Joel of Jerusalem Aug/Sep 1982
Two of my sons and my daughter are not at home these days. They have gone to the north (Lebanese front) with the army. And now I have received a nice letter stating that the army wants me to go also, but I said, “Not this time!” I went to see the military officials and informed them that if they want me, they will also have to take my wife and my youngest son. I reminded them that I am now fifty-three years old and took an active part in the most dangerous area in all four of Israel’s previous wars. Then one of the officers said, “But you know the situation now in the north, and we need everyone.” I replied, “Yes, I know that, and I have given you my daughter and two sons. If you must have me, then take my wife and my youngest son and then our family will all be in the army.”
The officer then said, “Wait a minute.” He walked away and in a short time he returned with the answer. “You may stay at home for now, but it may be that we will call you if we need you, so be ready.” “I am always ready,” I said. He was surprised and asked, “What do you mean?” I responded, “By preaching the good news of God to all those who want to hear about Him.” “But you are not a rabbi, and I know that you are far away from the:teachings of the yeshiva [religious school].” “You are right,” I told him, “but do you know what I always tell people who say this? Did the Old Testament prophets of Israel go to a yeshiva or to great universities? No! When the Lord spoke to Moses the first time, did He ask him what type of education he had or how many doctorates he had received? Of course not! He simply asked Moses to go and do His will and Moses did it, even though he was slow of speech. It was not Moses who was speaking, but God himself through the Holy Spirit put the words in Moses’ mouth. And that’s how it is with me.”
“What do you want to speak about?” I replied, “I want to tell about the most important need of our time — salvation.” “But we are close to victory in the north,” he said. “No, my friend, we are not,” I responded. “The Lord has said there is another way and it is ‘. . . Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts’ [Zech. 4:6]. The Lord has fought for us in the past and He is doing it again.”
“Who do you think is doing the fighting for us in places like Tyre and Sidon?” he asked. “I can tell you who is fighting,” I said, “and I wii! not get the answer from any of your official papers but from the prophets of old. In Jeremiah 47:4 we can read what the Lord is doing for us: ‘Because of the day that cometh to spoil all of the Philistines, and to cut off -from Tyre and Sidon every helper that remaineth; for the Lord will spoil the Philistines, the remnant. . . ‘ You can read about this war in many other places in the Bible as well, such as Ezekiel 26:3-4, ‘Therefore, thus saith the Lord God: Behold, I am against thee, O Tyre, and will cause many nations to come up against thee, as the sea causeth its waves to come up. And they shall destroy the walls of Tyre, and break down her towers; I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her like the top of a rock.’ The Lord has given us these passages so that we may know what is to take place, and so this should not be a surprise for us. This is only the beginning for this nation, and I am not speaking like other people who have no one there in the north, You know that my children are there, and yet I can be quiet and at peace because I have put my trust in the Lord. There are not many parents who have more children there than I do and since they have been gone I have received only one telephone call, but you can see that I am trusting in the Lord because His promises are everlasting. I even know who our enemies are.” “And just who are they?” he asked. I replied, “If you will go back to the Bible you will find the answer in Isaiah 10:24, ‘. . . O my people that dwell in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrian; he shall smite thee with a rod, and shall lift up his staff against thee. . . ‘ Why should we be afraid? We can be sure of His victory, and we do not have to worry about gaining the victory ourselves.”
As we spoke I could tell that this officer was very surprised by my remarks and he finally asked, “Where do you get all this confidence?” “I can answer that very easily: ‘Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid. ..’ [Isa. 12:2]. If you have fears, do as I did. Believe in the Son of God, and He will bring deliverance. And I am not alone, there are many of us in Israel who believe this way. You ask what we can do for you and how we can help you. We can show to many people in this !and that now is the time to open our eyes to His miracles on our behalf. What Jesus said thousands of years ago still applies today. There is no one in this nation who does not know the song taken from Joel 3:20. ‘. . .Judah shall dwell forever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation.’ ”
He then asked again, “How can you be so confident, especially when your children are in danger far away from home?” Of course I could not pass up such a fine opportunity, and we began a long conversation about having faith in the Lord. Finally he said, “If you think we don’t know who you are, you are mistaken. We know all about you, but we never knew that you and the others like yourself were so bound to this land of ours.” I told him, “You must understand that we believe in the same Heavenly Father, we read the same Bible, and we are loyal citizens of Israel just as you are. Why should we not love our country, and especially in time of trouble? Now is the time when we must show that we are true friends of Israel and all her citizens. You can see that I have given my three children to fight for this land, and there is even more that I can give for my country.” “And what is that?” he asked.
“As I told you before, you can take me if you must. However, this time it is different from the other wars when my children were all young. In 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1973 went and took an active part, but this time my children have taken my place. I cannot go and leave my wife alone, and so there is only one way I will go — if you take her also. She can prepare food and help in other ways, and I am sure there are not many soldiers who would volunteer for my job in clearing minefields, “We know that you have been a good soldier,” he said, “but you must realize that if this turns into a big war you must go. We do not have as many people as our enemies.” “That is true,” I told him, “but it is at times like this that you must trust in the Lord and remember what He said in Deuteronomy 7:17, ‘If thou shalt say in thine heart. These nations are more than I; how can I dispossess them?’ The answer is found in verse 18, Thou shalt not be afraid of them, but shalt well remember what the Lord thy God did unto Pharaoh, and unto all Egypt.’ If this war becomes very big, you can be sure that you will see me there without even being called.”
The officer then said, “It is good that we met one another, because I learned much which will be of great benefit to me in the days ahead. Also, we have learned much about you and others like yourself, who before we always thought of as negative, but we know that two negatives always make a positive.”
I was grateful to the Lord for this opportunity to meet with these military people and change their minds about true believers, especially at a time such as this when anyone of us could end our earthly lives at any time.