Samson went down to Timnah and saw there a young Philistine woman and wanted her for his wife. His father and mother replied, “Isn’t there an acceptable woman among your relatives or among all our people? Must you go to the uncircumcised Philistines to get a wife?” But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me. She’s the right one for me.” (His parents did not know that this was from the Lord, who was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines; for at that time they were ruling over Israel). (Judges 14: 1-4)
…The rulers of the Philistines returned with the silver in their hands. After putting Samson to sleep on her lap, she called for someone to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him. And his strength left him. Then she called, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” He awoke from his sleep and thought, “I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had left him. Then the Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes and took him down to Gaza. Binding him with bronze shackles, they set him to grinding grain in the prison. (Judges 16: 18-21)
- Pointers for prayer: In the above scriptures from Judges chapters 14 to chapter 16 (it is worth reading the full account), the story is a very familiar one of the battles Samson had with the Philistines. However, in chapter 16 verse 20, due to Samson relying on his own strength instead of relying on God, he had not realised that the Lord had left him – thus it becomes one of the most tragic statements in the Hebrew Scriptures. Samson was unaware that he had betrayed his calling. He had permitted a Philistine woman to rob him of the sign of his special consecration to the LORD. The Lord’s champion lay asleep and helpless in the arms of his paramour – thus when his strength had left him, it was because God had left him. And so, the source of Samson’s strength was ultimately God Himself. May we cry out to the LORD God that neither we, the church, nor the nation of Israel would ever look to anyone else but the LORD God to be our strength and protection.
- Samson was unaware that the spirit of God had left him. What a frightening place to be! In Psalm 51:11, David cried out to God stating “Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.” Israel is surrounded by a vast Islamic force (99.9% of the Middle East is Arab/Islamic). Even though Israel have a very good and strong military (IDF), they must never rely only on this, but trust in the LORD God for their security. Pray that the nation of Israel would have ‘spiritual eyes’ to see their need for the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
- Lessons need to be learned from the tragedy of Paris. Pray for truth to be exposed. God is concerned for truth and so should we be. Pray that the truth will be revealed and that lies and deception will be cast down, wherever they are found.
Praying for restoration and breakthrough (part two)
For part one, see last week’s report: https://davidsoakell.com/2015/01/07/watching-over-zion-report-0108-17-tevet-5775/. As I mentioned in part one of my report last week, we need to see a mighty move of God in so many areas – areas where I feel the enemy has attacked, mauled and tried to destroy (in a similar way to how the Islamic world is being used by Satan to try and destroy the people and Nation of Israel). This led me to study the life of Samson.
In the above scriptures from Judges 14 to chapter 16, the story is a very familiar one, of the battles Samson had with the Philistines. By the way, just to re-affirm, the Philistines are not the same people as the modern Palestinians. The modern Palestinians are the newest of all the peoples on the face of the Earth, and began to exist in a single day that is unique in the whole history of mankind, as it is witnessed by Walid Shoebat, a former PLO terrorist that acknowledged the lie he was fighting for and the truth he was fighting against. He states, “Why is it that on June 4th 1967 I was a Jordanian and overnight I became a Palestinian? We did not particularly mind Jordanian rule. The teaching of the destruction of Israel was a definite part of the curriculum, but we considered ourselves Jordanian until the Jews returned to Jerusalem. Then all of a sudden we were Palestinians – they removed the star from the Jordanian flag and all at once we had a Palestinian flag. When I finally realized the lies and myths I was taught, it is my duty as a righteous person to speak out”. This declaration by a former PLO member should have some significance for a sincerely neutral observer. Indeed, there is really no such a thing like a Palestinian people, or a Palestinian culture, or a Palestinian language, or a Palestinian history. There has never been any Palestinian state or any Palestinian archaeological find nor coinage. The present-day “Palestinians” are an Arab people, with Arab culture, Arabic language and Arab history. They have their own Arab states from where they came into the Land of Israel about one century ago to contrast the Jewish immigration. That is the historical truth.
They were Jordanians (another recent British invention), and after the Six-Day War in which Israel utterly defeated the coalition of five Arab nations and took legitimate possession of Judea and Samaria, the Arab dwellers in those regions underwent a kind of anthropological miracle and discovered that they were Palestinians – something they did not know the day before. With no history of their own in the land, the Arab Palestinian leaders claimed two contradictory lineages from ancient peoples that inhabited in the Land of Israel: the Canaanites and the Philistines.
Regarding the story of Samson, this has been the delight of scores of writers, artists, and composers for many years. A quick overview of the story of Samson begins with the announcement of Samson’s birth by the angel of the Lord (Judges 13:1–24). Having just passed a season when most of the church have celebrated a time when ‘the angel of the Lord appeared to Mary (mother of Yeshua/Jesus), we find here in Judges 13 another angelic announcement, which also happens in Genesis 18:10 (Isaac), Luke 1:13 (John the Baptist), and Isaiah 7:14 and Luke 1:31 (Yeshua/Jesus). According to many commentaries, Samson was born sometime between 1045 BC and 1000 BC, during a dark period of Israel’s history. Seven times the nation of Israel had turned from God and once again they found themselves under the oppressive rule of the Philistines.
Samson was born a Nazirite, meaning he was “separated” or “set aside” for God. This meant that he was not to drink wine or fruit of the vine. He couldn’t go near or touch a dead body, human or animal, nor could he cut his hair. Yet time and time again we find Samson ignoring his vow of godly devotion and relied upon his own strength and abilities rather than upon God’s. He not only touched a dead lion but ate honey from a comb that bees had created in the dead lion (Judges 14:8); he married outside of Judaism (14:1), and went to Gaza for a night with a prostitute (16:1). If we were to look at the Corinthian church in the New Testament or the church through the dark ages, or even vast sections of the church today, we can clearly see a people of God ignoring their own godly devotion too. Indeed, if each of us were to seriously look deep into our own hearts, could we truly say that we have done any better (Romans 3:23)? So why do the church (in general) look upon the nation of Israel and think “this can’t be of God”?
In many ways, Samson is a story repeated so many times throughout the Bible – it is a story of God’s grace. The Lord God still empowered Samson with supernatural strength to begin the deliverance of the people of Israel from the Philistines (Judges 13:5). However, in chapter 16 verse 20, due to Samson relying on his own strength instead of relying on God, he hadn’t realised that the Lord had actually left him – thus it becomes one of the most tragic statements in the Hebrew Scriptures. Samson was unaware that he had betrayed his calling. He had permitted a Philistine woman to rob him of the sign of his special consecration to the LORD, thus, the source of Samson’s strength was ultimately God Himself. As we watch the Middle East slowly smoldering, and increasingly looking like a ticking bomb with both Iran and Syria looking for nuclear issues and Isis, Hamas, Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda still increasing and very active – even with the Israel Defence Force (IDF) – Israel looks very vulnerable and they must look to the LORD God alone to be their help. As we pray for restoration and breakthrough throughout 2015, may we cry out to the LORD God that neither we, the church, nor the nation of Israel would ever look to anyone else but the LORD God to be our strength and shield?
A historic moment amongst the insanity.
I was amazed at the incredible response to the events of the terrorist attacks in Paris starting last Thursday and carrying over into the weekend. The incredible scenes of the response to the terror attacks in France were mind-blowing as millions marched across the world to demonstrate their unity against terrorism. These were truly amazing scenes, as people walked together to remember those who had been killed. They were demonstrating that they were not afraid and that they wouldn’t tolerate attacks on their country and way of life. Some 1.5 million people, including over 50 world leaders, thronged central Paris on Sunday afternoon in a massive and historic show of support against terrorism and to honour 17 victims of a series of attacks that rocked France last week.
In Israel, over a thousand people gathered at Jerusalem City Hall in front of a screen reading, in French, “Jerusalem is Charlie.” The Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat stated, “This is an attack on all of us — on the Jewish people, on freedom of the media and expression.” Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar said a prayer for all 17 victims. Many participants held signs saying “Je Suis Charlie,” or “Israel is Charlie,” written in Hebrew. The city said it was hoisting 1,500 French flags throughout Jerusalem, and setting up a makeshift memorial where people could post sympathy notes. Many Israelis have of course identified with France, because of Israel’s long history battling Islamic militants and because four of the victims in Paris were Jewish.
In France, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attending the rally, announcing that the four Jewish victims of an attack on a kosher market on Friday would be buried in Israel. This has since happened. However, something or rather someone, clearly appeared ‘out of sync’ when the cameras rolled at the start of the procession. Apparently, France’s President Francois Hollande had asked the Israeli premier Netanyahu not to attend Paris’s march against hatred, claiming that his presence would be divisive, it has been reported. This was apparently ignored by Israel and was a rather strange request considering who else was there.
Among the long line of world leaders were the likes of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz and the European Union foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini Thorbjorn Jagland. There was also the Secretary-general of the Council of Europe Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, European commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the President of the European council Donald Tusk. And then there was also the smiling PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas! Can anybody explain, when considering the terrorist actions of the Palestinian Authority; when knowing that Abbas refuses to acknowledge Israel’s sovereignty; when knowing Abbas has gone on record to declare that any Arab caught selling land to a Jew will be put to death; and knowing Abbas also stated that not a single Jew will be allowed to live in his Palestinian State (should he ever get one – and God forbid he doesn’t), how it is that Abbas can attend a rally AGAINST terrorism?
I would also like some answers to the question of why people can protest in one country whilst ignoring what goes on in another? While I was appalled that 17 people including Jewish people were killed in France by Islamists and the response and march was an amazing way of remembering and honouring them, thousands have been killed in Israel, Syria and Nigeria and nothing is done. The Islamist massacre at Charlie Hebdo and the following carnage at the Jewish supermarket has understandably captured global attention because it was a barbaric attack on France and freedom of expression. In a moment of defiant moral clarity, “Je suis Charlie” has emerged as a popular phrase of solidarity with the victims. Hopefully such clarity persists and extends to those facing similar challenges every day in Israel and other parts of the
Middle East. Jewish Israeli’s live under the constant threat of Hamas terrorist attacks. We have seen Israeli Jews massacred in Synagogues, driven over and killed by Muslims in cars, and other means of attacks. Christians and other religious minorities have been beheaded by Islamists for years, but it wasn’t until a Western journalist, James Foley, was beheaded that the West sat up and paid attention. Isis have raped and slaughtered thousands of Yazidis and Christians and the world stood by motionless. Even during the same period that Islamists were unleashing their hatred on the French, an estimated two thousand people were slaughtered in and around the town of Baga in northern Nigeria by Boko Haram. Many more have been displaced and have had to flee to try to find some safety. You can see the video news footage and read more about it here. And then there is Syria, with over 190,000 Muslims murdered by Muslims. And what has been done?
Don’t get me wrong… I’m not saying the response in Paris shouldn’t have been so great – apart from Abbas being present I thought the reaction was amazing. However, Western leaders and the Western Media must realise that when it comes to Islamist threats, Israel provides the clearest warning to all. Why? It is simply because, despite Israel’s (0.1%) location in a region of Muslim Arabs (99.9%) along with the Islamic dictatorships, that a Jewish state, with free elections, a vigorous political opposition and independent press, freedom of speech, equal rights and protections for minorities and women (who are represented in all parts of civil, legal, political, artistic, and economic life) are constantly being threatened by their Islamic neighbours. Just image the scene: Had it been Palestinian gunmen attacking Israel’s Jerusalem Post’s newspaper and then escaped, would the event inspire such coverage or international sympathy? Would the world leaders be seen standing shoulder to shoulder demanding that terrorists will not stand? Yet Israel has suffered countless massacres and constant rocket attacks by Hamas, Hezbollah and Fatah terrorists and in each of these incidents, the world hardly noticed (or blatantly ignored it) until Israel forcefully responded and ‘Palestinians’ die, prompting global condemnation of Israel. Is it not time that true justice was done?
More money poured into the PLO
The world continues to throw money at Abbas’s Palestinian Authority, yet still no one appears to be accountable as to where the money ends up. Saudi Arabia has provided $60 million in direct support for the Palestinian Authority’s budget, said Saudi Arabia Ambassador to Egypt Ahmad Abdulaziz Qattan. According to Middle East reports, the $60 million covers Saudi Arabia’s financial contribution to the PA’s budget for October, November and December 2014. Saudi Arabia added that they would continue to support the Palestinian cause on all levels, noting Saudi Arabia’s keenness to increase its financial contribution to PA’s budget from $14 million to $20 million in January 2013. The total Palestinian budget for 2014 was estimated at $4.21 billion with a $1.25 billion deficit; when the $350 million deficit in development budget is added, the total budgetary deficit reaches $1.6 billion.
The Palestinian government received approximately $243 million in financial aid over the first four months of 2014 compared to $1.49 billion over the same period in 2013. Many nations including Britain also pour millions of pounds/dollars into the Palestinian Authority, yet the Arab Palestinian people still appear to live in squalor – with some still remaining as political pawns in ‘refugee camps’. Why is nothing done for these?
Finally… another apology from the BBC
A BBC reporter Tim Wilcox has apologised after saying at the Paris unity march on television that Palestinians “suffer hugely at Jewish hands.” Wilcox, who works for BBC News and BBC World News, on Twitter Monday morning tweeted, “Really sorry for any offense cause by a poorly phrased question in a live interview in Paris yesterday – it was entirely unintentional.” Click here to view his report here:
(CFI Liaison Officer (UK) & WoZ News Report Correspondent)
Sources: Unless stated, personal sources throughout Israel, Israeli Embassy London, The Jerusalem Post, iNews.com & Israel National Radio