Guest Post: A Meditation on Psalms, Sirens, and Terror. October 11, 2023


Enjoying the Journey has many friends in the ministry who help and encourage us along the way. John Buckner is a real student of God’s Word. He has spent the last several years in Jerusalem completing a Master’s degree in Classical Hebrew and has dedicated His life to the study of God’s Word. Please read this recent update from him carefully and prayerfully. 

On Friday night a friend gave me a ride home in Jerusalem, Israel. I had just spent the evening with him and his wife at their apartment after the weekly Friday night service. My heart was overflowing from the good preaching, the amazing fellowship, and what I believed was in store.

I woke up on Saturday and was horrified as I saw on the news what was happening in the south of the country. Then the Red Alert sirens started blaring in Jerusalem and I had to repeatedly shelter myself. I was fixated on the news, as I read in disbelief what is now known internationally. Hamas invaded Israel and was committing acts of unspeakable barbarism.

During one of the respites from rocket attacks, I tore myself away from the news and did my devotions, although much later in the day than is normal for me. A commentator on the Old Testament whom I respect recommends reading the Psalms aloud as they were originally meant, a prayer to God, which is a practice I have recently adopted. I got out my Hebrew Bible and began to read my daily Psalm aloud in prayer. By the providence of God, I was to read Psalms 27. Tears began to run down my face as I spoke the beautiful, ancient words penned by King David with the sound of yet another Red Alert in the background.

1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.
3 Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.
4 One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.
5 For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.
6 And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord.
7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
8 When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.
9 Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.
10 When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.
11 Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.
12 Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty.
13 I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
14 Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.

As you can imagine, these words were more real to me than they ever were in the past. I read them aloud to God, then since I was alone in my apartment, I shouted them. In the solitude and uncertainty of the next few days, I recited the words of this Psalm to God over and over in Hebrew and English as rumors swirled of invasions from the south, and from the north.

There is a peculiarity of biblical Hebrew that brought me comfort during those days. In verse 12, David begged God not to deliver him to his enemies, who are false witnesses who breathe out cruelty. The Hebrew word for cruelty used here is literally pronounced the same as the terror group that was rampaging across southern and central Israel at the moment, Hamas.

Verse 12 became my prayer to God as I made ready my escape. That He would deliver me from the power of cruelty, of Hamas. As I waited the long hours for my flight to board, the Red Alert sounded yet again as a rocket struck the airport property, and another struck the road outside. I breathed the words of Psalm 27 as I waited for the all-clear, crammed in the airport bomb shelter with other travelers.

Thankfully, I was able to leave, and I am writing this article from the relative safety of Turkey. But my heart aches for the brothers and sisters who are still in harm’s way. Moments ago, I received a text with a picture of a friend and brother in Christ who had been called up for duty. In the photo he is smiling from on top of a tank, headed for Gaza.

So now, I pray Psalms 27 for him and for many others. That God would keep them safe in this day of cruelty, the day of Hamas.

Will you join me in praying the words of Psalm 27 over the people of Israel, both believers and unbelievers? That God would protect them in their time of trouble, this time of the cruelty of Hamas? Please pray too that those who need to will, in the words of verse 8, seek the face of God.

– John Buckner. October 11, 2023.

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  1. Lee on October 12, 2023 at 9:00 AM

    Oh wow so powerful. Praying now 🙏🙏🙏🛐🛐🛐

  2. Randy MacDonald on October 12, 2023 at 10:00 AM

    Great devotion gentlemen. Thank You Bro Buckner for the insight and Bro Pauley for sharing this with the rest of us.

  3. Heather on October 12, 2023 at 12:09 PM

    Yes! I will be praying Psalm 27 for all of Israel and that those who need to will seek the face of God!!

  4. Nancy Marlow on October 15, 2023 at 9:17 AM

    I was also praying in Psalms this morning for this situation! Thank you for posting this powerful reminder. Our mighty God is in control and I am also praying for the precious people of Israel! I pray that this time will be the means of many of them recognizing Jesus as their Messiah!

  5. John Eddy on October 17, 2023 at 10:03 AM

    Thank you for posting, Bro Pauley. There are so few trust-worthy sources as to just what is happening in Israel.
    Joining John Bruckner and all these in prayer.

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