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The War is over: but the War with its outcome Is Not

By: Yohanna Katanacho

The Israel/Palestine conflict may be under cease-fire, but Godís work has just begun. Palestinian Langham Scholar Yohanna Katanacho offers this devotion to help Christians understand their role in a post-war era.

The war is over and its outcome was full of bloodshed and hatred. What is the mission of the church in the post-war era? Some will be eternally changed while others will continue to live the pre-war lives as if nothing happened. Perhaps, it is fitting for us to evaluate our attitudes and performance and reflect over our mission as Godís people in a violent world. Perhaps, it is apt to probe our faithfulness and hearts before God. This short devotion will not be able to meet this need but it hopes to start the process.

Psalm 106:37-47 has a very suitable message for us. It describes a situation in which the people of God were part of spilling innocent blood. It says:

They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons. They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was desecrated by their blood. They defiled themselves by what they did; by their deeds they prostituted themselves. Therefore the LORD was angry with his people and abhorred his inheritance. Stated differently, injustices, violence, selfishness, and sin desecrated the land and its inhabitants. Consequently, God forced them to move away from his presence. They can be in the Holy Land only when they are in harmony with the Holy God. Godís presence welcomes sinners but does not accept anything short of perfect holiness. Clearly, the people needed to repent and they did. Their repentance model is a helpful one. They said:

Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise.
First, they put their trust in God and asked Him for help. Second, they wanted to be gathered and united, not divided. Their unity is the outcome of their true repentance and the visible expression of Godís activity in their midst. Third, they had a focused vision i.e. delving into a relationship with a Holy God. The outcome would surely be living a life that is pleasing to the Lord. Such a life will redeem the desecrated land by spreading the kingship of God. Last, their mouths, hearts, and lives were full of praises to God. God was their hero and hope.

May God help all his people in Israel/Palestine to learn these lessons in a country whose churches need a radical form of trust, an uncompromising commitment to unity, as well as a life of repentance and holiness in the midst of hatred and violence!

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