On Inauguration Day, some thoughts on Obama’s disastrous legacy, the Trump-Pence approach towards Israel & the Arab world, and prayers for safety.

inaugurationdayToday is Inauguration Day in Washington. As the nations watch the world’s oldest democracy in action, let us pray for the safe and peaceful transition of power.

Let us pray the Lord shows great mercy to the American people by granting wisdom and discernment to the new President and Vice President and their families and team. America is in trouble. She is on the wrong track. She is at risk of implosion. A great turnaround is needed spiritually, politically, economically, and militarily. Americans, and the world, need this new administration to get the country back on track, to steer in the right direction, to stand tall with our allies and confront our enemies.

An encouraging note: I understand that Mike Pence will be taking the oath of office on President Ronald Reagan’s Bible, and that the Bible will be open to 2 Chronicles 7:14. Good for him. This is one of my favorite verses, and one we need to embrace.

“If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land,” said the Lord.

To be clear: this verse is not a promise to America. It’s actually a promise to Israel, and one I pray all Israelis will embrace. But 2 Chronicles 7:14 is based on a principle that is echoed in Jeremiah 18:8 for all nations. “If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned,” said the Lord. God wants the people of every nation to turn to Him for forgiveness, wisdom and blessing, and if a nation says yes to Him, He promises to be gracious. Let’s say yes to that wonderful offer.

At the same time, let us pray for the Lord to show mercy on the outgoing President and his family. I believe Barack Obama has done great damage to our country and our world. This damage needs to be identified, corrected, and healed, and lessons learned. But I don’t wish the Obamas ill will. I want the Lord to be very gracious to this couple and their daughters and draw them close to Him in their post-White House life.

A few thoughts as we make this transition from one administration to the next:

  1. The world order is more unstable and dangerous than at any time since the peak of the Cold War.
  2. The United States has been badly weakened — the national debt is soaring, the military has been emasculated, the people are bitterly divided, our alliances are severely strained, our enemies find themselves emboldened.
  3. The Middle East is on fire — Iran is ascendant and increasingly aggressive, the Islamic State is engaged in genocide, Syria is imploding, Christians and other minorities are being slaughtered, and threats against Israel are steadily mounting.
  4. The strategic situation facing Israel is a conundrum, actually — on the one hand the Jewish State is stronger economically, technologically, and militarily than at any time since her prophetic rebirth as a sovereign state in 1948. On the other hand, global forces are working hard to isolate and delegitimize Israel.
  5. Far too many liberals in the academia and the media are engaged in a relentless assault against Israel’s morality and legitimacy, all of which is having a deleterious effect.
  6. At the same time, I regard this plummeting support for Israel among liberals and young people that I discussed in yesterday’s Jerusalem Post column as part of President Obama’s disastrous legacy on foreign policy.
  7. Yes, I readily agree that Mr. Obama did some good things vis-a-vis Israel, including supporting Iron Dome, the sale of F-35s to Israel and the recent Memorandum of Understanding on US-Israeli defense cooperation. For this we are and should be grateful.
  8. But let’s be honest: far too often, Mr. Obama castigated Israel as the major problem in the Middle East rather than support her as America’s most important and faithful ally. Mr. Obama was often belligerent with Israeli leaders while handling the leaders of Iran or North Korea, China or Russia with kid gloves. Mr. Obama and his senior advisors repeatedly expressed derision and disdain for Israel’s democratically elected leaders and policies while showing unconscionable deference to America’s enemies.
  9. “Do not be deceived,” say the Scriptures. “God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” (Galatians 6:7) Over the past eight years, the Obama administration has sown doubt and disrespect towards Israel. Now we are reaping bitter fruit.
  10. That said, I am not discouraged. While I honestly have no idea how to change liberal views towards Israel (apart from prayer and leading them to Christ), I believe we can educate and influence Independents and Millennials about the strategic value of Israel as a faithful and trustworthy ally and friend. And we can — and must– work especially with Christian Millennials to help them learn what the Bible teaches about God’s love and plan for Israel and the Jewish people.
  11. At the same time, we need to make sure we show respect and friendship to the Palestinian people. After all, we want there to be real and lasting peace and security between Israel and the Palestinians. We want the Palestinian people to have wise and courageous leaders who will end the incitement of hatred and violence, root out corruption, establish security and the rule of law, create an environment of economic growth and job creation, and will sit down and really work together with Israel to build a better future. Let’s not be cynics. Blessed be the peacemakers. Let us pray and work to this end.
  12. At the same time, we also need to show respect and friendship to our other friends and allies in the Sunni Arab world. Wanting a healthier US-Israel alliance is not a zero sum game. Yes, we need to pray for and actively encourage the new administration and Congress to stand strongly with Israel on a bipartisan basis. But we also want our leaders to actively reaffirm our alliances with Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, the Gulf States and other key allies in the region.
  13. Indeed, we need to pray for and encourage the President and his administration  to choose to build on the encouraging if quiet strategic alliances that are being developed between Israel and many Sunni Arab states, in part because they have serious common enemies in Iran and the Islamic State.
  14. We also want the President and his administration to speak accurately and respectfully about Islam — to help the American people understand the threat posed both by Radical and Apocalyptic elements within the Muslim world, but also to help them understand that the vast majority of Muslims (90% or so) are not violent, not supportive of jihad or extremism, and are, can and should be friends and allies if we engage them respectfully.
  15. I’m encouraged that President Trump and Vice President Pence have repeatedly indicated their intention to reaffirm the importance of a strong, healthy US-Israel alliance, and that they see the Obama legacy on Israel and throughout the Mideast as unhealthy and in many ways harmful.
  16. I’m encouraged by most of the President’s picks for his national security team. Overall, it’s a very smart and experienced team. They have good relations both with Israel and Sunni Arab leaders. They see the significant threats posed by Iran and ISIS and seem committed to confronting both. Most of them rightly see Vladimir Putin as a serious threat to US national security and believe in a reinvigorated NATO alliance. They want to rebuild the American military and American alliances around the world. They can provide a much needed breath of fresh air and hope for a new beginning.
  17. Getting American economic, domestic and foreign policy back on the right track will not be quick or easy. There will be moments of frustration, discouragement and dismay. But let us be prayerful and patient and let us trust the grace and sovereignty of the Lord each and every day. After all, we are in His hands, and they are good, strong, faithful hands.

NOTE: here are links to the two new polls I referenced in yesterday’s Jerusalem Post column, “Liberals Are Turning Against The Jewish State.”

I would encourage you to carefully study the details of both surveys to get the full picture.


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