Today we embark of a trip of a lifetime – we’re headed to the Holy Land. Our bags are packed, we have our prayer intentions from our family, friends, and community and my heart is prepared to experience a profound realization that my feet will tread along the same path as the ancestors of my faith. I’ve spent a great deal of the last six months learning all that I could about the current inhabitants of today’s Israel – Christians, Jews, and Muslims and look forward to receiving all there is to learn through them.
Throughout salvation history, we have watched as God allowed His people to make choices that brought them into and out of this Holy Land. When you think about it, it’s not much different than the entering into and out of relationship many of us experience today with God. We, just like the Jews in the Old Testament, try to twist and shape God’s laws to fit into the confines of what we want in our lives and turn out backs when we think that He doesn’t quite know what He’s really doing. Even this concept isn’t new. The Jewish people grew tired of the waiting and found ways to make those laws “easier” in their lives, but Jesus made it quite clear in the New Testament that we must choose the narrow way. In Matthew 17: 14, Jesus says:
For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
When will we ‘let the King of Glory, come in and take His place’? My prayer is that I find the answer to that in my own life. I want to learn to align my eyes and heart to His Will in my life and seek the answers to how I will use this experience to enhance my life and ministry when I return home.
The words in Ester 4:14 have been on my heart for months now. I know that there is a message in this verse and I take it with me to pray over and seek answers. I have experienced personal challenges this year, but especially the weeks leading up to this trip. I keep this verse close to my heart knowing that God’s waiting for my decision to trust Him. Will I take the risk to speak with His voice?
“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Ester 4:14
In this past Sunday’s readings we heard God’s commandment to love Him with all our heart, our soul, and mind…….AND to love our neighbor. The word ‘shema’ is Hebrew for “to hear”. We interpet this word to be something we do with our mind, the Hebrew word is a call to physical action. If we are going to love God with our whole being, we must take that love and put it into action with our family, friends, and communities. God commanded it:
Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One.
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words that I command thee this day, shall be upon thy heart. And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and thou shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thy house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thy hand, and they shalt be for frontlets (totafot) between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the doorposts (mezuzoth) of thy house, and upon thy gates. Deuteronomy 4‑9.