As a young child, I often heard my mother say that we should pray for the peace of Jerusalem. She knew how important that was. She grew up in a large Moroccan Jewish family and immigrated to the United States in the early 1950s. Most of her 21 brothers and sisters immigrated to Israel. I'm proud of my heritage. I have generations of family members in Israel. I love the Jewish people. In fact, I'm making my eighth trip to Israel in September.
However, I am concerned. Does God still have His hand on Israel and the Jewish people? Will He ever let them go? Over the past several years, the Israeli people as a whole have become more and more secular, drifting away from the God of Israel. You might be thinking, wait a minute, we're talking about God's chosen people. Yes. But we all have the ability to drift away from the promises of God.
A writer for the online magazine Israel Today said, "For many decades, Israelis have been led to believe that the Israeli-Arab conflict is no more than a national struggle over territory and that it will be better for all if God remains in the background." This of course is a lie. There is a glimmer of hope that this is changing.
I interviewed an Israeli Defense Forces soldier who was wounded recently in the war with Hamas. Sgt. Major Jeremy Gimpel told me that he is seeing manifest miracles and God's providence once again over Israel. He said the protective shield over Israel right now is not so much the one that intercepts incoming rockets; rather, it is the protective shield from the prayers of people around the world.
During the war with Hamas, an Iron Dome commander explained that a missile was fired from Gaza, which could have killed hundreds of Israeli civilians.
The commander said, "We know where these missiles are going to land down to a radius of 200 meters.
"We fired two interceptor rockets. They both missed. This is very rare. I was in shock. At this point we had just four seconds until the missile lands. We had already notified emergency services to converge on the target location and had warned of a mass-casualty incident.
"Suddenly, Iron Dome (which calculates wind speeds among other things) shows a major wind coming from the east, a strong wind that ... sends the missile into the sea. We were all stunned. I stood up and shouted, 'There is a God!' I witnessed this miracle with my own eyes. I saw the hand of God send that missile into the sea. If that Hamas strike had succeeded, it would have been the worst terrorist attack in Israel's history."
Also, Col. Ofer Winter, commander of the Givati Infantry Brigade, described a mysterious fog that favorably covered him and his troops as they advanced on an enemy position in morning light after their nighttime raid was postponed. Winter labeled the covering as "clouds of glory."
I believe God is stirring in the hearts of the Israeli people.
Does God still have His hand on Israel and the Jewish people? Yes. Will He ever let them go? No. As we pray for the peace of Jerusalem, also pray that Israel remembers what Deuteronomy 20:4 says: "For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory." It's something we should remember as well.
Take a few moments to watch and listen (below) to a portion of the interview I did with the wounded IDF soldier.
John Riley hosts Afternoons with John Riley on American Family Radio.