Bryant Wright has written a very well-documented and crafted text that wonderfully outlines the biblical basis for the historical and contemporary conflict in the Middle East. By focusing our attention on the seeds of turmoil, beginning with Abraham and Sarah, and their offspring, Issac and Jacob, he brings us on a thought-provoking journey that helps to shed light on how this conflict began.
In section one, The Founders of the Conflict, Wright begins with highlighting God’s promise to Abraham and Sarah, that through their offspring all the nations of the earth will be blessed. However, through unbelief, Abraham and Sarah decided not to believe the promise and took matters into their own hands. As a result, Ishmael was born through Sarah’s maidservant, Hagar. However, God did not abandon them. And, after a number of years, the promised child, Issac, was born. This one decision to move beyond God’s promise provided the foundation of the conflict; one that began with Issac and Ishmael.
From there, he continues by following the biblical story of Abraham’s family and the continuous conflict that came about because of his earlier decision. He traces this conflict through Sarah and Hagar, Issac and Ishmael, Esau and Jacob, and the eventual birth of Israel. The final two chapters in part one (7-8) deal with the State of Israel, the neighboring Arab nations and Israel’s greatest contemporary threat, Iran.
In section two, Wright attempts to provide a synopsis of the three conflicting perspectives that stand at the center of the current Middle East conflict; Jewish, Islamic and Christian. By providing each major player with a voice and an opportunity to highlight their various perspectives and actions, he concludes the book by providing final thoughts that answers three important questions that arise from the conversation: Does God play favorites? Is God unfair? and Is the Middle East conflict God’s fault? In each instance, he provides a faithful and honest response.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book. For those of us who watch various news reports that highlight the Middle East conflict, Wright’s book will help us to understand the foundational, and biblical, roots that lie at the center of this age-old dispute. I found the book to be very helpful in diagnosing the primary issues behind the conflict, as well as providing hope for a way forward, through the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ.
I recommend the book to every one who is genuinely interested in learning more about this very important and ongoing issue. I think you too will find the information enlightening, thought-provoking and hopeful.
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