Preaching Lesson From A Politician

I heard portions of Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to a joint session of Congress yesterday.

I have to say, it was stunning. I pulled over in my car and began writing as much of it down as I could.

Even if you disagree with Netanyahu’s politics and its implications,you have to admire to force of his argument, the simple beauty of his language, and the cadence of his delivery.

I give you below some nuggets from the text of the speech. Pay particular attention to the short sentences, the building of patterns, the rapport with the audience, and the masterful use of contrast. This is “writing to speak” (as opposed to “writing to read”) at its very best:

In an unstable Middle East, Israel is the one anchor of stability. In a region of shifting alliances, Israel is America’s unwavering ally. Israel has always been pro-American. Israel will always be pro-American.

My friends, you don’t need to do nation building in Israel. We’re already built. You don’t need to export democracy to Israel. We’ve already got it. You don’t need to send American troops to defend Israel. We defend ourselves. You’ve been very generous in giving us tools to do the job of defending Israel on our own. Thank you all, and thank you President Obama, for your steadfast commitment to Israel’s security. I know economic times are tough. I deeply appreciate this.

Support for Israel’s security is a wise investment in our common future. For an epic battle is now unfolding in the Middle East, between tyranny and freedom. A great convulsion is shaking the earth from the Khyber Pass to the Straits of Gibraltar. The tremors have shattered states and toppled governments. And we can all see that the ground is still shifting. Now this historic moment holds the promise of a new dawn of freedom and opportunity. Millions of young people are determined to change their future. We all look at them. They muster courage. They risk their lives. They demand dignity. They desire liberty.

And then, my favorite paragraph of them all:

Israel has always embraced this path of freedom while others in the Middle East have long rejected it. In a region where women are stoned, gays are hanged, Christians are persecuted, Israel stands out. It is different.

It is different. Echoes of Leviticus 11:45 — be holy for I am holy — whether Netanyahu intended it or not.

All in all, preachers do well to study the ways in which Netanyahu’s form — a concisely written & powerfully delivered speech — reinforces his content — a clarion call for Israeli safety & sovereignty in the context of a peaceful Middle East.