Shalom dear friends, one and all:
Did you know that Israel has a special day dedicated to family? This past Tuesday, families across the country spent the day focusing on and celebrating the special bond that is family. Children, especially in kindergartens, created art projects and brought family photos to share with their friends. Many families plan special after-school activities to celebrate the day together. Our family took off to the Negev desert to see the immense carpets of the ruby red ‘rose of Sharon’.
Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem … and “we weep with great love for Zion.” Psalm 137: 1-5.
It is a time of great controversy. I suggest, Noa Tishby’s 2021 book, Israel: A Simple Guide to the Most Misunderstood Country on Earth. It is a “wonderful read” especially at this very difficult time internally for the nation and her people. Thank you for your prayers.
History comes to Life during Purim:
The Jewish people have faithfully kept the Biblical Feast down through the annuals of history. This week we are celebrating Purim, The Feast of Esther. What a perfect time to celebrate the faithfulness of the LORD God of Israel, when everything looks so dark.
One of the most amazing archaeological shards has been found in Israel, and it is just a small piece of pottery. A hiker in Israel’s Judean lowlands region recently discovered a 2,500-year-old pottery shard inscribed with the name of the Persian king Darius the Great. He was the father of king Ahasuerus, the king Esther had to marry. Never before has any proof of this great King of history ever been found in Israel.
Here in Greece, a terrible train collision took the lives of 59 young people this week. The death toll continues to rise. Darkness seeks to overwhelm ordinary people in the nations globally at this time. This week Greeks begin Lent after a festive weekend. In many Catholic nations, it is known as Carnaval. Now, with Pessach-Easter just 6 weeks away, the Greek Orthodox have given up eating meat, eggs and cheese. It is a form of humbling oneself.
After Passover observant Jews look for meaningful ways to pass the next 50 days until Shuavot, or Pentecost when the Law was given. See Exodus 34. It was also on that exact date that the Holy Spirit was first poured out upon the Apostles and followers of Yeshua-Jesus our Messiah in Jerusalem. Acts 2. Those were dark times politically and so we take heart. King Solomon wrote: For there is nothing new under the sun. History does repeat itself.
Prayer changes everything:
My friend Colleen Peric a fellow intercessor wrote:
“My dear Meridel, we truly are kindred spirits. I would like to see days of repentance throughout Canada. People are so expecting Revival in Canada but where is repentance?”
A challenging thought for each one of us. I hope the following article speaks to you as it did to me.
The Confessions of a King
“For I recognize my transgressions, and am ever conscious of my sin.”Psalm 51:5
“Everyone loves a love story. Unless you happen to be a prophet named Nathan and the love story involves a married woman named Bathsheba being pursued by a man named David who happens to be the king of Israel. This is not a boy-meets-girl romance! Though this story involves sin, it ends with the paradigmatic example of repentance and we have much to learn from this narrative.
Sometime after the sin had taken place, Nathan the prophet confronts David. David immediately admits his guilt, rather than hide his actions in shame. David wrote a Psalm from which the entire world can learn about how to repent. Those seeking to repent should take a close look at the actions of King David.
King David teaches us about man’s vulnerability and his desires, as well as his ability to soar to the heavens and redeem his sins through repentance. Repentance demanded that his sin be made public, when David is confronted by the prophet Nathan with rebuke.
David responds in 2 Samuel: 12 with a single word: Chatati (חטאתי),
‘I have sinned.’ Psalm 51. This is his public response. David indicts himself right from the start. In verse 5, he declares that his sin is always with him while he begs the Lord to cleanse him of his iniquity.
David is not satisfied with his own personal repentance but declares that he will teach others the path towards repentance and atonement as well. See verse 15. His commitment was to return and in the process to bring others closer to God. Consequently, we (Jews) continue to herald King David as the greatest king of Israel.
But what is David’s message for us today? What can we learn about repentance from this Psalm? You may find this interesting:
As an experiment, I asked ChatGPT, the new artificial intelligence chatbot, what it thought of King David’s brand of repentance and what King David teaches us in this Psalm. Its answer sounds good but … can a computer program that can’t sin* (see below) really understand repentance? You, the human reader, will have to be the judge.
ME: Good morning, Chat GPT.
Chat GPT: Good morning, human.
ME: I want to hear your opinion on repentance as expressed by King David in Psalm 51. How should a person repent?
Chat GPT: Ideal repentance refers to a complete and sincere change of heart and behaviour that results from acknowledging and regretting one’s wrongdoing. It involves a deep sense of humility and a recognition of one’s dependence on God’s grace and mercy.
In Psalm 51, King David reflects this ideal repentance as he confesses his sin and seeks forgiveness. In this psalm, David acknowledges his wrongdoing, recognizing that his sin is not just against other people but also against God. He pleads for God’s mercy, expressing his deep remorse and acknowledging his need for God’s help in overcoming his sin. The psalm is often considered one of the great expressions of penitence in religious literature, and is a vivid illustration of ideal repentance in action. In the psalm, David says, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin” Psalm 51:1-2. This demonstrates his humility and willingness to confess his wrongdoing, as well as his trust in God’s forgiveness and grace. Overall, Psalm 51 reflects the key aspects of ideal repentance, including a deep sense of remorse, a willingness to confess one’s wrongdoing, and a recognition of one’s dependence on God’s grace. By examining this psalm, one can gain a deeper understanding of what it means to truly repent and turn away from sin.
The chatbot’s answer seems to cover all the bases and check all the right boxes. But it lacks one of the most important elements of repentance. It lacks the pain a true pennant feels when he realizes that he has moved farther away from God. A pain that David clearly feels when he cries out to God in Psalm 51.”By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz
* Upon reading the word ‘sin’ in relation to a chatbot, my son Josh commented: “ A computer does not have a conscience. It’s just a stupid tool, it has no soul, it has nothing.”
What do you think?
Every blessing from our home to yours,
With loving prayer, from Meridel Rawlings
An interesting read: Putin paying Palestinians in Lebanon refugee camps to fight in Ukraine – report