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|回 答: 忧伤的星期五（Good Friday） 由 因为冬天已往 于 2017-04-10 04:47:47|
“GOD’S Middle East Peace Strategy:”
April 9, 2017 (Palm Sunday A)
Thursday night President Trump sent 59 Tomahawk missiles into Syria, blowing up one of their airstrips. As expected – the reaction was divided. Many countries (including ours) praised this limited military response as an appropriate reaction to Assad’s use of chemical weapons against his own people. And – as expected, Russia, Syria, Iran, among others, condemned this action as illegal and provocative. No matter what you do in the Middle East – someone is going to be upset and angry. The Middle East is a mess; people there will never get along and live together in peace. This recent military action is leaving everyone with the question: What now? Does the United States (or anyone else for that matter) have a strategy? Is there any sort of plan in place to bring peace to Syria, and spread peace throughout the Middle East? You can bet an awful lot of people are racking their brains right now trying to come up with some sort of a plan. But no matter what strategy human beings come up with . . . you can pretty much guarantee that it will FAIL.
Well – my friends – we have no reason to despair! For we know GOD; and God does have a strategy. The brief text before us today reveals God’s Middle East Peace Strategy. And God’s plans / His strategies . . . NEVER FAIL! Roughly 2,500 years ago God spoke through His servant Zechariah – who both served as a priest for the exiles who returned to Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity, and as a prophet of God Most High. The LORD spoke through him in such a way that believers could understand and appreciate what God was saying . . . while its meaning was hidden from unbelievers. In that way it was like the parables of Jesus – those with the eyes and ears of faith could clearly understand what God was saying . . . those without faith thought it was nonsense. We believers look at this prophecy of Palm Sunday, among the hundreds of other prophecies in the Old Testament Scriptures and say, “This is Jesus, and could only be Jesus! How could you possibly miss it?!” Unbelievers look at the same words and they mean absolutely nothing to them.
Well, my fellow believers, since we have this God-given miracle of faith, and we can understand and appreciate what God was saying through His Old Testament prophets . . . let’s take another look at Zechariah 9:9-10 and see what God’s Middle East Peace Strategy is:
Zechariah 9:9–10 (NIV 11)
9 Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. 10 I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the warhorses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.
Within these 2 short verses, you can quite easily see the FOUR STAGES of God’s strategy for peace:
The Promised King, the Chosen One, the Messiah – will come there to the Middle East / to Jerusalem – righteous and victorious . . . yet humble and gentle, riding on a colt, the foal of a donkey. We quite clearly see and understand this was a prophecy about Palm Sunday. It happened some 500 years later exactly as the prophet had predicted. This stage is complete. God sent His Son in the flesh who arrived in town amid shouts of joy / cries of “Hosanna to the Son of David!” He came as a completely different kind of King, to fight a completely different kind of battle. Just as we’d expect – there was a sharply divided reaction over His arrival. Some people loved Him and shouted out with joy. Others hated Him and couldn’t wait to shout: “Crucify him!” They were blind to His true identity / blind to Scripture’s prophecy about Him / blind to their own sin and blinded by their own hatred and lust for power.
Nevertheless – stage 2 of God’s plan was accomplished as well. He took away the chariots, the war horses, and broke the battle bow – He brought PEACE! Unbelievers say, “What? He brought no peace, he died, soon after the Romans destroyed the Temple again, the bloodshed was horrific, and it has never stopped!” But we get it! God made peace between Himself and mankind through Jesus’ death and resurrection. This is a vertical peace – not a horizontal peace between men. Death itself and Satan himself has been vanquished there at the cross. Once again this week we celebrate His victory – and how this stage of God’s plan is now complete as well.
Stage 3 of this plan: He will proclaim peace to the nations. This stage has been going on for 2000 years and is still proceeding today. Through the Gospel God is bringing His peace, through Jesus’ blood, to souls all over the world. Again – the reaction is divided. Some celebrate and rejoice in the GOSPEL message that brings peace with God and eternal salvation . . . others hate and reject it. People think it’s foolishness that God would kill His own Son; they think it’s disgusting and vulgar that He would bear the sins of the world and go through that hell. The bitter division over this humble King rages to this very day.
But stage 4 is coming: His RULE will extend from sea to sea – all across the world. In verse 14 of this chapter the Lord describes this final glorious stage of His plan: “Then the LORD will appear over them; His arrow will flash like lightning. The Sovereign LORD will sound the trumpet; He will march in . . .” The Middle East – the entire globe – will be brought to PEACE in a very sudden and dramatic way with power we can’t even begin to imagine. Every knee will bow – those who love Him AND those who hate him – everyone will stop and acknowledge: this humble king is also the glorious KING of kings. He will then establish the ultimate “Two State Solution” – and there WILL be peace. All those who reject Him will get what they want and get what they deserve – a place of darkness and death where they can hate all they want and fight each other forever and ever. All those who love Him, on the other hand – will finally have a world at total PEACE. The New Jerusalem in the New World will be 100% united and live on forever without sin, hatred, war or death ever again.
God has a plan. God has a strategy. God knows what He’s doing! We forget that sometimes. As we live here in this world, we get short-sighted and can forget about the BIG picture. We might look at the atrocities happening around the world, or in our own back yard, and get angry with God – because it sure appears to be out of control. There’s so much pain and hostility all around us – it makes us angry. There’s trouble at work, trouble in the family, trouble in the church, trouble when our bodies stop working properly – and it can all hurt so much! We might even foolishly lob our “tomahawk missiles” at God in anger and frustration. But NO – it’s NOT HIS FAULT! It’s proof that sin and evil is everywhere in this fallen world, including in our own hearts and minds.
He calls on us to drop our pathetic weapons of violence, and gather back around the Cross of Christ for reconciliation and peace. He heals us and forgives us. His blood covers ALL our sins. He reveals to us once again the big picture and comforts us knowing heaven is our home and we have a place with Him, in His family, forever. He reminds us to be patient – for He loves all those people, even the ones that hate Him, and He has more of them yet to gather in.
So . . . we keep going, because we know God has a PLAN. If God has a plan and a strategy for the messed-up Middle East in this messed-up world (which He DOES) – do you think He has a plan for YOU and a plan for YOUR life? Absolutely He does! In Jeremiah 29:11 He says, “‘I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” Take comfort – God is patient for a reason, and He’s working out His plans in ways that are beyond us. Be strong in the midst of trials and struggles – He may yet be preparing you for battles that lie ahead. But fear not, the WAR is already won, and we are on the right side of the conflict: we stand with the Humble King who entered Jerusalem to die and rise again 2000 years ago.
The grand culmination of God’s peace strategy might not be all that far off – however long we have to wait, or whatever violence and trouble we have to fight through . . . we always know: HE’S GOT A PLAN! It’s a good one, and everything will work out according to it.