Apples of Gold Jan/Feb 2019

Two days ago, I was on my way to the bus and ran into two Arab sheikhs who began a friendly conversation with me. “Now we are on the way to peace. We just have to make this road map; then we will go from there,” one said. He was speaking of the current Arab-Israeli conflict.

“I wish that peace would come, too, so we could receive the blessing of the Lord,” I replied. “He is the Prince of Peace, and we must trust in Him.” I quoted Numbers 6:24–27:

“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.” So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them.

“Why do you speak about what is written in your Bible?” one asked.

“This is not only my Bible,” I answered. “It is the Bible of everyone who believes in Him.”

“Can you show us where it is written in your Bible that this land belongs to you, as you claim it does?” he asked. I have lived near these men for 30 years, so we know each other. But whenever it comes to the issue of the land, they try to fight with me about it.

But I was not looking for a competition. I just wanted to show them what the Bible says.

“It does not matter what I say, but what the Lord says. He promised the land to Abraham and his descendants,” I responded.

Then some of their friends arrived, and the sheikhs seemed like they wanted to prove to their friends they could outsmart me with their arguments. But I was not looking for a competition. I just wanted to show them what the Bible says. So I read to them the following Scripture verses:

And the LORD said to Abram, . . . “Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are—northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever” (Gen. 13:14–15).

On the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying: “To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates” (15:18).

They listened attentively as I read. Then one responded, “But that was written many years ago. All of that is in the past.”

“Do you believe what is written here? Or are we wasting our time?” I asked them.

“We do believe, but we have many questions. Abraham was a Jew, and he hated Muslims” one said.

“When did Islam begin?” I asked.

“Islam existed even before King David existed,” one answered.

“Islam began 600 years after Christ,” I said. They seemed very surprised. Their spiritual blindness was evident. But it is our duty as Christians to help those with blind eyes to see the truth.

As we continued to talk, more of their friends came. All spoke of their hatred of Israel. I was alone and outnumbered, but I trusted in the Lord.

“How do you think you can stand against such a big power? There are 56 Muslim countries and more than one and a half billion Muslims. Think about it,” one boasted.

So I read for them Deuteronomy 7:17–18: “If you should say in your heart, ‘These nations are greater than I; how can I dispossess them?’—you shall not be afraid of them, but you shall remember well what the LORD your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt.”

I told them, “In 1948, I was a soldier here on active duty. We were only a half-million Jewish people. You outnumbered us like the mighty locusts. But we all know the outcome of that war. Who do you think was fighting for us?”

They thought for a moment. Then one replied, “There is some truth to that statement, but we still do not believe what you are saying.”

As our conversation ended, I told them, “It does not matter what I say. What matters is what I read from the Holy Bible. I put my trust in the Lord. He has promised to help Israel, and His word is eternal.”

—The Friends of Israel Archives,
July 2003

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