by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions
Psalm 91: 1-10 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust." Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day, Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you look, And see the reward of the wicked. Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place, No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
As the war continues in Israel, much has been made of the success of the Iron Dome defense system which shoots down incoming rockets from the Gaza Strip. While we are very thankful for the protection this system affords, it does present a certain public relations challenge for Israel. Somehow, regardless of the differences in both size and intention between Israel and the Arab world, the global media frequently emphasizes what they call, “moral equivalency”. The perception of Israel's military strength and technical superiority somehow makes her the aggressor with an unfair advantage.
Yet, an important "moral" difference often goes unrecognized. Israel, as a fixed policy, goes to extraordinary lengths to reduce the number of civilian causalities resulting from defensive attacks on Palestinian rocket installations. But these installations are often purposely placed in vulnerable civilian locations by Palestinian militants, intentionally placing their own citizens in mortal danger from Israeli strikes on missile targets. The media fails to report Israel's regular policy of alerting Palestinian citizens to evacuate when an attack is imminent by dropping leaflets, making cell phone calls, and sending text messages. Why is that?
As Israeli President Shimon Peres said, "Those who preach to us morality should offer an alternative way to stop the rocket fire from Hamas." The Palestinian religious/military culture, which celebrates death and murder in the service of God, is seen as "morally equivalent" to Israel's self-defensive posture which does everything possible to protect life. Might it be that Israel's persistent efforts to protect the lives of both its own citizens and those of its enemy at least in part, underlies the differences in the number of casualties on both sides? An enemy which promotes itself as a victim and capitalizes on the death of its people is certain to draw the sympathy of those who are just looking at the numbers of dead and wounded. But is this "moral equivalency"?
Psalm 91 powerfully expresses YHWH's protection of His people who choose to dwell in His shelter. People who love and protect life as part of their faith tradition have certain promises in these words. We are not saying that Israel is a totally righteous nation which never does anything wrong toward the Palestinians. Yet we do believe that part of our divine protection derives from the commitment to value and protect human life. This psalm describes the extent of that protection.
It is a protection promised all the more to those who truly walk by faith in the righteousness of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus). "A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you look, And see the reward of the wicked."
Abide in the secret place of the Most High – rest there. He is your refuge and your fortress, and walking in His righteousness will be your own "Iron Dome", but better. Now, at this season for thankfulness we can all express our gratitude to Him for both---the temporal, and the eternal safety He has provided us.