Joel of Jerusalem Oct/Nov 1982
I thank the Lord, for He is so, good. After a very long time of having three of our children away in the army, we recently had the family together again around the table. This was a great day for my wife and me, and I am sure that all parents in Israel feel the same way. We are all glad to have our children back from the fighting, and we pray that after such a long time of war there may be peace in this part of the world.
We can now see that all the “heroes” who wanted to cast us into the sea are leaving the fight as scared rabbits. So it is with all nations who seek to be victorious over those people whom God has chosen as His own. Many people have come to fight against us, and even though we are so few in number, we know what the Lord said in Deuteronomy 7:17-18, “If thou shalt say in thine heart, These nations are more than I; how can I dispossess them? Thou shalt not be afraid of them, but shalt well remember what the Lord thy God did unto Pharaoh, and unto all Egypt.”
Now we must go to all of our sworn enemies, those who yesterday were fighting against us and say, “Let us be good friends and live in peace.” I can truly say that this is a difficult thing to accomplish because of the principles and honor which they feel they have lost, and these people will never stop pursuing these empty things until they come to the end of the tunnel and see the light and not the darkness. Then we will be able to speak about peace with such people.
Of course, we know that real peace will only come through our Prince of Peace, and now we can see that even our enemies are beginning to understand that there is someone who is standing behind Israel. Otherwise, how could such a small country stand against so many countries which are so much larger? In the beginning, the other nations said that America was fighting against them right alongside of Israel, but now they know that this is not true. Now they know that someone else has been fighting alongside Israel in all the four wars which we have had to fight, and they want to know who it is.
I am always ready to share this secret with all those who ask me. The Lord has blessed me with a knowledge of many languages, including the one which I need so much these days, Arabic. This has opened many doors for me. And so now these Arab people I met wanted to know the big secret about who fights for Israel. I asked them if they knew about the Bible, the Torah. “Yes, we know about it,” they said, “but the Koran is our holy book.” “I realize that,” I told them, “but please permit me to read to you something from the Torah about the wars and hatred against Israel. The Lord said in Isaiah 49:25, ‘. . . I will contend with him that contendeth with thee [Israel], and I will save thy children.’ ” The Arabs responded, “No, that is not the Bible, it is only a reading from the prophets.” “If you feel that way,” I said, “then I will read to you from one of the books of Moses.” “Oh yes, we will be glad to hear that,” they replied, and I read Leviticus 26:6-8, word for word. I interpreted it all for them into Arabic, especially the words, “. . . your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.” I then said, “These are not my words, they are written in the Bible, the book which you said you were familiar with. And now you know the secret, and you should also know that you have no chance for ultimate victory over the chosen people of God. It would be good if you would cast away your principles and honor and say, ‘Let us be friends.’ And we can be friends because we are also brothers. We have come from one father, Abraham. If we will ask the Lord in prayer, He is the One who will bring us together as brothers who have long been apart from one another. Now is the time to stop living by the sword. Is it not better, as Isaiah wrote, that ‘. . . nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more’ [Isa. 2:4]?”
They were surprised to hear me talk so much about peace, and they asked if I had ever been in the army. “Oh yes,” I replied, “I fought in the four wars and three of my children were in Lebanon during the recent fighting there. And, of course, we all know that war is war, and they were not shooting at each other with candy. But all that is over, and now I will tell you one more secret. If you will believe what I say, I am sure that everything that happened in the past will be forgiven and forgotten.” “What is it?” they asked. I told them, “I believe in the God of love, the God of mercy, the God of forgiveness, the God who will remember our sins no more.” I could not tell them immediately that I believe in Jesus as my Savior, because they would not accept this. But since I now had their attention, I began to explain things very slowly, as if to children, in a way they could understand. Since they were willing to listen to the Torah, I began there and asked them, “Do you believe that God created man in His image?” “We are not sure about that,” they said, so I read for them Genesis 1:26-27 again and again. Then I went on step by step, until I was able to speak about the Lord Jesus. “But he is only for Christians,” they said. “No, my dear friends. He was crucified for everyone – not just for those who believe in Him but even for those who persecuted Him. This was because of His great love for all of us, and we can see this clearly written in this book which you have never read, the New Testament.” I then read John 3:16 and said, “You see, He loves the whole world, and now you can have the great opportunity to choose. Would you rather have everlasting hatred and vengeance, or would you like to receive the Lord and all this will be forgotten?” “What are you saying?” they asked. “How can we do this when we are Arabs?” “And I am a Jew! So what? God did not say that He would help only the Jews, or only some other nation. He came to the whole world, and He was crucified because of His great love for all men. I can tell you that there are many Arabs who believe in the Lord, and I myself am a good example of what I have been speaking about. Yesterday we were enemies, but because I am a believer I have come to you and asked you to become my brothers. And this will be possible when we show the love for each other which can only be found in Him.”
This was all very interesting to these Arab men, and they asked how I had come to believe in the Lord. This was now the greatest opportunity for me, a time when I could share my testimony with them and talk freely about the Lord. As I said before, I am so grateful for the many languages which the Lord has enabled me to speak, but I am especially thankful to Him for the language of love and friendship which we can all share with one another.