The summer is winding down. The long awaited vacation is just about over and in less than one week, the schools will be opening their doors once again; this time amid the confusion and uncertainty of this new variant, the Delta virus. For weeks, the numbers have been rising steadily and this new government has been embroiled in the all too familiar battle to restrain its spread. They are franctically trying to figure out ways to allow the students to attend school and not have to quarantine whole classes when one child tests positive.
In response to the seemingly out of control virus, everyone over 30 is being encouraged to get the “booster shot” as many vaccinated are now succumbing to the Delta variant. There are new restrictions for gatherings but the Bennett-Lapid Cabinet has taken a strong stand against a lockdown, which they have said will devastate the economy.
The High Holy Days, the Festivals of Tishri (Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Succot) are very early this year. Rosh Hashana starts on the evening of the 6th and so after only three days of school, the kids are on vacation again for most of the month!
I was in the mall today and though it was wonderful to see the stores displaying all their gift items for the holidays and seeing the rush of people in the stores and supermarkets, it is as if a cloud is covering the country and nothing really is as it was. The joy of the Holidays are muted … people are going about their business but there is a “carefreeness” that is gone. Most are cautious, uncertain, confused and doing their best to just “stay afloat”. Life is different.
The ongoing march of the virus and its variants keeps pressing in on us. And there is always the question: When will it end? Will it ever end? What is next?
It’s hard to imagine the intensity of pressure that is weighing down on Prime Minister Bennett and Yair Lapid as they struggle to keep the government together under these circumstances. Not only the virus advance which is a constant pressure but now seven hospitals are threatening a strike because of lack of funding and are refusing to take new Covid cases as they say they are overwhelmed and don’t have money or staff to deal with it.
On our northern border a few weeks ago, 19 missiles were fired at Israel. Thankfully, there were no direct hits. The southern border is also heating up once again as the incendiary balloons are being released causing fires in agricultural areas. There have been violent protests on the border by the Gazans and response by the Israeli army.
These events are following one of most severe fires Israel has experienced in recent history in the hills around Jerusalem. Thousands were evacuated and there was great loss to property and devastation to the land.
In the world of politics, conflict doesn’t stop for the virus cloud or fires. Prime Minister Bennett flew on his first diplomatic trip to the USA to meet with President Biden and other officals. The main topic is Iran and its race to acquire a nuclear bomb whose declared target is Israel, first and foremost! The new reality in Afghanistan which has shaken the world is also obviously of great concern in the Middle East. The face of evil in the Taliban is not easy to look at.
Please pray for Prime Minister Bennett in these days of crisis. He is relatively inexperienced in dealing with these intense and explosive issues. When he took the oath of office, he prayed the prayer of Solomon for wisdom to guide this nation. Let us agree together that he will receive a double portion of that wisdom and every other thing he needs to be an effective and good leader.
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes; first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. (Romans 1:16)
In the midst of all this, God showed me his overwhelming grace and mercy. I had to take my car to the dealer to be serviced and they informed me it would be at least three hours of waiting. I groaned inside as I do not “wait” well! I thought it would be quick like the last time and didn’t bring too much with which to keep me occupied. As I was wondering what I could do to fill the time, I asked the Lord that perhaps there might be someone I could talk to about Yeshua.
To avoid having to wear a mask, I went outside to sit and on another chair not far from mine was an older Israeli man who was busy looking and listening to a program on his phone. The volume was high enough for me to hear and suddenly, I realized that the voice of the speaker was familar to me – and he was talking about Yeshua and Messianic believers. I couldn’t believe it!
I immediately jumped up and went over to the man and told him that I was acquainted with the person who was speaking and that I am a believer in Yeshua. In short, we ended up talking about Yeshua for an hour! I had him read Isaiah 53 and the passage in Exodus where Moses saw the back of God. He had said it was impossible. God didn’t have a back! Never happened, he said.It was very powerful!
As it turned out, he was listening to a program by a rabbi whose purpose was to show how faith in Yeshua was not Jewish. To prove his points, the rabbi put on a clip by this Messianic believer in order to negate everything he was saying. I came in as this clip was on and this Israeli man was now face to face with someone who was Jewish and believed! It really was an amazing event and as we continued to talk, two other people listened in at different times. I was so thrilled!
I wish the ending of the story was that he became a believer but the ground is hard in the hearts of Jewish men and women. No doubt though, seeds were planted. He heard that the gospel was indeed “to the Jew first” and that Yeshua never started a “new” religion. He heard of God’s great love for him personally and many other things he had never heard before. I knew with a certainty that God had arranged this meeting. If I had come out two minutes later, I would have missed hearing the short clip by the believer and would not have understood what the rabbi was saying. I would have ignored it.
I was so encouraged to experience how God will use anyone and anything to reach a searching heart. I felt as though this man was indeed seeking, although he was well defended. I could see that many of the things I said had affected him. God took this program which was intended to disprove the gospel and turned it around so the very thing the rabbi used, the clip by this believer, was verifed in real time with me showing up! And to look at this Israeli man, he did not seem like anyone who would be the least bit interested.
I was once again motivated to be bold and unashamed. And to not judge the people we encounter. Only God knows the hearts. In the midst of all the craziness of this world, the gospel is advancing and will advance. May we continue to be willing laborers in his harvest field.
Due to the new restrictions, our congregation is once again having only zoom meetings. We met twice together in our meeting hall in 19 months and many of our members are still out of work due to the lack of tourism. It has become a difficult trial and a challenge to maintain our sense of unity and community. Please pray for our leadership for wisdom and supernatural strategy to find a way to overcome all these obstacles. We know God is always victorious.
I thank you as always for your amazing and wonderful encouragement and support. Throughout this entire time, Zion’s Glory has been able to be a blessing, especially to the congregation as it continues to support those in need.
As we celebrate the Fall Feasts this month and usher in a new season which prophetically heralds the day of Yeshua’s return, may we walk in the joy of the Lord, without fear knowing that He who started this work will see it unto completion. Let us continue to stand together on the Rock in the midst of the worsening storm and proclaim Yeshua, the author and perfector of our faith, King of Kings and Lord over all!