When David was anointed king over Israel, he didn’t take his place at the throne immediately. He had to wait, and bide his time, until Saul was removed from power, before arriving at his destined place as King. Like His father David, Yeshua (Jesus) was received as Israel's king/messiah at the triumphal entry, (often called "Palm Sunday"), and then, "anointed" King of the Jews, ironically receiving His true title from the Romans, while hanging on a cross. But He is still waiting to reveal His identity as King on earth, during the Millenial reign when His kingdom will replace the kingdoms of this world at His second advent. [Rev. 11:15].
This interesting passage speaks of a time when Israel had no blacksmiths to make weapons and was without any armament to defend themselves. The enemy had succeeded to disarm Israel by removing their weapons, and those who forged them! He's attempting the same tactic today.
The writer of Ecclesiastes was aware of cycles in nature, how they repeat themselves. Some have noticed another interesting historical cycle which awakens our awareness at this time of year. The dates April 19th-20th contain an interesting pattern. This is a time frame which has seen the birth of much havoc in the world.
As most of you know, we've been on a speaking tour throughout the United States during the past month, and have been preaching throughout the country in the midst of flu season. This past weekend the flu finally broke down my immunity and seriously knocked me out. But after a few days of battling, I'm starting to feel better. Influenza is a nasty virus that has the ability to replicate extremely quickly and once it establishes a foothold, rapidly gains a stronghold within the body. You may guess where I'm going with this personal illustration.
Have you ever heard of the Valley of Elah? It's the valley near Bet Shemesh where David defeated Goliath, yet this historic battlefield is virtually untouched in Israel. During the rainy season a brook runs through the midst of the valley, however it dries up during the summer. This brook is very likely the one from which David chose his five smooth stones – one of which was used to kill Goliath. Yet, this historic place has no landmarks, no churches – people drive past it all the time unaware of it's biblical or historic significance.
Toward the end of 1941, as the second world war was raging in Europe, the Japanese ambassador was sent to Washington D.C. apparently seeking peace; however back in Japan, the emperor was planning the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Japanese empire sent their ambassador to D.C. as a distraction, so the sudden attack on Pearl Harbor took the United States completely by surprise.
During World War I, in the winter of 1914, on the battlefields of Flanders, one of the most unusual events in history took place. The Germans had been in a fierce battle with the British and French. Both sides were dug in, safe in muddy man-made trenches six to eight feet deep that seemed to stretch forever… but it was Christmas, and what happened next was astonishing, writes Stanley Weintraub, author of the book, Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce.
As the war continues in Israel, much has been made of the success of the Iron Dome defense system which shoots down incoming rockets from the Gaza Strip. While we are very thankful for the protection this system affords, it does present a certain public relations challenge for Israel. Somehow, regardless of the differences in both size and intention between Israel and the Arab world, the global media frequently emphasizes what they call, “moral equivalency”. The perception of Israel's military strength and technical superiority somehow makes her the aggressor with an unfair advantage.
Throughout the history of the modern state of Israel, there have been accounts of angelic interventions protecting Israeli soldiers in the midst of intense warfare. One instance recounted by an Israeli military historian after the 1973 Yom Kippur war, describes an Israeli soldier in the Sinai taking captive an entire Egyptian column and leading them to where the Israeli troops were. The Egyptian commander was asked why he and his men gave themselves up to the lone Israeli soldier. He responded with surprise, "One soldier? There were thousands of them."
As most of you know, this past week the conflict in Israel has escalated. The IDF has termed Israel’s military operation, “amood anan”, which in literal Hebrew, means, “pillar of cloud”. In English it has been rendered, “pillar of defense”. The term is a direct reference from the Exodus of Israel from Egypt when they were led out of slavery and protected by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.[Exodus 13:21]. The pillar both led (directed and guided) and protected the children of Israel from the Egyptian army…providing both leadership and protection.
We've been encouraged by numerous phone calls and emails over the past few days, telling us that people are praying and fasting for Israel and believers in the land — and we so appreciate it, more than words could ever express!
As some of you may know, a bomb exploded in a bus within blocks of our Jerusalem apartment when we first moved to Israel. That morning, my wife and I, along with our newborn baby, were heading to the city center to run a few errands when suddenly we heard the explosion. Within minutes, the sirens were screaming from every part of the city as officials quickly made their way to the scene. Later that month, the bus I was supposed to be on drove away as I watched it carry away the 50 or so people who would be critically injured and the 8 who would be dead seconds later, when that bus exploded before my very eyes. So, to put it mildly, we have seen firsthand how terrorism works and how it affects people.
Over the past week, the possibility of war in the middle east has grown significantly. Last week, a National Intelligence Report (NIE) detailing Iran's significant progress towards military nuclear capability was delivered to President Obama. Over the weekend, Egypt's Prime Minister Morsi ousted his Defense minister along with the Egyptian Chief of Staff, in a radical shake up of the Egyptian army.
The Lord gave us His promise to send us a helper — the Holy Spirit. The word for "helper" in the NT Greek is "paraclete". This word has more meaning then simply "helper" — it was also an ancient term used in warfare.
Abraham's rescue of Lot and his household from the four Mesopotamian Kings in the middle of the night was an act of holy chutzpah! Israel's first patriarch demonstrated great faith, courage, family loyalty, and military strategy during this successful rescue operation.
Israel is celebrating its Independence today. Just before Israel celebrates its independence, it mourns those whose blood was shed for its freedom and then celebrates its freedom.
When Israel was fighting Amalek, Moses stood on top of the hill overlooking the battle, with his hands lifted high, and as long as they were lifted, Israel prevailed. When his arms became weary and dropped down, the battle went to Amalek; so Aaron and Hur drew up alongside Moses and they lifted up his hands, keeping them raised until sundown, because Moses didn't have the strength within him to fight the battle alone.
For the past few days our family has been fighting off various viruses, and I’m hoping we’re finally coming to the end of this bout of sickness. But it's causing me to reflect on the amazing way God has designed our bodies to combat these germs, with an immune system that can eliminate any intruder as soon as it penetrates.
Joshua son of Nun had been commissioned by Moses to bring Israel into the Promised Land. He was a leader and a general. Having spied out the land and returned with the other 11 spies, he was fully aware of the impending battle and the ferocity of the enemy.There were giants in the land. Having miraculously crossed over the Jordan with all the people and 40,000 armed soldiers, Joshua sensed deeply his responsibility to protect and lead Israel to victory and the inheritance God had promised them.
The Hebrew word "shalom" has meaning that is deep and rich. Peace, completeness, prosperity, safety, contentment, health, blessing, and rest are all apportioned to the meaning of this remarkable word.. The ancient Hebrew spelling of "shalom" is interesting because it speaks only indirectly about these multiple meanings, but reveals something very profound about apprehending "shalom".