The Following thought for the day was written by Brother Richard Morgan and provides insight and encouragement for those seeking to serve the God of Israel.
Pray for peace!
In the safety and security of our lives, none of us can imagine what it is like to be in one of the cities in Ukraine under siege by Russian firepower. It must be horrifyingly awful, and we ought to keep all Ukrainians – Christadelphian and non-Christadelphian – in our prayers, along with those in Russia suffering as the result of sanctions.
Whether or not these things are leading up to the events outlined in Ezekiel 38, we know that ultimately the northern host will sweep through to the mountains of Israel. But our future excitement (and/or trepidation) for the return of our Lord must be tempered at present by the suffering of those in the wake of the Russian advance, both now and in the future.
This is not the first time in history that a powerful aggressor has invaded other countries, and we’re reminded in our readings from the Psalms that the people in Israel and Judah once felt like the Ukrainians. If you think Putin and those under his spell are vicious, think too of the ancient Assyrians. They depicted the torture techniques they mastered on the walls of their palaces. They cut off limbs, gouged out eyes, and impaled people on large stakes. Their soldiers suffered from PTSD because of the suffering they were commanded to inflict on others.
And they were hungry for Judah, surrounding the city with tens of thousands of troops. Imagine being stuck inside the city walls knowing the Assyrians were outside. Food would be running low, morale even lower. There would be no ceasefire and corridor of evacuation. The Assyrians were after your blood.
Hezekiah selected several of the Songs of Ascents (Psalm 120-134) to commemorate the deliverance of Judah from Assyria by the mighty power of God. For instance, Psalm 122, which is memorialized in one of our most beloved hymns. There the psalmist writes:
6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
“May they be secure who love you!
7 Peace be within your walls
and security within your towers!”
8 For my brothers and companions’ sake
I will say, “Peace be within you!”
That should be our prayer because the peace of Jerusalem means peace for the whole world. It’s why the first petition in the Lord’s Prayer is “your kingdom come.” Ask yourself the question – would you rather have your daily bread now or the time when there will be an “abundance of grain in the land; on the tops of the mountains may it wave” (Psa. 72), providing bread for the whole world. Would you rather have your sins forgiven now or the time when sin and death will be finally defeated in the Kingdom? Would you rather be delivered from trials and evil now or the time when the rigor or mortal life will be replaced by immortality in the Kingdom?
When Peter talks about the signs of Christ’s coming, he says we should be “waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God” (2 Pet. 3:12). What does it mean for us to be “hastening” for the coming day? Perhaps Isaiah has the answer in his 62nd chapter:
6 On your walls, O Jerusalem,
I have set watchmen;
all the day and all the night
they shall never be silent.
You who put the Lord in remembrance,
take no rest,
7 and give him no rest
until he establishes Jerusalem
and makes it a praise in the earth.
Praying for the peace of Jerusalem is about giving God no rest until he fulfills his purpose. Are we doing that? Are we hastening that day because of our urgent prayers? Or are we feeling so comfortable in our present lives that we’re suffering from Lot’s Wife Syndrome when it comes to thinking about the return of Christ?
But while we go about our peaceful lives, if we’re not praying earnestly for the return of our Lord for ourselves, let’s do it for people who can’t afford to buy food for their families. Let’s do it for people who suffer from injustice, inhumanity, and illness. Let’s do it for the people of Ukraine