By GARY ALLEY
As the long, hot summer slowly drags through Israel, one is painfully reminded of the heat of battle and the undesired results of war.
For in the ancient days, with the beginning of spring/summer when the rains stopped—this was the time when kings went off to war (I Chr 20:1/II Sam 11:1).
This has proven true into the last century with the modern state of Israel. The months of May and June are celebrated within Israel for the victories of Israel’s War of Independence in 1948 and the Six Day War of 1967. On the other hand, June is also a stark reminder of Israel’s unresolved stalemates with Lebanon, first during 1982-2000 and then in 2006. Due to that indecisive outcome of 2006, many expect a future significant confrontation between Israel and Hezbollah-dominated Lebanon, especially as a nuclear-obsessed Iran spreads its growing sphere of influence among Israel’s enemies.
This past July, we observed the anniversary of the destruction of the Temple on the 9th of Av, first by the Babylonians in 586 BC and later by the Romans in AD 70. Jesus himself did not long for this day of war but wept for the pregnant women, nursing mothers, and helpless infants (Luke 19:41-44; 21:23). He did not claim to know the exact time of the Apocalypse, though He pointed to its signs (Matt 24).
As followers of Jesus, we are not commanded to spread rumors of war or stoke the coals of conflict. Rather, we are instructed to love our neighbors even if they are our enemies. We are to be peacemakers, lovers of truth, and defenders of justice. Destructive wars will most assuredly and unexpectedly come. Our witness to the world is how we confront this chaos with steadfast love.