are and looking for the things that can be developed.

    Sometimes miracles hide but there are always miracles. One thing I have learned in life is we all have some sort of affliction even those who look like all is well so be glad for the lot we have been given because the alternative may not be so good.

  14. gr8grannyjacobs says:

    SFDBWV, I often compare our similar path, and think of you and your son. I know it takes Gods strength to handle our burdens daily. You have given me a different insight about Samson. I perceived he had returned to God. I thought the bringing down of the house was for God. However the Bible does state that he did it so he would be avenged for his eyes. So , I guess I had never understood the story of Samson. So the event was Gods will , but Samson was still out of Gods will? Does this make sense? Does anyone else have some input?

  15. gr8grannyjacobs says:

    pooh, Was Samson a hero or just an individual God used to bring about His purpose. I had thought of Samson as being in rebellion, toward God, and then a repentent sinner being used by God. Now Steve has given me another perspective.

  16. poohpity says:

    After Israel turned from God, He delivered then into the hands of the Philistines and Samson was sent to lead them out from their bondage. When the Philistines were celebrating to their gods Samson was brought out to entertain them and the Lord granted him his prayer request to die with dignity after the Philistines mocked him and his God.

    God’s purposes have always been for us to walk with Him, commune with Him and allow Him to care for us. Whatever our lot in life it was then and it is now something as simple and as pure as us to love and honor God. We tend to put the drama in.

  17. gr8grannyjacobs says:

    pooh, The bible doesn’t say he asked to bring the house down for God. He asked to be avenged for his eyes. Was there salt and light in that act? I am truly just trying to understand. I am sure the folks there, in the house felt the drama:)

  18. poohpity says:


    To get the whole story you have to read the whole story. I know it seems the way you say but if you read especially 16:23-30 you will see that they were mocking our God. Although he prayed for revenge he ended up killing more than he ever had before. He was set apart for that purpose.

    I bet it was dramatic. lol :)

    I may not be explaining it correctly but all those that God uses can not separate themselves from being human but God accomplishes His purpose in spite of it. The majority of the Judges were warriors in some fashion or another. Soldiers just like us for the Lord.

  19. daisymarygoldr says:

    Ladies, what a discussion! Agree with Mart, about followers of Christ influencing as “salt and light”, producing fruits of the Spirit and be peacemakers…and to this extent we are called to preach the Gospel of peace…seeing that His coming is very near…that is my opinion and I may be wrong. Samson however, is a great inspiration to me…

    Agree with poohpity, like Samson, we are merely instruments/vessels that He chooses to use for His purpose…and yes, we do fail…but His strength is manifested only in our weakness. If Samson had not failed…he would have received the glory for delivering Israel. God will never give His glory to another (Is 42:8). BTW, in the eyes of the world, Samson was a failure… but by willing to put his “self” to death … for God’s purpose to be accomplished, he was justified by God to be listed along with the heroes of faith! …So gr8grannyjacobs, you are right about “repentant sinner”. When God includes us in His will…in order to accomplish His purpose He can go to any extent…even to the extent of requiring our very lives!

  20. daisymarygoldr says:

    Is it political, humanistic or divine wisdom? And can anything be done? Again, this is simply my opinion and I may be wrong…

    It is always about Him…His purpose, His promise which He alone is able to perform.

    God’s promise is- That Israel will be restored to her Promised Land.
    God’s purpose is- That the Messiah will rule upon the throne of David.
    God is performing it for- His sake alone (Ezek 36:22) not for secular Israel.
    God will accomplish when- Israel will have a change of heart (Ezek 36:24-27)

    Now, that we see it all from God’s perspective…that it is not about the Jewish people or her enemies, we should pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Should we feel guilty about taking sides? No, because it is at Jerusalem… the God of Israel, will ultimately receive all glory …by showing Himself as above all the gods of the nations. What about her enemies? By faith, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is also God of every one who believes in Jesus Christ…according to His promise to Abraham (Gal 3:29).

    Both the historical as well as the current scene at Gaza is therefore, a wake up call…lest, we get distracted or lose sight of His coming. Although, we struggle and fail, we should not lose hope…but have faith… because what God has promised He is also able to perform…for His Holy name’s sake…so that He may be glorified!

  21. Mart De Haan says:

    daisymarygoldr, I agree with your emphasis on God’s purposes for the reputation of his name.

    You also refer to the distinction between political, humanistic, and divine wisdom. Seems to me that that is such an important issue for us to think about.

    Divine/revealed wisdom led the prophets of Israel to be consistently for Israel while against many of her political administrations, policies, and social practices. Israel’s enemies, by contrast, have always wanted to dominate or destroy her.

    As for the value of political wisdom, Paul pointed outin Romans 13, secular governments are of value to God even if they are not intentionally or even actually operating with “divine wisdom”. (i.e. to provide infrastructure and some measure of social order/justice). That’s why I believe we can value the attempts of human governments to work for some kind of just treatment of both Jewish and Palestinian populations.

    Agree with you that divine wisdom/revelation lets us know that in the end all human attempts will eventually fail in the Middle East (and whole world), allowing God himself to be the solution.

    But doesn’t seem to me that such inevitabilities should keep us from praying, speaking, and working for some measure of temporary mercy or justice, any more than the inevitability of our own deaths should keep us from protecting our health for as long as we can.

    What I’ve seen while in Israel on a number of occasions is that Jewish Messianic communities have found that their reputation and influence in the Jewish community is harmed by Western Christians who side with Arab political causes, and that Arab Churches in Israel and the Middle East find that their reputation and influence in the Arab community is harmed by Western Christians who side politically with Israeli political issues.

    Since God will have his way with our without our partisan support of either side, seems to me that it is so important for the Body of Christ to rise above partisan alignments and to pray and speak out for some measure of justice, mercy, and humanitarian relief for both Jewish and Arab families– to show that, in some measure, we love them as we love ourselves.

    Sorry this has gone so long. But I value this discussion and think we all need to keep asking questions and testing one another.

  22. SFDBWV says:

    As I read the Bible from Genesis thru Malachi. I see God favouring Israel. I see Israel defined as a people and as a nation. God Himself setting the borders for the nation. And read that all who bless Israel God will bless. All who curse Israel God will curse.

    From Matthew through Jude, I read that from Israel God brought Jesus as a Savior to the whole world.

    In Revelation, I read Jesus speaks to His Church. Then once again turns His attention to Israel.

    When Jesus walked the earth he instructed his disciples to go “only” to the house of Israel. Not until His resurection did Jesus instruct His disciples to go into all the nations and teach and baptize in the name of the Father,and the Son and the Holy Ghost.

    If I am to believe that the re-emergence of the nation of Israel is the handy work of God. What then should be my attitude concerning the nation of Israel?

    Should I be her ally or her enemy? Can I actualy be neutral?

    My first resposibilty is to serve Christ. So in doing so I must follow all of his teachings. I must pray for all Saints everywhere and pray for my enemies.

    I say my enemies because as a nation as a people all I have seen is that Israel and I share the same enemies.

    The Christian people hidden in all the nations of Islam are my brothers and sisters. I cannot reach out and bring all of them into the safety of America. They are watched over and protected by God as am I. So I do what I can. I pray for them.

    I do not think that a peace can be brokered between Israel and Her enemies. Because God has already said so. Only the divine intervention of Christ will bring peace to Jerusalem.

    Yet we are watching events unfold that show God at work and the results of sin in the world.Once again Jesus is the only way out of the mess.

  23. gr8grannyjacobs says:

    I feel better this morning. I was just a bit overwhelmed. I always taught Samson as a great man of God, who made mistakes.(Kindergarten Level.) He was a man used by God,only God knew his heart. I also believe God will restore Israel.Does he need man’s help, I think not. He does want us to spread the gospel,love one another and help the poor and needy. I believe that would include all people. Pooh, you are so special to me as I have followed your life story, the parts you’ve shared and so please never be hurt by any of my words. Daisy. you are a mystery to me, but somehow I relate to you. Gods spirit in each of us, as we make this journey.

  24. carlj says:

    Reviewing the historic Gaza with its corruptness and bringing it forward to the conversion story, you help me remember that in spite of turmoil God still provides grace and redemption. I wonder how many stories of grace and redemption are being currently lived out behind the scenes during this unrest. Your blog is a reminder that we serve a sovereign God and he is in control.

  25. SFDBWV says:

    gr8grannyjacobs, I am sorry if my personal thoughts concerning Samson brought you any trouble. My thoughts are mine and as you have read not every one elses.

    Like our friend Deborah(pooh) I would like very much to be able to set and have coffee and enjoy our conversations eye to eye and tone for tone. But for now this is what we have.

    When I set and write as I am now doing I am under an unrelenting barrage of interuptions from Matt. And time lines as well. So keeping a train of thought going, or even spell checking or editing is sometimes not accomplished. I ain’t complaining it is just how it is here. Sometimes I have to sign off, post and not be able to return for hours even not until he next day.

    There are many books written on the scoundrels God used throughout scripture. It would seem that God purposely choose characters who had many human failings to be His servants and examples. I would suppose, so that we all could relate better to broken people. Rather than thoes who are perfect in character.

    Samson joins a long list of humans with normal human behavior. Yet God used him to accomplish His will and teach us from Samson’s failures. To the nation of Israel he was a judge and protector, and so a hero. He was also one of thoes special people called a “Nazarite”. He was not to drink any strong drink nor to cut his hair from his mothers womb unto his death. He was not faithful to his calling.

    Nearly every “great” man of God had their own individual failings. As they fumbled and strained at accomplishing whatever God put before them. More often than not God had to intervene time and again to put them back on track. Some strayed too far, as in Saul’s case.

    What that tells me is that we all can be “great” in spite of our shortcomings. As long as we give God control of our lives.

  26. daisymarygoldr says:

    Mart, again this is solely my opinion…No matter how hard we try, followers of Christ cannot speak against Israel….Balaam is a perfect example. Again, it is not about the people of Israel…who are just as stiff-necked today as they were before…but it is about the God of Israel…who is also our God…God all in all!

  27. poohpity says:

    I was wondering if Gaza in the present day was not within the boundaries of the designated 12 tribes. Like Zebulun, Issachar, Manasseh or which tribes land it actually covers. I have always been interested in the prophesy of the land distributions. It seems that Israel’s borders continue to shrink from what was given them by God. I know this is off topic but it has always interested me.

  28. gr8grannyjacobs says:

    SFDBWV, God Bless You. Just want you to know that your “I Love You” in a post awhile back, meant so much to me.

  29. gr8grannyjacobs says:

    daisy,Jeremiah9: Doesn’t Jeremiah speak against Israel? Yes, there is love and great weeping over Israel. Yes, we should want to see Israels eyes opened to the Redeemer. But can’t we be for Israel and at the same time be wanting the same eye-opening for the other nations? God will restore Israel but in the meantime isn’t the gospel for all? I do pray for Jerusalem and it breaks my heart that a mosque now sits where Gods temple once sat. I know it must break God’s also for all of His people have gone astray.

  30. OGramps says:

    Great discussion all.

    My small Bible study has been following a pathway that has an unintended lesson for us. We started with Purpose Driven Church, followed by The Barbarian Way, and lastly Pagan Christianity.

    You may wonder where I am going with this but it is this. These three studies have hammered into our minds that Like the Savior, the early Church was a radical departure from anything that people had seen at the time. This, and the movement of the Holy Spirit was why the early Church “turned things upside down”.

    I am convinced that for the Church to be relevant once again it is going to have to do something radical once again. Like risking to love the enemy? Certainly that tourist that SFDBWV mentions earlier ran a huge risk to share the gospel.

    So many times we get cought up in analyzing the condition of the sea that we miss the fact that it is an oppertunity to catch fish.


  31. daisymarygoldr says:

    Gr8grannyjacobs, good Q and good point in Jer 9… Jeremiah is speaking against the “people” of Israel who had forsaken the Law (v 13). The prophet was lamenting about the punishment that God will bring upon the people who had stubbornly rejected Him…the prophet is lamenting for the “Land” of Israel that had been made desolate by its sinful inhabitants. Hence Israel for us is about the “place (land)” and not the “people”…

    Yes, you are absolutely right…we should want “all” people…i.e. Israel, her enemies, and us … “all” eyes have to be opened “…that they truly know …and understand … the LORD, who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth and …delights in these things.”(v25)…hence we should relentlessly evangelize…to all the ends of the earth! Whether it is the Jews or the gentiles…salvation is only in Jesus!

  32. gr8grannyjacobs says:

    Pooh, you might look at this map at this website.http://www.bible.ca/maps/maps-joshua-saul.htm

  33. daisymarygoldr says:

    Here are some more thoughts while we are still on this…and this is my personal opinion which could be wrong….

    We pray for Jerusalem…not because it belongs to the chosen people (the chosen people have rejected Him)…but because He has chosen that centre point of the world…to glorify Himself to all the earth. When did He choose it? Even before the foundations of the world. According to His predetermined plan…He chose and called out a pagan man, Abraham who exercised “faith” and left his people and land…to go to a strange “promised” land. The Land promised to Abraham was not meant for him but for Jesus Christ the savior of the whole world…and by eyes of “faith”, Abraham knew this and dwelt there as a sojourner…

    As some here have said this before, God is moving all the nations their governments and people to achieve this…even those secular nations who are blind to His truth…But like Jeremiah, we who “know” the Lord, should weep and our hearts should yearn for peace to be restored to Jerusalem because the Prince of peace has chosen that city to come and reign over all the nations.

    To reiterate what I said before, it was, is and will be… always about Him! His purpose, His promise, which He chooses to perform through fallen man…we are merely the vessels….Like Abraham, blessed is the person who… by faith “sees”, “knows”, “understands” and “obeys”. Hope this makes sense…

  34. gr8grannyjacobs says:

    pooh, there are websites that have good Bible maps of the tribal lands of Israel. I thought it was a good question. Not off point at all.

  35. Jwigg says:

    The ancient Philistines were ethnically linked to the Sea Peoples from the Aegean Sea region. The genealogy/ethnology of Genesis 10 puts them in the family tree of Mizraim [Egypt], thus making them “cousins only” of the Canaanites.

    My understanding of the origins of the present-day Palestinians is that they are largely descendants of the Muslim invaders from the Arabian Peninsula and the Arabian Desert who settled in the region during the classical era of Islamic history i.e. the century immediately following the death in 632 AD of the founding prophet of Islam, Muhammad. The tenuous connection between the words “Philistine” and “Palestine/Palestinian” comes to us via the ancient Greek historian, Herodotus and later use of the term Palestine by the Romans to denote the southern part of the empire province of Syria.

    Both the followers of Islam and the followers of Judaism claim to be the rightful heirs and therefore owners of the Promised Land promised by the LORD to the patriarch, Abraham. Clearly the two competing claims to the same piece of territory are an obvious roadblock to peace in the Middle East.

    Under the law of Moses, non-Israelite alien residents were permitted to live within the land and community of Eretz Israel. The LORD himself commanded His people to treat resident aliens in the Promised Land with justice and love e.g. Lev 19:33,34, where the commandment to Israelis is to love resident aliens “as yourself”. God also reminds the Israelites that they were strangers in the land of Egypt in the context of the commandment in Leviticus 19. Thus, even within the part of the Bible commonly accepted by both Jews and Christians, there is a working model for peaceful relationships between modern Israelis and their Palestinian neighbours within the land promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This model is not the preferred one for people who accept Quran and its teachings of Ismail [Ishmael] as Abraham’s primary heir.

    Hebrews 11:10-16 teaches that Abraham’s “home of homes” is a “city that has foundations whose builder and maker is God” … “a heavenly country”! All citizens of that heavenly country love one another in Jesus Christ, Abraham’s heir and high priest after the order of Melchizedek (Hebrews chs 5-7).

    The tragedy of Israeli – Palestinian conflict will have its final resolution when the world accepts the rejected Messiah, Jesus as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He alone can break the power of centuries of conflict between those whom Muhammad referred to as “the peoples of the Book”.

    Already Christ is breaking down the middle walls of partition as His Good News is received in repentance and faith by people from each of the three historic monotheistic world religions. Let’s be part of that great reconciliation here and now.

  36. SFDBWV says:

    jwigg, excellent post, and thank you for you insight. I agree there is no power on Earth that can stand against Jesus the Christ. Also only HE is the gateway to peace.

  37. wretch-like-me says:

    Sorry folks I havent had time to interact with you for a day or so… drove from Boise, Idaho to Tacoma, WA in frigid temps and snow… Praise God! No mishaps for us but several others had misfortune and made mistakes along the way. Conditions were good until the last 40 miles or so. I love the drive (despite the ‘witless wonders’ who scare me). God truly decorates best… He has an awe inspiring canvas, colors and materials.

    Hard to watch people making poor decisions and paying the cost and that brings me to the subject at hand.

    Marti asks the question:

    Does that mean that nothing can be done and that there is no need for good political and humanistic wisdom in international crises? Am not saying that. Just seems to me that when it comes to the influence of followers of Christ, our Teacher reminded us that if salt loses its saltiness, it becomes useless.

    Right is Right and Wrong is Wrong. By that I mean Our responsibility as Christians is to point out the difference by our lifestyle and the way we interact with others. Marti’s reference to ‘Salt’ is the key. We cannot lose our salt-ness(compromise on the truth) and continue to be an effective witness for Christ.

    As Shakespeare wrote: “Therein lies the rub.”

    How do we effectively witness to the world?
    With Love.

    Christ demonstrated that so well when He walked among us. He was the perfect male(for those of us who are male) but, also demonstrated the perfect female in that he was firm, gentle, committed, unafraid to show emotion with restraint(He didnt let His emotions rule), able to see the larger picture and endure immediate hardship for the greater goal (…For the Joy set before Him.) He knew The Father. He prayed and meditated every morning and whenever He felt the flesh weaken. He NEVER compromised the truth.

    Sometimes the Truth ‘stung’ the ears and hearts of those who listened. Those who were stung responded in one of two ways; repentance or rebellion. Those who were not ‘stung’ were too sinful with hardened hearts.

    We should expect the same responses today. However, we should not compromise the message. We should make every effort to ‘spread the Word’ as the Lord Wills. Again, I stress that we are all missionaries in the sense that we know the unsaved around us.

    In Scripture the concept of leaven is used for both evil and good. It’s the process of spreading the message by contact with the ‘substance’. We are to show the world that Our Way is the ONLY Way by proving it.

    This is where the church(small ‘c’) is failing miserably. We do a terrible job of showing harmony and love for each other outside of our local fellowship. The bickering and finger-pointing is ridiculous.

    Remember in Mark 9 when one of the disciples pointed to someone outside of Jesus’s chosen and was told to let them alone. They were doing God’s Will? (Mark 9:38-39)

    Denominational ‘bashing’ is still a major problem.

    Unity is the key. Remember when the tower of Babel was destroyed. One of the comments was about their Unity in purpose. God said If they have one common language and one common purpose ‘nothing will be impossible for them’. Genesis 11:6

    When the disciples gathered in the upper room waiting for the Sign Jesus promised them after His death. They prayed together in one accord… they were united in purpose. When the early church met praying and fellowhipping together… they were united in one purpose…they were all in one accord(and it wasnt a Honda…groan..(:P)

    Society gives us opportunity to use the system of democracy thru majority rule. We cannot fail if we are of one accord. Numbers grow when we evangelize on a personal level. Our neighbors need to know us and see that we can be trusted, depended upon to have their best interests at heart.

    Are we willing to sacrifice self comforts; risk losing it all for our ideal of Christianity? Is that not what the early martyrs died for?

    I am not advocating we all hop on a plane and go to Israel or the middle east. I am saying that we need to reach out to our neighbor with a helping, comforting hand. God is giving us opportunities thru this current world-wide economic depression.

    Our human tendency is to hoard, build barracades/walls, and defend our turf. God’s way is to share, knock down walls, live in harmony and make a place for others in our hearts and our homes, if necessary.

    All that I have is God’s. I am only His servant, His steward. I will be held accountable for how I have used His talents when I am called before His throne. I can tell you already, I have not always been wise. I hope to do better in the time I have left.

    final thought: I want you all to know how much I appreciate our ‘tight little community’. The danger is when we ‘live’ online and forget our physical neighbors that need us,too. My goal this year is to do more to reach out to unsaved folks…to get out of my ‘warm little cocoon’ and make new friends. One thing I used to stress when I was a public school teacher was “If want a good friend, BE a good friend.”
    Happy New Year!!! Huggs

  38. pegramsdell says:

    Hey everyone. Glad to be giving you a good report on Tod, my son-in-law. He was sitting up last night in a wheelchair.
    Although he is actually having the hip surgery tomorrow. Everything else is healing nicely. He may get to go home this week or next. Thank You Jesus!
    Also, thank you all for praying for him. I told him about your responses to him and he cried. He has been living his life away from God, and he knows it. He is very humbled right now and glad to be alive. This may be the turning point in his life. I hope so.
    WLM – you are absolutely right – we do need to reach out to our neighbors. Show them the love of Christ.
    And live our lives inside our own homes as we live our lives outside. Our own families and loved ones deserve us to be Christians to them as much as our neighbors.

  39. poohpity says:

    Gosh what a lot of great posts. jwigg that is really interesting and have read about that and have read some of the Quran after 9/11 to get more info on Islamic beliefs. OGramps, something has to change especially in the US. WLM that was a mouthful, lol and right on.

    I have a cousin who lives in Montana who was in a fatal car wreck, he survived but the driver did not. The reason I mention this is because he was 19 and through prayers and a lot of surgeries and a hip replacement he was going strong until a month ago and his hip replacement got an infection and now he is walking around on crutches with no hip at all in there and is doing wonderful. The prayers and love of the church there and here have helped him to realize that God has a plan for him yet to do. I hope Tod knows that about himself. Thank you for letting us know about how good he is doing. The part about those inside our homes seeing our Christian walk lived out is about the most important thing I know cause if it isn’t lived out there then it maybe a lie outside. Someone once said that in our own homes with our own families is the real testing ground. Gosh you are great and loved.

    Thanks for the info gr8, I have looked at maps but I need one of those kind where you have layers you pull back and see how it has progressed or in this case decreased.

  40. gr8grannyjacobs says:

    This is really off subject, but just wanted to share. I was born in Columbus,Ohio and so of course am watching the game. Fiesta Bowl, of course I want Ohio to win,but it’s not looking to good at this point. We’ll see. I notice some of the players have Bible verses under their eyes. I am touched by that,as it gives me hope for America,Israel and the world. I know the end will come,but each day we have is precious for those yet to be saved.The verses give me comfort, and hope it touches all of you.

  41. daisymarygoldr says:

    “That’s why I believe we can value the attempts of human governments to work for some kind of just treatment of both Jewish and Palestinian populations”.
    “…it is so important for the Body of Christ to rise above partisan alignments and to pray and speak out for some measure of justice, mercy, and humanitarian relief for both Jewish and Arab families–…”

    Mart, I have been thinking along those lines…
    The Bible tells us about a certain charismatic political leader… who will work for some kind of solution that will result in peace between Israel and her Arab neighbors… a peace that will enable the Jews to rebuild their Temple. Should we, the Body of Christ value his attempts? Sounds very scary to me…

  42. wretch-like-me says:

    Very scary indeed, hopefully, the Rapture will take us home before too much ‘scariness’ happens.
    Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

  43. Mart De Haan says:

    That’s a good question. Let’s take it up in a new post. Will use your comment to keep conversation going.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.