By Stan Goodenough - Jerusalem Newswire - August 2, 2005
Let the priests, who minister to the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar; Let them say, “Spare Your people, O LORD, and do not give Your heritage to reproach, that the nations should rule over them. Why should they say among the peoples, 'Where is their God?'" (Joel 2:17)
Preparations are underway for extensive celebrations in the Middle East, and around the world. With less than two weeks to go to “D-Day” nothing, it is believed, can stop the “Disengagement” now.
Normally when things get hot in this part of the world, around 2000 foreign reporters swell the ranks of the already excessive international press presence in Jerusalem. This happened during Operation Desert Storm, during the IDF’s Operation Defensive Shield, and again two years ago when the Americans went into Iraq to finish off Saddam Hussein.
The IDF Spokesman reports that double that number, some 4000 foreign journalists, are coming in to cover the uprooting of 10,000 Jews from their northern Samaria and Gaza Strip homes. The vast majority of these journalists work for agencies that are hostile towards Israel and favor the Arabs.
What a glorious day appears to lie ahead for them. Many will be gearing up to send glowing (and gloating) reports to their newsrooms; reports they believe will vindicate their untiring efforts to get Israel to relinquish land for a Palestinian state.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s resolve to remove his countrymen from areas he himself urged them to settle in will prove to these journalists that they were always right, and he was always wrong.
Meanwhile, people who have killed hundreds of Jews in thousands of acts of terrorism, and the masses that wholeheartedly support them, are arranging joint street parties for Hamas, the Islamic Jihad and the Palestinian Authority, who will celebrate together “the liberation of Palestinian lands.” Praises will descend to Allah from minarets in Gaza City, Khan Yunis, Hebron, Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Ramallah and Shechem, and from mosques across the Muslim world, thanking Allah for this victory over the Zionist enemy.
And the fatal flaw in every peace deal with the Muslim world: Israel’s pullout from Gaza, following its pullout from southern Lebanon and, before that, from the Sinai, will be understood to be just the latest in an inevitable series of retreats predestined to shrink Israel to the point of indefensibility, leaving her ripe for the kill.
Against the backdrop of all we have seen and know to be true, Sharon’s insistences that Israel is not withdrawing because of Arab terror, and that the uprooting will not reward this terrorism and encourage more of the same, are empty, meaningless words. They will echo hollowly against the coffins of those Jews who will yet pay the price for this “Disengagement.”
Here in Israel, the indigenous left-wing, anti-religious, media is intensifying its long-standing campaign to demonize those citizens who, out of conviction and religious belief, have chosen to live in the areas the press routinely calls “occupied Arab lands,” even though they are not.
Joyful, too, will be the response of millions among the nations who have chosen to believe the media’s lies, who reject any right of the Jews to live in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, who treat the Bible as a book of fairy tales, and who deny the existence, and spurn the sovereignty, of the Lord.
For all these people, the “Disengagement” is both Israel’s admission of defeat and confession of guilt. As far as they are concerned, its implementation is already assured.
This will not be the first time that human beings shake their fists in the face of the God of Israel and declare Him impotent to intervene.
His power and might were challenged by Pharaoh in Egypt, who vowed that he would never let God’s people go. He was taunted by Goliath of Gath, who scoffed at the shepherd boy confronting him, as if he could defeat a giant with a sling. More recently, He was dared by the owners of the Titanic, who brashly declared that “God Himself can’t sink this ship.”
These attitudes constitute a fearless and foolish mockery of our God, Who has not only undertaken to return the scattered Jews to their land after centuries in exile, but Who has also sworn that, having brought them back, He will keep them in this land as a shepherd keeps his sheep. He has tied His name, and His reputation, to Israel’s survival against the greatest of odds.
More than about Israel, more than about the survival of a nation against every conceivable attempt of man to destroy them; more than anything else, this Disengagement is about His name – the name of the LORD God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Savior of Israel.
Thousands of years ago, after He had brought the Israelites out of Egypt “with a mighty hand and outstretched arm” their sinfulness tempted Him to destroy them in the wilderness. He chose not to do so out of concern for His great name, “that it should not be profaned before the Gentiles in whose sight I brought them out.” (Ezekiel 20:13-14)
God would not allow the Egyptians or the Canaanites to mock and say: “‘because the LORD was not able to bring this people to the land which He swore to give them, therefore He killed them in the wilderness.'” (Numbers 14:16-17)
Centuries later, as they wandered among the nations, the people of Israel profaned His name when, hated and homeless, they caused the gentiles to say: “These are the people of the LORD, and yet they have gone out of His land.” (Ezekiel 36:20)
His Name faces being profaned once more, as the godless among the nations prepare to announce that “the LORD was not able to keep them in the land He swore to give them.” When they hear the news, more than one billion people will proclaim that “Allah is greater.” Even a greater number will be entrenched in their belief that there is no God.
There appears to be little reason for hope. Which is precisely why, though it be foolishness to the world, we must abound in hope. Centuries ago, God told a dispirited Elijah that, as bleak as things seemed, He had reserved for Himself seven thousand in Israel who had not bowed the knee to Baal.
Last week, many more than 7000 Israelis gathered in the town of Kfar Maimon, crying out in repentance before the Lord and calling on Him to stop this “Disengagement” and save Israel from her enemies. On August 2, they will gather once again to petition heaven.
Oh, do not remember former iniquities against us! Let Your tender mercies come speedily to meet us, for we have been brought very low. Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of Your name; And deliver us, and provide atonement for our sins, for Your name's sake! Why should the nations say, "Where is their God?" (Psalm 79:8-10)