Many of us have been deeply affected by the news in recent weeks from Israel. After over a year and a half spent hearing reports of civilian deaths, military horrors, and the destruction of entire cities in Ukraine, we awoke one Saturday to a nightmare in the Middle East. A wholesale butchering had taken place, a genocide in miniature, as Hamas terrorists tortured and slaughtered Jews with abandon, all heretically done in the name of God.
Here at home we have since watched as urban protests defended these murderers and blamed Israel. We have witnessed antisemitism raise its ugly head again, not through backward bigots, but among brainwashed college students and professional activists. Satan is hard at work, unfolding his latest plan. Even as we sleep in safety, far removed from the horror and the hatred, we are still prone to fear. We know a spiritual war is being waged, just as surely as a physical one, and in such a war we must all take sides.
It is in times like these that we can find new value in a source we so often overlook — the Old Testament. As Christians we find ourselves ignoring or cherry-picking the Old Testament, paying attention to the Creation story, or maybe the Psalms, or vivid stories like Daniel in the lions’ den. But those long, long histories, full of unpronounceable names … the prophets, filled with curses and gloom … we don’t know what to do with these. We skim over them, or we skip them altogether.
But such things were written for times exactly like these. Take Ezra and Nehemiah, two books of history that are mainly centered on the seemingly uninteresting task of rebuilding a city wall. They are really stories of faith in the face of adversity; stories of faith rewarded by a protective and loving God. Or what about the prophetic pronouncements against the enemies of Israel and Judah? These are vivid reminders that God will not tolerate violence against His people. In His strength, he will topple those who oppose those He has chosen. He always has, and he always will.
Scripture is our guide in dark times such as these. The word of God reminds us that good overcomes evil, that faith wins out over doubt, that light prevails against the darkness. If you find yourself fearing the unknowns of tomorrow, look to the scriptures for the blessings of the past, and take heart. God is in control.
The Rev. William E. Pike pastors CrossWay Covenant Church in New Market, a Global Methodist congregation. He also works for Myler Church Building Systems. He can be reached by email at email@example.com.