This morning my wife and I were reading in 1 Kings about the last days of Solomon’s reign. Because of his idolatry God raised up enemies against him. One of them was Hadad of Edom. Hadad was a survivor of a slaughter by King David many years previous. In one battle, David and his army slaughtered all the men and boys of the Edomites, but Hadad fled to Egypt for safety. At the end of Solomon’s reign, Hadad returned and with a vengeance. He wanted to kill as many Jews as he could for what happened to his family. The enmity between Jew and Edomite lasted for centuries.
All this reminded me that warfare is never a lasting solution for the turmoil of the world. The greatest and only hope for people, families, and nations is the Gospel of Jesus Christ that tells us to forgive those who have offended us. Yes, there was a time when God had His people go to war to clear the land of the pagans and to set up the kingdom of Israel. But this was only to be a brief means to a glorious end of being a light to the nations of the world.
When Jesus came, the focus changed. The new focus was to go to the nations with humble hearts, with a servant attitude, and with a message of forgiveness and grace for all.
What would happen today, for example, if there were a great revival in the Middle East? What would happen if, say, 75% of the Palestinians and 75% of the Israelis embraced Jesus and they began to apply the teaching of Jesus with one another? There would be peace!
You say there will be no peace in the Middle East until Jesus comes? Maybe you are right. I used to say the same, and it may turn out that way. Only God knows (Acts 1:7). But the one thing we can know is that Jesus told us to be witnesses (Acts 1:8) to the ends of the earth. Throughout church history there have been times of mass conversion where people embraced Jesus and began following His way of the cross. Could this happen again?
In the Old Testament there was an endless cycle of war-revenge-war-revenge. That same cycle continues today in most places of the world – even in our families and relationships (James 4:1-4). The only force strong enough to break this cycle of death is the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that grants us forgiveness for our sins and teaches us to forgive others as we have been forgiven. One cannot pick up a sword and a cross at the same time.
Word of God, Speak!