Tim Throckmorton: Standing on the same promises

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 15, 2023

His heart was pounding now as he came to the top of the last hill and peered into the valley.

It seemed as if he would never get there. The assignment his father gave him a few days earlier had brought him here… Those were dark days in Israel. Saul, the nation’s king, had progressively pursued the path of apostasy.

He had been presumptuous and rebellious, and the Spirit of God had departed from the monarch. Accordingly, Jehovah had allowed the heathen Philistines to encroach deeper and deeper into Israel’s territory. Actually, the Hebrew people were but reaping the consequences of not having carried out the Lord’s bidding to exterminate these pagans from the land.

Email newsletter signup

About 14 or 15 miles southwest of Bethlehem was the valley of Elah. According to the record in 1 Samuel 17, it was here that the armies of Israel and the Philistines faced one another across a stark recess between two mountains. Israel’s posture was more defensive than anything else.

Trembling, she cowered in the oppressive shadow of the Philistine forces. Jesse sends David to the front lines with some provisions for his older brothers, to check on them and to bring back some proof that they are all right.

But David arrives at the theater of operation, assesses the situation, and is absolutely incensed by it.

Israel is shaking in their sandals against this Goliath, and something boils up and over in his soul. He asks what will be done for the man who takes this giant out forever.

Now David is stirring up the people with this kind of talk and his older brother Eliab gets on to him. In 1 Samuel 17:28, “Now Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spoke to the men. And Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, “Why have you come down? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your presumption and the evil of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.”

And then David responds, in 1 Samuel 17:29, “What have I now done? Is there not a cause?” In other words, is there not a time to take a stand? Is there not a truth worth living for; indeed, worth dying for if necessary? Where is Israel’s conviction? His noble heart pulsing with divine patriotism, David volunteered to fight the evil giant. David’s words reveal to us…What he understood about the hearts of the men, and what he knew must be done. It also reminds us that David knew the Promises his God!

I was in Israel during the Gaza War of 2014 when Israel was the target of thousands of rockets and mortar attacks against its civilian population, with some Israeli areas targeted that had three times the population density of Gaza.

The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, announced on Nov. 6, 2014 that Israel had gone to “extraordinary lengths to limit collateral damage and prevent civilian casualties in the Gaza conflict.”

I know this to be accurate because I personally spoke to many IDF soldiers who were involved with combat operations in Gaza.

Israel suffered 74 dead in the war and had the Iron Dome system not intercepted 735 rockets fired from Gaza, the Israeli casualty count would have been incalculably higher.

I was amazed at the calm resolve and response by the families we were with. This was their life, and still is.

This is Israel’s 9/11.” Writes Lela Gilbert in the Washington Stand, “That simple declaration has become a repeated theme since Oct. 7, 2023. And, yes, 9/11 is a fair comparison, as news from the Middle continues to provide details of the massive early-morning attack Hamas terrorists launched that Sabbath morning. Their targets included numerous towns, villages, and kibbutzim in the south of Israel. The vicious invaders murdered, raped, kidnapped, beheaded, and tortured innumerable Israelis… As concerned American Christians, it’s essential for us to keep deeply-rooted faith in our hearts as we pray alongside them, always remembering God’s promises to Israel.”

Since I heard about the unprovoked attack on Saturday, I have been reaching out and staying in contact with the many friends I have met during my trips to Israel.

They are shaken, but they are OK.

Their demeanor and focus in the face of unimaginable grief and heartache is still overwhelming to me.

I have the faces of those I know before me constantly knowing that they have family members who are unaccounted for or who have perished in the unthinkable horrors of the initial terrorist assault.

You and I, we are called to pray for Israel standing on the same promises as David in the valley of Elah.

As a nation we are called to stand with and defend Israel. The Psalmist inspires us… “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord… Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. For my brethren and companions’ sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee. Because of the house of the Lord our God I will seek thy good.” Amen!

Tim Throckmorton is the national director of Family Resource Council’s Community Impact Teams.