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 —
“The Feast of Unleavened Bread you shall keep. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, in the appointed time of the month of Aviv (spring); for in the month of Aviv you came out from Egypt. “All that open the womb are Mine,…. All the firstborn of your sons you shall redeem. “And none shall appear before Me empty-handed. “Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; in plowing time and in harvest you shall rest. “And you shall observe the Feast of Weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the year’s end. “Three times in the year all your men shall appear before the Lord, the Lord God of Israel. For I will cast out the nations before you and enlarge your borders; neither will any man covet your land when you go up to appear before the Lord your God three times in the year.” EXODUS 34:18-24
Beloved brothers and sisters, cleansed by The Blood of The Lamb, called into His kingdom for such a time as this, may you be blessed and encouraged and may THE LORD ALONE be glorified and blessed.
Shalom, from a city at the center of history and geography, which is…well…cleaning!
Yesterday while crossing a large street in the center of town, I had to jump out of the way of one of those one man riding street sweepers who was stopping for no one and seemed determined to clean the patch of street that I was on. I jumped aside and he went intently on about his work, brushes whooshing away. I chuckled.
“So this day shall be to you a memorial, and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses. For whoever eats leavened from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel…On the 14th day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread , until the 21st day of the month at evening. For seven days no leaven shall be found in your house…whether he is a stranger or native of the land…” Exodus 12:14…20
I don’t know about you, but the older I get the more I realize that all people are certainly NOT alike, not in taste or opinion or habit. Yet if I love someone, I REALLY WANT to please him. I have noticed when I make a meal that pleases my husband, I save that recipe or if I wear something that he comments on I make note of that.
When I was a young believer, I made note of the things that God said He loved or abhorred and I still do that. In no way did I think that my SALVATION was purchased or that I was any higher up on His list. If I did it, or any worse if I did not, but I WANTED to do things that pleased This One Whom my heart loved. So I took note of what He wrote. I still feel that way and I don’t really understand the argument against doing what The Word says by His Spirit.
On the train coming home from the shuk, I looked over the parcels piled on the floor and laps of my fellow travelers. Every space was covered. An older woman along side of me had a drying rack. This is a simple, clever device for drying wet clothing in limited space, inside our outside. It folds to slim flat and can be anywhere from 3 feet to about 6 feet long when folded. I have noticed that the ones available at Pesach are plastic rather than the usual aluminum with clotheslines. Why? I still don’t know.
When I do find out I will likely shake my head. Anyway, it wouldn’t occur to me that my clothesline might not be kosher for Passover, but I guess it should because another woman called over to my neighbor from across the train. “How much did you pay for that one?”
Immediately I heard: “65 shekels. Some people are fanatics but I am not one of those. 65 shekels is enough.”
The woman across the train nodded in agreement. “That’s a good price. I found them 2 for 135 shekels.”
I thought, “Huh! I would never have thought to replace my DRYING RACK. Does it have leaven?”
But as I see the array of plastic sink and pipe liners, and stacks of new…everything, I try again to adjust my focus on Exodus chapter 12…
Our daughter came by today to help with a few things. As we discussed what was kosher for Pesach, she told me that her husband’s family gets rid of EVERYTHING and will eat no food unless it is marked “kosher for Pesach 2017” by a rabbi whom they approve of. They even throw out all of their spices. Yes, salt, pepper, sugar, coffee, tea and all of the expensive exotic ones as well. They are Algerian Jews by background and culture.
It surely helps you to have a very clean house and also to keep free of loving things! When you replace everything you own once a year, your items are limited by necessity. They empty the apartment of everything and then take a large hose and hose down the entire apartment. They are SURE that there is NO LEAVEN.
Each time my focus gets off base and I start to feel anxiety to keep up with my cultural and generational expectations, I return to Exodus chapter 12. Verse 3 says “…On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb…”
That is this coming Thursday or TOMORROW here. I cannot take a lamb, but I HAVE taken THE Lamb, and as instructed in verse 6 “Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight.”
Yes, this I DID do. I was responsible. I nailed Him to the cross. I was guilty of killing The One Who died for me, to set me free, and yes, I am FREE. Free from the bondage of slavery in Egypt, but more importantly, free to serve Him in love.
The time is moving quickly and I seek to keep my balance…HE is first and yet there ARE necessities. Shopping is much more hectic with the crowds, and choices must be made as this is a major holiday and many places will be closed, not only for the holy days themselves, but some for the entire week. I chuckle to myself…none of us will starve, that is for sure!
My thoughts drift to Esther and I lift her up in prayer. A couple of weeks ago as I waited to see a doctor in an area that I’m not very familiar with, I arrived early and went into a small toyshop. It was a tiny hole in the wall but piled HIGH with the most wonderful and creative toys. A truly amazing shop.
“If’shar la’aksor?” (can I help you?), an older woman asked.
I told her that I only had a moment and wasn’t from this area but I was a Grandma and couldn’t resist. She nodded and said, “I can help you find anything. I know everything that is here and where it is and can find the perfect gift for each child. I can do that because my husband and I bought every one for more than 50 years. We were together every moment of every day and chose each toy together, but he is gone now.”
She burst out crying and fell into my arms to the dismay of (apparently) a relative and husband who were helping her unload new stock. I assured them that it was ok and they should leave us alone.
“When did he leave?” I asked.
“It has been 4 months now,” she wept.
“Oh, this is so new and hard, I’m so sorry!” I said, hugging her tighter. “Was it a surprise?”
“Oh, he had the cancer, a bad one, but he did not want any treatment. He wanted to be happy. And he was for 3 years, we almost forgot that he had it, but the last two months he suffered. He told me that he had lived more than 85 years and that had been such a gift and that it was enough, but here I am and I miss him so much!’
I asked her if they had children and grandchildren and although I have forgotten the number it was a HUGE tribe.
“What a blessing. They must be a comfort.” I wanted so hard to comfort her, but I had the feeling that just listening and hugging was what she needed right now. No one could take his place and I understood they had been married more than 60 years. “I will pray for you and ask others to as well Esther.”
And that is what I’m doing now. This Pesach will be so hard for her and for others all around left behind by loved ones. Perhaps you will remember her too?
What IS it really?
The older I become the more mystical it gets in my eyes. Each time that I begin in Genesis (Beresheet in Hebrew) and walk on into Exodus (Shmote in Hebrew), it is as if I am reading it for the first time. The immense wonder of it all only gets larger as I see things that I never have seen before, the way it ALL fits together. The MASTER PLAN laid out both plainly and in code, a weaving begun of a most beautiful symphony.
And here WE, of ALL people are in Jerusalem, joining the throng, heeding the call of “come UP to Jerusalem, the city where I have put MY Name and I will meet you there.”
Psalms 120-134 (some include 119) are the Songs of Ascent because they were sung as the tribes gathered on the way, going up to Jerusalem for the feasts of Passover, Shavout (Pentecost or Weeks), and Sukkot (Tabernacles): the three feasts when all males were commanded to come up to Jerusalem. Yeshua (Jesus) was part of this and sang these songs when He was a child and came up to Jerusalem with His family for Passover as described in Luke 2:41-51.
And still, many visitors come up during Passover/Resurrection season – up to Jerusalem and to the feasts of The Lord. It is a time to visit with beloved friends – both old and new. It all mixes together and I wish you could all be here and see it and partake. BUT NOW WE SEE YESHUA, JESUS, THE RISEN BREAD OF LIFE, THE FULFILLMENT OF ALL OF THESE AMAZING PATTERNS AND PROMISES…HE IS THE LIVING MANA…HE IS ENOUGH… HE IS THE LAMB…HIS IS THE BLOOD ON THE DOORPOSTS OF OUR HEARTS…HE IS THE WAY THROUGH THE WILDERNESS…HE IS THE FIRSTBORN…HE IS THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE….
AND IT IS JUST ALL SO BEAUTIFUL THAT I MIGHT BURST…
But first, I do have to finish cleaning. So, I will just go and sing while I clean.
May the blessings of His Presence be ours. May we glorify The Lord and finish the work that He has given each one of us.
your sister J