Joel of Jerusalem Jun/Jul 1979
Israel is a small country and at times we feel as if we are sheep among wolves. Even though we are small, we remain strong because the Lord is with us.
Many living in Israel, both Jew and Arab, do not know the Lord. The Arabs especially are far from knowing about the love which we receive from the Lord. But we are God’s witnesses, and now is the time to tell them of the love of God,so that there will be no more war. This love can only come from the Spirit of the Lord.
There is a saying, “If Mohammad won’t come to the mountain, the mountain will come to Mohammad.” It is like that with us, but it is difficult for us to go to an Arab village and preach the Word of God.
One day some of my Arab neighbors came to my home extremely upset, saying, “How can we receive Bibles when they include the New Testament?” They seemed upset and confused, so I offered my help. “Before you receive the Bible I will explain it to you, if you wish.” They agreed and appreciated my help. So I opened up my New Testament and told them about putting their “faith in the Lord Jesus. When I mentioned the name of Jesus they were surprised: “How can you speak about Jesus? You are a Jew!” So began a big discussion about having faith on the Lord Jesus and the big difference between faith by the sword and faith by love. I told the Arabs who came to me that their faith came by the sword and those who do not believe are killed. “God has given freedom to every creature. You can see with your own eyes what is written in the Bible: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love.’” One Arab said, “God said that only to the people of Israel.” So I quickly turned to John 3:16 to prove that what God said was to all nations, including the Arabs. “It is written, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’ it’s not written, ‘Love only the Jew or the American, and not the Arab.’ No, here it is clear: ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself,’ and that means your enemy as well.”
Then they wanted to know how I came to believe on the Lord because I am a Jew. “How can this be possible?” they asked. “It is possible,” I replied. “We didn’t take this faith from any propaganda literature or by force, but by His mercy and love. What the Lord did for us, He did because of His love, and you can see this. You, as Arabs, came to me, and I received you like best friends, even though I know you hate us with all your hearts. But the Lord said to love those that hate you and pray for them, for love is of God.”
Not understanding, they asked, “Why do you serve in the army if you love your enemies?”
“I serve because I am a citizen of Israel. Even Jesus said, “What belongs to Caesar is Caesar’s, and what belongs to God is God’s.’ ” Then I related an incident during the Six-Day War when I came to a wealthy Arab home and found gold and diamonds worth millions of dollars. Those people were afraid I would take their possessions. I quieted them and spoke friendly to them. All I was looking for were guns and ammunition, if it had been others who didn’t have the love of the Saviour, their possessions would have been taken. “Here you can see the big difference,” I told my Arab neighbors as I finished my story.
This was hard for them to believe. I wanted to call a taxi and take them to this Arab family and ask them. But they finally believed me that even war can’t break our love for our enemy because the love of our Saviour is in us.
Please pray for these Arab neighbors and the thousands of other Arabs in Israel that they might be reached with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.