PRAYER UPDATE FROM ISRAEL 4 MARCH 2019.
PARASHAH – P’kudei
- THE RAINS OF BLESSING CONTINUE.
The amazing rains in Israel continued through most of this past week. Above is a cell-phone chart of weather last Thursday, showing over a dozen locations from Mount Hermon in the north to Mitzpe Ramon in the Negev, and it’s raining everywhere! In one day, Jerusalem received 1/4th of its annual average of rainfall! The level of the Sea of Galilee finally rose above the lower “red line”; it has now risen almost two meters this season. Snow continues to fall on Mount Hermon (much to the delight of Israeli skiers), and more is predicted. As it melts, more streams will flow into the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee). Last year northern Israel experienced one of its worst droughts in a century—today it is clothed in luxuriant green. We thank you who have prayed—it’s taking place! It will take time for restoration from the years of drought (the Sea is still 13 feet from being full), but we are encouraged and grateful. We see this blessing as healing, and also as an equipping for Israel. As we encouraged two weeks ago, let us continue to join us in activating Zechariah 10:1,
“Ask rain from the LORD in the season of the latter [i.e. “spring”] rain, from the LORD who makes the storm clouds; and He will give them showers of rain, to everyone the vegetation in the field.”
- PRAYING FOR ISRAEL—By SHIRA SORKO-RAM
This past Thursday afternoon, Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced intent to indict Prime Minister Netanyahu for bribery, fraud and breach of trust, pending a hearing (a procedure which could take between three and 12 months, well after the April 9th elections in Israel). Although the Attorney General’s decision is not final, it marks the first time in modern Israeli history that a serving prime minister has been told that he faces criminal charges.
We print below (with permission) what we see as an honest, sensitive assessment of the present situation as seen from the perspective our dear friend Shira Sorko-Ram, along with a perceptive prayer. It appeared on her Facebook blog last Thursday evening, shortly after the Attorney General’s dramatic decision was made public. Coming to Israel over 50 years ago, Shira with her husband Ari are founders of MAOZ Ministries; they are loved and valued as true pioneers among the Messianic community in the Land.
We are electing a prime minister on April 9. Our current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was indicted today [28 February] for bribery in order to get good news coverage, and bash his political opponents. He is said to have received hundreds of thousands of shekels in cigars and champagne in exchange for giving a relative business opportunities.
Netanyahu has up till now created a coalition with the Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox. These conservatives are very pro-Judea and Samaria, and don’t want a Palestinian State. They also are very anti-Messianic Jews and spend much time and tax money, trying to keep believing Jews out of the country. They also extract huge amounts of money for their partnership with Netanyahu’s coalition so they can pay stipends to their non-working Orthodox men.
In fact, Netanyahu, worried that he could lose this election, even absorbed a very fanatical Orthodox racist faction into his hopefully future coalition that very few Israelis can tolerate.
On the other hand, everybody knows there is no one like Netanyahu with his brilliant handling of the world outside of the country. No one. And we have enemies in every direction. Yet Netanyahu has done wonders.
From the Center Left, we have General Benny Gantz, fresh out of the army who is well liked and well respected. He has joined in with a well-known center left ex-journalist, Yair Lapid. No one knows exactly what Gantz stands for, but basically he and Lapid (who plan to each be prime minister half of the time) would perhaps be more tenable to the creation of a Palestinian state. They also would be ready to give more freedom to non-Orthodox citizens – like Messianic Jews. In fact, the Orthodox hate Yair Lapid because of his anti-Orthodox stance. And believe it or not, both of these men are considered clean and honest.
Of course as a believer, I would love to see the Messianic Jews given full religious liberty, especially concerning believers trying to immigrant to Israel. I would also love to see Judea and Samaria be officially become a part of Israel. Furthermore, I hate corruption, as all of us know that God hates corruption.
It would appear to me that most likely Netanyahu’s type of corruption is common among politicians in general here. All want good media coverage. All would like to do favors for friends, etc. But quite a lot of citizens are simply tired of hearing about his corruption in all the press day after day. The press is strongly leftist.
All that to say that as Ari and I pray, we know we don’t know who is God’s choice. Palestinian head Mahmoud Abbas is 82 and ill. No one knows what will happen, except that if a real election is held in the West Bank, the chances are huge that Hamas will win. That would ultimately mean Gaza II – the difference would be the terrorists would be a few miles from Tel Aviv and Haifa, and inside East Jerusalem. The Ben Gurion National airport could be attacked easily enough. Meanwhile, Iran continues to build up their forces in Syria as they give President Assad more sophisticated weapons against Israel’s air force and are working to build bases near Israel’s border (of which Israel is constantly bombing.)
SO HERE IS A PRAYER FOR ISRAEL:
Dear Heaven Father, God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Father of our Redeemer Yeshua, we need You. Your Body is growing in Israel. A whole generation of second and third generation young people are becoming bold, believing citizens of the State of Israel. Our nation has become aware of us, and even politicians are intermingling with us because they see us as a bridge between Israel and Evangelicals around the world. Evangelicals, who are just about Israel’s only faithful friends.
So Father, this election is coming up. What is Your will? We know You promised in Your Word, that as Jews turn back to You, You would bring them Home to Israel. You repeated this over and over. So we pray that somehow You would give us rulers in our government who would not deport or close the doors to believing Jews who want to come Home.
We also see in Your Word that You speak to the Mountains of Judea and Samaria. And You have said that these mountains would welcome home Your chosen people. And we see this in the growing number of settlers in the West Bank. They are fulfilling Your will.
We know Lord that You hate corruption and bribery. We don’t know how to pray, except to say, Your will be done in Israel as it is in Heaven. Hear the prayers of the believers across the Land, and around the world who care about Israel because they know You care about Israel.
Be glorified in Israel. As the Keeper of Israel, protect this land and this people, we pray. Most of all, send Your Holy Spirit and give our people a New Heart and a New Spirit, just as You said You would.
And Father, we pray earnestly that You will give President Trump an understanding of Your purposes for this land. We pray that he or his son-in-law will not succeed to divide up this land, as this would bring a curse on them according to Your prophet Joel. Lord, President Trump doesn’t need a curse. You have such important work for him to do. Have mercy, and reveal Your Heart to him.
In the Name of our Yeshua, the Hope of Glory, Amen.
THIS WEEK’S TORAH PORTION
From ancient times there has been a weekly portion (Parashah) from the first five books of Moses (The Torah) and an ending (Haftarah) from the Prophets read on the Sabbath in synagogues around the world. This portion is given a Hebrew name drawn from the opening words of the Torah passage. An illustration of this practice appears to have been recorded in Luke 4:16 where Yeshua (Jesus) arrived in the synagogue in Nazareth and was asked to read the portion (Isaiah 61) from the Prophets. We have found that in perusing these weekly readings, not only are we provided opportunity to identify in the context of God’s Word with millions of Jewish people around the world, but very often the Holy Spirit will illumine specific passages pertinent that week in our intercession for the Land and people of Israel. All texts are those of English translations of the Scriptures.
The readings for this week 3-9 March 2019 are called P’kudei—“Accountings of–”:
TORAH: Exodus 38:21—40:38
HAFTARAH: I Kings 7:51—8:21
THIS TORAH PORTION carefully describes the concluding stages of constructing the Mishkan (“Dwelling Place”/”Tabernacle”), even down to itemizing the amount of precious metals used. It is noteworthy that neither in this account of finishing the work, nor in last week’s account of beginning it, are the Urim and Thumim (Exodus 28:29-30) mentioned. This suggests that they were not “fashioned” by the creative skills of men, but given by God to be placed in the Breastplate of Judgment. The Portion then ends with the completion of the work of the Tabernacle (39:32), its erection (40:17), and the coming of the manifest Presence of the LORD to fill it with His Glory—that He might dwell among His people in their travel to Canaan. Similarly, the Haftarah (I Kings 7:51—8:21) ends with the Ark of the Covenant, centuries later, being brought up from the City of David to the new Temple built by Solomon, with its being placed in the Temple’s inner court, and with the cloud of God’s glory filling the House of the LORD (I Kings 8:11).
Both of the usual readings for this week have to do with completing preparations of a place—and then the coming of God’s Presence to dwell among His people. Although it does not appear in Scripture, a Hebrew word sometimes used for the manifestation of the glory of His Presence on Earth is Sh’khinah, or in English: “Shekinah.” It is related to the word shakhan which we discussed several weeks ago, when we read in Exodus 25:8 of God’s desire to shokhen—to dwell closely with, to neighbor with His people. And of His delight that they should so also desire for Him to be among them, that they would willingly sacrifice to prepare a mishkan (tabernacle)—a place for Him to dwell. In this week’s Parahsha, the Glorious Presence—the Shekinah of God—comes into the place prepared for it. There would be a tragic time, many years later, when that Presence would depart from its mishkan (Ezekiel 11:23). It has been a longing within the Jewish soul ever since that it return. The Siddur, an ancient Hebrew prayer book still used in Synagogues today, contains the following prayer:
Our Eyes shall behold Your return with mercy to Zion. Blessed are you, LORD, that brings back His Shekinah to Zion.
In parts of the Body of Messiah today, one may hear of a longing for the coming of the Shekinah—the manifest presence of the Glory of God. This can be of course a blessed longing (Moses cried, “Show me your glory!”). In welcoming Shekinah—we are not merely calling for some “glorious” experience or manifestation—we are instead responding in our hearts to His desire to shokhen—to dwell among us!
“I will dwell among the children of Israel and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, who brought them up out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwellamong them. I am YHVH their God” (Exodus 29:45).
“And I will dwell in your midst. Then you will know that the LORD of Hosts has sent Me to you.” (Zechariah 2:11).
“Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him, that glory may dwell in our land” (Psalm 85:9).
“ ‘For I,’ says the LORD, ‘will be a wall of fire all around her [i.e. Jerusalem], and I will be the glory in her midst’” (Zechariah 2:5).
PLEASE PRAY: for an awakened longing in Israel for the Presence of the LORD to return to His Land. Pray for grace among us as Believers in preparing the way for His Glory. And pray for revelation among Israelis that preceding Messiah’s physical return to the Land, it is possible for His glorious Spirit to take up residence within the individual hearts of all of His people (Ephesians 2:22)—to commune with them and encourage them, and to lead, even as did the cloud and the fire of His Presence in the wilderness.
Martin & Norma Sarvis
[The readings for next week (10-16 March 2019) are called VaYikra—“And He Called…”: TORAH: Leviticus 1:1—6:7 +Shabbat Zakhor: Deuteronomy 25:17-19; HAFTARAH: I Samuel 15:2-34]