What a situation in Israel right now. "Intractable," someone called it. It underscores the sinfulness of mankind, all mankind, on both sides of the conflict. And it underscores the need for the gospel and the message of the Prince of Peace, sar shalom.
Peace, in the Bible, is not just the absence of war. It's spiritual wholeness. It's being all we were created to be. How far we seem to be from that.
So why doesn't God do something? No simplistic responses there. I remember a conversation I had with a young man in Israel a few years back. He asked the usual questions. If Jesus is the Messiah, why isn't there peace? Why is there war? Why is there so much hatred? I responded like this: God could "snap his fingers," so to speak, and impose peace right now. But if we didn't change, if it was all external, we'd mess the world up again in short order. (How many enforced cease-fires are kept?) To have peace, I told him, we each need to make our peace with God through His way, the atoning death of the Messiah Jesus.
At Passover, we remember slavery and celebrate redemption. Jesus once said to a Jewish audience (he hardly had others), "He who commits sin is the slave of sin." His hearers knew all about Passover and slavery to Pharaoh. Jesus was saying that the ultimate form of slavery is not "out there" someplace, but in our hearts. Pharaoh thought he was a slavemaster, but he was a slave to his own sinful desires that drove him to be a tyrant.
And not just Pharaoh. All of us. Israelis. Lebanese. Palestinians. Americans. Secular Jews. Religious Jews. Non-Orthodox. Ultra-Orthodox. All of us, slaves to sin, says Jesus.
There won't be peace until we admit that we are all, really and potentially, part of the problem. But thank God, there is a solution, given when the Messiah died to atone for our sins and restore us to God - to bring us real shalom.
Some more thoughts on peace:
The Shalom of God
What is Peace?
A Study on Biblical Concepts of Peace in the Old and New Testaments
Marching for Peace
Forbidden Peace: The Story Behind the Headlines