Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people."
And he said, "My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." Exodus 33:13-14
We’ve been back from our trip to Your amazing land for over three months and I’m still trying to absorb all You revealed to us. It’s daunting, to say the least; there were so many spiritual and physical experiences. Finding a way to honor You with our processed perceptions; to share the depth of Your outpouring with others…It’s just going to take time. Help me to present this in a way which glorifies
Your purpose and inspires others to learn more.
Our second trip to Israel was so different from the first. You allowed us to take in so much of the country on our first encounter, but there was such limited exposure to the people who lived and worked there. This time however and the organic experiences of interacting with those who dwell in the land were striking.
Epiphany # 1: Spirit, You equipped us and provided Scriptural encouragement. Lord, You showed us, Your ambassadors how our walk influenced the nation as suggested in Romans 11:11. But You also taught us how service flows both ways. We were sincerely blessed by the people we encountered and they taught us more than we could have imagined about true existence in Israel; how the world attempts to manipulate and delegitimize the country’s people (Jew and Palestinian alike!) and how other countries have invalidly claim the land a political object to conquer.
Epiphany # 2: Lord, You opened our eyes to common misconceptions and helped dismiss our preconceived assumptions that Israeli Jews are just like American Jews. We discovered an evangelical segment and attitude of Israeli Jews who piqued our curiosity greatly. Our shared dialogue was inspiring and open.
Epiphany # 3: Father, it appears the misconceptions go both ways. The Evangelical Jews we encountered perceive most American Christians to be highly uninformed on Old Testament and the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. OK YHWH, maybe there is validity to the point. Regardless, they seemed surprised and encouraged about our knowledge and understanding. Thank You for shared wisdom.
Epiphany # 4. Master, You introduced us to the growing number of Jewish Ministries such as the Center for Jewish -Christian Understanding and Cooperation, and Yad Vashem – the Holocast Awareness Museum, desiring active study, discussion and interaction with Christian groups. This is a very recent development of engagement and we are excited about the possibilities of shared ministry in Your name.
Epiphany # 5. Father, You have stirred the pot, involving more Multi-national Christians than American Christians to seek dialogue and relationship with Israel (Brazil, South Korea, Netherlands, Africa to name a few). We have learned this through our great friends at the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem who host a Feast of Tabernacles celebration during the Fall Festivals. We were amused to learn of the Jewish population’s amazement that Christians want to share their holy feasts. Lord I suspect You are smiling at the irony.
Epiphany #6. The blessing of Aliyah: Jews from all over the world are invited through the rite of Aliyah to claim and live in the land You God, promised to them. The increase of these “Sojourners” from other nations is reshaping the culture, politics and spiritual nature of Israel. We learned that Russian Jews since 1980s have found true fellowship and now Chinese Jews (amazing!) are flooding to the land. What a true melting pot isYour tabernacle.
Epiphany #7. The struggle of Aliyah: There is a contradictory attitude toward Messianics– Jews who have claimed You Yeshua...Jesus, as their Lord and Savior. Although by all other cultural and ecumenical standards, they have in no way renounced their heritage, they are denied what every other Jew (even those forsaking You as God!) are granted by the administrative and religious authorities of Israel. Lord, we pray for these who are courageous enough to proclaim You, and we will walk with them in their effort to be legitimately recognized.
Epiphany #8. Master, You are teaching us the sad reality that a large number ofAmerican Christians do not study or realize the significance of Living Prophecy. They do not full grasp the purpose of Your command to Bless Israel and what it means to our future.
We have come to realize that it’s difficult to perceive Biblical Prophecy unfolding when living in the prophecy’s time. It’s like standing on the pages in the middle of a giant book and trying to comprehend the book’s beginning and its ending
We need insight from the book’s readers of the past and the vision of Your Spirit to help us through.
Epiphany #9. Holy Spirit, You have given us understanding that Spiritual warfare isn’t a news story of one historical moment. It’s a long term strategy―many battle-plans of two opposing forces throughout history toward the determination of eternity. The two sides wrestle today in a continuation of past events and perspective. Here are questions that You have raised in my heart based on this revealing:
Why does Islam hate Israel so much? Nineveh of 6000 BC has become modern day Mosel in Iraq. Mohamad professed one of the Pillars of Islam to declare that possession of any land by Islamic conquerors also own the land and the people of that land for all time. In our modern age, the restoration of conquered land to the rightful inhabitants has not and cannot change spiritual warfare. There will be, until the end of the age, forces that will not recognize You and Your purpose, so they attack with their alternative purpose.
YHWH, all of these epiphanies are profound for me. They paint a picture of the reality we live in. It is not a new reality, as some would like to think. I hear others suggest that in the modern era, humanity has improved, that we don’t need You as much, if at all.
You know better. I’ve had my eyes and ears opened to Your most ancient of wisdom – we cannot improve ourselves; there is only One who has done that and I honor His rule: Your rule, Lord Jesus. I pray for the eyes of the world to recognize Your design. To become alert to the extraordinary restoration of Israel since 1948, the successful defense of deceitful attacks in1967, 1980 and the propaganda wars of this very moment cannot be attributed to our meager efforts.
There is only one possibility to explain the reclamations of vineyards, the restoration of fertility to the land, and the returning of faithful people to the Israel. It is Your doing and to Your glory that these things have happened.
Yours is the prophecy that has perfectly unfolded. Thank You for not giving up on us and for your Long Suffering while struggle between our will and Yours.