Monuments & Moments – Day 6 – Disputed Lands

On the Border

The wall and the fence separating Israel from the West Bank were built to protect Israeli citizens from snipers and suicide bombers, coming from Palestinian cities, in the early 2000's. Most of the divide is actually a chain-link fence, but in highly populated areas, there's a wall that is 10 feet to 24 feet high. We visited the 24-foot wall dividing the neighborhoods that are close enough to shoot at each other. We visited one neighborhood in Israel right near Bethlehem where every single house had bulletproof windows because sniper shots were fired so often that no one could live there for a season. Today the walls stand as a more than physical divide between Palestinians and Israelis. The two cultures don’t connect anymore. Before the bombing and sniping, citizens could freely move between Palestinian cities and Israeli cities, but now they must have special permission to leave Palestine to work in Israel and Israelis may not enter certain areas without a special license. There are certain people that want “from the river to the sea.” They want all the land or nothing. They both have legitimate claims to the land in their minds and that is why these lands are called disputed lands.

This land has been disputed for thousands of years and this wall is the culmination of the last 136 years of Jewish migration back into Israel from their exile 2,000 years ago. I have had a chance to hear from multiple people with multiple perspectives; from a Palestinian Christian, a Palestinian Muslim, a Palestinian Israeli citizen, a Jewish rabbi, a secular Jew, and a hotel clerk who has family living in both Palestine and Israel. What they all say they want is peace. They want their children to play together again, to speak one another's language, to understand each other's culture, but they don’t see a way to make that happen. There is no way to fully explain the complexities of the Arab, Palestinian, and Jewish claims to the land in a short devotion. It would be similar to explaining the racial and political problems in the U.S. but instead of 200 years of disputes, we would need to cover 4000 years of disputes. These disputes make me ask the question:


Wall Protecting the Highway from Bombs

24-Foot Wall Outside of Bethlehem


Fence Separating Israel from Syria

As I reflect on these disputes, I am reminded of the disputed territory of my own heart. At the heart of all wars and disputed land is a gathering of many individual hearts that are full of selfishness and jealousy.

For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder [unrest, rebellion] and every evil thing and morally degrading practice. James 3:16 AMP

What is the major dispute of my heart? Will I live selfishly, trying to take from others or will I live for God, trying to give more than I've received?

The heart of man was created perfect and then later destroyed by sin. Now, when I receive Christ, it is claimed, or reclaimed, by God. This is the battle of the flesh and the spirit. We have a new spirit, but we still have a mind and body with human desires. That body has been trained by our old sinful nature, and it’s also surrounded by a world that tries to feed that old sinful nature. Some of you feel like a war is going on inside of you. I have felt that way many times. The war that is going on is between the spirit and the flesh. What you feed is going to win the battle. Thankfully, Jesus has already fought and won the war and our job is to renew our minds and to follow the Spirit.

We know that our old [a]self [our human nature without the Holy Spirit] was nailed to the cross with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin. Romans 6:6 AMP

Now that our hearts are freed from the slavery of sin, we must walk free. This is a daily battle but it can get simpler over time. When we change our habits, remove ourselves from destructive environments, and surround ourselves with life-giving people, this gives us a chance to succeed. It’s not always feasible or necessary to change every part of our lives, but that is where the daily habits of prayer, Bible reading and limiting fleshly influences can help us navigate through any environment.

Question:

Have I felt the war of the spirit and flesh lately?

Prayer:

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

“May they prosper who love you [holy city]." Psalm 122:6 AMP

God I pray today for the Israelis and Palestinians. We pray for the power of Christ to permeate hearts, to change the culture of the communities in Palestine and Israel. We pray for “God moments” for those who have evil intentions. We also life up our own hearts that we might follow the Spirit and that our souls would prosper. Amen.

Bottom Line:

When we follow the Spirit, we can’t fulfill the desires of the flesh.

 
 

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