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SERMON IN HAIFA: “O GOD, IN LIGHT OF THE GROWING THREATS TO ISRAEL, OPEN OUR EYES”

On Saturday morning, I had the opportunity of preaching at a congregation in Haifa, Israel. Here are some of my notes. I’ll post the rest soon.

“O God, In Light of the Growing Threats To Israel, Open Our Eyes”

  • On the one hand, the State of Israel is more secure and more prosperous today than ever before it its modern 64 year history.
  • On the other hand, Israel is increasingly surrounded by hostile and dangerous states.
  • Radical Shia Twelvers run the Hezbollah terrorist organization which controls most of Lebanon and has an estimated 50,000 missiles and rockets aimed at Israel.
  • The bloodthirsty dictator Bashar al-Assad is slaughtering his own people by the thousands in Syria even as his regime is on the verge of implosion. Assad had thousands of rockets and missiles also aimed at Israel, as well as large stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons ready to be used to annihilate the Jewish people.
  • Iran, of course, is control by Radical Islamic Twelvers feverishly trying to build, buy or steal nuclear weapons and the ballistic missiles to fire them at Israel and wipe Israel “off the map.”
  • Egypt is now under the control of the Radical Muslim Brotherhood which wants to launch jihad against all Jews, Christians and infidels.
  • Jordan currently has a moderate leader in King Abdullah, but Radical Islamists are seeking to overthrow him and make Jordan a base camp to launch a war of annihilation against Israel.
  • Gaza is control by the Radical Muslims of the Hamas terror organization who continue to fire rockets, missiles and mortars at Israel.
  • Hamas is seeking to overthrow the Fatah/PLO leadership in the West Bank to mount a much more aggressive war against Israel.
  • In that context, we need the Lord to open our eyes to truly understand the threats to Israel, as well as understand God’s love and plan for Israel and her neighbors.
  • To that end, 2 Kings 6:8-23 is a powerful passage to study — consider the text: Now the king of Aram was warring against Israel; and he counseled with his servants saying, “In such and such a place shall be my camp.” The man of God sent word to the king of Israel saying, “Beware that you do not pass this place, for the Arameans are coming down there.” The king of Israel sent to the place about which the man of God had told him; thus he warned him, so that he guarded himself there, more than once or twice. Now the heart of the king of Aram was enraged over this thing; and he called his servants and said to them, “Will you tell me which of us is for the king of Israel?” One of his servants said, “No, my lord, O king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.”  So he said, “Go and see where he is, that I may send and take him.” And it was told him, saying, “Behold, he is in Dothan.” He sent horses and chariots and a great army there, and they came by night and surrounded the city. Now when the attendant of the man of God had risen early and gone out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was circling the city. And his servant said to him, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” So he answered, “ Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “ O Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” And the Lord opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. When they came down to him, Elisha prayed to the Lord and said, “Strike this people with blindness, I pray.” So He struck them with blindness according to the word of Elisha. Then Elisha said to them, “This is not the way, nor is this the city; follow me and I will bring you to the man whom you seek.” And he brought them to Samaria. When they had come into Samaria, Elisha said, “O Lord, open the eyes of these men, that they may see.” So the Lord opened their eyes and they saw; and behold, they were in the midst of Samaria. Then the king of Israel when he saw them, said to Elisha, “ My father, shall I kill them? Shall I kill them?” He answered, “You shall not kill them. Would you kill those you have taken captive with your sword and with your bow? Set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink and go to their master.” So he prepared a great feast for them; and when they had eaten and drunk he sent them away, and they went to their master. And the marauding bands of Arameans did not come again into the land of Israel.
  • Here’s some analysis of the text.
  • Aram was a wicked ancient kingdom to the north of Israel. It encompassed much of the territory we no know as Syria, Lebanon and northern Iran. Damascus was Aram’s capital.
  • The king of Aram hated Israel and wanted to destroy the Jews and control the Holy Land.
  • Elisha was a powerful man of God and a prophet of the God of Israel.
  • The Lord used Elisha to provide the king of Israel with advance intelligence of Aram’s threatening moves, thus protecting the people of Israel numerous times.
  • Elisha’s prophecies repeatedly thwarted the king of Aram’s efforts to destroy Israel, and this enraged the king of Aram.
  • The king of Aram thought there was a mole in his camp, leaking his war plans to the leaders of Israel.
  • But at least one advisor to the king of Aram explained that there wasn’t a traitor in their midst; rather, Israel had a genuine prophet in Elisha who could hear the very words the king spoke in his bedroom.
  • So the king of Aram decided that he must first kill Elisha, and sent his army to get the job done.
  • One morning, Elisha’s assistant woke up and saw that the city of Dothan where he and Elisha were staying was surrounded by enemy forces. He was terrified and told Elisha of the disaster that was about to befall them.
  • Elisha did not respond in fear. Rather, he told his assistant, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”
  • The assistant must have thought Elisha was crazy. There was just two of them, and the entire army of Aram was surrounding them and about to kill them.
  • Yet Elisha saw something that his assistant couldn’t see — he saw through spiritual eyes and saw the protective forces of the Lord all around them.
  • Sadly, the assistant didn’t pray when he saw the enemy surrounding them. That’s why he was fearful.
  • But Elisha did pray, and that’s why he had peace.
  • Elisha prayed, “O Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” And the Lord heard and answered Elisha’s prayer, and the assistant’s eyes were opened and he saw all the angels protecting them.
  • It’s important to note that what the assistant initially saw — their camp surrounded by enemies — wasn’t inaccurate; but it was incomplete. He saw only what could be seen in the natural realm; he wasn’t able (at first) to see as Elisha saw because he couldn’t see what God was doing all around him.
  • How about you? 
  • Do you feel alone and surrounded by enemies and without hope today?
  • Do you feel like your about to be destroyed, and feel like the Lord is nowhere to be found?
  • Are you seeing events only in the natural realm, without seeing with spiritual eyes?
  • I pray that the Lord would open your eyes to God’s great love for you, and to His great power to protect you.
  • We need to turn our hearts fully and completely to the Lord. We need to read His Word, and rediscover how mighty He is to save us, to defeat our enemies, and to lead us and guide us forward to accomplish His purposes.
  • Most Israelis today are far from the Lord. They don’t know the God of Israel in a real and personal way. They see themselves by geopolitical enemies. They find themselves stressed and pressured in their personal lives, as well, with no sense of God’s love or peace or protection.
  • Let us pray that the Lord opens the eyes of all Israelis to how much the God of Israel loves them, and what a remarkable plan He has for their lives. Let us pray that the Lord would open the eyes of all Israelis to the truth that Yeshua (Jesus) is the Messiah that we’ve been waiting for, and that when we choose to follow Yeshua and let Him save and rescue us then He will give us the supernatural peace, hope, joy and courage that we so long for.

I’ll post the rest of my notes soon. Hope these are helpful to you.

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