Will there be peace in the Middle East?
June 27, 2020
“It takes work to ignore the Middle East,” says the narrator in “The Isaiah 19 Highway of Hope”. Then he asks, “What if it’s meant to grab our attention?” Here are some things happening now in the Middle East that are attention-worthy:
- Israel is considering annexing parts of the West Bank (aka Judea and Samaria) beginning July 1, provoking various reactions from the US, EU, UN, PA and others.
- Aggressively pushing to become a regional power, Turkey is trying to prevent Egypt, Israel, Cyprus and Greece from exporting natural gas to Europe, opposing Assad and the Syrian Kurds, establishing military bases in Libya and ignoring Greece’s traditional sovereignty in the Eastern Mediterranean.
- Ethiopia is about to begin filling a dam on the Blue Nile for Africa’s largest hydroelectric power plant – without reference to impacts on the downstream nations of Sudan and Egypt. President El-Sisi has told Egypt’s army to prepare for war with Ethiopia.
- Egypt, supported by Jordan, is also preparing its military to enter Libya, if necessary, to defend its border, which would put it in conflict with Turkey.
These conflicts have the potential to set a tinderbox aflame and devour an expanding array of allies. They are occurring in a region with ancient grievances, bloodshed and instability where many have tried and failed to establish peace. There is but one hope for peace in the Middle East: the Prince of Peace (Isa 9:2-7).
Read Isaiah 19:23-25. It speaks of a peace founded on ancient enemies Egypt, Assyria and Israel worshipping together the Ancient of Days, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This oneness in worship He calls “a blessing in the midst of the earth”. Believers from the region have been meeting in recent years to worship together and pray through this prophecy. We will focus on Egypt this week.
It’s fascinating that God calls Egypt “My people” (v 25). Egypt is mentioned by name 670+ times in the Bible. The mother of Ishmael, Abraham’s firstborn, was Egyptian. Abraham, Joseph, Jacob’s entire household, Jeremiah and the Holy Family all took refuge there.
Modern Egypt is said to be about 90% Muslim, though it is reported informally that millions of Muslims have become Christians secretly. Al-Azhar University in Cairo is the world’s foremost learning centre of Sunni Islam; yet the man credited with having the most impact in causing Muslims to examine and leave their faith is Coptic priest Father Zakaria Botros, and the suffering-but-standing Egyptian church is the largest Christian remnant in the Middle East.
Now read Isaiah 19:1-22. (Particularly notice verses 5 and 22.) It seems that God has prepared a process whereby Egypt becomes “My people”. It is a devastating process, but it causes them to acknowledge and cry out to Him; and He reveals Himself, rescues them and heals them.
The Isaiah 19 process does not include war. Many intercessors with an interest in this region are sensing that conflict is being provoked by the evil one to disrupt God’s planned process. God says war will occur (see Zech 12), but the Spirit is saying, “Not now”. How do we pray when the issues are so complex? Here are some suggestions.
- Worship from Psalms 2 & 46 and Romans 11:33-36.
- Pray in tongues (Ro 8:26-27).
- Visit highway19.org, watch the video (“The Isaiah 19 Highway of Hope”) and agree in prayer.
- Pray “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done [in Egypt] as it is in heaven”. NO war at this time!
- Proclaim the Aaronic blessing (Nu 6:24-26) over the Egyptian church as they sing The Blessing over us.
- Declare Egyptian Muslims will swear allegiance to the Lord Almighty (v 18) and pray for them from verses 19-22. Agree with God, who says, “Blessed be Egypt My people!”