This is a timely book about a subject we are all-too-familiar with: the Middle East conflict. Places like Israel, Palestine, Gaza Strip, and the West Bank, are common segments on news stations and websites across the world. It seems that everyone has an opinion about what needs to happen between Israel and Palestine: Israel needs to leave Palestine alone, Palestine needs to leave Israel, a two-state solution needs to be drawn up … the land belongs to Palestine, the land belongs to Israel, the land belongs to both of them … insert your own thoughts.
Maybe they are out there, but I have yet to see a book that approaches this crisis from a Biblical point of view. We know that religion plays a huge part in this battle over the land, but how? And why? Is God responsible for what is going on, or was this situation started by man and fueled by the sin (anger, bitterness, selfishness, pride, etc)?
In thinking about these questions, and others, I want to introduce a book that brings about answers and insight concerning Israel and her neighbors – from a Biblical perspective. Bryant Wright recently wrote Seeds of Turmoil: The Biblical roots of the inevitable crisis in the Middle East. Needless to say, when I received this book in the mail, I was pumped to finally read about this issue from such a standpoint. I was not disappointed by any means.
Wright’s book is a quick read (it took me two days to read it). It is written in conversational language (so it’s not too academic). The book starts with Abraham and ends with what is currently going on with Israel and the threat of Palestine and Iran (in less that 220 pages).
Wright opens up with talking about God’s promise to give Abraham a son, by which a nation would be born that would be God’s everlasting, chosen people. He discusses how Abraham took matters in his own hand, and in sleeping with his wife’s servant, Hagar, he had a son named Ishmael. Then about 15 years later, Abraham and his wife (Sarah) had a son of their own, named Isaac. One son was born out of disobedience and one son was born out of faith. One son would receive the blessing of becoming a powerful nation for God, and one would be a nation built on bitterness and pride. In this, the rest of the book takes shape and Wright discusses the effects and trials Ishmael and Isaac bring onto one another over time; and how from this disobedient act of Abraham is birthed the entire Middle East crisis.
Seeds of Turmoil also gives great insight about the situation from a Jewish perspective, a Muslim perspective, and Christian perspective. Yes the book offers its own opinion about the situation, but it does so in the hopes that the reader would make his or her own opinion first. This book is about offering clear insight into some messy and confusing questions concerning the Israeli and Palestinian crisis.
Wright’s conclusions seem fair and balance. From a human perspective, Palestine has been mistreated. And the Muslim nations in the Middle East blame three groups of people: Israel, the UN, and Christians. However, from a biblical perspective, Israel is only trying to attain and keep what was given to her by God Himself: the land. For this reason alone, Wright concludes, bible believing Christians must stand in support of Israel. One notable conclusion that Wright brings forth is this:
If we, as Christians, are going to profess we believe in God’s infallible Word, then we must also stand up and believe what God says concerning Israel: that they are still His chosen people, and that their land still belongs to them.
I highly recommend this book. The only thing I would want Wright to change would be the length – it needs to be longer. I was hoping he would go more in-depth about why Iran is such a threat to Israel, instead of just touching on the subject. Still, the book is a great read, very informative, and, again, very timely.