C. S. Lewis stated that he did not spend time reading the newspapers.1 They were too depressing and did not give God’s perspective. I do know intercessors who read the news regularly to be informed for intercession, but they do this with discernment if they are mature.
World News is Depressing
In recent months I have reflected much on the situation in Western nations. The situation is painfully sad.
There is a breakdown of the family. This has been detrimental for the whole of society, and the prospects for the next generation are terrible. The devastation in the African American community is especially grievous. The murder rate in the black community is shocking. 73% of African American babies are born out of wedlock and raised without a father, likely headed for a life of poverty. Yet, the leaders of the United States hardly address it, and the culture of immorality that is fostered by the entertainment industry grinds on as usual. Immorality is considered a human right in the West. Shame has been banished.
A culture of death through abortion. dominates the landscape. The Kenyan government has told US officials to back off and stop pressuring their country on gay rights and abortion rights. Amazing! An interesting example of Western colonialism!
Foreign policy in the West is blind. Western leaders are unwilling to call radical jihadist Islam an enemy. So when Egypt replaces such a government, the US government kowtows to the Islamists and criticizes the Egyptian Army for restoring some semblance of real freedom for those who are not Islamists. The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood government of the recently deposed leader Morsi, although chosen at the ballot, quickly became tyrannical and established a terrible track record on human rights (especially toward the Christian minority).
Human trafficking circles the globe and is especially painful with regard to young women and children. It is an epidemic.
Nowhere is Western blindness more pronounced than in the way Palestinian violence and anti-Semitism is excused, and even blamed on supposed obstinacy on the part of Israel. In fact Palestinian leaders have walked away from two peace proposals in which Israel was willing to “give away everything but the kitchen sink”. If you don’t believe me, note what Dennis Ross – who was in those negotiations with President Clinton – stated. Yet Israel is blamed. It is blamed for the Gaza blockade of a terrorist state, and the world forgets that Gaza also shares a border with Egypt. Gaza is not surrounded by Israel!
Then the West talks endlessly while Iran continues to move toward a nuclear bomb. The Iranian government makes no secret of its desire to destroy Israel.
Should I mention the levels of poverty in some places in the world? Grinding poverty is still pervasive in some societies, and the governments of most of those societies are thoroughly corrupt.
When we look at the condition of the churches, the lack of community, the lack of evangelistic power and discipleship in the West, we grieve even more. We mourn as preachers and young people proclaim they are “post modern”. They have little understanding of what they are asserting since the heart of post-modernism is that everything is relative and there is no ultimate truth.
Just this last week, China repudiated the standards of the UN Declaration on Human Rights (not in name but in content) as “dangerous ideas”. Yet in joining the UN, nations are supposed to affirm this. The Islamic world has also largely repudiated these standards. In fact, the majority are allowed to be members without affirming it. A key characteristic of the West, is not to enforce standards, unless they call for a boycott of Israeli goods from the West Bank!
Despite Christian gains in Africa and South America, there are also social problems in rape, murder, tribalism, AIDS and more that show a huge need for discipleship. The level of rape in South Africa, almost a right of passage for men, is painfully sick and depressing.
This is only part of the story and not the most important part. It is undeniable that all of this so-called “news” is very one sided. There is so much more that God is doing in bringing people into His Kingdom, even by signs and wonders in the Muslim world.
Yet the Greatest World Revival is Coming
I have written before in these pages that I believe we will see a great world revival, a Holy Spirit outpouring connected to the salvation of Israel. This last revival will be in a time of great darkness and will lead to the Second Coming of Yeshua. However, it is always possible that revivals before the last one will lead to national reformations as they have done in the past, for example in the British Empire and America (the first and second Great Awakenings). I do not know the time-frame of the Second Coming. I only know that we cannot focus on the darkness. One philosopher said that if we “look too long into the abyss the abyss looks into us”.2
I do hope for another reformation of society in the West, but maybe that will not happen. Maybe the next revival will already be the one leading to that ultimate clash of good and evil. That revival will pull the churches out of compromise with the world. This compromise is happening today in very alarming ways. We have to look at the light.
What we are seeking to foster in Israel is connected to Bible prophecy about Israel’s central role in reversing the darkness. In this regard, Isaiah 60:1-3 has become a key passage in my understanding and a great comfort.
“Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people, but the LORD will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.”
These verses speak of revival in Israel which is in turn the key to world redemption. So we pray for revival and growth starting in Israel.
We pray, evangelize, disciple our children and disciple our new believers. The darkness may be very dark, but the light will overcome it. Let us draw near to Him and not allow the darkness to shroud our lives.
1 In, for example, Letters to an American Lady, 1955
2 Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, Aphorism 146 (1886).
Sun rising over Israel