“Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.””
Mark 12:29-31 ESV
Love God, Love People, Prove it. This was the mission statement of one of the many churches I have attended. This simple and catchy phrase is a condensation of the Greatest Commandment we are given by the Lord Jesus, quoted above. The Word of God gives us many standards and commands that are difficult to live out, but this one takes the cake for how all encompassing it is and how many implications it has on the lives of warriors for God’s kingdom. Warriors must love mightily or they will not have sufficient motivation or drive to go to war. Something must inspire the warrior so greatly that he’s willing to go to great risk to defend it.
As if this were not hard enough, there are other commands in scripture that we should consider as well: Love your enemies, Hate evil and fight against it. Combined with “Love your neighbor”, this set of commands from the Lord can pose a great challenge to us. What do you do if your neighbors are your enemies? What if, by their evil actions, they show they desire nothing but your destruction? These are the questions the people of Israel have been wrestling with from the time of Moses and are again wrestling with.
The events of last week’s attack on Israel’s civilian population by Hamas terrorists shook me to the core. Rarely have I stared evil in the face like seeing the images of babies ripped from their parent’s arms and burned alive…dead men’s bodies being decapitated with farm implements…women and children being taken hostage to be raped repeatedly and then killed. The depths of evil that humans are capable of is truly a bottomless chasm that leads to hell itself.
In spite of the atrocities there are people who already are calling on Israel to be “neighborly”, because after all, we are to love our neighbors and our enemies, right? To this I say “NO!”. Loving God and loving your neighbor REQUIRES the warrior to rise up in the face of evil and destroy it. Calling evil “good” and calling good “evil” is blasphemy. Our enemy counts on our compassion and deceives us into inaction or moral paralysis with lies. The truth is as our Lord said - ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.””
Daily Battle Order:
Commit today to stand with Israel against the atrocities committed against it in word and deed. Don’t fall for “both-sides-ism” or moral equivalence, anyone saying these things is lying. If you don’t know enough about the situation in Israel to confidently support them, educate yourself. The resources to research the history of this conflict are online for free. Join me in prayer for the brave warriors in Israel who stand in the face of evil and fight, and for all in the conflict to come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ-the only one who can bring unity and peace.