Sound of the Shofar #88
Isa 66:8-13Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall the earth be made to give birth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion was in labor, She gave birth to her children. Shall I bring to the time of birth, and not cause delivery?says the LORD.Shall I who cause delivery shut up the womb?says your God.Rejoice with Jerusalem, And be glad with her, all you who love her; Rejoice for joy with her, all you who mourn for her; That you may feed and be satisfied With the consolation of her bosom, That you may drink deeply and be delighted With the abundance of her glory.For thus says the LORD:Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, And the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream. Then you shall feed; On her sides shall you be carried, And be dandled on her knees. As one whom his mother comforts, So I will comfort you; And you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.
Reflections on Israel's 62nd Year of Resurrection from the Dead
On Israel's 62nd Independence Day we face existential situations that threaten to destroy Israel. We have not been as threatened and isolated since that first Independence Day in 1948. The ring of enemies that surrounds Israel has been slightly broken with Peace Treaties with Egypt and Jordan - though there is not really any peace with either the Egyptian or Jordanian Peoples. In the north, our enemies are stronger than they have ever been and in the east there is the threat of a nuclear weapon from a nation that openly calls for our destruction.
On that first Independence Day there was an American President who defied all his advisors, both diplomatic and military and recognized Israel as an independent State. Today there sits in the White House a man with no love for Israel and it seems more apparent with each passing day that he really is, if not an overt anti-Semite, certainly anti-Israel.
On that first Independence Day much of the western world had sympathy for Israel because of the Holocaust. Today we face a western world that is firmly on the path of delegitimizing Israel. Not only delegitimizing our right to defend ourselves from vicious enemies or to build and live in our ancient capitol city - it is leading to delegitimizing our right to be a nation in the family of nations.
Sweden which took in the Danish Jews during WWII now acts like a vicious enemy of Israel, leading the fight in Europe to divide Jerusalem.
The U.K. has always been a mixed bag in relationship to Israel, and in 1948 did her best to see that we would not survive. Britain turned over vast amounts of military supplies to the Arabs and gave them most of the fortresses she had built in Israel. The Jordanian Arab Legion was led and staffed by British officers. Today she is aligning herself with Sweden against Israel. All this with a PM who calls himself a friend of Israel and a Jewish Foreign Minister.
The British Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has criticized Israel for including pictures of the Western Wall in a tourism advertisement and demanded that the pictures be removed. They are claiming that the holy site is technically not located within Israel's borders.
What is going on? Can we see the Hand of God in this pressure and even hatred from the nations?
From the very beginning of Israel's existence as a nation, God wanted us to be separate from all the other nations. His purpose was to reveal Himself through us. The fact that we failed to be the people that He created us to be has not changed God's desire and purpose to show Himself Holy in the sight of the nations through us.
For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us? So we shall be separate, Your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth.Exo 33:16
Eze 36:23-24And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst; and the nations shall know that I am the LORD,says the Lord GOD,when I am hallowed in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land.
As a nation we continue to chase after the love, affection and support of the nations - especially the United States. We want to be one with them, we want to be like them and we want them to like us. What does God say?
What you have in your mind shall never be, when you say,Eze 20:32We will be like the Gentiles, like the families in other countries, serving wood and stone.
God has a purpose for Israel that shall be fulfilled. It shall come to pass despite all the power of the Enemy to destroy Israel and bring God's plans to a stop. It will come to pass despite the hatred and indifference of the world against this little nation Israel. It shall come to pass even if the Church ignores God's Word and Covenant relationship with Israel and like the nations is indifferent or even opposes Israel's survival.
There will be a move of God in Israel, not just a move toward Rabbinic Judaism (which may very well happen), but a move of God that will bring many Israelis into the Covenant that our Lord made with us through His Blood - His sacrifice upon that Cross in Jerusalem 2000+ years ago. It will be a glorious day but it will not come easily.
What are we to do?
You might come to the conclusion that since God's will shall be done no matter what or who is against Him that we should just sit back and watch it happen. That is the wrong conclusion. God has always wanted us to labor with Him in the fulfillment of His Word and purpose. This is the mystery of our relationship with Him and the mystery of prayer.
Israel is in for a very difficult time. It is going to take much suffering to separate us from the nations. We read it in His Word and we see it already happening in front of our eyes. Continuing in Ezekiel 20:
As I live,says the Lord GOD,surely with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out, I will rule over you. I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you are scattered, with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out. And I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will plead My case with you face to face. Just as I pleaded My case with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will plead My case with you,says the Lord GOD.I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant;Eze 20:33-37
How are we to pray?
We need to pray for Israel's survival - because we must be alive for Him to save us and for us to greet Him on His return.
A Song. A Psalm of Asaph. Do not keep silent, O God! Do not hold Your peace, And do not be still, O God! For behold, Your enemies make a tumult; And those who hate You have lifted up their head. They have taken crafty counsel against Your people, And consulted together against Your sheltered ones. They have said,Ps. 83:1-18Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, That the name of Israel may be remembered no more.For they have consulted together with one consent; They form a confederacy against You: The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites; Moab and the Hagrites; Gebal, Ammon, and Amalek; Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assyria also has joined with them; They have helped the children of Lot. Selah Deal with them as with Midian, As with Sisera, As with Jabin at the Brook Kishon, Who perished at En Dor, Who became as refuse on the earth. Make their nobles like Oreb and like Zeeb, Yes, all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna, Who said,Let us take for ourselves The pastures of God for a possession.O my God, make them like the whirling dust, Like the chaff before the wind! As the fire burns the woods, And as the flame sets the mountains on fire, So pursue them with Your tempest, And frighten them with Your storm. Fill their faces with shame, That they may seek Your name, O LORD. Let them be confounded and dismayed forever; Yes, let them be put to shame and perish, That they may know that You, whose name alone is the LORD, Are the Most High over all the earth.
For I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say,Mat 23:39BLESSED is HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!
We must continue to pray into the situation of Iran's nuclear weapons and her open desire to destroy us. We see how the explosion of the volcano in Iceland has impacted the world - you know that in the insurance world this is known as "an act of God". As Asaph cried out to the Lord to intervene and rescue Israel we should continue to ask the Lord to cause earthquakes in Iran to swallow these demonic weapons/nuclear facilities.
At the same time that we beseech God to personally intervene we must also continue in our prayers for Israel's leaders to take responsibility to deal with this threat from Iran. King David was a man who prayed and he was a man who acted - a true warrior who knew his victory came from the Lord and that he had a part to play in the victory too.
Then the Philistines went up once again and deployed themselves in the Valley of Rephaim. Therefore David inquired of the LORD, and He said,2 Sa 5:22-25You shall not go up; circle around behind them, and come upon them in front of the mulberry trees. And it shall be, when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall advance quickly. For then the LORD will go out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines.And David did so, as the LORD commanded him; and he drove back the Philistines from Geba as far as Gezer
Let us continue to press in to our prayers for the return of the Jewish People from exile to their Land and their salvation in this Land.
For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God.Eze 36:24-28
I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness! For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them. For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?.....And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:Rom 11:11-15, 26-29THE DELIVERER WILL COME OUT OF ZION, AND HE WILL TURN AWAY UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB; FOR THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS.Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
On this Independence Day, let us rejoice with Israel and with the God of Israel. Not ignoring the difficulties that we face but with faith in our God who has brought us to this point and will see us through to the end that He might be glorified amongst the Nations.
Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying,1Sa 7:12Thus far the LORD has helped us.
For there is no sorcery against Jacob, Nor any divination against Israel. It now must be said of Jacob And of Israel,Num 23:23Oh, what God has done!
The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.Numbers 6:24-26
Jerusalem Israel, April 20, 2010 6 Iyar, 5770