Thursday, July 31, 2014

I Stand With Israel. But wait... there's more.

One of the best stories in the Old Testament is 1 Kings 22. Ahab (king of Israel) wants to go to war. Jehoshaphat (king of Judah) doesn't mind the idea, but wants an expert opinion. The royal prophets are marching to Ahab's drum, and so Jehoshaphat calls in an outsider- Micaiah the prophet.  Micaiah is informed that it is in his best interest to comply with Ahab. Read on to find out what happens next- it's comically tragic.

I bring up the story of Micaiah because he is warned by Ahab's right hand man to be pro-Israel. And to be pro-Israel is to encourage war. Micaiah is undoubtedly pro-Israel, but that means disagreeing with the prevailing war-mongering opinions.

I stand with Israel today in the same way that Micaiah stood with Israel then. The history of modern Israel is brief but incredibly complicated. They feel threatened a lot, and with good reason. There is also no excuse for the escalation of war to the degree Israel has. Consider the facts on the ground, as compiled by the NY Times. Israel has killed 50x more people than rocket attacks. Israel has demanded Gaza's disarmament without flinching on the settlement process. To #standwithIsrael now is to turn a blind eye toward this terror campaign.

Gaza is not without fault. The Hamas-led government ought to answer for the sponsoring of terror attacks, although it has become clear that the catalyst for this invasion is not Hamas but some folks acting on their own (who ought to be brought to clear justice). Terrorism, whether done by a person with a rocket launcher or a person in a uniform or a jet bomber, is never going to bring about lasting peace.

Christians ought to think deeply about the story of Micaiah, lest we fall into Ahab's trap of believing that God's stamp of approval is a rubber stamp. We ought to consider that the best way to stand with Israel is to stop endorsing the aggression which will only end in more violence. There is no us vs them in this battle, only the struggle for peace. And if you believe that peace is impossible, consider this Facebook group. Peace is possible, if only we open our eyes and our imagination to find it.