It was on this day in 1938 that the German Army marched into and occupied Austria. In celebration of their victory, they decided to launch numerous attacks on about 200,000 Jews. Why? Simply put; because they were Jews. Sadly, the adversary has found others in our time who, like the Nazis, seek to satisfy a bloodlust where God’s people are concerned. Everyday innocent people are attacked, some times killed by murderous thugs and just because of what people believe.
Not too many years ago, a Palestinian terrorist snuck into Judea, broke into a man’s home and murdered everyone in his family – man, woman and child. Why did they do this? Simply because the family was Jewish. This kind of despicable behavior isn’t exclusive to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but is very prominent throughout the so-called West Bank and other regions in the Middle East. And as much as we’d like to think that this wouldn’t occur outside of the Middle East, the reality is, it’s happening everywhere, including the United States.
It should be obvious by now that this same group of people not only desire to kill Jews and Christians, but anyone who disagrees with their world view. It should also be clear by now that everyone who thinks and acts in this manner are not exclusively militant Islamists. Many times these murderers go by other titles and belong to other groups. Sometimes they look like the people in your neighborhood, that is, people like you and me.
Here’s the point: if you serve the God of Israel and identify with Israel, then the Adversary wants to destroy you. The Psalmist tells us in Psalm 83:
“For behold, Your enemies make a tumult; and those who hate You have lifted up their head. They have taken crafty counsel against Your people and consulted together against Your sheltered ones. They have said, ‘Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more.’” (Psalm 83:2-4)
Unfortunately, this sentiment is embraced by people of every nationality and is growing more extensive, daily. As the days and times grow darker, so too does the antagonism towards God’s people. Understanding this, what are we to do? I believe that we must continue doing what we were placed here to do; to continue in the call that God has appointed us to take courage in the fact that none of this has taken our Father by surprise. Furthermore, let us recall and internalize what the Psalmist declared:
“Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep…The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul.” (Psalm 121:4, 7)
In the days, weeks, months and years ahead, I believe this is a promise that we, not only need to recite but bury deep within our heart. Don’t let man’s wickedness and violence cause you to become discouraged. Rather encourage yourself in the Lord.