Israel is currently in an unprecedented crisis – a nightmare they have never experienced before. Hamas terrorists have brutally murdered hundreds of innocent civilians, dozens of men, women and children have been taken hostage and rockets are raining down on Israeli towns and communities. What is the appropriate response to such a catastrophe?
Throughout history, Jews have turned to Psalms as a way to connect with God during moments of joy and hardship alike. Here are selected Psalms that resonate with the current events in Israel.
Let’s unite in prayer and stand with Israel at this difficult time.
1. Psalm 20 – ISRAEL WILL TRUST IN GOD
David prays for help to come from the sanctuary and from Zion. God’s headquarters is aware of their need. From His very seat of power, the order has gone out: “Give help to My people. She is drowning in deep trouble. Whatever is necessary to save her, do it. Commit our finest battalions, our best armaments. Get to her quickly. She cannot hold out much longer. Rescue and turn the tide of battle for her.” That’s the kind of back-up support we can expect from heaven’s throne room.
Trust in the Name of the Lord Our God
1 May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble!
May the name of the God of Jacob protect you!
2 May he send you help from the sanctuary
and give you support from Zion!
3 May he remember all your offerings
and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices! Selah
4 May he grant you your heart’s desire
and fulfill all your plans!
5 May we shout for joy over your salvation,
and in the name of our God set up our banners!
May the Lord fulfill all your petitions!
6 Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed;
he will answer him from his holy heaven
with the saving might of his right hand.
7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
8 They collapse and fall,
but we rise and stand upright.
9 O Lord, save the king!
May he answer us when we call.
2. Psalm 27 – FAMILIES THAT ARE AFFECTED BY TERROR
David begins Psalm 27 with a statement of unwavering faith in God: “The LORD is my light and my help; whom should I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life, whom should I dread?” He then describes how, even as his enemies approach and attempt to ambush him, he puts his trust in God who he knows will watch over him and protect him. As the Psalm continues, his unwavering faith seems to falter and he cries out to God “Do not hide Your face from me; do not thrust aside Your servant in anger; You have ever been my help. Do not forsake me, do not abandon me, O God, my deliverer.”
According to the sages, David recited this Psalm while fighting against Amalekite bands (I Sam. 30:17) who had kidnapped his wife and children. Amalek was known for its cruelty and lack of morality, attacking the old and weak at the back of the Israelite camp as the Jews journeyed through the desert. Hamas and the terrorists who perpetrate evil against Israel and her citizens are modern-day Amalakites. Let us join together to recite the words of King David in response to their recent atrocities:
Of David. The LORD is my light and my help; whom should I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life, whom should I dread?
When evil men assail me to devour my flesh—it is they, my foes and my enemies, who stumble and fall.
Should an army besiege me, my heart would have no fear; should war beset me, still would I be confident.
One thing I ask of the LORD, only that do I seek: to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD, to frequent His temple.
He will shelter me in His pavilion on an evil day, grant me the protection of His tent, raise me high upon a rock.
Now is my head high over my enemies round about; I sacrifice in His tent with shouts of joy, singing and chanting a hymn to the LORD.
Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud; have mercy on me, answer me.
In Your behalf my heart says: “Seek My face!” O LORD, I seek Your face.
Do not hide Your face from me; do not thrust aside Your servant in anger; You have ever been my help.
Do not forsake me, do not abandon me, O God, my deliverer.
Though my father and mother abandon me, the LORD will take me in.
Show me Your way, O LORD, and lead me on a level path because of my watchful foes.
Do not subject me to the will of my foes, for false witnesses and unjust accusers have appeared against me.
Had I not the assurance that I would enjoy the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living…
Look to the LORD; be strong and of good courage! O look to the LORD!
3. Psalm 83 – JUSTICE AND KNOWLEDGE OF THE LORD ALMIGHTY TO THE ENEMIES
Psalm 83 lists eleven enemies who, throughout history, sought to destroy the Nation of Israel. Asaph seeks the Lord’s vengeance and asks that He come down in a grand display of omnipotence to smite all of Israel’s enemies. He invokes the incidents recorded in the Book of Judges, when the Lord helped the judges destroy all the arrogant leaders of their adversaries. Oreb and Zeeb were two princes of Midian who were killed by Gideon during the defeat of the Midianites recorded in Judges 7:25, while Zebah and Zalmunna were two kings of Midian killed during this war as well 8:10-12.
Just as Asaph asks God not to be silent in the face of Israel’s previous enemies, we beg Him to “deal with” our current enemies as well. “May they be frustrated and terrified, disgraced and doomed forever,” and, ultimately, “May they know that Your name, Yours alone, is the LORD, supreme over all the earth.”
A song, a psalm of Asaph.
O God, do not be silent; do not hold aloof; do not be quiet, O God!
For Your enemies rage, Your foes assert themselves.
They plot craftily against Your people, take counsel against Your treasured ones.
They say, “Let us wipe them out as a nation; Israel’s name will be mentioned no more.”
Unanimous in their counsel they have made an alliance against You—
the clans of Edom and the Ishmaelites, Moab and the Hagrites,
Gebal, Ammon, and Amalek, Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre;
Assyria too joins forces with them; they give support to the sons of Lot. Selah.
Deal with them as You did with Midian, with Sisera, with Jabin, at the brook Kishon—
who were destroyed at En-dor, who became dung for the field.
Treat their great men like Oreb and Zeeb, all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna,
who said, “Let us take the meadows of God as our possession.”
O my God, make them like thistledown, like stubble driven by the wind.
As a fire burns a forest, as flames scorch the hills,
pursue them with Your tempest, terrify them with Your storm.
Cover their faces with shame so that they seek Your name, O LORD.
May they be frustrated and terrified, disgraced and doomed forever.
May they know that Your name, Yours alone, is the LORD, supreme over all the earth.
4. Psalm 121 – GOD WILL WATCH OVER THE SOLDIERS AND THEIR FAMILIES
Psalm 121 is often one of the first Psalms that people turn to in times of crisis. It is a beacon of hope during challenging times, emphasizing the unwavering protection of God. The psalmist declares that the Lord is our guardian and protector. But unlike a human guard, “the guardian of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps.” God’s watchful eye never strays from His people or His land, offering constant vigilance day and night.
This Psalm is especially fitting to say for the Israeli soldiers who are at the front lines, fighting the terrorists and defending the citizens of Israel, as well as those who have been taken hostage. We beg the Almighty to oversee their “going and coming.”
A song for ascents. I turn my eyes to the mountains; from where will my help come?
My help comes from the LORD, maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot give way; your guardian will not slumber;
See, the guardian of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps!
The LORD is your guardian, the LORD is your protection at your right hand.
By day the sun will not strike you, nor the moon by night.
The LORD will guard you from all harm; He will guard your life.
The LORD will guard your going and coming now and forever.
5. Psalm 122 – FOR PEACE AND SECURITY
122 A Song of Ascents. Of David.
1 I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the Lord!”
2 Our feet have been standing
within your gates, O Jerusalem!
3 Jerusalem—built as a city
that is bound firmly together,
4 to which the tribes go up,
the tribes of the Lord,
as was decreed for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the Lord.
5 There thrones for judgment were set,
the thrones of the house of David.
6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
“May they be secure who love you!
7 Peace be within your walls
and security within your towers!”
8 For my brothers and companions’ sake
I will say, “Peace be within you!”
9 For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek your good.
6. Psalm 125 – PROTECTION
In Psalm 125, this sixth psalm of ascent up to Jerusalem, the writer lets us know his faith has struggled with that question and prevailed. Verse 3 telegraphs his trial. A foreign invader now ruled over the land of the righteous. Evil has the upper hand and people of faith waver (i.e., “might use their hands to do evil”).
The Psalmist sandwiched his problem (v. 3) in between great affirmations of trust in God (vv. 1,2,4,5). It’s always good to put your need, fear, or worry smack-dab in the middle of a prayer which starts with faith and closes with confidence and peace. Nothing can penetrate God’s inner ring of protection for them (v. 2). Adversity and sorrow can form only the outer circle. God himself becomes the inner perimeter of care and protection. His constant close surrounding is more permanent than even the mountains around Jerusalem. Watch for the good God will do (v. 4). God will help to overcome evil with good. (See Romans 12:21.)
1 Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,
which cannot be moved, but abides forever.
2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
so the Lord surrounds his people,
from this time forth and forevermore.
3 For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest
on the land allotted to the righteous,
lest the righteous stretch out
their hands to do wrong.
4 Do good, O Lord, to those who are good,
and to those who are upright in their hearts!
5 But those who turn aside to their crooked ways
the Lord will lead away with evildoers!
Peace be upon Israel!