This promises to be an exciting few weeks in Israel as the country gears up for its fourth election in two years on March 23rd. In the early morning hours of March 26th, we will be moving our clocks ahead which is always a welcome and refreshing time as we put the darkness of winter behind us. On the following evening on March 27th, we will be celebrating the Feast of Passover and rejoicing in the deliverance of our people from the bondage of slavery, and for the believers, the death and resurrection of Yeshua in that same week.
Since I love Matzah, it is always a great joy when mountains of Matzah appear in the stores right after the Purim holiday is over. As I bought my first box recently, I was remembering what it was like last year. We were experiencing our first lockdown – it was very strict and the threat of this unknown pandemic filled hearts with great fear and uncertainty. As a whole, the nation submitted to all the government restrictions, especially on the night of the Passover Seder, which is one of the biggest family holidays of the year. Those of us who lived alone either zoomed in with other family members or sat in isolation and ate. It was a challenging time!
Now, millions have been vaccinated in a very successful initiative, about a million people have recovered from the virus, the numbers have been going down steadily and the country has begun to open up. There is even talk that if everything continues in this direction, the current rule concerning wearing masks outdoors will be rescinded!
Everyone is eagerly anticipating that this Passover will be joyfully celebrated in homes filled with family and friends. Last year we prayed earnestly that the plague would pass over our houses and that it would quickly end, but it did not happen. This year, we are once again hoping that this Passover will mark the beginning of the end of this plague, not only in Israel but worldwide. May this truly be the season of our deliverance from Covid 19!
Unfortunately, with increased vaccinations have come increased conflict and disunity among the population. The government has issued “green passports” to those who have been vaccinated or have recovered. This document allows entry into various public places like indoor dining, swimming pools, gyms, theater, sporting events, etc. which are still not open to those non vaccinated. In an effort to encourage the population to vaccinate, the non vaccinated have become to feel discriminated against. Children who are below the age to be vaccinated aren’t allowed into restaurants or other places with their vaccinated parents.
Our congregation, Ahavat Yeshua, has not met in over a year. With the significant decline in virus infections, the government has said that houses of worship would be open to people with a “green passport” only. This is a serious issue for the leadership as we are so eager to meet but are caught in a conflict between observing government regulations and not wanting to stop anyone from attending.
Please pray for great wisdom for our congregational leaders as all these things affect all the congregations in Israel. May we see the end of the threat of this virus so that we can all be together again, vaccinated or not! Until we are able to meet indoors, we will be meeting in a park in Jerusalem as we did several times last summer.
Pray that our presence is a witness to all those in the park who can see us and hear us! Join us as we stand against the spirit of division that has entered through the vaccination issue and that is threatening the unity of the Body. May we rise up and take our stand against the devil’s schemes!
The coming elections present as complicated a picture as ever. There is a large “anti-Bibi” movement but once again, there is no party which seems able at this point to garner enough votes to build a coalition. There are many political parties involved but the top contenders are “Likud“, headed by Netanyahu who is currently in the lead but by a smaller margin than in times past. “Yesh Atid” is next, led by Yair Lapid who is a centrist candidate. Gidon Sa’ar, a former longtime member of Likud and now leader of “New Hope” and Naftali Bennett from the “New Right” are neck in neck. Please continue to pray for God’s will to be done in these elections. Pray for a government that will govern in righteousness. If no candidate can successfully put together a coalition of 61 mandates, then we head for elections yet another time.
Although life is so uncertain, we do know with certainty that this is the time for the Word of the Lord to take root, for the seeds that have been planted to begin to grow and for the long awaited harvest to come. Many Israelis are continuing to request New Testaments and other books each week through the evangelistic media outreaches and so we know there is something going on in the Spirit. We are so yearning to see the good that God will bring forth from this difficult period that we all have walked through.
Passover is the 14th day of Nissan on the Hebrew calender and the 1st of Nisan is the Biblical New Year so this is indeed a new season in many ways. I was reflecting on Heaven recently and was reminded of the scripture from Acts 17:28; “in Him we live and move and have our being.” In Heaven, there is no other reality other than being in Him. Everything exists in Him. But here on earth, we have to still strive to enter that rest, to surrender totally to His love and to walk in the peace that comes from the reality that we are in Him always.
In this true New Year and new season, let us strive to enter that rest and continue to move forward in Him and bring forth His kingdom here in Israel and throughout the world. May his overwhelming, unsurpassing love fill us in ways we couldn’t have imagined as we bring the good news to those God loves so much.
I am so grateful for your ongoing support and the work we can do together as we keep our eyes on Yeshua, the author and perfector of our faith!
With love from Zion,