Inside Israel – Last Message About Yom Kippur

Hi and welcome back to another look inside Israel, as J of Jerusalem shares about what is happening around her and in her heart, there where Jesus walked.  Thank you for praying and encouraging the people of Israel and J too!  Now, here’s J . . .

“Now in the place where He was crucified, there was a garden…” John 19:41
As I sat with The Lord at this scripture, my heart was jarred with the sense that, really, all ‘nature’ bares witness!  I hope that doesn’t sound strange, as I am not expressing it correctly, but surely NOTHING is done that is not seen…no words uttered that are not heard…and indeed we read that the stones cry out and Abel’s blood still speaks.  Although we understand this, it suddenly became a profound truth to my heart and reminded me that when He brought us here He made plain to me that He wanted me to be a ‘faithful witness’ to the body of what I see and hear here.  How odd to think of the extreme ‘drama’ of the cruel crucifixion of The Lord juxtaposed upon a ‘garden’!  A garden speaks to me of peace, quiet, healing and life…so silent and so restful…and it was a garden – not a desert place or a wilderness place that witnessed this moment that changed both my life and yours, and all of history. 
A faithful witness; His choosing, His timing…each of us really are called to be faithful witnesses to Him, to the yet-unsaved, to our families, to one another. 
The first letter that I wrote from Jerusalem was 18 years ago today and I could not but bare witness to the sights and sounds that surrounded me, and now, even though I have sent too many things to your inboxes this week, I feel pressed to describe to you again, the sights and sounds of Jerusalem on the day of Atonement, and remembering some of things leading up to the day.
I mentioned last month that already people were preparing their hearts for this day, a day taken very seriously by even the minimally ‘religious’ and literally despised and distained by (whom I call) the ‘religiously secular’. (meaning those who practice their secularism as if it were a religion!) There was a solemnity on the public transportation as people read portions of scripture or rabbinical teachings.  A harsh word was often met with ‘Brother…it is nearly Yom Kippur.  We must think.’ or something to that effect.  Every morning the synagogues have been full, and there is a ‘tradition’ that takes place here in Jerusalem; from all over the country large groups of people, young people, even children, gather and go to synagogues through a sleepless night of study and observation.  I find them crowding the shuk at 6am getting some pita or sweet rolls (rugelach or borekes) and coffee and discussing the experience that was impacting them from their night.  Repentance and soul searching goes on for the month preceding Yom Kippur, but it is only after Rosh h’shana that the ‘offering stands’ and ‘shuk h’kaporah’ are set up.  As I described the ‘offering stands’ where people give an offering for their soul last week, I won’t elaborate again, but there have been changes to the shuk h’kaporah; it has been hidden more deeply in ‘Mea Shaarim’ (very religious neighborhood bordering on the shuk) and screened from view.  You might recall that the shuk h’kaporah is the place that people come to in order to sacrifice a chicken, which is then (some do it first before the sacrifice) swung over their heads while prayers are recited.  The ceremony is described with pictures on this (and other) web site if you are interested: http://www.chabad.org/holidays/JewishNewYear/template_cdo/aid/989585/jewish/Kaparot.htm  or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kapparot or others.  Although the place for the ceremony had been just behind the shuk since I arrived, it was moved this year because of animal activists disrupting the activities for the past several years.  For a number of years I would stand outside and pray for the people partaking, so desperate for the ‘way to God’, knowing that the blood sacrifice demanded by the law could no longer be offered…but NOT knowing about The Blood of The Lamb shed for their sins!  How to tell them…!  Last year I stood there praying and found that I was being identified as an animal rights activist!  Times and seasons change!  I wonder if the opportunity that I had to share with the collector of money this past week was part of a result of those prayers. 
The shuk has also been the scene of much shopping as Rosh h’shana runs into Yom Kippur (and how we are afraid that we might starve to death from a 25 hour fast! Yes…an extra hour ‘just to be sure’) and the break-fast meal must be prepared…abundantly!  AND OF COURSE…Sukkot begins this coming Sunday at sundown and that includes MUCH sharing of food. 
Yet, set in the middle of the feasting and thanksgiving is THIS DAY. 
Outside of my window it is now perfectly silent.
Yesterday at noon, the airspace over Israel was closed and all flights ceased, as did all rail travel.  At two, all buses stopped running and stores closed.  By then radio and television (including cable) was also shutting down.  A last dinner was prepared to be finished by 4:30 as sundown was set at 4:56 for Jerusalem and kitchens must be closed and cleaned.  (Our clocks were set to ‘winter time’ this past Sunday) By then there were no more cars at all.  (Only ambulances can run on Yom Kippur) It always amazes me how much noise traffic makes.  You don’t realize it until it stops.  Doors opened and people dressed in white mainly began streaming outside and into the synagogues.  Simultaneously, a tradition that I personally dislike, began.  Children (and secular) took to the streets on bicycles and anything with non motorized wheels until way into the night.  The silence was stolen away by yelling and laughing.  Call me a ‘Scrooge’, but I was raised in a ‘traditional’ Jewish home, meaning that we were not very religious, but we did keep shabat and the holidays.  From my earliest memories (and mine begin as a tiny child) I fasted and could only play very quietly on the floor during Yom Kippur.  I was taught that this was a solemn day.  It saddens me to see children being taught that this is a ‘play day’ and I wonder how they come to a ‘fear of The Lord…the beginning of wisdom’… but… please forgive me for being critical about this.  I am a ‘witness…a ‘stone’.  It is difficult to fall asleep with all of the street noise from the children and then teenagers, but so very special to wake up early to such profound and deep silence! It is a day to read and pray…to lift The Word before The Lord and remind Him of His promises for this people, this land, and inquire of Him for deeper understanding of His Word and deeper searching of my own heart.  The children are quieter today. 
Some people stay in the synagogues all day, others come home to rest mid day and re-gather toward evening.  I am well aware that our Prime Minister is seeking God in a synagogue this day as I remember with awe the day our older daughter and I went to sit there and pray…and found out that BB Netanyahu was there.  In that synagogue the men and women were separated and the ‘women’s gallery’ was on the second floor above the men.  My daughter and I were seated directly above our Prime Minister and were able to pray for him fervently.  We both noted that he was obviously seeking God with deep cries of purpose and need. We were awe struck when, right after the fast, he opened the (now famous) Western Wall Tunnel in the Old City (a number of you receiving this have toured these).  These excavations revealed the huge stones of Solomon’s Temple, and he knew that opening it up would cause Arab riots.  He was right…but…our daughter and I were there to WITNESS the fact that he had SOUGHT THE LORD!  This is my prayer for him today as well…that he will do NOTHING without seeking The Lord diligently, and that The Lord would show favor and lead him.  We have many examples in Scripture of The Lord judging Israel by leading them move presumptuously.  May God have mercy upon us! 
We have…hum…NOT QUITE A ‘GARDEN’ but more of an ‘alley way in which we have planted flowers and see many trees.  We sit under our clothes line and make believe it is a lovely garden, and that is where I have spent much of this day today, so it was a vivid picture to me when I read,  “Now in the place where He was crucified, there was a garden…” Crucified…our kaporah…our perfect sacrifice…the pure Blood that covers our sins…spit upon, mocked, torn and nailed to the cross…here in Jerusalem…“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which kills the prophets, and stones them that are sent unto you; how often would I have gathered your children together, as a hen does gather her brood under her wings, and you would not!” Luke 13:34…for THIS people “As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it” Luke 19:41…yes for us, stiff-necked, rebellious, seeking our own righteousness and denying His, blinded by God…UNTIL!!!   I CAN ONLY CLOSE WITH THIS: (highlights are mine)  GOD BLESS YOU!  Your sis, a stone in Jerusalem

Romans 11

New King James Version (NKJV)
11 I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, “Lord, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life”?[a] But what does the divine response say to him? “I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.”[b] Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace.[c] But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.
What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded. Just as it is written:
“God has given them a spirit of stupor,
Eyes that they should not see
And ears that they should not hear,
To this very day.”[d]
And David says:
“Let their table become a snare and a trap,
A stumbling block and a recompense to them.
10 Let their eyes be darkened, so that they do not see,
And bow down their back always.”[e]

Israel’s Rejection Not Final

11 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. 12 Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness!
13 For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, 14 if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them. 15 For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?
16 For if the first fruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, 18 do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.
19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” 20 Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. 22 Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness,[f] if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. 23 And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?
25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved,[g] as it is written:
“The Deliverer will come out of Zion,
And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;
27 For this is My covenant with them,
When I take away their sins.”[h]
28 Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30 For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, 31 even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. 32 For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.
33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!
34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has become His counselor?”[i]
35 “Or who has first given to Him
And it shall be repaid to him?”[j]
36 For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.
 
ani b’derek
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Published in: on October 21, 2012 at 8:08 am  Comments (6)  
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As He Said

“So Moses swore on that day, saying, ‘Surely the land where your foot has trodden shall be your inheritance and your children’s forever, because you have wholly followed the Lord my God’.” Joshua 14:9
“And now behold, the Lord has kept me alive, as He said, those forty-five years, ever since the Lord spoke this word to Moses while Israel wandered in the wilderness, and now, here I am this day, eighty-five years old.” Joshua 14:10

Caleb saw that God kept His word.

Thank You, Lord, for keeping us alive and fulfilling all Your promises. And here’s a simple poem . . .

Surely

If He spoke it
it is true
and it will come
to be.

Whether now
or then later
His word’s a certain
guarantee.

Servant of the Lord

“These Moses the servant of the Lord and the children of Israel had conquered; and Moses the servant of the Lord had given as a possession to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh.” Joshua 12:6

Moses is often referred to as the servant of the Lord. I think of all that he did, those kings he defeated, even though he wouldn’t continue on with the children of Israel.

Lord, please help my desire to serve out grow any desire to be served. And here’s a simple poem . . .

A Servant Heart

Servant leaders
are leaders who serve

who aren’t afraid
that they’ll be hurt

through helping others
and giving up their place

so someone else can have
a taste of His grace.

All The Word

“And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and the cursings, according to all that is written in the Book of the Law.” Joshua 8:34
“There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded which Joshua did not read before all the congregation of Israel, with the women, the little ones, and the strangers who were living among them.” Joshua 8:35

Joshua read all the words. He didn’t leave out the parts he thought might offend, or bore, or be misconstrued.

Lord, I thank You for Your word and desire to read it all . . .not just the parts that are easiest for me. And here’s a simple poem . . .

All Has Meaning

All the words were written
in another time, in another place

for all of us to hear
by His wisdom, by His grace

for this season, for this moment
when we need truth, when we need light

for His word all has meaning
all has breath, all has life.

Standing in the Midst

“So the priests who bore the ark stood in the midst of the Jordan until everything was finished that the Lord had commanded Joshua to speak to the people, according to all that Moses had commanded Joshua; and the people hastened and crossed over.” Joshua 4:10
“Then it came to pass, when all the people had completely crossed over, that the ark of the Lord and the priests crossed over in the presence of the people.” Joshua 4:11

Once again God made the impossible possible for the children of Israel, as they crossed over the flooded Jordan on dry ground.

Thank You, Lord, for making a way for us to stand and walk through the flood of our situations that seek to knock us off our feet and keep us from You. And here’s a simple poem . . .

Through the Flood

Over the banks
dark waters rise
but You want us on
the other side
so You make a way
for us to cross
and no one drowns
no one’s lost.

No Turning From It

“Only be strong and very courageous that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.” Joshua 1:7

I read this as God saying the biggest challenge wouldn’t be the physical battles, but the inner battles to do as He said.

Oh Lord, we desire the strength and courage today to walk wherever total obedience to You takes us. And here’s a simple poem . . .

We Want To

Our obedience is born
out of love for You
and we have confidence in
Whom we trust too
Who gives us strength
to do what we should do
as we freely follow
simply because we want to.

Face to Face

“Now Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him; so the children of Israel heeded him, and did as the Lord had commanded Moses.
But since then there has not risen in Israel a prophet like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face . . .” Deuteronomy 34:9-10

What astonishing lengths God went to for His people Israel . . .and for us.

O Lord, I pray for you to raise up prophets today, who will know You and speak as You command, causing many to be turned back to You at this time. And here is a simple poem . . .

Seeing His Face

Face to face, Moses met You
and You talked, heart to heart

about Your plans for Your people
from which they’d struggle not to part

how they’d be a nation born of God
where You would set Your love

how unto them You’d send a Savior
for the whole world to see the face of.

This is the last Deuteronomy post! Tomorrow I’ll switch back to the New Testament, the Gospel According to John. Thank you so much for coming along with me through the Bible!

Happy Are You

“Happy are you, O Israel:
Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord,
The shield of your help
And the sword of your majesty!” Deuteronomy 33:29

We might watch a movie or read a book about a brave person saving someone of nobility. But how many stories have we read of the poor and downtrodden being saved by a King?

Thank You, Father, for saving Your people Israel and for sending us all a Savior King through them. And here’s a simple poem . . .

Who Is Like You?

We look back and perhaps think
it was no big thing
that Israel entered into a covenant
with their Lord God Almighty

but never before
had such a thing been done
and now we can too
through Jesus Christ His Son.

Not A Futile Thing

“Set your hearts on all the words which I testify among you today, which you shall command your children to be careful to observe – all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 32:46
“For it is not a futile thing for you, because it is your life, and by this word you shall prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to possess.” Deuteronomy 32:47

Even though God had told Moses the people would turn away, he never stopped encouraging them to keep His commandments.

Thank You for the life You give us through Your Living Word . . .the Bible and Your Son. And here’s a simple poem . . .

Our Life

It is not a futile thing
to praise and worship our King
it is not a waste of time
to read the Bible’s every verse and line
for it is our life
filled with the power of Christ
our sustenance, our grace
our map for seeing His face.

Hearing and Learning

“Gather the people together. . . that they may hear and that they may learn to fear the Lord your God and carefully observe all the words of this law . . .” Deuteronomy 31:12

Moses’ days as a go between for God and His people were almost at an end. They would have to listen and learn to fear the Lord their God themselves.

O Father, thank You for making Your word available to me daily, lest I forget and lose my fear and awe of You. And here’s a simple poem . . .

Healthy Fear

So much to read
so little time

yet I think God has
something else in mind

for me to focus on
His word while I’m here

so I can live out my days
with a healthy awe and fear.

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