Hi again and welcome to a look inside Israel with J of Jerusalem as she once again gives us a deeper understanding of life there within her nation. Enjoy!
Oh my…how full of prayers is the book of Lamentations! If I could pick one to begin this letter with I would, but I can’t…too many! ‘Lamentations’ in Hebrew is ‘e’kra’ which means something like ‘How is it possible?!?’ or simply ‘How?!?’ It expresses the ‘wonder of the utter horror of the situation’.
This is the book that is read and prayed beginning tonight at sundown through tomorrow night at sundown.
The fast of tisha’b’av has arrived.
Normally, at work, I only receive phone calls around the fast of yom kipper. ‘My health is not good and I would like to know from Dr. R. if it is ok for me to fast’, they ask. This is the first year that I have received calls like this for tisha’b’av. In the past I wrote that this fast, which is NOT commanded by Moses, was observed mostly by religious Jews. This year, however, it seems many many more are concerned.
On the bus this morning, people were subdued. Many were reading the book of Psalms. No one was wishing anyone else ‘yom tov’ (good day), for tisha’b’av represents in the collective heart ‘BAD days’ and ‘punishment, banishment, shame’. The account in Jeremiah of the fall of Jerusalem is our literal history (Jer 39:1) taken much to heart and studied as if it were today. It was here that, to the horror and shame of the people, those left in the ancient siege of Jerusalem ate their own children as Jeremiah leaves us the words to weep with in Lamentations 2:20 and 4:10.
Many people take the words from Psalm 122:2 and will walk the ‘ramparts’ or along the top of the walls of the Old City. Many many thousands will walk to the Old City and march silently AROUND the walls and then to the western wall of the ancient temple to pray and read and repent through the night and the day tomorrow. Others will study scripture together, and others will gather together to pray.
I have been thinking of the words of a worship song that we used to sing: “Hear my cry, O Lord, attend unto my prayer. From the ends of the earth will I cry out unto Thee. When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to The Rock that is higher then I…” Since I was singing it, literally, ‘…from the ends of the earth’… it felt so real to me. I love to sing scripture back to Him. I am so thankful for a foundation laid by faithful men that taught me to embrace the great great gift of repentance! How wonderful that He gave us a tool to soften our hard hearts with!
Will you pray with us that our hearts, as a people, as a nation, are softened before God? As the people see the nations surrounding the city of Jerusalem, yet again, and hear the anger and the threats of the world, there is real cause for real concern. May our hearts be drawn to Him…lead to The Rock that is higher then us. May He be found of us in time of need and may He grant mercy…mercy that changes hearts. May Yeshua be revealed as The King that He is!
Thanks so much for praying for J, Jerusalem and Israel today!