Psalm 120

I call on the LORD in my distress, and he answers me. Save me, O LORD, from lying lips and from deceitful tongues. What will he do to you, and what more besides, O deceitful tongue? He will punish you with a warrior’s sharp arrows, with burning coals of the broom tree. Woe to me that I dwell in Meshech, that I live among the tents of Kedar! Too long have I lived among those who hate peace. I am a man of peace; but when I speak, they are for war.

This psalm is a prayer for deliverance from false accusers. It recounts the words of a man of peace being twisted to create an unfavorable impression in the minds of others. He’s surrounded by enemies, and no matter what he says, all they want is war.

I usually try to find some uplifting thought in the Psalm of the week, but with this one it’s pretty hard to miss its singular significance. Meshech is a son of Japeth.  His descendants are variously known as Russia or Turkey among scholars. Kedar was the 2nd son of Ishmael, from whom Mohammed descended.

Together they represent every nation that exists near Israel today. Their voices regularly accuse Israel falsely in the courts of public opinion, and the more Israel sacrifices to achieve peace, the more bellicose they become. Retaliation brings calls for war, as does retreat. Words of warning and words of conciliation are equally offensive. Response or non-response, action or inaction, it’s all the same to them.

Israel is not without error, and is not currently walking with God as a nation. But no nation has ever done more to accommodate its neighbors in an effort to achieve peace while maintaining its own security. The only thing left is to disappear, something they’ve rightly refused to do.

Will the US give most of its southwest to Mexico because of a claim by some that it was wrongly acquired? Will Turkey give the Kurds their ancestral homeland back due to the fact that France illegally gave it to the Turks as a bribe to keep them from taking Germany’s side in WW2?  Will Iran keep its hands off Iraq and let the Iraqis determine their own future? Will the world community step in to try and force any of this to happen like they regularly do with Israel?

In the name of peace Israel has offered to carve a “homeland” out of its meager allotment for a historically non-existent people with no claim to it. Much of this is called “occupied territory” but it was originally given to Israel in 1948 and then illegally captured by Jordanian forces who held it until Israel took it back by force in 1967.

And what’s the other side’s response to this offer? “It’s not enough!” It’s never enough. Israel has every right to say, “Too long have I lived among those who hate peace. I am a man of peace; but when I speak, they are for war.”