By Arlene Bridges Samuels
Drama has dominated Israeli politics going back to ancient times, when the Jewish nation experienced seasons with good kings, bad kings, and no kings. Its political baggage is packed full of successes, failures, prosperity, disaster, peace, war, unity, betrayal, and even death.
Israel’s political dramas persist today, following four elections since 2019 and, at this writing, a possible fifth looming. Any Israeli governing coalition can easily fail in just a few short weeks and months due to the nation’s political structure. Israel’s challenge of multiple political parties, posturing, and disputes unroll while Iranian leaders ramp up their terrorist plots and fanatical ambitions to dominate not only the Middle East but the rest of the world. That includes the United States—in Iran’s words, the “Great Satan.”
Pro-Israel Christians are alarmed by the current political drama taking place in Israel. Yet this present situation raises serious questions as to how non-Israeli Christians should support Israel during this uncertain time. How do we navigate what goes on internally within Israel? What is our role to play in Israeli politics? And do we even have one?
The primary role of Christians is first and foremost to lay a foundation of prayer for the nation of Israel and its entire population: Jews, Israeli Arabs, Palestinian Arabs, Muslims, Christians, Palestinian Christians, and Druze. However, our prayers must also be followed up with action. We are called to advocate for Israel in our own United States Congress, to oppose anti-Semitism, and to send tangible relief to bless Israel and her people in need. Above all, we must trust God’s promises and provisions—especially since He is the one who reawakened the Jewish homeland into a modern Jewish state. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will fulfill His promises.
For some background, though, let’s look at these four areas: God’s unending patience, His warnings proven true, the consequences He allowed as teachable moments, and His continual promise-keeping.
What does the Bible, the most authoritative and popular book in world history, affirm? We do not have to look far to read about Israel’s governmental issues. God first chose Abraham and committed to shaping him and his Jewish generations into a nation that would be a light to the world with redemption and innovative blessings beyond comprehension. God Himself promised to be their King until the Israelites eventually demanded a king through the prophet Samuel.
Once men took on the mantle of kingship over Israel, the chronicles and stories went sideways. In first person, the prophet Samuel recounts part of the story in 1 Samuel 8:1-9. Samuel was old, his sons were not fit to lead, and his elders visited Samuel to lobby him. In verse 5 they pleaded, “Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.” Samuel was not pleased and prayerfully consulted God. God assured Samuel that his elders were not rejecting him but rejecting God Himself. In verses 8 and 9, God goes on to say, “According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, even to this day—with which they have forsaken Me and served other gods—so they are doing to you also. Now therefore, heed their voice. However, you shall solemnly forewarn them, and show them the behavior of the king who will reign over them.”
God knew that kings would rule imperfectly. He knew full well that the Israelites’ preferences were going to return to haunt them. Their insistence on their own way is a clear example for us—and all humanity—of our weakness and arrogance in thinking that we are in charge. Even so, God has not rejected Israel, the Jewish people, or those of us who are grafted into the family through the sacrificial blood of our Jewish Messiah.
Tall, handsome Saul had his chance as the first King to reign. Jealousy, insecurity, and rage consumed him. He then died a terrible death. Along came David, a beloved king, a magnificent musician, and psalmist. The psalms are vehicles of praise, sorrow, majesty, and agony that bless us still. Yet David was also an adulterer who ordered a hit man to murder Bathsheba’s husband.
Solomon, the developer king and architect of the First Temple, likewise filled the book of Proverbs with wise sayings. We read them today for guidance. Nevertheless, he himself did not act wisely. Later in life, he listened to his many wives and built altars to their gods. The books of 1 and 2 Kings are sad commentaries about the evil kings of Israel’s 10 northern tribes. King Ahab, in particular, was considered the worst king in Jewish history. When he married Jezebel, he aligned with pagan worship, which led to building an altar to Baal. And the southern and northern kingdom rivalries dominated Israel’s political landscape.
Several examples of Israel’s clashes appear in 1 and 2 Kings:
“Now there was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel all their days” (1 Kings 15:16).
“And Zimri went in and struck him and killed him in the twenty-seventh year of Asa king of Judah, and reigned in his place” (1 Kings 16:10).
“For he rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; he raised up altars for Baal, and made a wooden image, as Ahab king of Israel had done; and he worshiped all the host of heaven and served them” (2 Kings 21:3).
Today, infighting between Jewish groups continues to rage even while the world’s only Jewish nation faces unrelenting threats of war, terrorism, and hostility. The political strife continues even as a rising tide of anti-Semitism sweeps the globe and the world singles out Israel for condemnation, boycott, divestment, and sanctions. No group or nation is immune from infighting and strife, of course—including Christian groups—but we pray for our Jewish friends in Israel as well as all of Israeli society that God would bring peace to the storm and a unified solidarity that will make Israel strong not only to defend itself but also to be a light to the nations.
In closing, I want to highlight important biblical truths to direct our thinking and to trust God’s sovereignty when it comes to Israel and our role as believers. Despite the wonders and tragedies of Israel’s history, Isaiah 43:1-4 still holds true and in part says, “But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I gave Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in your place. Since you were precious in My sight, you have been honored, and I have loved you; therefore I will give men for you, and people for your life.” While we must pray, act, and give our support to Israel, we must remember that it is God who saves, not us.
The New Testament reiterates God’s unconditional plans in the brilliant Jewish Apostle Paul’s writing in Romans 9:3-5 under the Holy Spirit’s inspiration: “For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.”
No matter who fills the role of Israel’s prime minister or who joins him in governing the nation, we are called by God to stand with the Jewish state and to bless His chosen people. May we trust in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the King of Kings—to fulfill His plans and promises concerning Israel.
Please join CBN Israel this week as we pray for Israel amid the current political turmoil:
- Pray with thanks that Israel is a parliamentary democracy.
- Pray that Israel’s political strife and division will move into unity and solidarity.
- Pray that the Christian community will rightly understand our role and trust the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
- Pray that, despite Israel’s political turmoil, their military will keep successfully maintaining the safety of their nation.
- Pray for Israel’s leaders—president, prime minister, Knesset and judiciary—for wisdom and right decisions.
May we remember Amos 9:15, where God makes His intentions toward the people of Israel abundantly clear: “I will plant them in their land, and no longer shall they be pulled up from the land I have given them.”
Scriptures taken from the New King James Version.
Arlene Bridges Samuels pioneered Christian outreach for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). After she served nine years on AIPAC’s staff, International Christian Embassy Jerusalem USA engaged her as Outreach Director part-time for their project, American Christian Leaders for Israel. Arlene is now an author at The Blogs-Times of Israel and has traveled to Israel 25 times. She co-edited The Auschwitz Album Revisited by Artist Pat Mercer Hutchens and sits on the board of Violins of Hope South Carolina. Arlene has attended Israel’s Government Press Office Christian Media Summit three times and hosts her devotionals, The Eclectic Evangelical, on her website at ArleneBridgesSamuels.com.