“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, … 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 colors 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 Muslim, Sunni Muslim and Christian – 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.
Ever since its borders were drawn by the French and British in 1916, Lebanon has been described as a “playground for foreign powers.” The country’s 1926 constitution delicately balanced Christian, Sunni and Shiite political influence. Initially this worked well. 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, former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri was assassinated. Both President Assad of Syria and the Iranian-backed Shiite terrorist militia army Hezbollah, were suspected in the assassination.
Jump to 2016, and Maronite Christian Michel Aoun was elected president to fill a political vacuum, alongside 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 was disturbed.
Shiite 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.
Within Lebanon there are 1.4 million traditional Christians and 21,000 evangelicals, 2.5 million Moslems and over one million Syrian refugees struggling for rights and work. Biblically Lebanon had a history of cooperation and trade with Israel, notably in the time of King Solomon and King Hiram of Tyre (within current Lebanon). In the 1980s and 1990s, the mostly Christian South Lebanese army cooperated with Israel against Islamic militancy.
How to pray:
1. Pray that cooperation between Israel and Lebanon would be reawakened, and the Christians in Lebanon strengthened and redeemed.
2. Pray for Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
3. Saudi Arabia has long sponsored terrorism, but sees Israel as an ally against Iran. Pray that the Lord would specifically use Saudi Arabia and its young new ruler for Kingdom purposes in relation to both Lebanon and Israel.
4. 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).