It was on this day in 1948 that three large convoys broke through the siege upon Jerusalem, bringing arms and food to the starving population. After the UN partition of November 1947, Israel was besieged by armies of the neighboring Muslim countries, who surrounded Jerusalem and cut them off from the rest of the country. Understanding that Jerusalem was the key to Israeli independence and its survival, this daring operation helped to weaken the Muslim position. Eventually, Israel beat back her enemies, liberated the citizens of Jerusalem and secured their homeland.
Throughout history, God’s purposes and plans have, most often, been carried out by human beings who, in many cases, had to put their lives on the line. It would seem, though He certainly doesn’t need us, apparently, He chooses to use us. The Bible is full of examples to underscore this truth – Joseph, Esther, Daniel, just to name a few. One of the more dramatic examples of this is found in the book of Daniel and concerns the three Hebrews, Hananiah, Mishael and Azaraih, (Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego) and their response to Nebuchadnezzar’s death threats:
“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.’” (Daniel 3:16-18)
Those three words, “but if not” are what want to emphasis for a moment. These three simple words say so much. They are so powerful, in fact, that the brave British soldiers who were trapped at Dunkirk, at the beginning of World War II, called upon these words to send a message to the world. Back in London, British leaders were scrambling to find a way to rescue the encircled British forces. With hopes of deliverance fading and facing certain annihilation were they to fight the advancing Nazi forces, they sent a message to their British commanders in London that said, “But if not.” Those three words said, “It would be wonderful if you could save us, but if not, we’re not going to surrender. We’re not going to concede to our enemies. We would rather face death.”
This is the kind of commitment that will be required of all of us in the days ahead. We have to come to the place that we know He can deliver us, and we trust that He will, “but if not.” Will we remain committed to live according to His purpose, regardless of the consequences? We must hear His voice and be the people who understand that we’ve come into the Kingdom for such a time as this. Understanding that, we declare to those who devise plots against us that our God is able to deliver us from our enemies, “but if not,” let it be known, we won’t serve your gods, we won’t bow to your oppression and we will not bow to your calls for tolerance and co-existence! That is the kind of commitment we must all have. Let us pray that the Father will strengthen us to be just that kind of people.