“The Lord gave the word; great was the company of those who proclaimed it. Kings of armies flee, they flee, and she who remains at home divides the spoil. … Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth; O, sing praises to the Lord.” Psalm 68:11-12, 32
We are so very encouraged by the prayers of the international Church for Israel at this Rosh HaShana-Yom Kippur season. We believe the Lord supernaturally intervened, in response to Messiah’s interceding Bride, against the “kings of armies” gathered at the UN last week. “The Lord gave the word and great was the company of those who [in spiritual warfare, as well as on-the-ground activity] proclaimed it.” In the spirit of Psalm 68, we’re “singing praises to the Lord.” Our hearts overflow with thanks to each of you who stood in the gap on behalf of the Jewish people.
- What meaning can be attributed to the unexpected turn of events last week?
- How are we to respond?
- Where might matters go from here?
An article published in The Jerusalem Post on September 27 by political advisor Josef Olmert well described last week’s events:
“The debate over full Palestinian membership in the UN is not over yet, but it is not too early to issue an interim report card, and it seems that what was billed as a diplomatic … showdown is just another chapter in a long saga whose end is still not in sight. Diplomatically, the Israelis can register a success. … The calamity awaiting Prime Minister Netanyahu [had threatened to present a] ‘tsunami’ and ‘apocalypse now’ … but that simply did not happen. Netanyahu … made it clear they had no problems with President Obama’s speech. … The Israelis, being told to expect a tornado, got a blessed rain. [The writer may not have known that “coincidentally” the first rainfall of the season occurred in Israel precisely at that time.]
“… The Palestinian side is the one that signals frustration with the proceedings in New York, and they know why, as the attempt to isolate Israel seems to be unraveling. The Palestinian leadership made some miscalculations … The Arab Middle East is far from being engulfed with fervor watching the debate in New York. … The Palestinians may have to understand, grudgingly, that the Arab Spring is not so conducive to their struggle as they initially thought.
“Even the demonstrations in the West Bank are significantly smaller than anticipated. … In addition, the Palestinian leadership is weakened by Hamas’ position … Hamas cannot be clearer in its opposition to the PA bid, and Abbas really needs to clarify whether he talks for all the Palestinian people he claims to be the leader of.
“This is not just a political problem for the PA, but it’s also a PR one. … [They] cannot whitewash the impact of some Palestinian messages that put their position in a context which is not convenient for them. Take, for example, Abbas’ repeated announcement that he would never recognize Israel as a Jewish state. … Then there was a press conference [a few days ago] by one of Abbas’ closest confidants in which, behind the podium, [hung] a map of Palestine. Something was missing there—the State of Israel [betraying the true underlying aim to replace all of Israel with Palestine].
“… So on balance, it seems that Israel is leading on points in the current round. But then, a dose of reality is in order here. The Middle East can change very quickly. … Many more rounds are coming down the line…”
In addition to the facts pointed out in the article, the anti-Israel, UN-sponsored Durban 3 Conference on Racism took place largely unnoticed. The anti-Durban protests and rallies—backed substantially by dear Christian supporters of Israel—garnered more media attention than the conference itself. Several key democratic countries rightly boycotted the event. Meanwhile, main anti-Israel inciting nations, such as Libya, Syria, and Iran, were focused more on their own major internal problems. The anticlimactic nature of these events should encourage each of you who have stood with us in prayer or other practical action. Most certainly, these are the kinds of victories won first in the spiritual, then natural realm.
Matters regarding the Middle East change fast. We believe the Lord intervened last week to set back the clock, so to speak, according to His timetable of unfolding events. In response to the saints’ prayers, petitions and prophetic proclamations, He is graciously affording time for the hearts of humanity—Israel and the nations—to align with His. Yet now is not a time to stop praying. It is a time to keep persistently, passionately, petitioning.
A word of direction and encouragement comes to us from 2 Kings 13. There the prophet Elisha tells the king of Israel he should strike against Israel’s enemies until they are destroyed. He further instructs the king to strike the ground with a handful of arrows as an act of prophetic intercession. The king strikes the ground three times and stops. Elisha then declares, “You should have struck five or six times; then you would have struck [the enemy] till you had destroyed it! But now you will strike it only three times.” (2 Kings 13:19)
The fact the king struck the ground only three times reflects that his engagement in battle was primarily driven by duty. But God was looking—as He is today—for engagement in battle that is driven primarily by passion. Passionate love for the Lord and for the lost is not natural; it is supernatural. The glorious news is that He’s outfitting His warrior-Bride, Jew and Gentile in Messiah as one, with supernaturally passionate love as never before. So let’s keep striking!
Prayer Points: Where Might Matters Go From Here?
Can Israel and Palestine exist together in peace? To examine this question we look at strategic moves by key leaders at the UN in September 2011, a watershed month in the history of Israeli-Palestinian affairs. Click here to read more.
Israelis and Palestinians are seriously contemplating their futures this week as we pass from Rosh HaShana to Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement). The days between these two commemorations represent a season of repentance. Known as the Ten Days of Awe, this time period is one in which we are called as individuals, congregations, cities and nations to hear what the Spirit is saying at the trumpet’s blast. Our response will impact where matters might go from here.
We encourage you to set aside extra time during these days to seek the Lord at a very personal and intimate, as well as intercessory, level. This is an appointed time to access heaven’s release of a “spirit of grace and supplication” similar to that of Zechariah 12:10.
Be encouraged to keep “striking” arrows of intercession at the following targets:
- Praise God for His gracious intervention in the affairs of men this past week. (Psalm 68:32)
- During these Ten Days of Awe, pray for a spirit of grace and supplication (genuine repentance) to be released over Israel, that we might look on the One we have pierced and mourn for Him as for our only Son. (Zechariah 12:10) “‘Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people [including Israel]” (Proverbs 14:34)
- Zechariah 12:10’s promise of grace and supplication is given in the context of the nations surrounding Jerusalem with the goal of “moving” the city, which can be interpreted as dividing it. A division of the city is precisely how the nations plan to accommodate a future Palestinian State. Therefore, pray for a similar spirit of grace and supplication (repentance) to be released on those nations dedicated to this endeavor. (Zechariah 12:3, Psalm 2, Joel 3:2)
- Seeds of revival are being planted in the West Bank, including Ramallah, Bethlehem and elsewhere. Pray for these seeds to be nurtured and multiplied. Pray for houses of prayer and worship to be established in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria). A revival in such cities will shift the spiritual climate of the PA, in turn impacting the political realm. Petition heaven on behalf of Arab Christian believers there facing opposition. Cry out for Muslim men, women and especially children in the West Bank to have an opportunity to choose eternal life over death. (Matthew 5:44, John 3:16, Deuteronomy 30:15-16)
- Pray for the exposure and disclosure to the nations of historical, factual and biblical truth. Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to the UN declared key truths to the world, sadly buried under man-made mounds of falsehood. Jewish and Christian activists have garnered important data supporting Israel’s Jewish statehood and defending actions she’s taken to preserve that statehood. Pray for a revived respect for truth in the world. “God our Savior desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4)
- Pray for the United Nations Security Council, especially its rotating member nations. As of today, a commitment to veto the Palestinian bid for statehood is needed by just one more rotating member nation for the Council as a whole to thwart the measure. (See linked article for details.) “The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect. The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations.” (Psalm 33:11-12)
- Pray specifically for Turkey, Iran and Egypt. In the spiritual tumult manifesting as Arab Spring, ancient powers and principalities have re-surfaced, contending for control over the Middle East. These are primarily manifested by the Prince of Persia (Iran), the Pharaoh spirit (Egypt), and the Turkish Ottoman Empire which ruled the region for 400 years until its defeat in World War I. Each is aligned with radical Islam and each is ferociously anti-Israel. Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan, in a manner akin to Ezekiel 38:11-12, seems rabidly determined to provoke Israel into a military confrontation, perhaps over recently discovered natural gas reserves in the Mediterranean Sea. Pray for churches and houses of prayer to flourish and multiply in these key countries.
- Continue praying for President Obama. Although we’re thankful for his recent affirmation of Israel as a Jewish state, this should not be seen as proof he has changed his heart or US policy toward Israel. (An election year is at hand, and the support of America’s pro-Israel community is important.) “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, and He directs it as a watercourse.” (Proverbs 21:1)