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 —
Greetings from a finally quiet Jerusalem. May you be blessed and edified and may THE LORD be glorified and blessed and adored.
Today is TISHA B’AV or THE 9TH OF THE MONTH OF AV, known by Jews as the day of great grief. A day of fasting, set aside for mourning the destruction of both the first and second temples in Jerusalem by judgments of God and numerous other calamities that have befallen the people on this date since called by God to follow Him thousands of years ago.
From a simple online dictionary: LAMENTATION – “groan, howl, keen, lament, moan, plaint, wail“
“an expression of great sorrow. Mourners uttered lamentations.”
The book of LAMENTATIONS (AEKAH in Hebrew איכה) left for us an agonizing witness by the prophet Jeremiah, is read today, prayed through, and wept over. It’s often done at the western wall of the second Temple – the remnant left standing in the Old City where Jews go to worship and pray. Others meet in homes or out in the open to read, study, pray, search hearts. Study groups form everywhere and some stay all night in front of the western wall expressing grief. The evolving traditions are varied and many.
But on my heart this year is a different sort of cry. I have held it before The Lord as a question for years now: What is in YOUR EYES, LORD? Not just tisha b’av, but how YOU see it all. YOUR purposes. YOUR plan. YOUR grief. YOUR heart for this people, this land and beyond.
One thing that I see so clearly this year is that THE LORD makes plain those things that are an abomination to HIM and where our sins lie, and yet we so often choose to call it something else, and not agree with Him. The Lord stated CLEARLY why Jerusalem was judged and why the people were scattered and cast out into the nations, not once, but twice cast. There was the horror of idolatry, the grievous half hearted or feigned hypocritical worship, and the disobedience of all that was written in Your word. Yet the rabbis have stuck to their decision that the reason for judgment is “sinat chinam” or hatred for no reason. Thankfully they have enlarged on that idea and as I read 1 Corinthians 13 this morning and thought about God’s Love yes, this is such a part of His Heart. BUT once again it skirts the issue and avoids what God was focusing on. We did not TRUST AND BELIEVE. We did not OBEY. Do we today? Perhaps these questions are too big to look at. Thankfully some do.
BUT WHAT ABOUT US?
As the body, how do we pray for this nation, this people, several of you have asked, What is HIS HEART, HIS CRY, HIS PURPOSE?
I have told you before that we live on a terribly noisy, busy corner. Shabat is a blessing as the train and traffic grind to a halt and the stores close. People go home to their families and shabat comes in with its quiet rest. It should. But this Friday night I was awakened by screams, and hoots, and motorcycles. It was about 2 a.m. I guess that the “hidden bars” had closed. Something about a day set apart for repentance seems to stir up demonic activity, eh? I’m sure that you have all noticed that. It was true here.
From 2 a.m. until around 5 a.m. the voices of alcohol and drugs, rebellion and bondage screamed loudly under my window and I struggled to pray. “Lord! What do You want me to pray?” I cried.
It took me until 5 a.m. to finally have my ears and heart unstopped and I was able to pray that The Fear of The Lord would be established on THIS CORNER of Jerusalem. “That’s IT Lord? Nothing more?”
Sometimes it is only one corner. One corner at a time. Stand where He has placed you and having done all – stand. Meanwhile, there was anger in my heart. I was tired. I wanted to sleep. There was hatred and not love. I did not love the partying howlers outside of my apartment. Natural? Yes!
But NOT the response of The Holy Spirit, Who kept reminding me of my own days of rebellion before I met His mercy face to Face with my sin. Yes, I hooted outside of others windows and disrupted many a resting person.
HIS HEART. HIS PRAYER. HIS FOCUS. LORD! AFTER ALL OF THESE YEARS: TEACH ME TO PRAY.
I am tired of “beating the air” and not seeing an answered prayer. Oh, it is NOT “super me answered prayer” that I’m looking for. It is PRAYING HIS HEART. Why don’t I HEAR CLEARLY? Why are MY ears plugged? Come, hear and obey. Do I hear SOMETIMES? Yes. But I for one am convinced that we all have an open door to ABIDE IN HIM ALL THE TIME.
Is there a price? Yes. It is already paid in full, but we still need to make that painful exchange and die to self COMPLETELY. Is it easy? Only once we have done it. WHERE IS THE DOOR LORD? Lead me there. Give ME a willing heart AGAIN. Take the blinders off of MY EYES, AGAIN. And once again, plow up the fallow ground of MY heart.
IS THIS SUPPOSED TO HELP YOU PRAY FOR THE NEEDS IN ISRAEL, JERUSALEM AND OUR PEOPLE…AND THE NEEDS OF THE WORLD? Well, actually maybe it does. I’ve been writing this for an hour now, struggling with the words, the direction, but perhaps until we are praying HIS HEART, the rest doesn’t really matter. DARE I say such a thing? WHERE IS THE BODY? We are praying here in this city today about the judgment and destruction of the temples and WE ARE THE TEMPLE.
I get letters from people who want to know about the rebuilding of the third temple. More than 20 years ago now I was here praying for the rebuilding of the third temple and understanding from His perspective about Temple Mount when He spoke clearly to me and startled me to my core. It seems so OBVIOUS to me now, but until that moment it wasn’t at all. He said, “I AM building The Last Temple right now and you are to be a lively stone in it, being built without the sound of hammer on stone, outside of the camp, a Temple for Me to dwell in. The Body is now in Jerusalem being built up!”
It was such a shock to me at the time and such a new thing when my focus was on rebuilding a physical Temple here. I went to the scriptures and searched them if this indeed could be true. “Confirm it Lord, in Your Word.” Well, THAT was EASY! As I searched I wondered how I could have ever MISSED it and had my eyes so fuzzy.
SO I KNEW THAT IT WAS HIS PURPOSE AND HIS HEART TO PRAY FOR THE BODY BEING BUILT HERE IN THE LAND. THE INDIGENOUS BODY. THE ONE THAT SAYS, “BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD”…AND FOR THE LEADERSHIP OF THAT BODY TO BE SHARP ARROWS WITH NO MIXTURE OR PRIDE OR ULTERIOR MOTIVES. FOR TRUE REVIVAL AND FOR A TRUE ON-FIRE BODY THAT WOULD BE ABLE TO REAP A HARVEST IN HIS SEASON.
It is equally important to pray for the body in your nation to see clearly HIS PLAN for Israel and its people at this point in history because it IS a focus of HIS purposes in the last days.
It makes me shiver that I am stating these things as if I had authority. Oh may I not be offending ONE SHEEP. But I am convinced that this is Him. So much I question and say, “Is this You Lord?” But these things are settled in my heart. HIS WAY IS PURE, HOLY, SETTLED, NEVER CHANGING, FAITHFUL – AS HIS NAME – SO IS HE. ALL THAT HE IS CALLED, HE IS. AND IT IS ALL THERE IN HIS WORD. SO DON’T TAKE MY WORD FOR IT – ONLY HIS ALONE.
You all know by heart as He tells us in Mat 11:28 ” Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.“
As some of you are praying for my people today, this scripture has brought so many of us to His rest. It still applies for us believers and for the people here who don’t yet know Him.
I pray that something in this rambling makes some sense to you. For those of you interested in the traditions of tisha b’av and don’t remember my past letters going into that, please google tisha b’av.
May The Lord be glorified in our lives and may He be pleased to dwell in His Temple in all of His fullness. Even so, come Lord Yeshua.
Sister J in Jerusalem
P.S. I have just returned from running some errands, and, as usual, there were things to observe. I wanted to include them as a very short addendum.
The streets were very empty downtown. Many shops were closed as well, in spite of the fact that this is not a non-working day. On the train, I sat beside a woman who was on the phone, loudly sharing in English with a friend how she had participated in last night’s march around the Old City walls and went to the Western Wall and listened to the reading of Lamentations. “It was such great exercise, a wonderful work out.”
There I sat beside her in my full judging garment of superiority until He smote my heart. Who did I think I was anyway! And I repented. As I lifted my eyes I noticed another woman sitting on the floor (yes, of the train) reading Lamentations. She was neither a crazy nor did she appear to be trying to draw attention to herself. But sitting on the floor is the traditional Jewish position of mourning. Another woman (not on the floor) sat across from me reading Lamentations. I thought about the physical position that I like to pray in and wondered: “where is the line between tradition, drawing attention to one’s self, being self righteous OR self critical, judging other people and just LETTING GO AND LETTING GOD TAKE US INTO THE HOLY OF HOLIES.
And with that thought I will close, again.