Hebrew Highlights 92 PRAY FOR ENEMIES
Shalom, this is Yuval Shomron, coming to you from Jerusalem.
All too often, we awaken to horrible news here in Israel. Innocent people, including children, are killed for no reason. The question always arises, “How do we pray?” There are many prayers in the Bible concerning enemies. But a second question arises, “Who exactly are our enemies?”
Let me make a few things clear to those of you who may be far from terror and heartbreak, and receive your information from the media, or other third party sources. First of all, I want to say clearly, that the Arabs are not our enemies. Many Israeli cities, (take Haifa as an example), have mixed populations of Jews, Christian Arabs, Moslem Arabs, and various other groups. The vast majority of Jews and Arabs live in harmony, and even in strong friendship.
The answer to “who is a foe” is very simple. Those who are true adversaries of Israel, or Christianity, or democracy, or of anyone else for that matter, are those who have publicly proclaimed themselves as enemies. In other words, they themselves have consciously made that decision.
Now, as to the problem of how to pray, we can always depend on the word of God for a guide. Let’s look at a few examples.
PSA 129:1-6, (A Song of Ascents.) "Many times they have persecuted me from my youth up," Let Israel now say, "Many times they have persecuted me from my youth up; Yet they have not prevailed against me. "The plowers plowed upon my back; they lengthened their furrows." The Lord is righteous; He has cut in two the cords of the wicked. May all who hate Zion, Be put to shame and turned backward, let them be like grass upon the housetops, which withers before it grows up.”
This is a strong prayer. But remember that the Lord loves Zion. Israel is His chosen people. There is actually compassion here when the psalmist says, “let them be like grass upon the housetops, which withers before it grows up.” We are praying that God will stop them in their tracks before they go too far.
Next, in 2CH 6:34 we read, "When Thy people go out to battle against their enemies, by whatever way Thou shalt send them, and they pray to Thee toward this city which Thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for Thy name, then hear Thou from heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause.” Here, King Solomon is first of all reminding us that when Israel goes to battle, it is because God has sent them. Then, he pleads that God Himself will “maintain their cause”, for His own sake, to guard the place He Himself has established.
In PSA 140:4-10, we read an impassioned plea, which many of us here in Israel can identify with. “Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked; Preserve me from violent men, who have purposed to trip up my feet. The proud have hidden a trap for me, and cords; they have spread a net by the wayside; they have set snares for me. Selah. I said to the Lord, "Thou art my God; Give ear, O Lord, to the voice of my supplications. "O God the Lord, the strength of my salvation, Thou hast covered my head in the day of battle. "Do not grant, O Lord, the desires of the wicked; do not promote his evil device, lest they be exalted. Selah. "As for the head of those who surround me, May the mischief of their lips cover them. "May burning coals fall upon them; May they be cast into the fire, into deep pits from which they cannot rise.”
This passage reminds me of how the enemies of Israel continue to use the same tricks. For instance, when it says, “they have spread a net by the wayside”, I think of the roadside bombs, which have killed many Israeli passersby.
The next short passage is in fact often prayed here in both churches and synagogues alike. PSA 141:8-10, “For my eyes are toward Thee, O God, the Lord; In Thee I take refuge; do not leave me defenseless. Keep me from the jaws of the trap, which they have set for me, And from the snares of those who do iniquity. Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I pass by safely.”
Indeed, in many cases, “the wicked fall into their own nets, while I pass by safely.” A full 88% of terrorist attempts against Israel are foiled before they happen, often by the perpetrators accidentally blowing themselves up in preparation of their devices.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we need to remember Yeshua’s words in MAT 5:43-45, "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 in order 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.”
I must tell you, that in our current circumstances, it is difficult sometimes to pray for our enemies, rather than against them. However, we know that many of the actual terrorist soldiers are young men and women who have been mislead by evil leaders and teachers. They are promised bliss in an afterlife, which unfortunately, they will never see. They are old enough to be responsible for their own actions.
Please pray every day that Israel’s self-proclaimed enemies will fall into their own traps. Please pray every day that the gospel of the good news of the Kingdom of God will reach the ears of those being mislead by Islamic extremists. God still desires that every one of them would be saved!
Shalom, Shalom from Jerusalem.