“Pilgrim Reflections”

October 18, 2023

In reality, it’s always been this way.

Hamas’ sudden attack upon Israel on October 7—the Jews’ Sabbath Day and last day of Sukkot (the “Feast of Tabernacles”)—caught everyone by surprise. And, their malicious murdering of unsuspecting citizens. . .the beheading of small babies and raping of women. . .and the videotaping of the murders of the elderly—and sending it by phone to their relatives—was a horrific reminder of the presence of evil.

Yes, Hamas’ actions (in many ways) were worse than those of I.S.I.S. And, that’s why Jewish leaders called it “our 9/11” and vowed to obliterate Hamas. Thus, it’ll be interesting to see what happens in the coming days as Israel begins a door-to-door campaign in Gaza.

So, what caused this sudden attack on Saturday, Oct. 7? And, why do Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey hate Israel so much?

To find the answer, we must go back to the Garden of Eden, believe it or not.

Yes, it was no accident that God placed two trees—the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil—in the middle of the Garden (Genesis 2:8-9). And, it’s no accident that they both represented “choice” (even as the two roads and two types of foundations do in Matthew 7:13-14, 24-27 do).

And, as we know, Adam and Eve listened more to satan’s voice than they did God and disobeyed Him by eating of the forbidden fruit (Gen. 3:1-6). This, in return, opened the proverbial “Pandora’s Box” of sickness, suffering, disease, deformity, decay, division and death that still exists today.

But, what does that have to do with Hamas’ attack on Israel?

Everything: for ever since Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden, our “minds have been hostile toward God from birth” (Romans 8:7). By nature, we want to sing “I Did It My Way” instead of “Have Thine Own Way, Lord, Have Thine Own Way.”

Later on when God called Abraham to “go without knowing where He was going” and through him and his descendants He’d “bless the whole world” (Gen. 12:1-4; 15:6; Hebrews 11:8), He called him out to be “different.”

Yes, in a world of polytheism. . .where everyone was worshipping their own god. . .the one true-and-living God said “Follow Me: and I’ll choose your descendants to be My People and I will be your God.”

As we know, Abraham didn’t have perfect Faith; but, he did have persevering Faith.

Yes, he twice lied and said Sarah was his sister (instead of his wife) because he was afraid. And, 10 years into their Journey of Faith, Abraham “listened to Sarah’s voice and had a child named Ishmael by Hagar, his Egyptian handmaiden” (Gen. 16:1-4, 15-16).

For 13 years Abraham thought he was in God’s Perfect Will—but, at age 99, he discovered he wasn’t and the next year he’d have a son named Isaac by Sarah (Gen. 17:1-8, 15-21). And, ever since that day there’s been tension between the descendants of Ishmael (the Arabs) and the descendants of Isaac (the Jews and Christians).

Why is that?

Partly because the firstborn normally received twice as much as the others—and, since Ishmael was Abraham’s firstborn son, the Arabs (Muslims) believe Jerusalem and surrounding area belongs to them, not Israel.

Likewise, the Muslims’ God (Allah) is different from the Jews’ “God of Abraham,” as are their bibles (the Quran vs the Hebrew Old Testament).

Thus, it’s clear the problems in the Middle East are religious in nature, not political or ideological: and sadly they’ll continue until the true Messiah (Jesus) comes and puts an end to evil and suffering in the world.

Until then, we must pray “Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done—on earth, as it is in Heaven” (Matthew 6:10). We must also pray “for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6) when King Jesus will enter the city through the now-walled-up eastern gate to establish Peace all over the world.

So, keep praying. Keep praying for all the Jews and Palestinians who are suffering right now in this horrible conflict. And, above all, do not lose hope; instead, keep your eye on the eastern sky: for soon Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords will return. Maranatha!!

(NOTE: If you’d like to contact Bro. Tom or receive his daily e-mail devotional, entitled “Morning Manna,” you can write him at P.O. Box 614, Mulberry, AR 72947 or e-mail him at pressingon@hotmail.com).