Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Peace in the Lord

Much of the land in Israel is of little use for agriculture and not of much of value. I cannot understand why people are fighting for it.

Agriculture is not nearly as important for Israel as it was thirty years ago. The country has made quite a rapid switch to dependence on industry and commerce. Associated with this has been a massive urbanisation. Social and business life is now centred in the main cities.

A Jewish Christian told me that he has access to a lot of agricultural land, but he cannot find young people who are willing to work it. That is not surprising as the future for most young people with talent lies in the city.

This means that there is very little economic reason for establishing settlements on the West Bank. As we travelled down from Jerusalem to Jericho, we went past a wide road turning off to the right and travelling up a hill, the site of a new settlement. I cannot understand why anyone would want to live there. Nothing grows there. The view is lousy. The commute to Jerusalem would be long and slow.

The only logic for these settlements is “control” of the land and security. Unfortunately, military force and control of the land cannot provide security for those who have forgotten to trust and obey their God.

The LORD will cause you to be defeated before your enemies. You will come at them from one direction but flee from them in seven, and you will become a thing of horror to all the kingdoms on earth (Deut 18:25).
The Lord is the only source of true peace and security.

Here is something interesting. When Israel entered into the land God, told them to destroy the high places.
Destroy completely all the places on the high mountains, on the hills and under every spreading tree, where the nations you are dispossessing worship their gods (Deut 12:2).
The high places were sites for idolatry and symbolic of rebellion, like the Tower of Babel.

During the times of the prophets, kings were judged by how they dealt with the High Places. A common refrain in the second book of Kings is,
The high places, however, were not removed (1Kings 12:3 14:5).
This was the mark of a bad king.
They angered him with their high places;
they aroused his jealousy with their idols (Ps 78:58).
The prophets warned that the high places would be destroyed.
I am about to bring a sword against you, and I will destroy your high places (Ezekiel 6:3)
Israel is now intent on taking control of the high places again. They are not building idols there, but they are trying to find security independent of God, which is very similar. They may find that these high places are eventually destroyed, as Ezekiel prophesied.

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