Inside Israel

SHUK

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 Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, nor will I let Israel go.” Exodus 5:2

 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”  Acts 2:36

I greet you with love dear sisters and brothers and with the prayer that this letter will bring glory and attention to The Lord only, and by His mercy, also edify and bless you.

PURIM is NOT one of my favorite holidays.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the book of Esther, which is full of direction and wisdom for all of us who seek to walk with Him.  It is wonderful to focus on the blessed place before the throne and the humility and obedience in God’s chosen vessels.  The book is rich with history as well. A history that repeats itself and so we can learn about the faithfulness of our God, Whose precious Name isn’t even mentioned in the small book, although His Presence and faithfulness is so clearly evident.

It’s also lovely to remember the things that impressed me when we first made aliyah, immigrate to Israel, and to recall the way that the day was celebrated.  Although EVERYONE did not take part in the Esther-fast even back then, it WAS still a big part of the time period.

There was the gathering for the reading of the scroll of Esther (‘magillot Esther’) and the giving of baskets of goodies and fruits.  And living in the Ancient Walled City – or at least in the new part of Jerusalem – made it even more special as WE got to celebrate ‘Shushan Purim’ (the second day of Purim celebrated by walled cities as directed in the book of Esther).  There were children decked out in mostly homemade costumes. So many little Esthers and Mordachais, carrying baskets to give to others.

These things are still here, but not to the extent that they were some 22 years ago.  Costumes of all sorts, cheap shiny costumes designed to make one into super heroes and super NOT heroes, seem to look sexier and grosser with each passing year.  Painted faces begin appearing as people practice for what?  I don’t know! Oh, sort of a Halloween type of exhibition.  I have heard a number of people say, “Purim!  A time to get drunk,” as if this was what it was all about.  Yes, drunkenness was part of the tradition handed down with the holiday, but it has become central now.  I see far fewer Purim baskets for sale, and I am NOT looking forward to Purim this year.

Of course there will STILL be the reading of magillot Esther and there will STILL be some fasting and there will STILL be some baskets given out, but that intangible something has changed. The “party spirit” has replaced the sense of the Holy and it makes me sad.

Perhaps I’m being too hard, critical, judgmental.  Nonetheless, this is what I see building up, even more this year than in past years.  Perhaps next Saturday night (and here in Jerusalem next Sunday night) will usher in a reversal and I will have to eat my words.  I hope so. I really do.  I will pray to that end, especially as new Haman’s rise up around the world in modern form as such a REAL and PRESENT threat.

Perhaps that will sober us and remind us that it REALLY took an Esther and a Mordechai to prevail with God. It WASN’T and ISN’T a given now.   If my observations turn out to be a wrong call, I will HAPPILY let you know!  I am sure that it brings JOY to The Lord to know that many Christians around the world have taken up the mantle of Esther and Mordechai, and WILL be interceding for God’s purposes to be fulfilled!

 

Purim marks something else on our calendar as well and it’s already in the air.  When Purim comes, Pesach (Passover) is NOT FAR BEHIND.

  “And Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, nor will I let Israel go.” Exodus 5:2

You all know well that Scripture tells us that GOD hardened Pharaohs heart, and that indeed, he was raised up for the purposes that he fulfilled: that God would display His Mighty power and glory, and that He would have an instrument with which to judge the gods of Egypt.  God’s ways surely aren’t ours.

So over the next month, the entire nation will prepare for Pesach – the CENTERPIECE of who we are as a people and nation. I read this morning  in Acts 2:36:

 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” 

and a thrill ran through me!  “…LET ALL THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL KNOW ASSUREDLY THAT GOD HAS MADE JESUS, WHOM YOU CRUCIFIED, BOTH LORD AND CHRIST.!”

ALL the house of Israel!  What a revelation that will be (according to Zech. 12 and so many other places!).  It is really the revelation that the entire Passover Seder is about and represents and perhaps THIS YEAR will be the year for removing the blinders from the eyes of my people to SEE our Messiah.  To LOOK upon Him Whom we pierced and respond with hearts prepared through two thousand years of wanderings. May it be! true this year.

While I waited for the bus the other morning, I was listening to the Church bells in the Old City ringing in the early morning sunrise.  I had the opportunity to be in the Old City one night as I got to meet a new friend there. While I listened to the bells, I recalled a conversation that I overheard.

The Old City is FULL of tourists, and maps and information signs are posted everywhere.  A local tour guide led a small group (3 men) to the entrance of the Muslim Quarter. I heard one of the tourists ask, ‘Why is there so much fighting over the Old City?  Why is it SO important to these 3 religious groups?’

The tour guide pointed to Temple Mount and said, “Well, this area is holy to the Muslims because Mohammed went to heaven on the winged horse from here.  To the Jews, the holy Temple was built here not once but twice.  The Christians…well…it is not so important to them.  They have a few buildings, but it is really only the Church of the holy Sepulcher that is important to them.”

I was taken by surprise. My mind ran to the promises, the history, the battles, the depth and width and length of the meaning of this tiny area that has seen so much bloodshed.  The three men shook their heads.  Ok.  They were satisfied, now they “knew.”  They walked on.  I took a breath.

My older daughter said something that, to me is profound.  She said,  “The stones in Israel are covered with flowers.  That is the definition of Grace.”   

 It truly IS impressive to see the stones of Jerusalem, some massive, some not so, but all compacted together, pressed in tightly, dignifying Jerusalem with a uniqueness that can only speak loudly and clearly of GOD. For He uses stones to teach us so much.  And, yes, coming out of these stones, which will be dry and hot all summer, flowers grow out of seemingly IMPOSSIBLE places.

I was shocked when we arrived in July of 1994 and saw what appeared to be strings of a sort of orchid pressing through the stone, standing alone, not in groups or even two plants together. Each a sentinel of sorts, here and there.  Other flowers, tiny, fragile, breaking through the hard Jerusalem stone, alone, beautiful in their shout of David defeating Goliath all over again.  She was right. They SHOUT ‘GRACE!’

I think that I need a double portion of GRACE as I see Purim approaching this year.

Probably when I see my little 3 year-old granddaughter dressed as Queen Elsa. I will tell her that she is the PERFECT QUEEN ESTHER and melt like a flower pushing through the rock.  GRACE, GRACE, to this mountain too!

Shalom with love from Jerusalem.  Thank you SO MUCH for your prayers and patience.

Your sister in Jerusalem,

J

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2 Comments

Filed under America, Christianity, Church, Gifts of the Spirit, Israel, Jerusalem, Kingdom of God, spiritual warfare

2 responses to “Inside Israel

  1. Thank you, Mr. Larry! I love thinking of gemstones of Jerusalem being the definition of Grace. :). And the Stone that the builders rejected.
    God bless you!

  2. Debbie,

    I also like that. God bless you.

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