I have just watched a short video by Joel Rosenberg, asking for prayers and donations to evangelize and aid Israel and her neighbors—the Palestinians, the people in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt. These are the people that Joel has a heart for and that his ministry is focused on. It is “a region,” he says, “that has been shattered and shaken in recent years by war, terrorism, and genocide; and they desperately need to hear the good news that God loves them and has a plan for them and that Jesus is the answer.”
Rosenberg said, “People in these countries are so open to hear the gospel. Muslims in these countries are curious and open to hearing the good news, many of them for the first time in their lives.”
“Along with the gospel,” Rosenberg says, “there is a need for humanitarian relief in these areas and for acts of compassion.”
Rosenberg implores believers to pray for the people of this region: Israel, the Palestinians, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt.
As I pondered what Rosenberg was saying in his video, I immediately thought of Psalm 83. There are basically the same countries in this Psalm with the exception of Saudi Arabia. And interestingly enough, some bible prophecy scholars like Bill Salus and Hal Lindsey and others, are saying that these same countries will very shortly come against Israel to try to destroy her—but Israel will instead be victorious over them.
Well, as you may know, there is quite a debate over the meaning of Psalm 83. Some scholars like Tommy Ice and also Joel Rosenberg, are saying that Psalm 83 does not contain a prophecy, but it is a lament by Asaph, complaining about the enemies that surround Israel. Ice says that the idea that the Psalm 83 war to set up the peace for the Ezekiel 38 and 39 war is just pure speculation.
I have read and heard Bill Salus’ views on this and it sounds very logical. In fact I have been believing him—that Psalm 83 is a prophecy by Asaph. But recently, after hearing Tommy Ice’s side, and also going back and reading Psalm 83 again, I am now kind of siding with him. Though Asaph was a prophet, the text doesn’t sound prophetical, rather it sounds more like an imprecatory prayer—that God would pursue them and deal with them (vv. 15-18).
So now I think that eventually God will deal with these neighbors of Israel in His own way and time. And I now refuse to declare that Psalm 83 is a prophecy that says that they will very soon be destroyed by Israel. I would rather pray for them as Joel Rosenberg has suggested we do. Perhaps if we pray, God will work to make them Israel’s friends and allies and also that many would find salvation in Christ. What a wonderful thing that would be.
Secondly, since these neighbors of Israel are not listed among the countries in the Ezekiel 38 and 39 war (Russia, Turkey, Iran, Libya, Sudan, and Ethiopia), which will indeed come against Israel to take plunder, perhaps Israel’s neighbors will then witness how God alone destroys Israel’s enemies. Yes, and they will give God the glory! This is what I pray will happen.