This is what all the wise kings of Israel and Judah did in ancient times when facing war and serious threats, and it is time to do so again.
This was the message I shared on the Fox News Channel today as I was interviewed by anchor Shannon Bream.
You can watch the interview by clicking here (it begins 1:50 minutes into the clip). You can also read a transcript of the interview below.
First, here are just two Bible passages that describe great and wise kings of Israel and Judah calling the people to turn to the God of Israel in prayer during times of war and conflict:
* King Solomon called the nation of Israel together to pray for God’s help and mercy in time of war — “Now Solomon had made a bronze platform, five cubits long, five cubits wide and three cubits high, and had set it in the midst of the court; and he stood on it, knelt on his knees in the presence of all the assembly of Israel and spread out his hands toward heaven. He said, ‘O Lord, the God of Israel, there is no god like You in heaven or on earth, keeping covenant and showing lovingkindness to Your servants who walk before You with all their heart; who has kept with Your servant David, my father, that which You have promised him; indeed You have spoken with Your mouth and have fulfilled it with Your hand, as it is this day….When Your people go out to battle against their enemies, by whatever way You shall send them, and they pray to You toward this city which You have chosen and the house which I have built for Your name, then hear from heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause.” (see 2 Chronicles chapter 6)
* King Jehoshaphat called the nation of Judah together to pray for God’s help and mercy in time of war — “Now it came about after this that the sons of Moab and the sons of Ammon, together with some of the Meunites, came to make war against Jehoshaphat. Then some came and reported to Jehoshaphat, saying, ‘A great multitude is coming against you from beyond the sea, out of Aram and behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar (that is Engedi).’ Jehoshaphat was afraid and turned his attention to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. So Judah gathered together to seek help from the Lord; they even came from all the cities of Judah to seek the Lord. Then Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord before the new court, and he said, ‘O Lord, the God of our fathers, are You not God in the heavens? And are You not ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in Your hand so that no one can stand against You. Did You not, O our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel and give it to the descendants of Abraham Your friend forever? They have lived in it, and have built You a sanctuary there for Your name, saying, “Should evil come upon us, the sword, or judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before You (for Your name is in this house) and cry to You in our distress, and You will hear and deliver us.” Now behold, the sons of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir, whom You did not let Israel invade when they came out of the land of Egypt (they turned aside from them and did not destroy them), see how they are rewarding us by coming to drive us out from Your possession which You have given us as an inheritance. O our God, will You not judge them? For we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You.’ All Judah was standing before the Lord, with their infants, their wives and their children.” (see 2 Chronicles 20)
FOX NEWS ANCHOR SHANNON BREAM: Joining us now, New York Times best-selling author Joel Rosenberg. He’s written numerous fiction and non-fiction books, including Israel At War. Among many other things, Joel, you also run a charity in Israel. You served as a consultant to the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. So you have a unique perspective into what’s going on there, and I know that you’ve been very focused on the impact on both sides of this incursion, and how people are being affected there in the area.
ROSENBERG: Absolutely. I did have the privilege of working for Prime Minister Netanyahu back in 2000 — don’t work for him now, therefore, of course, don’t speak for him now in any way. But, yes, I don’t envy the job he has ahead of him right now. As an evangelical Christian, my heart is going out grieving both for the Palestinians who have been lost, and the Israelis. But there is no question that the Israelis are fighting — not the Palestinians — they are fighting Hamas, they are fighting Islamic Jihad. The terrorists have fired more than 1,700 rockets at Israeli civilians. Israel accepted a cease fire from Egypt. Hamas would not. So I think the moral justification is on the Israeli side.
BREAM: Secretary Kerry is heading to that region, he says, within days, trying to work on a cease fire, and a longer term peace deal. Is that possible, in your estimation, knowing all sides here. Is there a temporary lull? Is there any hope for longer term peace?
ROSENBERG: Well, I was in Israel in November 2012, working with The Joshua Fund, providing food and medical supplies and all to Israelis and Palestinians during the last conflict. Israel massed forces on the border with Gaza and then didn’t go in because Hamas stood down. This is obviously not the situation this time. One thing I would encourage the Prime Minister of Israel to do is actually call the nation to prayer & fasting. He is taking all the other right moves — mobilizing forces, calling the nation to patience, grieving with the families that have lost. But like King Solomon, like King Jehoshaphat, Josiah, and Nehemiah, it’s time to call the nation to prayer and fasting so that Israel can win this war against terror, and have peace and calm in the region, at least for a season. And I think all of the great kings and leaders of Israel have done it. It would be time for the Prime Minister to do it, as well.
BREAM: How do you respond to those who say it is religion that has caused these problems, the fact that these two sides will never, potentially, resolve, because there are such deep divisions along religious lines?
ROSENBERG: Well, I think that Radical Islam has certainly caused this. Again, separate this from the Palestinian people at large — who may not love Israel, who may wish they could have all of the territory – but it’s Hamas and the terrorist leaders of Islamic Jihad and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades that are firing rockets and missiles. It’s really the Palestinian leadership — in terms of the terrorist leadership — that is crushing the hopes and dreams and fortunes of the people in Gaza. Look, they live on the Mediterranean coast. They have natural gas. They were given their freedom from Israel in 2005. There’s no reason not to be able to build a functioning, calm, prosperous society. But you can’t have terrorists leading you. And I think it’s going to take the Israelis turning to the Lord and asking for peace, as well as the military force.
BREAM: And we know it’s always important to make that distinction between the Palestinian people and Hamas. We thank you for your insights today. I know you’re traveling to the area, so we’ll pray safety for you.
ROSENBERG: Thank you. I appreciate it.
Learn more about The Joshua Fund (www.joshuafund.com). This is an organization my wife and I founded in 2006 to educate and mobilize Christians to bless Israel and her Arab neighbors in the name of Jesus, including caring for the poor and needy with food and other humanitarian relief. Read our 2013 Donor Report. Please pray for our team, especially as they care for people in the rocket zone. And please prayerfully consider making a generous, tax deductible, secure, on-line contribution.
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