For the nation and kingdom which will not serve you shall perish, and those nations shall be utterly ruined. “The glory of Lebanon shall come to you, the cypress, the pine and the box tree together, to beautify the place of My sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious. – Isaiah 60:12-13
In the game pick-up-sticks, spiked sticks of different colours are thrown into the air and fall randomly. The winner extracts the most sticks without disturbing the pile. However, care must be taken because the sticks are sharp and misuse can cause injury. Likewise, the vying spiritual and political influences in Lebanon – Shia, Sunni and Christian – this month have been thrown in the air and now is the time to pray that they fall in such a way that the Kingdom of God will advance forcefully in the Middle East. The catalyst for throwing these sticks into the air was Saad Hariri’s 4th Nov. controversial resignation as Lebanese Prime Minister.
Lebanon has been described as a ‘playground for foreign powers’ since its borders were drawn by the French-British 1916 Sykes-Picot axis agreement. Internally, the country’s delicately balanced 1926 constitution determines that the president is Christian (at least culturally), the prime minister Sunni Muslim and the parliament speaker Shiite Muslim. Initially this worked well, and as with Jesus parable of the wheat and tares (Matthew 13:24-30) good seed was sown and the Christian influence held sway for a season. Later, apparently ‘moderate’ Sunni Muslim influence grew up in the form of the Hariri family, backed externally by oil rich Sunni Saudi Arabia. However, in 2005 PM Rafiq Hariri was brutally murdered – clearly the Enemy had long since sown bad seed! Both Shiite (Alawite) President Assad of Syria (see map) and the Iran backed powerful Lebanese Shiite terrorist militia army Hezbollah, were inconclusively blamed. Jump to 2016 and Maronite Christian Michel Aoun was elected president to fill a political vacuum, alongside existing Prime Minister Saad Hariri – Rafiq’s son. Crucially Aoun allied himself with Hezbollah, vowing to ‘reclaim’ territory from Israel’s Mount Hermon area. Shiite influence was growing at the expense of Sunni and the delicate balance disturbed.
Saad Hariri’s resignation from within Saudi Arabia appears to be motivated by fear of an assassination plot and also encouraged, or even forced by Saudi Arabia in order to highlight Shiite dominance in Lebanon via Iran’s proxy Hezbollah. Iran is seeking regional hegemony and a land corridor between Iran and the Mediterranean, a platform to attack and wipe out Israel. It manufactures missiles in Syria and now also in Lebanon. Indeed, Hezbollah has an estimated, unprecedented 150,000 missiles pointed at Israel.
Yet within Lebanon there are 1.4 million traditional Christians and 21,000 evangelicals, 2.5 million Moslems, 1 million+ Syrian refugees struggling for rights and work. Biblically Lebanon has a history of cooperation and trade with Israel, notably in the time of King Solomon and King Hiram of Tyre (within current Lebanon). Until 2000, the mostly Christian South Lebanese army cooperated with Israel against Islamic militancy.
How to pray:
- Pray that cooperation between Israel and Lebanon would be reawakened, and the Christians in Lebanon strengthened and redeemed.
- Ask the Lord to help Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
- Saudi Arabia has hands stained with blood and has long spawned terrorism – it does not love Israel, but sees us as an ally against Iran. Pray that the Lord would specifically use Saudi Arabia and its new young ruler for Kingdom purposes in relation to both Lebanon and Israel.
- Jesus said ‘a house divided cannot stand’ (Matthew 12:22-28) – pray for the divided house of Islam, Shiite and Sunni, to give way to the Kingdom of God and the Son he loves – Yeshua!
Psalm 83 describes an as yet un-transpired alliance of armies attacking Israel, one of which is ‘Tyre’ (verse 7) -synonymous with Lebanon, or perhaps Hezbollah. Included in the Psalm is a prayer for the destruction of the alliance – verses 13-18. We need to start praying for the swift and total destruction of these invaders and for consequent revelation of the Kingdom of God (verse 18).