Once again, it’s time to hear from our sister in Jerusalem about what she is witnessing there as a believer in Yeshua. Put your prayer shawls on and pray for Israel and Sister J. Now here she is …
May THE LORD be glorified, magnified and blessed …and may you be blessed and encouraged.
We live here in the midst of the struggle between Isaac and Ishmael, between Jacob and Esau, and between The God of Israel and His enemies. This struggle has re-surfaced with five being rammed by cars and two more stabbed to death. Riots are increasing in number and intensity. Our level of alert has been raised once again. The presence of soldiers and police is both comforting and alarming. Alarming because we know that the need is great, comforting because they are there to protect us.
I pray for all of them. For their salvation first, but also for their safety and for them to have wisdom and gentleness WITH discernment. It IS a tense time!
But this was what I expected.
If you have read my letters for any length of time, you will remember me saying often: “It is all about Jerusalem.” It is NOT about the settlements (a very poor translation of a word that would better be interpreted village then the word settlement). It is NOT about occupation. It is NOT about rights or jobs or finances, although all of these issues have been exploited as steppingstones to get to this point. It has ALWAYS been about JERUSALEM. The burdensome stone. The place where God chose to put HIS Name. The city which HE chose in ISRAEL to plant Himself and establish His seat for His purposes. And it is precisely because HE chose it that the battle has always been over it.
Years ago when the peace negotiations were far younger, the west laid out their strategy of dealing with the easy issues first and ease into the thorny ones: Judea and Samaria (called the west bank by the west), the so called “right of return” and JERUSALEM.
I said at the time, “Uh oh. This means giving up land, arming the Palestinians, tying our hands, and THEN plundering the rest of the land.”
But you see, it isn’t our land to give.
GOD SAID that this is HIS land and we do not have the RIGHT to touch it and to divide it. On Yom Yerushalaym (Jerusalem Day) each year, I speak of the promise made before God by this nation – when Jerusalem was restored to Israel for the first time in 2,000 years – that we would guard her and that she would never again be divided.
But there is a different kind of tension right now because there is also rioting among the Israeli Arabs and not just the Palestinians. Palestinians, you might remember, are NOT Israelis by their own choice. They did not accept Israeli citizenship. They are the ones who want half of Israel (actually, all of it). But there are a good number of Arabs who DID take Israeli citizenship at the formation of the state, who stayed on the land, who became full citizens, who live and work and play here and some of whom serve in the armed forces or other branches of service. They vote and have full medical and educational rights etc. They have every right that all Jewish citizens have, but in an incident last week with a riot, an Arab Israeli boy was killed.
I was in the shuk (market) on the following day. During the Gaza War, good relations existed between Arabs and the Jews. It was always business as usual.
There are two Arab vendors in the shuk that I trade with on a weekly basis. They are always kind, but not that day. There was tension, which took me by surprise. “Guard your heart and keep it soft,” I said to one young man in particular. He didn’t answer, which was unusual for him.
The Moslem mufti’s are calling for a Jerusalem intifada, and indeed, the Hamas leader said in his first statement after the Gaza war: “We have won in Gaza. ON TO JERUSALEM!”
That call was echoed across the Moslem populations world wide. THEY KNOW THAT IF THEY WERE TO DIVIDE JERUSALEM, or worse, to take her, THEY WOULD BE STABBING THE JEWS IN THE HEART.
BUT GOD, WHO IS RICH IN MERCY AND KNOWS HOW TO GLORIFY HIS NAME, IS NOT TAKEN BY SURPRISE. He is not sleeping and His purposes will not be thwarted. His great Name WILL BE GLORIFIED!
I read both 2 Chronicles 20 and Ezekiel 16 in the same day and was touched by the fact that it is all so simple – the way to Him and the way away from Him. This message is foundationally the same from Genesis through Revelation: turn FROM Me and I will turn from you. Turn TO Me and I will turn to you. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. He has made the way straight, and narrow and also simple. How great is our God.
While riding the lite rail, my attention turned from my thoughts as the doors opened and a family boarded. A carriage with a tiny baby, pushed by an older brother, a small Mother carrying another little one with 4 small boys of graduated height following closely at her skirt as she said clearly and persistently, ”Shhhh! Shhhh!”
That admonition, heard by the whole train, was repeated gently but firmly, as if she were breathing it, through the entire trip. An older sister authoritatively held the hand of a smaller one as the thin father brought up the rear. All heads turned with the regular rise and fall of the “shhhh! Shhhh,” which, by the way, was obeyed. I began to count and learned there were nine small noses in all and two parents.
Eleven train tickets is a price not easy to come up with, explaining the children’s delight about being on the train. They were all neatly dressed in homemade clothes, a bit worn, but still clean. The girls had their hair modestly braided. The parents were also neat, and although very thin and tired looking and obviously poor, they looked strong and functioned as a peaceful unit. I watched as the excited children remained well behaved and heeded the constant reminder of “shhhhh! Shhhhh.”
It was interesting to notice the responses of the other passengers. Although Haradi families, and even full and large ones are a common sight, you don’t often see a family much larger then 7 on the train, if for no other reason then the cost. There was obvious disdain and disgust on some faces. This is the liberal, left wing reaction to religious families. Period. They simply do not believe in large families. It is an ideological issue.
Other parents on the train looked on with awe and admiration. Some of the rambunctious young people watched and became less rowdy and a bit more aware of their own behavior. Religious families ARE in fact usually larger then secular ones because they take seriously the Biblical injunction to be fruitful and multiply and believe that children ARE the blessing of The Lord. In fact, they have turned it into a command. At any rate, it is fun to see this type of Biblical battle lived out on the streets daily.
Thank you for your prayers both personally and for this nation. May His kingdom come and His will be done both in our small private lives as well as in our nations,…His purposes for His glory.