Still Small Voice – 13 Sivan 5783 – June 3rd 2023

Dear Friends:

Thank you for your many responses this week. I promise to answer each one. All over Israel at this time, beautiful jacaranda trees are in full dress, covered with their large bunches of purple blooms. We have two of these great shade trees in our garden. See the cover photo.

My desire in this edition of Still Small Voice is to bring you into our world for the purpose of prayer corresponding to the Father’s heart for needed change. 

“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you through and through, [that is separate you from profane and vulgar things, make you pure and whole and undamaged – consecrated to Him – set apart for His purpose]; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept complete and blameless at the coming of Messiah.”

1 Thessalonians 5:23

Intense Turmoil:

All week, the skies over Jerusalem have been filled with turmoil and the incessant thunderous roar of jets as they soar high overhead out of sight night and day. We are on high alert; ready for attacks from, Syria, Lebanon and Gaza and within Israel itself. Then there is the Iranian threat. Israel’s Minister of Defense, according to the Jerusalem Post, Fri. June 2. 2023 stated “Yoav Gallant thinks Israel is close to the time where it will have no choice but to act.” (He has said so publicly, but he really means it.) We believe that the day when Israel will be left alone by the nations, is fast approaching.

Crazy Weather:

We enjoyed two days in Galilee with old friends, and the weather was a blistering 42C with a sand storm driven in from Egypt by fierce winds. We had hoped for a dip in the Sea of Galilee but were disappointed. In mid-May some industrial complex dumped poison into the lake. Consequently, fish lay dead along the shores and all fisherman had to destroy their catches, so as not to harm the public. Bathing was forbidden. I believe the all clear has been give now.

Religious Intolerance:

“There is no religious freedom in Israel.” Rabbi Maya Leibowitz

This has been the experience of many synagogues who serve non-orthodox communities. Our day care facilities were fire-bombed three times in the 1990’s. It is important for you to understand that everyone feels the restrains here. 

This January the new government made the following decrees. If a woman is found down at the Western Wall dressed inappropriately, reading the Torah or wearing a prayer shawl, she will be punished. In February a lady defiantly put a bikini on under her sweater and skirt, which she foolishly removed took off down at the wall leaving her in just a skimpy swim suit. How distasteful! Yes, and definitely disrespectful. She now has the following choice:  6 months in prison or a 10,000 – shekel fine. This is obviously used as a deterrent to other acts of disrespect.  So, dear Christian ladies, DO NOT visit this area with  short skirts or sleeveless tops. Do not be reading the first five books of the Bible and do not wrap a prayer shawl around your shoulders! 

Orthodox Jews spit at Christian Worshippers:

The event was billed as: Pentecost 2023: Global Day of Prayer for Jerusalem and the Nations. The primary purpose of the event was prayer for Israel and the peace of Jerusalem and the world. Prominent Jewish Zionist leaders led protesters to speak out against Christians who proselytize Jews in Israel. They were outraged and disrupted the event.

Most Christians are largely unaware of the history of Christian anti-semitism. Most are ignorant of the suspicion felt by most in the Jewish community. Trying to pull Jews away from their Jewish faith toward Christianity is understood as an attack on the Jewish people and the Jewishness of Israel. Great damage is done to the trust factor between these two communities by such actions. Among the organizers were prominent ministries and partners that do support or actively engage in efforts to preach Christianity to Jews in Israel. In a number of the speeches, references were given to their goal of the Jewish people accepting Jesus. None of those present live in the land or properly understand history.

It must also be said that the behavior of the protesters was shameful and damaging to the Jewish people first. Spitting and harassment of rude visitors, or scuffling with security personnel do nothing to improve the Jewish relationship with the nations of the world. It is nothing less than a desecration of God’s name. This type of thing gives Israel terrible media coverage globally, and makes insensitive Christians feel they have done right. They were guests in our country. Where does respect for one’s brother come in?

“To my Christian friends, study the history of Christian anti-Jewish doctrines and behavior. Be sensitive to Jewish identity, for our relationship to continue to grow and thrive. Respect our faith and our covenantal relationship to the God of our fathers without trying to change who we are. Otherwise, this friendship is no friendship at all.”  Executive Director of Ohr Torah Stone’s Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation.  Jerusalem Post June 2/2023 pg.20

Jay and I have always been welcome to share our own life’s experience. But when it’s all said and done, example is the best teacher. No one likes to be preached to. We don’t always have to be ‘right’! We often just need to listen, and be a friend. 

I hope I have given you much to pray about this coming week. Your response?

Every blessing from our home to yours:

Meridel Rawlings

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Kavod, Hebrew for “honor,” appears in the fifth of the Ten Commandments when God directs us to honor our parents. Together with God, our parents gave us the greatest possible gift – our very lives! In Jewish law, children are obligated to actively honor their parents in many different ways, including feeding them and helping them get dressed when they grow old, not calling them by name and not sitting in their designated seat. Honoring one’s parents is so important, it is one of only two commandments in the entire Bible rewarded with a promise of long life.

We are also instructed to give honor to others, even as we ourselves must flee from honor. The Talmud teaches: “Who is honored? The one who gives honor to others.” By not focusing on our own honor and being concerned more with the honor of others, we become truly worthy of being honored! In particular, the Bible directs us to honor our elders: “You shall rise before the aged and show deference to the old” (Leviticus 19:32).

The Bible also instructs us to honor Shabbat. We do so by observing the many laws of Shabbat, wearing special clothes, and eating delicious foods. If one comes across a special food during the course of the week, it is proper to set it aside and eat it on Shabbat, to honor the holy day of rest. On Shabbat we recognize that God created the entire world and everything in it, and so by honoring Shabbat, we honor God.