Can a person change his skin color? Can a leopard its spots? Can The Jewish widow transform into a Hebrew mother-nation?
Can That Happen?
Only if the heart is vacated of its wounds. Only then there’s room to hear someone else’s cry, and nurture them without feeling threatened.
In my personal life, I have learned this lesson the hard way and have seen it in the lives of many people I have ministered to. So long as my heart is broken, I focus mostly on myself. All conversations somehow revolve around me, and there is no room for anyone else. But when chambers of my heart (in which I have held captive people and memories that caused me pain) cease to serve as jail cells and return to be living, breathing body parts, there is room for others and their needs.
My dear Israel, I love you with all my heart. You flow in my blood, in my soul. You are a part of my identity – of who I am. Your history and whereabouts are one of the main ways by which God reveals Himself to me. By looking at you I constantly learn who He is. You have battled with Him through many passageways, yet have prevailed (Gen. 32:28). However, in some realms you still act like a widow (Isa. 54:4), as if you do not have a Husband.
In honor of your upcoming birthday, I bless you with yet another crossing over from widowhood to motherhood. With the ability to forgive, though it doesn’t mean you need to forget. To the contrary, beloved, once you forgive – you will be able to remember the facts just as they were, only without the sting attached to it. And when you speak these facts, others will truly listen. It will not be your painful emotions and your victim mentality that will take the front stage. It will be about what actually had happened, and about God’s strong and outstretched Arm that had pulled the strings behind the scenes in order to bring about a most wonderful plan.
I bless you with the ability to repent from the bottom of your being. To remove your sackcloth and mourning garments, and with ceasing to struggle against the Lover of your soul, whom you perceive as your greatest enemy. And I bless you with the ability to behold the Jewish Face of the Jewish Messiah. You believe He died and is still buried, so you have covered His true identity with heavy burial stones. But He is alive, and I bless you with this revelation.
And I bless you with many more candles on the bitter-sweet cake that I enjoy eating every year, on the 5th day of the month of Eyar.
Holocaust Vs. Holocaust
One of the wounds in our national soul is our official stance concerning the Armenian genocide. It was initiated by the Ottoman Turks in 1915 and continued through 1918. More than one million Armenians were killed in ways that have set up the stage for the Nazi extermination machine a few decades later. Already then they used death marches, concentration camps, mass murders and fires, and more [you can learn more about the Armenian holocaust at Armenian Genocide].
Armenian refugees in Malatya, who were eventually massacred
Six years ago, as the 100 year anniversary of that massacre approached, Armenia needed Israel’s vote in the UN in support of recognizing these events as genocide. Sadly, our government chose not to stand with them, and by the end of that year, this historical window of opportunity has closed forever.
Our reasons were mostly political, but also had to do with the concern that recognition in their holocaust will cast a shadow on the one we went through. So as we approach one more birthday tomorrow, Israel, I bless you with a mature realization that their holocaust does not make ours null and void. Our lack of recognition in their wound only deepens our identity as a broken nation. If we will take a just and righteous stand alongside the Armenian wound, it will sow into our own healing as well.
Jerusalem Armenians protest outside the Knesset, demanding that Israel recognize the Armenian genocide (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
I would love to see our politicians wisely choose Armenia as an alley, and recognize the many similarities between these two nations. Both are widely spread in diaspora all over the world, fought many years for their independence, are surrounded by Moslem countries (Armenia is a Christian nation), and of course – both are still dealing with the trauma of the mass killing of their people. I also pray that God will reveal to the Armenian church His heart for Israel, and His end-time plan for them as well. They need it! We need it!
At the time that vote was taking place in the UN, I was ministering in Armenia. The locals I talked to about it did express their hurt, but somehow it did not evolve into bitterness. Surprisingly, they were stretching out open arms towards us.
I was quite impressed with the depth and love for Scripture that I found among Christian Armenians. They reminded me of the people of the Berean church. In a balanced way, they combine the gifts of the Spirit with its fruits, and they serve God and others well. It would be every leader’s hope to have some Armenians by his side, for they are faithful, they love to pray and are good at encouraging others. Yet they walk around with a wound that has to do with us, O Israel.
Three Days of Remembrance
Once Passover is over, Israeli flags are flown throughout the land. On balconies, on the streets, on cars. In the span of two weeks we commemorate three special occasions found on the Zionist calendar, not the Biblical one. Well, that’s not exactly right. The Bible does prophecy these days, in which dry bones will join one another and take upon them flesh and skin (Ezk. 37).
Holocaust Memorial Day (April 7th this year) is followed exactly a week later by Soldiers and Terror victims’ Memorial Day (April 13th), and then Independence Day.
Yes, He has hidden the Face of the Jewish Messiah from us from the moment we chose to worship idols and turned our backs on Him, and has punished us with exile, captivity, and the desolation of the land, but this was not the end of the story. Not even the climax of the plot. He promised that the day will come in which He will bring us back to the Land (Ezk. 36:24; Deut. 30:5) and restore its ruins (Deut. 30:3), Jerusalem will be once again inhabited by elderly and children who will play in her streets (Zech. 8:4-5), and then He will also bring us back unto Himself.
The ancient widow is indeed being restored back to her land, and gradually back to her God. The name of Yeshua, whom for generations was distorted and uttered as a curse by Hebrew speakers, is becoming more common and starts receiving some of the honor it is due. Yes, there are still significant pockets of resistance to the Gospel, but as I look back 37 years, to the beginning of my personal journey with God, and compare it to what I see today, I am moved and thankful.
A mother-nation is not focusing on self preservation. She has the required courage and confidence to handle any enemy that will come her way, and enough room in her heart to look at others, identify their God-ordained identity, and sow her part into its fulfillment.
Photo credit: Alan Hinchliffe on flickr
Lion of Judah, echo your roar inside our national soul. Awaken in us that roar on behalf of righteousness, both that of ourselves, but also on behalf of other nations.