As we observe the current events unfolding in Israel and Gaza, it is essential to address the feelings of unease and apprehension that may arise within our congregations. The escalation of hostilities, particularly the recent developments between Israel and Hamas, indeed echo the turbulent times prophesied in Scripture, inciting fear and speculation about the end times. Yet, as shepherds of God’s Church, we are tasked with an important role—to anchor our congregations in the assurance of God’s ultimate victory.
The Unshaken Throne Amidst the World’s Rage
The psalmist writes in Psalm 2:4, “He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision.” In the face of nations raging and kingdoms trembling, this serves as a powerful reminder that the Almighty is not disturbed by earthly tumult. As Psalm 20:7 states, our trust should not lie in military might, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” These verses are not merely poetic expressions but affirmations of God’s dominion that should always resonate within our teachings, especially in times of global conflict like we are currently seeing around the world and especially in the Middle East.
Understanding the Prophetic Times
Considering the current crisis, the recent openings at the Rafah border and the subsequent humanitarian efforts, while significant, are “a drop in the ocean” compared to the overwhelming needs resulting from such conflict. While we as Christians must be compassionate and advocate for peace and humanitarian aid, we also need to discern the times biblically.
As events similar to those prophesied in Scripture unfold, such as wars and rumors of wars, we are reminded of Jesus’ teachings in Matthew 24:6-8, where He speaks of these as the “beginning of birth pains.” These occurrences should not alarm us but rather prompt us to understand our role as the Church in these end times. Jesus, indeed, gave us the prophets to recognize the signs of the times and to be watchful and prayerful as we await His return.
Dispelling Fear with Faith
It’s our responsibility to guide our congregations away from fear. As news of devastation and loss reaches us, like the disheartening statistics of casualties and the captivity of innocents, our response should be steeped in faith, not fear. John 16:33 provides that solace, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” This is indeed a time to assure your congregation that despite the chaos, God’s sovereignty remains intact.
The US’s Role and the Church’s Prayers
The involvement of the US in seeking peace in the region is significant. As US citizens and as members of the global body of Christ, we are called to understand the diplomatic and moral imperatives of supporting Israel and its right to defend itself, while also advocating for peace and stability that can prevent further suffering to the innocent. We must recognize our country’s influence and pray for wisdom for our leaders, as their decisions can have profound implications on the international stage.
Our Mandate to Pray and Proclaim
Our role as God’s church extends beyond observation to active engagement through prayer. The spiritual warfare manifesting in the physical realm requires us to wield the most potent weapon we have—prayer. Philippians 4:6-7 encourages us to present our requests to God, and in return, He will give us peace that surpasses all understanding. We should lead our congregations in fervent prayer for all affected by the current crisis and for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.
As we Pastors and Church Leaders continue to navigate these challenging times, I offer you this encouragement: While the earth may quake and nations may rage, we serve a God who is unmovable, a fortress in times of trouble. He is the Captain of our salvation who has already secured our ultimate victory.