Dictionary: dire straits, noun; a state of extreme distress [syn: desperate straits]

We are passing through a period of time known as “Between the Straits,” or “Dire Straits.”

The three weeks on the Hebrew calendar beginning with the 17th of Tammuz (15 July 2014) and ending with the 9th of Av (4-5 August 2014) are known as Bein haMetzarim (“between the straits,” i.e. between the days of distress).

The oldest extant reference to “The Three Weeks” of mourning as Bein haMetzarim is found in Eikhah Rabbati 1.29 (Lamentations Rabbah, fourth century CE?). This midrash glosses Lamentations 1:3, “All [Zion’s] pursuers overtook her between the straits.”

Therefore, pray this amazingly futuristic prophecy in Zechariah 8:19:

This is what the LORD Almighty says: “The fasts of the fourth month [17th of Tammuz], fifth month [9th of Av], seventh and tenth months [two other man-decreed fasts to commemorate Jewish tragedies] will become joyful and glad occasions and happy festivals for Judah. Therefore love truth and peace.”  (Visit this link to learn more about the four fasts mentioned in this verse.) During the Dire Straits and especially on the upcoming mourning day of the 9th of Av, every year I believe God literally, if not now, certainly in the future, to fulfil Zechariah 8:19, because His Word is true and will surely come to pass in his timing.

As Zechariah 8:19 prophesies, humanly appointed fasts of mourning will be turned into feasts of gladness when the Almighty restores all Israel to Himself. At last, the Israelis will seek Him (verses 20-23) and will be greatly blessed. They will no longer make it a custom and tradition to perpetuate the memory of tragedies.  Therefore, PROCLAIM and BELIEVE Zechariah 8:19 with me, and if you are in Jerusalem, pray with me on that day for a great overturning of the tables.

But meanwhile, is there any wonder that Israel is passing through Dire Straits? This is the face and voice of Hamas.

Poster by Israel Defense Forces

Poster by Israel Defense Forces

This is why Hamas must be defeated. If you have not read the Hamas Charter, you must read it to know what kind of intractable foe Israel is dealing with. Make no mistake about it, this is a war of Islamic hegemony, for Hamas hates the God of Jews and Christians. Read the Hamas Charter, also known as the Hamas Covenant (using the exact language of Psalm 83:5) at this link.

Pray for minimum loss of lives among the innocent in both Israel and Gaza.

Pray for the powers of darkness behind the Hamas pawns to be exposed, for we wrestle not with human beings but against wicked spirits and rulers in the unseen dimension. Wickedly, Hamas hides its rocket bunkers in mosques, under hospitals, in schools and in homes in the midst of civilian areas

Watch and Pray: Is Isaiah 11: 14 being fulfilled? For intercessory prayer, we prayerfully submit below the text of Isaiah 11:12-16, with emphasis on verse 14, for its direct relevance to the Psalm 83 nations. (In verse 4 of Psalm 83, Israel’s neighbors say, “Come, let us destroy them as a nation, so that Israel’s name is remembered no more.”)

He will raise a banner for the nations
and gather the exiles of Israel;
he will assemble the scattered people of Judah
from the four quarters of the earth.
13 Ephraim’s jealousy will vanish,
and Judah’s enemies will be destroyed;
Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah,
nor Judah hostile toward Ephraim.
14 They will swoop down on the slopes of Philistia to the west; {Gaza}
    together they will plunder the people to the east.
They will subdue Edom and Moab,
    and the Ammonites will be subject to them.
15 The Lord will dry up
the gulf of the Egyptian sea;
with a scorching wind he will sweep his hand
over the Euphrates River.
He will break it up into seven streams
so that anyone can cross over in sandals.
16 There will be a highway for the remnant of his people
that is left from Assyria,
as there was for Israel
when they came up from Egypt.

One of the potential outcomes of the Isaiah 11: 14/Psalm 83 scenario could be the defeat of the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, eliminating the possibility of  a two-state solution. Meanwhile, verse 14 also draws a cloud of uncertainty over the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
Finally, in this 18 July prayer update, lest I load you with too much information, I must share an excerpt from my friend Avner Boskey’s newsletter, because this is also the cry of my heart:

“Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.” (Exodus 1:8). 

Whereas in the 1960’s through the 1990’s many Evangelicals and Charismatics were warmly disposed to Israel and the Jewish people, now at the beginning of the 21st century some of these hearts have grown cold –“ Because wickedness will increase, most/many people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved” (Matthew 24:12-13).

In days past a … warmth toward Israel was easy when there was no cost involved. In our day it turns out that a slight amount of social disapproval or PC pressure melts waxen hearts to reveal the hard edge of good old Jew-hatred and anti-Semitic double standard. The prophetic warning concerning children not walking in the sins of their fathers – or the opposite, children walking in sins that their fathers never walked in (Jeremiah 31:29-20; Ezekiel 18:1-4, 30; Matthew 23:29-32) – is something to which we would well pay attention today.

Pray for believers who have drifted with the current, hardening their hearts to God’s heart for Israel. Pray for renewed revelation, a renewed heart of flesh, and repentance.