My heart is aching tonight. I did have a beautiful Shabbat. The Lord was very present. We had a special speaker at my congregation from Tel Aviv, Israel. He used to live in Minnesota and is now a ministry leader in Israel. He spoke of the need to pray for Israel. He spoke of the crisis with Iran and how 40 rockets were shot into Israel, some supplied by Iran, because the Egyptian border has been compromised and they more easily smuggle weapons in. He spoke of just how lost the Lost Sheep of Israel are in Tel Aviv. He spoke of his ministry to the poor, including Holocaust survivors. And, again and again, he spoke of the need to pray for the peace, safety and security of Jerusalem and every city in Israel.
My heart is to pray for Israel. And we did pray for Israel today, as we always do, after the service. Eight of us prayed upstairs in what we call "The Upper Room". The Lord gave a word to us that He is building a wall around Jerusalem and that we are to take our place IN it. Not "on it" or "at it" but IN it. He said we are to ask him for more advanced weaponry, and that we had to face the enemy, not turn our backs on them. He said if we took our places in the wall, those places would be impenetrable. He told us we WERE the wall! It was a very encouraging word...and a challenging one.
So why is my heart aching tonight, Lord? Is it because when You showed me the wall with my spiritual eyes, there were still so many gaps in it? Yet, I heard Israel calling to us through this man who was living in Tel Aviv with his wife and two small children...and another on the way. This man and his family who are living under the threat of a nuclear holocaust, or, at the very least, war. I heard Israel, through this man, plead for and cry out for prayer.
You know, God gave us prayer requests in His Word.
One is in Psalm 122:6-9--Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.” For the sake of my brothers and friends, I will say, “Peace be within you.” For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek your prosperity.
And He states in Isaiah 62: 6&7--I have posted watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem;
they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the LORD, give yourselves no rest, and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth.
Those are PRAYER REQUESTS from God!
And we are told something that most people don't notice when they read Romans 11.In verse 30 we are told that the Gentiles, who were once disobedient, received mercy because of Israel's disobedience. But the reason they have been shown mercy is stated in verse 31: "so they too ["they" being the Jewish people] have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you." (brackets mine)
So, the RESULT of God's mercy being shown to the Gentiles is so that Israel may ALSO be shown mercy!
Unfortunately, that hasn't been the case, as we see the history of centuries of anti-semitism so much at the forefront in the church.. But, one way the body of Messiah can show mercy to Israel is to pray for her safety, security and prosperity.
"Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved," Paul said. I believe he was expressing the burden of God's heart, not just his own.
I know what it is like to feel that desire and carry that burden. Paul describes it as "great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart".
Yet, I know that this burden the Lord has given me for Israel and my people is one that He lightens whenever someone takes their place in the wall.
One more thing...
This ministry leader told us something I find it hard to believe I only heard for the first time today. He said if we were to come to his house for dinner in Israel today he would greet us at the door with the following words: "Baruch Haba B'Shem Adonai". The translation is "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord." Or he would just say "Baruch Haba", "Blessed is he". It's what Israelis' say, even today, when they welcome a guest into their home! So, when Yeshua said they would not see him again until they say, "Baruch Haba B'Shem Adonai" -- "Blessed is He is comes in the name of the Lord," He was saying they wouldn't see Him again until they WELCOME Him into Jerusalem!
Just THAT would be enough reason to pray for the salvation of Israel, don't you think?
Til next time...Shalom.