The Shuk in Jerusalem
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 —
” And they do not rest day or night, saying: ‘Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!’” Revelation 4:8
Greetings sisters and brothers, who have the same privilege as I do to share with the host of heaven and bless and worship Him Who sits on the throne. May He be glorified and adored and lifted up in you and in me, and may you be blessed. I am so thankful to be part of His body with you!
I grew up with the old saying that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. What a good reminder to look to the Lion who is also The Lamb. Revelation 5:5-6 humbled me greatly awhile back as I read “…Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah…And I looked, and behold…a Lamb…” It’s neat how even the weather and the calendar can point us to worship Him.
Here, March blew in with a roar. A HOT roaring wind with bright sunshine warmed my cold bones and caused me to look at the hills, so recently drenched with rain, now bursting everything into spectacular bloom. In January our many almond trees turn white with blossoms and remind us, even in winter, of the mighty and enduring promises of God (Jeremiah 1:11,12). They stand out as sentinels along the cold winter hills. But with the warm sun, as they begin to shed their blooms, they are joined by the rich fullness of deep greens and vibrant colors dazzling the eyes as literally everything bursts forth into color.
The birds rise in song to add delight to it all. Oh, winter is set to return with more rain and cold, but it is so true that the heavens declare the glory of God and His handiwork is simply on display everywhere we look, even in the midst of agonizing situations.
One look at Him and then it is all put into perspective.
Coming home from work today, I had to stand on the bus. Thankfully I was perched right behind the row of single seats, which end with a somewhat comfortable padded headrest (for wheel chairs actually). It made a nice place to steady myself and lean against. I found myself looking down over the shoulder of a teacher who was reading papers and I glanced at them. To my surprise I saw that they were poems, and happily, as I looked, I saw that I could really understand most of the words.
It appeared to be a writing assignment for adults, but using particular words: heart, fly, day, good and some others. These words were repeated many times in each poem and I was taken aback as it seemed to me that the assignment had been given to soldiers who had suffered trauma. I was literally gripped by the raw open- hearted cries written on page after page. One wrote of a beautiful day, fly away, like my friend who flew so many flights until the last…and didn’t come aback. Another spoke of too many wars and ended with the cry repeated three times “shalom l’yisroel” (Peace to Israel).
Page after page written by tired young hearts crying for peace and weeping over promises still around the corner. I was stunned. There I was − standing on the bus, resting my eyes, and they just happen to fall on to such a secret place. I prayed for those who wrote the poems. I wish I could explain it to you, that right there, in the midst of the hustle and bustle of a crowded bus, a treasure chest of hearts opened.
Now my reading of Hebrew is NOT perfect and I COULD be all wrong. Perhaps it had nothing at all to do with what I THINK I saw. That is one of the drawbacks of being an immigrant: some things are misinterpreted. But that is what I THINK I saw, and it is quite likely a pretty accurate interpretation.
It’s amazing what we see when we look.
But what do we do with it then?
It is now a month since my last letter. I hear the helicopters overhead as America’s Vice President is here for talks with our Prime Minister and the leaders of the Palestinian Authority in the midst of the ongoing terror attacks, the Iranian weapons build up, and wars all around us.
What to share with you after this month of absence? There is just so much. Observations, thoughts, events − where to begin?
Yesterday I thought of you as I was coming home on the bus.
A woman in a wheel chair was safety-belted to the wheelchair rest. When we came to her stop, there were no young men on the bus able to help her off by lowering the ramp by the back door. The bus driver patiently stopped the bus and came to the back. Lowering the ramp, he then pushed her gently down it. As he came and started up the bus again, I thought about our drivers. What an amazing lot they are! Our public transportation here really IS for the entire general population. Pressing into the buses are old, young, baby carriages (including twin carriages!), wheelchairs, crutches, canes, blind canes and seeing eye dogs, regular dogs, cats in cages and kittens in jackets, teenagers, people praying , people singing, people coughing, and sneezing. There are the crazies, the teens, the mentally challenged, the soldiers, the tired, the hyperactive, and then there are the LANGUAGES − you name it.
Not ALL of the bus drivers care about everyone, but a surprising amount do. That’s a pretty tall order. People really CAN be pretty annoying, especially when there are so many ALL of the time. It has touched me that after each attack on a bus, the driver is so very concerned for his passengers.
I spend a great deal of time on the bus and the train. I get to recognize those I see regularly and pray that someday it will make a difference that someone prayed for them while bouncing along the roads of Jerusalem.
Our oldest daughter with our 10-year old Granddaughter and 5-year old Grandson were here with us to celebrate my 70th birthday, and it was a great gift. We went to the zoo, the beach, rode the train, and even drove up north for a night at her friend’s house. It was rural and very restful for me there.
But it was all a whirlwind. A wonderful one, but a whirlwind none the less and I am still very tired. Many people have been asking me, “when I plan to retire,” and that has had me thinking. We never planned for retirement and being that we need to pay the rent, we don’t see any way that we can retire. However, we are 70. Hmm!
This has been a wonderful and true test for me. FAITH! Oh yes! We believe…and we really do…but I find that the TRUE test of faith is when the bank balance is negative, when the strength is gone, when the medical tests don’t look good, and when the exit door approaches. I mean, I DO believe that He provides, gives strength, heals, and has provided eternal life more wonderful then we could ever dream of.
As the old saying goes: “I believe in the sun when it isn’t shining.”
But lately it is as if I feel HIS Spirit searching me deeply and saying, “Will you believe NOW? Will you REALLY BELIEVE?”
Isn’t He just wonderful, that He will search every corner of our hearts to make sure that there is no “fool’s gold” there but only TRUE GOLD, TRIED IN THE FIRE?? I am so THANKFUL that He will not let us fool ourselves with a counterfeit.
So, when will I retire? I don’t know. But when He tells me that it’s now, I want Him to find only faith in me and no fear. And because He is God, I trust that He will and sing Habakkuk 3:17 −
“Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls—
18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. 19 The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills”.
I have told you how I have shared at work with one of the younger secretaries, Mali, about Him. I asked for prayer for her quite awhile back. I have grown to love her very much, none the less I was taken by surprise when she came in the day before I left for vacation for my daughter’s visit and handed me a small golden box. “What is this?” I asked.
She was SO excited. “It’s for your birthday! Quick, open it. It’s real gold. Do you like it? Do you like it?”
I wear one piece of jewelry and that is the menorah that my husband brought back for me from his first trip to Israel. He got off the plane and handed it to me and announced, “We’re making aliyah.”
The menorah is the 7-branched candelabra that God commanded to be in the temple. It represents His Holy Spirit and is woven throughout scripture, being particularly evident in Zechariah and Revelation, as well as all of the description of the temple. I have worn this since my husband gave it to me that fateful day back in 1992 or 3.
I pealed back the wrappings on Mali’s gift and there was a delicate gold necklace in the shape of Israel with a Star of David over it.
“Oh do you like it? Will you wear it? I can return it…” she was so excited. This was SUCH a big gift for this new mother. Her face was shining. She looked at me and said, “I was going to get you all sorts of things, but when I saw this I thought about how much you love Israel and I thought this was for you.”
As she put it on me I was so deeply touched. I never know how I appear to people or how they perceive my words. Mali and I speak only in Hebrew, so I am SURELY not sure what she sees and hears of me, so this touched me.
God loves Israel.
Why? His choice. I don’t know, but I know that I want to stand in agreement with Him. It isn’t always easy or in sync with what my own reasoning or emotions might dictate.
In my current reading through His Word I ask Him more and more to set my heart firmly in agreement with Him NO MATTER WHAT. I was taken back and literally thrown into prayer on Tuesday as I read Ezekiel 6 −
“Yet I will leave a remnant, … 9 Then those of you who escape will remember Me among the nations where they are carried captive, because I was crushed by their adulterous heart which has departed from Me, and by their eyes which play the harlot after their idols; they will loathe themselves for the evils which they committed in all their abominations. 10 And they shall know that I am the Lord; I have not said in vain that I would bring this calamity upon them.”11 ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Pound your fists and stamp your feet, and say, ‘Alas, for all the evil abominations of the house of Israel! …13 Then you shall know that I am the Lord, …Then they shall know that I am the Lord.’”
Suddenly I saw “because I was crushed“ and it broke my heart.
We HAVE the power to CRUSH GOD’S HEART! HOW AWFUL!
Thankfully it means that we also have the power to bring His Heart pleasure. I saw myself as a part of the fruit carried away captive to the nations and as The Scriptures said He showed me my sin. I “loathed myself for the evils which I committed…” and was granted the greatest gift of all…repentance unto salvation.
And I looked around at us today and I wanted to pound my fists and stamp my feet and pray for revival NOW! Before The Heart of God could be further broken. How we complicate His message through His Word, with our own affinities and interpretations. I don’t want to cloud the Truth. I want to see it as He says and to be His servant for His glory, and to reflect Him, as He IS to the people whom He chose for His own purposes.
As He displays Himself in the heavens above and all creation, so He also displays Himself in the times and the seasons. He has set for Himself appointed feasts and even though Purim (23-25th of March this year) will soon be upon us, it is really Passover (Pesach 22-30 April this year) that we are looking toward. Preparations are beginning and hearts are stirring. I hope to share some peeks into this special time in the next letter.
But for now I will close this letter. May we all be constantly filled with wonder and worship of The One and Only True God Who deserves all praise and glory, love and obedience. He Alone is holy, and we are His.
your sis J in Jerusalem