Israel Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has proven to be more than Russian President Vladimir Putin bargained for. Media outlets and other “experts” predicted Russia would overrun Kiev and take over the capital city of Ukraine in a matter of days, yet it hasn’t happened. Yes, it could still happen, but not without a continued fight Putin didn’t anticipate.

Meanwhile, Putin has been unmasked as the evil tyrant he is and the world seems to be turning against him. (Too little, too late, and not nearly enough being done by America, but worldwide turning nonetheless.) However, Putin is perhaps never more dangerous than as a cornered animal. He is now threatening nuclear engagement. The vast majority wrongly believed Putin would not attack Ukraine. Will that majority now deny Putin’s intent to use nuclear power? Beware of cornered animals!

Meanwhile, as many of the world’s nations are issuing condemnation regarding Russia’s attack, Israel is eerily silent. Why? Because they are between a rock and a hard place!

For years, Russia has been the kingpin in Syria, and their military has kept opposing forces at bay. As Iran shipped in munitions, equipment, drones, etc with the intent to attack Israel, Russia has historically allowed Israeli fighter jets to take care of business in Syria without threat of Russian anti-aircraft and other weapons deterring them. It is in Israel’s interest not to anger the Russians.

However, globally, Israel stand with and provides support to beleaguered nations and people groups who are attacked or suffering hardship. (Think of Operation Good Neighbor, when Israel provided medical care to Syrians. Or thousands of Palestinians who fled Gaza in need of medical attention over the years, despite rocket attacks on Israel!)

Israel is now sending humanitarian aid to Ukraine. However, Israel’s rock and hard place may squeeze tighter tomorrow when the UN General Assembly votes on a resolution condemning Russia’s aggression. What will Israel do? Russia, Ukraine and the world are watching!

In Scripture, David and others found themselves squeezed between a rock and a hard place often. Chapter headings are not inspired Scripture, and I certainly don’t recommend The Message as a primary study source. However, that loose translation of the Bible sometimes sheds interesting light on principles of Scripture. Here is a unique rendering of Isaiah 43:1-7:

When You’re Between a Rock and a Hard Place

43 1-4 But now, God’s Message,
    the God who made you in the first place, Jacob,
    the One who got you started, Israel:
“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
    I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
    When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place,
    it won’t be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God,
    The Holy of Israel, your Savior.
I paid a huge price for you:
    all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in!
That’s how much you mean to me!
    That’s how much I love you!
I’d sell off the whole world to get you back,
    trade the creation just for you.

5-7 “So don’t be afraid: I’m with you.
    I’ll round up all your scattered children,
    pull them in from east and west.
I’ll send orders north and south:
    ‘Send them back.
Return my sons from distant lands,
    my daughters from faraway places.
I want them back, every last one who bears my name,
    every man, woman, and child
Whom I created for my glory,
    yes, personally formed and made each one.’”

It’s a Biblical promise to Israel, who stands right now between a rock and a hard place. But it has implications for us as well. Are you between a rock and a hard place, longing to find your way to true peace and freedom?

The same God who watches over Israel watches over you! Rest in Him, dear friends! Vladimir Putin may find himself on the wrong side of salvation, but God has a place for you! Trust Him today!

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