The newborn hovered between life and death. His father, accustomed to being in control and wielding power, refused food as he lay on the ground and did the only thing he could — cry out to God for his child’s life. When the baby died, this man’s staff were afraid to tell him the news. If the illness broke him, what would word of the death do? To their amazement, upon hearing the tragic news, the man picked himself up, washed, ate, and once again shouldered his many obligations. Shattered during the challenging time, once there was no more hope, King David moved forward. (II Samuel 12:15-23)
It has been almost three weeks since we woke up just outside Jerusalem on that nightmarish Shabbat morning and learned of the pogrom being perpetrated in southern Israel. The Jewish people will survive and move forward. Whatever individual suffering has taken place and whatever pain still lies ahead, the ultimate outcome is certain. Yet, right now, we are witnessing history unfolding. I find it difficult to think about or write on any other topic.
Scenes that were part of my consciousness since childhood, of Pharaoh, Amalek, the Babylonian and Roman exiles, the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, Ukrainian pogroms of 1648-1649, Russian massacres, Nazi annihilation, murders in Syria and Libya, and countless other tragedies came to life. Images of Jews burnt alive, of body parts hacked off, of rape and desecration of dead bodies, emerged once again. Nightmares that haunted me as I looked down at my sleeping babies, tearfully grateful that they were safe at the same time as I knew that being so was an anomaly of history, have sprung to life.
When the line between those who love life and those who love death (as they themselves admit) is firmly drawn, countless people around the world are choosing to side with barbarism. Many of them have degrees after their names. There have been few surprises for those of us who have been paying attention, as elites like Harvard students and administration, Barack Obama, Black Lives Matter, CNN, the New York Times and even hysterical teenager, Greta Thurnberg land on one side while those who recognized the above list as Godless, self-serving and nihilistic, land on the other. For others, who have not been tuned in, the blood lust on the part of the elites has been shocking.
What they fail to grasp is that this is not a local ethnic conflict that can be resolved by a bureaucrat, a pencil, and a map. This is ultimately a struggle between Islamists and the twin civilizations of the Bible.
As always, the Bible summons us in all times and places: I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day: I have put before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life—that you and your offspring shall live—Deuteronomy 30:19.
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Clash of Destiny
The events in Israel make it absolutely clear that we are witnessing the latest in a long line of bloody battles between barbarism and civilization. If you have not listened to Clash of Destiny: Decoding the Secrets of Israel and Islam, we suggest that you do. This fight is not new and the Bible, from Genesis through the Book of Esther, sheds light on what is happening.