Gilad Shalit: A Prophetic Perspective
Negotiations continue for the release of Gilad Shalit, the young Israeli soldier kidnapped 3 ½ years ago and held captive by Hamas in Gaza. For his return, Hamas demands an exchange of nearly 1,000 terrorists from Israeli jails. Some of the terrorists are major Hamas masterminds. Many Israelis are demanding Gilad’s release at any cost. Others with a more conservative approach toward prisoner exchanges nevertheless ache deeply for the young man and his family. Israelis instinctively sympathize with the Shalits, as the next kidnapped soldier could be their own son, dad, or brother. Unwittingly and probably unknowingly, Gilad Shalit has captured the heart of the nation.
Several times in the past, Israel has released huge numbers of terrorist prisoners in exchange for less than a handful of its own soldiers. Sadly, some of those soldiers have been returned as corpses. Meanwhile, it is known that over half the terrorists released have gone on to murder more Israelis. As Prime Minister Netanyahu put it, he must make the difficult choice of saving a young soldier’s life or protecting the country from the loss of other lives in the future.
In the Bible, the name Shalit means “prince” or “warrior,” while Gilad means “site of testimony.” Because “Israel” can mean “prince with God,” perhaps the Jewish State can be seen as a warrior-prince testifying to the world through captured Gilad. As this dear young man suffers humiliation and torture at the hands of allah-worshipers, what is God’s message to us?
The prophetic Scriptures describe a sober situation when “one thousand shall flee at the threat of one” (Isaiah 30:17). In that context God is rebuking His people for seeking man’s help, rather than His help, in times of trouble. Today, potentially a thousand terrorists are ready to flee at the threat of one, specifically, the murder (God forbid) of Gilad Shalit. No good solution exists. There is only one genuine hope for Israel—as there is for the nations of the world—and as there is for you and me in our own times of trouble.
Gilad’s father Noam holding a picture of his son
We generally do not include lengthy portions of Scripture in our articles and letters, but in this instance a summary does not suffice. The larger context of Isaiah 30:17 seems to bespeak the testimony of warrior-prince Shalit:
This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’ Therefore you will flee! You said, ‘We will ride off on swift horses.’ Therefore your pursuers will be swift! A thousand will flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you will all flee away, till you are left like a flagstaff on a mountaintop, like a banner on a hill.” Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Then you will defile your idols overlaid with silver and your images covered with gold; you will throw them away like a menstrual cloth and say to them, “Away with you!” He will also send you rain for the seed you sow in the ground, and the food that comes from the land will be rich and plentiful. (Isaiah 30:15-23, NIV, emphasis added.)
God longs to be gracious to us. He rises to show us compassion. He is merely waiting for our sincere cry to Him for help. As soon as He hears it He will answer and show us His ways. Blessings will abound.
The collective soul of the country aches over Gilad Shalit. But God knows how to free this soldier and redeem the tragic situation. May broken hearts turn to Him in spirit and in truth.
- A spirit of grace and supplication that leads to repentance and placing our trust in God rather than in man or other nations, especially on the part of PM Netanyahu.
Hamas released photo of Gilad Shalit
- Hearts and motives are being tested in this matter. Pray that whatever decision Israel makes through Netanyahu will be based on godly motives.
- Pray that God will visit Gilad as he is tortured and humiliated by Hamas and bring him to salvation. Pray the same for his grieving family. Pray that if he is destined for martyrdom, he’ll first be crowned with eternal life. Pray for the salvation of those holding him captive.
- Pray for justice in the terms of any negotiated agreement and its aftermath. If an exchange occurs, pray that Gilad will be returned alive, not as a corpse.
- Pray for protection from further terrorist murders of any released prisoners.
- Pray life over Israel and the entire Middle East, which in a sense is enshrouded by a spirit of death.
Other Matters for Prayer
Iran and its Coalition
Undeniable evidence was recently uncovered that Iran has been developing a military nuclear program for several years, despite its attestations to the contrary. The nations of the world, led by the US, have been unable to agree on sanctions, but seem intent on limiting Israel’s military options. Notwithstanding, any strike on Iranian facilities would be extremely difficult due to their unique construction, in contrast to the facilities destroyed by Israel in Iraq and Syria. Meanwhile, Syria, Hezbollah, and Hamas, as well as Lebanon, all increasingly function to advance the Iranian anti-Israel agenda. In the event of an Israeli strike on Iran, these proxy forces would retaliate immediately with thousands upon thousands of illegally obtained weapons. Israel expects its next war will therefore involve widespread civilian attacks throughout this country.
- Pray that God will supernaturally intervene to disrupt this program of mass destruction. If He chooses not to intervene, pray that Israel will have the wisdom, strength, knowledge and fortitude to succeed in any military operation.
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas
PA leader Abbas gives mixed signals about his willingness to negotiate a peace with Israel that might lead to a Palestinian State. In any case, Abbas does not speak for Hamas, which opposes any recognition at all of the Jewish State. Meanwhile, momentum is increasing in the European Union to support a unilateral declaration of a Palestine in 2010. At the same time, pressure from the US is mounting on Prime Minister Netanyahu to make further concessions to the Palestinians. Netanyahu is showing signs of possibly succumbing to international pressure.
- Pray that no Jewish land or homes would be relinquished for a false peace. Pray that Israel’s leadership would fear God more than man, holding fast to His will as revealed in the Scriptures. Pray that pressure on Netanyahu from the US would cease.
Israel continues to suffer severe drought, receiving in the past five months only 66% of average expected rainfall for that period. Voluntary water rationing has graduated to a 25% increase in water prices this winter, with another 14% increase anticipated in the summer. If more rain does not fall, the country will need to find other places and costly means to obtain water.
- Please pray for God to bring rain and ease the drought. Ask Him to show the believers here specifically how to pray and repent to the extent this represents a judgment on our nation.