“Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef implored God to ‘wipe out and destroy’ Iran and Hezbollah during his weekly sermon on Saturday night,” reports the Jerusalem Post. “Speaking on Saturday night, Yosef talked about the tradition on the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana, of eating various fruits and vegetables as positive portents for the year ahead. ‘When we make the blessing on the dates that ‘our enemies and haters should be ended’ we should have in mind the Iranian regime, those evil people who threaten Israel,’ the Rabbi said. ‘Do good, God, wipe them out, kill them,’ he entreated, to which the assembled crowd answered ‘amen.’”
The Rabbi is wrong. We should pray for the salvation of the Iranian people, not their utter destruction. We certainly should pray for the current regime in Iran to be changed or removed, and for the Iranian nuclear program to be dismantled or neutralized. But we should never pray for God to wipe out and kill all of the Iranian people. Rather, we should pray for all of the Iranian people — and all the people of the epicenter, including all of Israel — would hear the Gospel and receive the free gift of forgiveness and eternal life offered through Jesus the Messiah.
The Lord Jesus said, “I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” (Luke 6:27-28) The Lord Jesus also said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-38)