Dear Evangelicals, Your Name is Being Evoked

Shani Ferguson
By Shani Ferguson
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If all goes as planned, Israel should have a new government within the week. Photo of Israel’s Knesset. (Roman Yanushevsky)

Shalom,

Have you ever had the feeling that someone was praying for you? Like, really praying for you? Because I want you to know that’s how our team feels. The sense that the intensity of prayer for the Maoz team on the ground in Israel has increased is tangible. And honestly, the thought that people—most of whom we’ve never had the privilege of meeting in person—would take time out of their own busy schedule to bring us before the throne of God is …. well, I don’t know how to describe what it means to us. But if I did have the words, it would include a big “thank you” somewhere in there. It strengthens our hearts in ways you’ll never know and definitively affects what’s happening on the ground here.

1. Concerning a Government:

It’s supposed to happen this week! The swearing in of perhaps the strangest coalition Israel has ever seen. A coalition of left, center and right politicians including the first Arab party to join a coalition. Some of the agreements made include a budget to invest in Arab communities—many of which are overrun with crime, lawlessness and poor education. It also includes the agreement to pass no laws that will increase the influence of the LGBTQ community in everyday life. In addition, with no ultra-orthodox members in this government, everyone is watching what anti-orthodox Avigdor Liberman, the expected Minister of Finance, will do to the massive budgets that have been sent to fund the ultra-religious community for decades.

If all goes as planned, Naftali Bennett will be our new Prime Minister within the week, but with four children under the age of 18, he will remain in his home near Tel Aviv rather than move to the official Prime Minister’s home in Jerusalem. While many have naturally expressed everything from uncertainty to outright hostility towards the changing of the guard, Israelis and the media have been admiring the Bennett family’s down-to-earth lifestyle as Netanyahu was famous for his multimillion-dollar airplane renovations and expensive dining preferences.

  • Father we thank You that the hearts of Kings—and prime ministers—are in Your hands.
  • After years of stalemate, Israel’s leaders have agreed to unite for the sake of moving forward. We cover each of them in prayer and ask that You will guide them.
  • May Your agenda be the one that is pursued—even if they don’t realize it. 
  • For the first time, a moderate Islamic political party is joining the coalition. Only You know the long-term impact of such a move. Use this situation for Your purposes as only You know how to do.
  • Protect Israel’s leaders and their families from harm. Forbid that the plots of the enemy come to fruition.
  • Every man has the reality they believe in—but they cannot deny the reality of Your presence. Visit Israel’s leaders in dreams and visions. Show them Your plans and purposes.
  • Expose the plans, plots and agendas the enemy would like to sneak into the laws that will be passed. Forbid the laws that would harm Your plans—or Your followers.
  • Let the new leadership allow for new freedom of worship in Israel.

2. Concerning Evangelicals: 

Dear evangelicals, your name is being evoked. 

As you know, the Middle East and Yeshua are both controversial topics. Therefore, I find it a general waste of time arguing or rebutting the slew of bizarre commentaries or theologies people like to present about Israel. However, in light of a recent article posted in the Times of Israel and its claim to represent all Evangelicals, I feel you need to know, someone is claiming to speak for you as they state, “These fools (Israelis) destroy everything we evangelicals have sacrificed our lives to build—I will use every bit of my energy and power to destroy them before they destroy the nation.”

Who the author of this article is, is less important than the message in the article—because he’s not the only one who feels this way. He’s simply the only one foolish enough to express it so openly. 

First, you should know that as a believing Israeli, I am proud of our politicians who gave up a lot of personal and political agendas to avoid another round of unnecessary elections and end the stalemate we have had for years. As I’ve mentioned before, I can find pluses and minuses in virtually any combination of a coalition so I’ll choose to focus on that. Living outside of Israel, it is easy for people to form opinions on the governments they don’t live under. Running a nation isn’t all about handling epidemics and the latest round of rocket fire—but this is essentially the only thing Israel has been able to take care of recently because we have not had a functioning government. It’s easy to cheer from a distance Israel’s successful plane strikes of the enemy or discuss COVID being virtually non-existent in Israel. However, decisions on matters like housing, medical, special-needs, education, transportation—the building blocks required when governing a nation—have been virtually frozen for years.

Second, you should know that while I appreciate many aspects of Netanyahu’s leadership, local believers have suffered greatly because of the political authority he gave the ultra-religious parties in his government. And contrary to common belief of those abroad, the majority of Israelis didn’t vote for Netanyahu and his party. Only about 25% percent of Israelis actually voted for Netanyahu which is why he was unable to build a coalition.

Third, you should know that only in the last couple of decades have Israelis begun to trust evangelicals as allies. They have hundreds of years of reasons not to trust Christians and this wound can easily be reopened with foolish outbursts like the one in this article. 

Regarding the article, let’s set aside the fact that in the first half of the article the author is so self-aggrandizing he makes Trump look modest. Let’s set aside the fact that this guy makes no actual argument as to why he’s so upset with the incoming government that he’s determined to spend the rest of his life fighting it—other than it means the ousting of his friend of 40 years, Netanyahu. Let’s also set aside the fact that the author seems to misunderstand the difference between a king who rules for life and an elected leader who is naturally replaced every few years. 

In addition, let’s set aside the fact that evoking the topic of the Holocaust for any reason other than discussing the Holocaust dishonors its victims and is therefore taboo on all levels. (Not understanding this means you don’t understand the first thing about the mindset of modern-day Israel.) We’ll even set aside the fact that he both claims to be of Jewish lineage and an evangelical—ignorant of or rejecting the notion that a Jew can believe in Yeshua as a Jew. And finally, let’s set aside the fact that the author’s reasoning that Israelis should behave a certain way because evangelicals “sacrificed their lives” for it to be so, highlights how Christians often see Israel as a mere concept—a chess piece in their end-times scheme—rather than a nation of people with families, feelings and individual callings.

What we can’t set aside is that Jews are well versed in two millenia worth of Christians who feel it is their duty to force them to “do what is right”—just read up on the Crusaders. Accusing Israel (again!) of a crucifixion because their guy didn’t get enough votes in democratic elections is highly irresponsible in this climate of anti-Semitism. Most of all, threatening Israel in the name of their God is by far the most abhorrent thing a Christian can do—especially since this is the number one reason today Jews see Yeshua as a threat rather than a savior.

This is why the author’s commitment to gather evangelicals to “destroy” what is happening in Israel sounds scarier to Israelis than the threats of Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran leaders combined. At least with these enemies, we know who we’re dealing with—but what is this entity of fair-weather friends—the evangelicals?  Thankfully, this letter/article will not be read by most Israelis. However, I bring this article to your attention, because according to the author, there will now be a significant push in evangelical circles to take a political stance against Israel’s government—in the name of being for Israel.

Martin Luther came to mind when I read this article—a man who in his early years reached out to Jews in kindness but at some point grew impatient with their rejection of his version of life. Luther eventually became so venomous Hitler used his writings to inspire attacks against Jews. Kristallnacht—a night where Jewish businesses and synagogues were burned in Germany—happened on Luther’s birthday. Israel doesn’t need friends with agendas who think the world of her until she doesn’t do what they want. 

Force is not how God deals with us His children, and it is not how Christians should deal with Israel. Perseverance in prayer, wisdom—and working with local believing Israelis who are of the same covenant as you, is how things will change in Israel. 

  • Father, You are the God of the impossible. That is why we worship You.
  • You promised that all Israel shall be saved. So let it be.
  • You told us to give You no rest until You make Jerusalem a praise among the nations. This cannot be done by power or might as so many earthly leaders have tried, but by Your Spirit. So we present this request to You—to bring this to pass. 
  • Your ways are beyond us, so we don’t presume to know how You will bring this all to pass, but we ask that You find us worthy enough to take part. 
  • We recognize that You, Yeshua—You alone—are our Messiah. No leader in Israel today has been called to play that role. Still, we ask for whole teams of godly leaders—who will keep each other accountable—to lead our nation.
  • Help Israelis understand the difference between Christians who genuinely love Israel because You love her—and Christians who want to use Israel to further their own ambitions.
  • Some Christians are just learning the importance of Israel in Your plan but do not yet know what to do about it. We ask that You bring them into contact with Jewish believers rather than politically motivated organizations, as Israel’s spiritual restoration is what the enemy is truly afraid of.

Your friends and family may also enjoy to receive this weekly prayer letter! To sign up go to: MaozIsrael.org/pray

Your fellow intercessors and workers in the harvest field of Israel,

Kobi and Shani Ferguson
and the entire Maoz Israel Team

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