Wednesday, July 25, 2012

How Can We Rest?

I am encouraged when I see Gentile believers embracing and
rejoicing in the Jewish roots of their faith in the Jewish Messiah.
I was reading about Benjamin Disraeli, the Messianic Jewish Prime
Minister of the United Kingdom during the years 1874-1880, and how he
argued for a bill that would allow a Jew to take a seat in the
Parliament.  The following is from "In 1847 a small
political crisis occurred which removed Bentinck from the leadership
and highlighted Disraeli's differences with his own party. In the
preceding general election, Lionel de Rothschild had been returned for
the City of London. Ever since Catholic Emancipation, members of
parliament were required to swear the oath "on the true faith of a
Christian." Rothschild, an unconverted Jew, could not do so and
therefore could not take his seat. Lord John Russell, the Whig leader
who had succeeded Peel as Prime Minister and like Rothschild a member
for the City of London, introduced a Jewish Disabilities Bill to amend
the oath and permit Jews to enter Parliament. Disraeli spoke in favour
of the measure, arguing that Christianity was "completed Judaism," and
asking of the House of Commons "Where is your Christianity if you do
not believe in their Judaism?"'
Isn't that the perfect question to ask those who profess faith in the
Jewish Messiah today? Christianity truly is "completed Judaism"!

So, as I was saying, I rejoice over non-Jewish believers who discover
their Jewish Roots. In a sense, they have found their inheritance. And
that reminds me of the Torah Portion we studied last week. Israel was
about to cross the Jordan into the Promised Land. The tribes of Gad,
Reuben and the half-tribe of Manasseh found the land east of the Jordan
perfect for their herds and went to Moses with the following request in
the book of Numbers 32:5:"If we have found favor in your eyes,” they said,
“let this land be given to your servants as our possession. Do not make us
cross the Jordan.

Moses was infuriated with them and we see his response in verse 6: Moses said to the Gadites and Reubenites, “Shall your countrymen go to war while you sit here?

These tribes were quick to adamantly refute this accusation. In verses 16 & 17 we read:  Then they came up to him and said, “We would like to build pens here for our livestock and cities for our women and children.  But we are ready to arm ourselves and go ahead of the Israelites until we have brought them to their place."

When I see Gentile believers who have come into their inheritance before their Israelite brothers wearing Jewish prayer shawls, reciting the Shema, dancing to Jewish music, lighting the Shabbat candles, reading from the Torah scrolls and rejoicing in the depth of their faith in Yeshua as they have discovered him as the Jewish Messiah, I can't help but wish more of them had the same zeal as these tribes did, refusing to rest and be content until their brothers also found rest. For it is these same
Jewish people who through their wanderings, their toil, their slavery, their faithfulness, their suffering, and their prayers brought forth these blessings to the world.  And the greatest blessing was Messiah Himself.

Once it was time to cross the Jordan, Joshua reminded these tribes of their responsiblity to their brothers.
In Joshua 1:14 & 15 he says:  "You are to help your brothers until the Lord gives them rest, as he has done for you, and until they too have taken possession of the land that the Lord your God is giving them. After that, you may go back and occupy your own land, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave you east of the Jordan toward the sunrise.”

How can any of us who have entered into our inheritance rest and be content while our Israelite brothers have not yet entered the Promised Land with us? Rav Shaul said he had great sorrow and unceasing anguish in his heart over the Jewish people and their need to know their Messiah. He was burdened with the Lord's burden. He was expressing what the Ruach inside of him felt.

You may ask, "What can I do?"  Well, you can start by doing what the Gadites, Reubenites and half-tribe of Manasseh did. They "took up arms" and went before their brothers to fight for them! What does that look like for us? Rav Shaul said in 2 Corinthians 10:  "For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God..."

These are  the weapons we use to fight a spiritual war in the life and death struggle of our brothers, the Israelites. These weapons are prayer, praise, intercession, wielding the Word of God and proclaiming the promises God has spoken over his people. Doing spiritual warfare against the darkness that would claim Jewish souls Yeshua died for. Asking God for divine strategies against the enemy. Crying out and asking God to impart His heart for the Jewish people to us, and, as Isaiah 62 says, giving ourselves no rest and giving Him no rest til He establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth!

We have received our inheritance. It is sure and incorruptible, kept in heaven for us. Now is the time to fight to make sure that the rest of our Israelite brothers receive their inheritance as well. For, as we have discovered, to know Yeshua and His love and salvation is to enter the Promised Land. May our Israelite brothers glory and rejoice in the inheritance that has been bought for them by the blood of their Messiah, as we are faithful to go before them and fight for them to come into that inheritance. May we not feel settled or content, may we give ourselves no rest until this happens.

Make us faithful, O God.

Til next time,