I challenged my students regarding the current Israel-Palestine issue but only a handful of them took it. They have their own reasons for not doing so, foremost of which was school-fatigue. Online classes left them more than exhausted, both in body and in mind.
I challenged them to give biblical support for siding with the plight of the Palestinians caught in the conflict.
The few who responded to my challenge took not a few words to get to their point. Mostly what was mentioned was God’s gift of land to ancient Israel. Indeed, my students had a good point there.
After I heard them out and it was my turn to speak, I gave them only two short points for them to ponder on and to expound against.
ONE, that Jesus points to loving God, and to loving one’s neighbor as one loves one’s own self, as the greatest of commandments.
In the Gospel according to Matthew chapter 22:
(verse 36) “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
(verse 37) Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[see Deuteronomy 6:5]
(verse 38) This is the first and greatest commandment.
(verse 39) And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[see Leviticus 19:18]
(verse 40) All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
TWO, that biblical Israel was bound with/by a promise to obey God if they were to stay in the land.
“Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people . . .” (Exodus 19:5).
“Then all the people answered together and said, ‘All that the Lord has spoken we will do’ ” (Exodus 19:8).
The Israelites agreed to God’s terms, and He confirmed His commitment to them. “. . . This is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you’ ” (Jeremiah 7:23).
“But if you will not listen to me and carry out all these commands, and if you reject my decrees and abhor my laws and fail to carry out all my commands and so violate my covenant . . . I will bring upon you sudden terror, wasting diseases and fever that will destroy your sight and drain away your life. You will plant seed in vain, because your enemies will eat it. I will set my face against you so that you will be defeated by your enemies; those who hate you will rule over you, and you will flee even when no one is pursuing you. If after all this you will not listen to me, I will punish you for your sins seven times over” (Leviticus 26:14-18).