The spiritual condition of America, politics, culture, and current events analyzed through the lens of scripture.
Welcome to the Alex McFarland Show. In recent weeks, of course, all eyes of the world have been on Israel and the war that's going on there, and we're going to talk about that in this program today. And we're going to read from Psalm 83, looking at three facts about turning to God in times of trouble. Because certainly throughout their existence, the nation of Israel has had repeatedly to turn to God, especially turning to God for protection. And if you read much media about the war in Israel, the attack by Hamas and Islamic terrorists, and then here in America, oddly enough, leftists and some elected officials like parts of the Squad and certainly left-leaning academics and commentators.
You know, oddly enough, the left that prides itself on social justice and human rights, to a large degree they're standing for the Islamic terrorists. And these groups that talk so much about rights and, you know, what are my, the things I'm entitled to, they're denying Israel, the nation of Israel, one of the fundamental rights of any nation is the right to self-defense. Well, in the news media coverage, at least in news media coverage by those that consider Israel's role in history and prophecy, much is made about Psalm 83. And the question is, is Psalm 83 really being played out before our very eyes?
Because there are a number of Islamic nations, and what the Old Testament would call, quote, the people of the land, the Gentile, Arabic and Gentile non-Jewish nations around them that fight them. And so we're going to read from Psalm 83 to bring some biblical text, I believe, to what's going on in Israel right now, and then we'll draw some practical applications for our own lives about turning to God in times of trouble. But Psalm 83 says this, Keep not thou silence, O God, hold not by peace, and be not still, O God. For lo, thine enemies make a tumult.
In other words, a big storm, a big noise. They that hate thee have lifted up the head. They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, have consulted against thy hidden ones, or the rulers, the ones that have a word from God, plans from God, directives from God. In other words, classified information. Now, as I am reading this and recording this, it's just come out, there are a number of elderly hostages that Hamas has let go. In fact, it's very sad in the news, there was one lady who was folded over the back of a motorcycle and ridden across rough terrain, and being released. And elderly and people with physical infirmities that are about to die, Hamas has released a few of these hostages for always self-seeking purposes, because they don't want to look bad if they have a hostage die on their hands. But one of the hostages talked about spiderwebs of tunnels under Gaza.
Tunnels under the ground, big enough to take a grand piano through. In other words, this network of tunnels used for terrorist activity years in the making, subterfuge like this does sound like, in Psalm 83, crafty counsel being devised and subversive plans to harm Israel. Look, these people hate the God of Israel, and since they can't kill God, as is so often the case of those that are the operatives of Satan, they can't kill God, so they try to harm the ones that are in God's service. Verse 5 of Psalm 83 says they have consulted together with one consent, they are confederate, in other words, organized against thee, against God. Now it goes on, and there are about 17 people groups listed.
Today these people would be almost exclusively Islamic, probably are completely Islamic, if not devoutly so, at least culturally so. And they've amalgamated themselves, come together, and they've been forged in alliances to fight Israel. And it goes on and it says, the tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites of Moab, and the Hagarenes, Gebel, Ammon, Amalek, the Philistines, the inhabitants of Tyre, Asher is joined with them, they have helped the children of Lot. And it goes on, and while this is called an imprecatory prayer, a prayer of judgment against the enemies of Israel is prayed. Verse 9 and following, Do unto them as unto the Midianites, as to Sisera, as to Jabin at the brook of Qisen, who perished at Endor, because they became as dung for the earth. Make their nobles like Orob and Zeb, yea, all their princes, as Zeba and as Zalmunna. Now we'll come back to that.
Why? Verse 12, because they said, Let us take ourselves, the houses of God, in possession. It's like, let's confiscate Jerusalem and the temple.
We're going to take it forcibly, which the Muslims have done. Oh my God, make them as a wheel, as the stubble before the wind. Now what is like a wheel? In other words, he's praying, God, hurl them round and round. As the fire burns a wood, and as the flame sets the mountains on fire, so persecute them with your tempest, and make them afraid with your storm. In other words, Lord, all these enemies, they hate you. They want to kill us. Look, bring trouble upon them.
Make them afraid with your noise and storm. Fill their faces with shame, that they may seek Thy name, O Lord. Let them be confounded and troubled forever. Yea, let them be put to shame and perish. Now verse 18 is where we'll draw application later on in the program, but there's this conclusion to this prayer of Psalm 83.
That men may know that you, whose name alone is Jehovah, are the most high over all of the earth. Well there is a lot here, there's a lot here, and I want to talk about what's interesting is the names of all these people, the Edomites and the Ishmaelites. We directly know that these people now are Muslims. Ultimately Muhammad would descend from these people. Muhammad was born around 571 AD. Islam was started about 622 AD. In fact, if you look at religious books from, say, the 18th and 19th centuries, very often Muhammadans, those are Muslims, are called Ishmaelites. In fact, I've got a very famous apologetics book from the late 1800s by A.B.
Bruce. I love the title, Apologetics or Christianity Defensively Stated, and it talks about the Ishmaelites. Well, all of these people, you go down there, the Hagarenes, descendants of Hagar.
Isn't that something? Remember Abraham and Sarah and Hagar, and Hagar had come out of Egypt and there was false religion. It goes on and talks about the Amalekites, and yes, in Psalm 83, the Philistines, that's in verse 7, people that we today would call Palestinians. But notice also, when we come back, we'll talk about friendly fire, people of the house of Israel that had turned to follow Israel's enemies. We're going to talk more about this, the war in Israel as seen through the lens of Psalm 83 in the Old Testament when this edition of the program returns.
Stay with us. Fox News and CNN call Alex McFarland a religion and culture expert. Stay tuned for more of his teaching and commentary after this. Over the last several decades, it's been my joy to travel the world talking with children, teens, adults, people of all ages about the questions they have related to God, the Bible, Christianity, and how to know Jesus personally.
Hi, Alex McFarland. I want to make you aware of my book, The 21 Toughest Questions Your Kids Will Ask About Christianity. You know, we interviewed hundreds of children and parents and families to find out the questions that children and people of all ages are longing to find answers for. In the book, we've got practical, biblical, real-life answers that they have about how to be a Christian in this modern world.
My book, The 21 Toughest Questions Your Kids Will Ask, you can find it wherever you buy books or at resources.afa.net. He's been called trusted, truthful, and timely. Welcome back to The Alex McFarland Show. Welcome back to the program. We are looking through the lens of Psalm 83 at the current war in Israel.
Alex McFarland here. You know, it's very interesting. On Friday, October 6th, we were recording about Ezekiel 38, and Ezekiel 38 talks about the nations of the Arabian Peninsula that will attack Israel in the last days just shortly before the Lord returns, and of course woke up like the rest of the world on Saturday, October 7th, shocked to see Israel being attacked. In the weeks that have followed, it's just been very disheartening to see so many American academics and those that are in positions of authority siding with the terrorists.
And let's be clear. Ilhan Omar and Tlaib and the Squad and the Ivy Leagues and the Hollywood celebrities speaking against Israel. They are defending terrorists, people that behead infants, people that are torturing prisoners. And you know what's so sad about this is, and we've got an article out that's being pitched to the national media right now, Gaza, which is very near Jerusalem. Alright, in Jerusalem, the average person lives on $42,100 a year.
In Gaza, the average person lives on $5,000 a year. And as news has come out about terrorist tunnels, spiderweb, that's the word they use all through Gaza, you've got to understand these terrorists use their own people as human shields. The hospital that was bombed by Gaza, and it was made to try to make it look like Israel did it. This was a hospital built in 1882 by Anglicans. It is a Christian hospital and operates as such to this day. In fact, they said it was reported in Christianity Today that people in Gaza refer to this Anglican hospital as the Baptist hospital that helps Palestinians, Muslims, Jews. That's the hospital that the Hamas terrorists bombed. And so there's so much in the news, and even the terrorists themselves, knowing that they use their own rockets to kill their own people, to make it look like Israel is the aggressor.
Did you see this in the news? They call this the CNN strategy. As in the cable news network, some conservatives humorously call it the communist news network. Because CNN, like Democrats, like those of a liberal worldview, they get everything wrong.
Tell me what issue it is, and they will come out 180 degrees out of phase on it. Marriage, life, abortion, education. This very week, as an aside, speaking of coming out wrong on the subject of education, Oregon eliminating academic standards for high school graduation. In other words, you graduate just for participating, and it says that students in Oregon that don't have the most basic of competency levels in reading, in math, history, just general knowledge, rather than raise the bar.
They said, no, you graduate just because. Because having competency standards by which we measure, it's unfair to ethnic minorities, and makes them, quote, feel bad. And do you see the irony of liberalism, how dehumanizing it is? It's essentially the Democrats saying to the minority students, you can't learn, you can't be taught.
So what we do, we eliminate standards. So it's not surprising now, several weeks into this war, where Israel, like one of the basic fundamental rights of all nations, is the right to self-defense. Israel is not the aggressor here.
And yet, of course, American liberals, that they could not lead themselves out of a wet paper bag, are wrong on Israel, calling them the aggressor when they're not. And so Psalm 83 lists some 17 of these nations, but even Asher has joined with them, and this is verse 8, and the children of Lot. Now Asher represents spiritual sin, the children of Lot represent moral, sexual sin. And just like the tribe of Asher would side with the enemies of God, and the children of Lot with the sexual sodomites, the enemies of God, there are always going to be those people that land on the wrong side of the issues. And it goes on in it lists in this, as we said in the first segment, this imprecatory prayer, you know, due unto them as the Midianites, and those that perished at Endor.
Remember the witch of Endor that encountered Saul and Samuel, Endor, Midianites, and the people in those areas, occultic practitioners. And so, you know, the prayer is that God would scatter them, turn them like a wheel, around and around, they would be blown away like stubble in the wind, and they will be. I mean, you look at the Six Day War of 67, you look at the Yom Kippur War, and by the way, this war, the Islamic terrorists attacking Israel 50 years and one day to the date of the Yom Kippur War in 1973.
Israel always, it's sad, there's a body count, there's a cost, but Israel always prevails, because God is with Israel, and the enemies against Israel get scattered. But notice this, verse 16 of Psalm 83, fill your faces with shame, why? That they may seek thy name, O Lord. The Bible says God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, neither do Jews or Christians. We have a high ethic of life. We know that all people are made in the image of God, and as such have worth, value, and dignity, but at the same time, we don't compromise God, reveal truth, and covenant promises merely to placate evil people. And then finally, and I want to draw three takeaways out of this in the time that we have left, why? Verse 17, let them be confounded and troubled. Forever, yea let them be put to shame and perish.
Why? Verse 18, that men may know that you, whose name alone is Jehovah, are the most high over all the earth. Now here are the points to ponder. Point number one, God expects us to turn to him in times of trouble, need, danger, and persecution. In times of trouble, we turn to Almighty God, and this is only right.
And Israel is turning to God, and the people around the world, people of good faith and people that care about truth, are turning to God and encouraging others to do so. Keep not silent, O God. Do not hold your peace, and come and help. Don't be still, but help.
Why? Because the enemies of God and his people and truth are on the move. Now we've got to take a break. We're going to come back and we're going to elaborate on these three takeaways from Psalm 83 in light of what's going on in the Middle East.
Stay with us. Fox News and CNN call Alex McFarland a religion and culture expert. Stay tuned for more of his teaching and commentary after this. Christian author and speaker Alex McFarland is an advocate for Christian apologetics. Teaching in more than 2,200 churches around the world, schools, and college campuses, Alex is driven by a desire to help people grow in relationship with God. He arms his audiences with the tools they need to defend their faith, while also empowering the unchurched to find out the truth for themselves. In the midst of a culture obsessed with relativism, Alex is a sound voice who speaks timeless truths of Christianity in a timely way. With 18 published books to his name, it's no surprise that CNN, Fox, the Wall Street Journal, and other media outlets have described Alex as a religion and culture expert. To learn more about Alex and to book him as a speaker at your next event, visit alexmcfarland.com or you can contact us directly by emailing booking at alexmcfarland.com. He's been called trusted, truthful, and timely. Welcome back to the Alex McFarland Show. Welcome back to the program.
Alex McFarland here. We're looking at the war in Israel in light of Psalm 83, and in light of the nations that today would be Islamic nations that were prophesied to attack Israel in the last days, is the battle we're watching now prophesied by Psalm 83? Well, you know, only time will tell, but it certainly does have similarities. But three points we take away, and maybe you know what it's like to be falsely attacked, falsely accused, maybe you know what it's like to be persecuted, and to be put at risk and in danger because of your stand for the Lord. Well, the first point that we get is this, from the psalmist crying out at the beginning, in times of trouble we turn to Almighty God. God can help you, my friend, and no matter what you're facing, God wants us to turn to Him in times of trouble, danger, persecution. God wants us to turn to Him in times of need. We all have needs, and God understands that. The second point is this, God knows the specific details about your enemies and endangerments. Listen, regarding enemies. Maybe you're being persecuted at work or within your family, but here's the thing, God knows who your enemies are.
God knows what they're scheming. God knows about their past misdeeds. And God has defeated them in the past and will do so again. In times past, I mean think about it, hasn't God delivered you and brought you to this point?
Here you are. God has defeated your enemies in times past. God has resolved your endangerments and God will do so again. And in a time of trouble and persecution and need, and yes, a time of war, we pray for Israel. We're praying for the Church. The Church is being persecuted. The Church, certainly the American remnant and residue of God-followers.
We're being marginalized. But God knows the details, and we rejoice in that. And thirdly, know this, in times of trouble, remember that God really does have a purpose. God acts redemptively in verse 16, and even the persecuted pray for the salvation of their persecutors.
It says, let them know your name and seek you, verse 16. But finally, why? Because if you're like most people, and this is human nature, especially if you're a Christian and you're walking with the Lord, and you think, why am I going through this?
To what good purpose is this happening? Well, God does have a purpose. For one thing, it says that they may know that you are real, verse 18. I mean, people need to know that God is. God is real. Secondly, who God is.
It says that they may know you who alone is named Jehovah. Almighty God. God is real. And then, to know what God does and what God expects, it says, thou art the most high over all the earth. In other words, God is sovereign, providential. What does God's sovereignty mean? It means this is his world. He made it.
He bought it with his own blood. And God knows what's going on. The Bible says, as the king's heart is in the Lord's hand, and like the rivers of water, he turns it whithersoever he will. Folks, there are no accidents.
Leaders come and go, not just by happenstance. God is working divine purposes. Now God's hierarchy of purposes and priorities, that you would be saved. And C.S. Lewis once was asked, you know, why doesn't God intervene?
And C.S. Lewis said, God has literally moved heaven and earth to get you to heaven. Christ came. Christ died on the cross. There literally was an earthquake.
The sun hid its face. But here's what God won't do to get you into a relationship with him. God won't override your free will.
You still have to choose. But God has a purpose in the things that he allows. Now, there's a difference between caused versus allowed. God has allowed these things to go on. God doesn't cause evil. God is righteous. He's holy. Part of the reason that God is eternal is that in him there is no death or darkness, meaning there's no sin or unrighteousness in God. He is pervasively holy. But God has allowed things.
Why? So people would turn to him. So people would know that he is God.
He is in control. Look, all of the spin and marketing and litigation, even the Supreme Court decisions, will not legitimize gay marriage. All of the spin and insistence in the world and all of the social media will not legitimize transgenderism. God is God. There is no salvation outside of Jesus Christ. But the world must know and must choose to acknowledge that God is real. God has a name. God is not whoever we make him out to be. He is the God of the Bible. He is Jesus.
Yeshua Mashiach. Jehovah saves. And God expects something of us.
In 1 John it says, you know, this is his commandment, that we would believe on Jesus Christ whom he has sent. You know, there's a famous old story of missionaries that got lost in the jungle and darkness was coming on and they were very afraid. And one of the natives who was very familiar with that land said, follow me and I'll get you through the dark. And they said, well, we don't see the path. And he said, out here there is no path. Out in the darkness, I am the path. Folks, in a world that's lost its way, cling to Jesus.
He is the path. Pray for Israel. The Bible calls God the deliverer of Israel, and indeed he's the savior and deliverer of whoever will trust him. Well, as we close out this program, we don't do this in every program, but I do want to pray. And let me just say we appreciate all the people that listen to our television, radio programs, all the people that financially support. We love to hear of all the people coming to Christ, many coming back to Christ, getting in church for the first time perhaps in years.
And so we give God the glory for that. But with all that's going on in the world and in our nation, let's unite our hearts in prayer and we'll close out the program that way. Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus, as we read Psalm 83 and we think about the enemies of Israel in centuries past and even today, Lord, we pray for the peace of Jerusalem. And since this war began October 7 of 23, at least 1400 Israelites have been killed and 5000 Palestinians and a million people are displaced. And so Father God, we pray for peace to come to that region.
Lord, would you rule and overrule. And Lord, we pray for anti-Semitism to stop and the hatred for the Jewish people, the children of Abraham through whom you sent the Messiah. Lord, let anti-Semitism be changed to love and unity. And Lord, we do pray for the Palestinians as well.
These are human beings, the victims of a false religion. But Lord, we pray for their salvation. And Lord, we pray for America to turn back to you. Lord, restore the family. Restore the church. Give our leaders wisdom and courage. And may we live righteously and in a way that's pleasing in your sight. Father God, in all the world and in all of our hearts, and yes, in Israel, thy will be done.
In Jesus' name we pray. Alex McFarland Ministries are made possible through the prayers and financial support of partners like you. For over 20 years, this ministry has been bringing individuals into a personal relationship with Christ and has been equipping people to stand strong for truth. Learn more and donate securely online at alexmcfarland.com. You may also reach us at Alex McFarland, P.O.
Box 10231, Greensboro, North Carolina 27404. Or by calling 1-877-YES-GOD-1. Thanks for joining us. We'll see you again on the next edition of The Alex McFarland Show.
Do you have a desire to deepen your faith, better understand Christian apologetics, or to get a biblical perspective on current events? Well, I've tried to make it simple for you to do just that. On my website, alexmcfarland.com, there's a new section called Ask Alex Online. It's simple, it's clean, and you can read my answers to common questions about God, faith, and the Bible. So visit the website alexmcfarland.com and look for the section that says Ask Alex Online.
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