9/11 and the Coming Election: Genesis 47:1-6

Photo by 9/11 Photos, Creative Commons

To read the last post on Genesis, go to Ready to Die.

Read Genesis 47:1-6

Joseph’s family are now with him in Egypt, and while that’s good, he still has a big frog to swallow. He has to present some of his family members to Pharaoh and gain permission for them to settle in Egypt, in the land of Goshen.

So Joseph goes to Pharaoh and tells him his family is in Goshen. He chooses five of his brothers and he presents them to Pharaoh.

What’s your occupation? Pharaoh asks.

Your servants are shepherds just as our fathers were, they reply. And we’ve come to live here for awhile, because the famine is so bad in Canaan we have no pasture for our flocks. So please, let your servants settle in Goshen.

Pharaoh says to Joseph, Your father and your brothers can settle anywhere you like. Put them in the best part of Egypt. Let them live in Goshen. And if any of them have special talent with livestock, put them in charge of my herds.

Genesis 47:1-6

9/11

Today is the eleventh anniversary of 9/11. While I was still a firefighter I traveled to New York City, after the towers were attacked, with a group of Christian police officers, firefighters, and dispatchers to see what we could do to help. I spoke with many firefighters who experienced the loss of family and/or friends when the twin towers were taken down. (There were so many killed, very often firefighters had to choose between attending the funeral of a fellow firefighter who was family, or one who was a friend, because they were held at the same time) I attended funerals where Mayor Giuliani addressed the crowd. I spoke with forensics specialists who collected gruesome evidence at ground zero.

I’ve given this terrible tragedy a lot of thought over the last eleven years. And I’ve not just thought about 9/11, but I’ve also given considerable thought to our country’s leadership during that tragedy, and the leadership to come in the 2012 election.

I’ve come to a conclusion.

Egypt’s Tragedy

Egypt had a tragedy with the potential to kill more than we lost on 9/11. A seven year famine could have been devastating. However through God’s intervention with His servant Joseph, Pharaoh and Egypt escaped this famine relatively unscathed. But in spite of his success, can’t you just hear the criticisms that must have come from the people?

Pharaoh didn’t handle it right. He shouldn’t have given the best of the land to Israel and his family. He shouldn’t have given them positions of authority over Pharaoh’s flocks. That land and those job positions should have been given to Egyptians. This only happened because Joseph is so well connected.

The Coming Election

Just a few minutes ago I came across a video about how 9/11 was an inside job. How President Bush knew. How it was all a part of Bush’s effort to usher in the new world order. (I’m not much of a conspiracy theorist, so I won’t dignify this video by posting a link)

The last few months of the presidential race, I’ve seen both sides meet out huge doses of negative campaigning.

On Twitter and Facebook I see my friends and family lambasting the opposition, either Republican or Democrat, Romney or Obama, depending on their political leanings.

But think this thing through with me — Remember back to that moment of optimism after “our guy” won the election? How’s that been working for us? After “our man” was in office for awhile, was there any appreciable difference? Time and time again when “our man” is in there, the real tangible changes made have been negligible. Many today maintain that the differences between the parties are rapidly narrowing. The reality is…

…putting your time and energy into politics won’t make a difference.

The Answer

In a democracy, where we elect our leadership, we will continue to get what we ask for. You and I and the rest of the voting population are responsible for who serves in political office. And the voting public seems to choose leadership that doesn’t change much, time and time again.

In a democracy, the voting population gets what they deserve — every time.

You know what? Pharaoh’s decisions concerning the famine, Israel, and Israel’s family weren’t made because of Pharaoh. Pharaoh’s decisions concerning the famine, Israel, and his family were all a part of God’s divine plan.

God is where the power is for change. So why invest your time and energy into a man?

Here’s my conclusion: Take all the time and energy you invest in the political process and reapportion it into prayer. Because here’s the real solution to effecting change in a democracy:

Revival.

Because after revival, the voting public will no longer put up with mediocre leadership. They’ll vote in better (not perfect but better) leaders into office. After revival, many of the country’s problems will be mitigated. We’ll see a reduction in corruption, drug and alcohol abuse, broken families, crime, etc. We’ll see these things improve because after revival more people will walk through life closer to Christ.

So stop bashing the other guy, whatever side you’re on, and start praying.

Pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit and revival in your family, in your church, in your city, in your state, in your entire country.

Pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit and revival in you.

God is where the power is for effecting change.

Pray.

Psalm 122:6 — Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee

Israel’s Borders in 1967 on the Eve of the 6 Day War — map courtesy of Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

President Obama recently stated in a speech that “We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.”

President Obama’s public statement sent a strong message to Israel about the level of support the United States is prepared to provide to our long time ally.

President Obama’s statement prompted an interesting reply from Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamen Netanyahu. (see the video at the end of this post)

Netanyahu reminded President Obama that Israel’s 1967 borders didn’t encourage peace but in fact invited invasion by Israel’s enemies. The map of Israel’s 1967 borders shows a very narrow dimension near the middle of the country between what was then Samaria and the Mediterranean Sea. This dimension was actually 9 miles wide. To even a casual student of military strategy it should be obvious that this invites an enemy nation to employ the tactic of striking Israel at this narrow point in order to cut the country in half — divide and conquer.

Given that on a practical level, Hamas is a part of the Palestinian government, and that Hamas has publicly and unapologetically stated that their government charter explicitly calls for the destruction of Israel, it’s no wonder that Netanyahu felt compelled to engage President Obama in a bit of historical tutoring. (“obliterate” is the actual word used concerning Israel — see the Hamas charter for yourself at http://www.mideastweb.org/hamas.htm)

It’s interesting that after the 1967 Six Day War, Israel absorbed around 500,000 displaced Israelis who were forced out of various Arab nations. Israel didn’t force any Arabs out of Israel but about the same number of Arabs chose to leave Israel on advice from the Arab leadership at the time. They lived as displaced refugees with no Arab nation offering them a home. Yet part of the peace deal that President Obama speaks of requires a “right of return” that permits the grandchildren and great grandchildren of those Arabs displaced from Israel in 1967 to return to Israel as citizens. Because these subsequent generations now number in the multiplied millions, this would result in a Palestinian majority population in Israel overnight, and would end Israel’s existence as a Jewish nation.

Some have tried to provide some damage control concerning what President Obama proposed by emphasizing that part of the formula includes mutually agreed upon exchanges of territory that would allow for Israel to maintain defensible borders.

Can you imagine the U.S. giving California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas back to Mexico? That’s not going to happen even though our reasons for taking these territories from Mexico weren’t defensive in nature.

Israel’s territory was gained in a war that was in defense of its own borders. No nation in modern history (other than Israel) has ever been asked to give up territory it won in defense of it’s own borders. Yet Israel is being asked to do this by our President and others. How strange this is. Israel is smaller than San Bernardino County, California. Israel makes up only 1/6 of 1% of the land area of the Arab nations in the Middle East. Yet no Arab nation is being asked to provide land to the Palestinians. No one’s talking about this.

As Netanyahu said to President Obama, “It’s not going to happen.”

Even though it’s easy to see why the use of 1967 borders shouldn’t happen, my guess is that you won’t see these reasons in the headlines or on the evening news.

The Jews: uniquely persecuted but uniquely preserved.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.

Psalm 122:6

Prime Minister Netanyahu explains to President Obama why 1967 borders are a poor starting point for negotiations.

References:

From Time Immemorial by Joan Peters

Jon Courson

If you like, you can friend kurt on Facebook . 

Rest — 3 essential ways to rest to keep you at your best

Dick Cheney recently had a heart attack according to a Huffington Post article from February 23, 2010. His fifth since age 37! The heart attack was characterized as a mild one, yet having already experienced four others, the cumulative amount of heart muscle death is troubling. He had surgery at George Washington University Hospital on Tuesday, February 23. His recovery appears to be on track.

Yesterday a New York Times article talked about the pressures that President Barack Obama’s top advisor, David Axelrod, faces. In the article Axelrod’s detractors criticize him for mismanaging the president’s communication with the public. Many say that the pressure in Washington is taking it’s toll on Axelrod whose typical work day starts at 6 a.m. and ends at 11 p.m. Friends openly worry about him burning out.

Your Life:

Rest! According to the Relationship Economy website the amount of digital information we will be subjected to is going to increase 10 fold over the next 5 years. At work we’re interrupted as often as once every 3 minutes. (see Goodreads.com‘s review of The Overflowing Brain) Cell phones, texts, emails, faxes, landlines, pages, tweets, facebook — the pace of life is ever increasing.

I spent the last week at a firefighter and police leadership seminar listening to author and speaker, Dr. Kevin Gilmartin, talk about how expenditure of our energy on one end, a high, absolutely must result in a corresponding low energy phase that can, without rest, result in serious depression.

It’s essential that we follow God’s commandment to keep the sabbath. It’s essential that we set aside one day a week to:

1) Rest in the Lord

Go to church. Relax within the body of Christ. Rest in Him. Be influenced by Him. Gilmartin cites a study that shows that those who attend church regularly are 40% more likely to be happy than those who don’t. Over the years I’ve watched the lives of those who attend church regularly and those who don’t. In the short term the differences may be unnoticeable. But in the long term — it’s a hard road for those who fall into a pattern of apathy toward their church involvement.

2) Rest your body

This might mean passive rest if you worked construction all week. Or active rest, physical exercise, yard work if you enjoy it, or helping a friend to move (a means of finding out who your true friends are BTW) if you sit at a desk all week.

3) Rest your mind

Disengage your mind from your work life. Focus on God and family for a day.

Remember that all of God’s commandments are for our own benefit. It probably seems counterintuitive but you and I will be more effective in the long run if we take one day and rest. Jesus said,

“The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”

Mark 2:27