PRAYER UPDATE FROM ISRAEL, MAY 23, 2004 May 24, 2004 2:49:17 GMT -5
Post by Michael on May 24, 2004 2:49:17 GMT -5
PRAYER UPDATE FROM ISRAEL, MAY 23, 2004
1. WEDNESDAY IS SHAVUOT.
"Then you shall celebrate the Feast of Weeks to the LORD your God with a tribute of a freewill offering of your hand, which you shall give just as the LORD your God blesses you; and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God, you and your son and your daughter and your male and female servants and the Levite who is in your town, and the stranger and orphan and the widow who are in your midst, in the place where the LORD your God chooses to establish His name" (Deuteronomy 16:10-11).
Tuesday evening and Wednesday (May 26th) Israel celebrates the Biblical Feast of Shavuot. In English this is translated "Weeks", relating to the seven weeks counted off after Passover and First Fruits; in Greek it is called "Pentecost", for the 50 days. This was one of three feasts for which Hebrew males were to "appear before God" in Jerusalem. It celebrates the early harvest; and loaves baked with leaven were brought before the LORD (Leviticus 23:17). It was a time for bringing both mandatory and free-will offerings. And it was to be a sabbath day of rest, a time of rejoicing and thanksgiving in the LORD's presence. During the time of this Feast the passages from Ezekiel (chap 1 and 3:12) describing the awesome coming of the LORD's great Glory are among those read in Synagogues. Traditionally, the Book of Ruth is also associated with this harvest feast.
It was on this day that the Holy Spirit fell in Power on the disciples of the departed Messiah (Luke 2). And Acts 20:16 and I Cor 16:8 suggest the joy that Paul (Heb: Shaul), himself a First Century Messianic Jew and apostle, evidently still experienced in celebrating this Festival.
We believe that these festivals continue to have great significance, both in the natural and spiritual. As Israel, presently in a time of great turbulence and pain draws near again to this holy festival,
* That God would release His Spirit in synagogues as His Word is being read...to convict of sin, righteousness, and judgment--and to draw in kindness towards the Way of Life.
*For Believers in the Land, that we might have eyes of gratitude opened, and bring freewill offerings "of praise to God, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name" (Hebrews 13:15).
*That Believers in Israel would experience a new baptism of the Holy Spirit...to be able to move forward in Joy, in the anointing, power and discernment of Joshua and Caleb (Numbers 14:6-7,24), who were of a "different spirit" than their terrified fellows when faced with the Giants in the Land!
*For HARVEST, of both Jew and Gentile. The Book of Ruth speaks of God's redemptive purposes for a Gentile woman, tied in with His purposes for the "chosen" people. The Spirit which fell on Pentecost is the One who renews ALL people (Titus 3:5)!
*For the Safety and the presence of God's Spirit of unity and fervent praise in Messianic celebrations in Israel. A large number of Believers from congregations around the country will be gathered at a location just West of the City to celebrate and fellowship...there will be another gathering in the evening. THERE IS ALSO A SPECIAL YOUTH WORSHIP EVENING AT A LOCATION ON MOUNT ZION, with young people from around the Land on Wednesday evening. Please pray for Protection for all Israelis to and from these places--and for a spirit of Thanksgiving, Joy, Unity and Victory to attend these gatherings!
2. "OPERATION RAINBOW," EXPOSING WHAT IS HIDDEN, AND THE STORM WHICH SURROUNDS IT.
As you are certainly aware, Israel has been engaged in an operation, nicknamed "Rainbow" in southern Gaza for the past week. We are aware of the powerful effect t.v. close-ups of bloodied children, weeping women and destroyed homes is likely having around the world. Having ourselves just returned from the U.S., we are grimly aware of the potential that that nation's media's continued splashing of shameful images (albeit representative of but a few) onto every newscast will have, not only on the American public's view of its present leadership, but on the Muslim world's view of ALL Americans for years to come. As always, we Believers must be aware that there are powerful forces at work in the spirit world as well as the physical. We must pray to be clothed with a Spirit of Truth, so that we can discern between truth and falsehood, and seek to know, in light of that, what the "Holy" spirit is saying to Messiah's Body. Otherwise, we are in danger of being carried away by our emotions with everything which our eyes see into interpretations which may not be based upon reality.
We would briefly attempt to present a simplified view of "Operation Rainbow" as it is seen from here. We don't wish to imply that Israel is blameless in all that has been going on. In war, there is usually a large measure of confusion on all sides. We simply wish to submit what we are hearing from our perspective:
*Egypt, in violation of her treaty with Israel, has done little or nothing to stem the flow of arms flowing to militant Palestinians in Gaza via tunnels. As quickly as Israel's defense forces have discovered and destroyed these arms tunnels, others appear. They are looked up as the "oxygen" of the intifada. "Operation Rainbow" is an attempt to bring a final closure to these tunnels and break up the terrorist infrastructure which is making use of the weapons.
*The mines and rocket-propelled grenades which resulted in the deaths of 11 young soldiers a little over a week ago, were presumably funneled through these tunnels. A shipment of powerful anti-tank missiles and other weapons, perhaps including anti-aircraft missiles, was, according to Israeli Intelligence, recently sent from Iran to be smuggled through these tunnels. Such weapons getting into Hamas' hands would be disastrous.
*Initial reports of a large-scale massacre of Palestinians, including a missile attack killing over 24, mostly children, were false. The parade was prepared by arms-bearing militants who placed children in front of them. An Israeli shell accidentally blew up near the marchers. Fewer than ten were killed, at least four of these were militants. There are reports that many "bodies" shown in Arab media were deceased taken from hospitals, which hadn't even been in the march.
*An IDF officer gives as example of the cynical usage of civilians by terrorists, "A group of armed terrorists was shooting at our troops and wanted to cross the road. They grabbed a young Palestinian boy and used him as a shield as they crossed and continued shooting at soldiers, fully aware that our soldiers would not shoot back because of the boy."
*Military reports that so far, 40 terrorists have been killed, including the local Hamas commander.
*In one case, when Israeli forces gave men of a certain area the opportunity to give themselves up by assembling at a certain point, other Palestinians began firing on those who chose to surrender.
*Israel asserts that most of the homes which have been destroyed have been because there were severe battles going on within them.
*Israelis, under heavy fire, discovered an eight meter deep tunnel with a 40 kilogram bomb nearby it. Last week they uncovered a tunnel opening large enough to smuggle through rocket propelled grenades.
*Reports about an impending humanitarian disaster, because of cut water and food supplies are also being disputed.
All in all, the operation is reminiscent of the one two years ago into Jenin after the infamous bombing of a Jewish Passover seder. At that time there were constant rumors (reported as fact) of a supposed large-scale "massacre." When such rumors were later exposed as false, there were few retractions in the media which had released them.
Ironically, after the United States last week, for the first time in many months failed to veto a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israel for her actions, she was suddenly faced with a need to defend herself from accusations of having bombed a wedding party in Iraq.
* That things meant for harm which are covered would be exposed, either in the workings of Israel's enemies, or within Israel herself.
*That Israel will finish this operation as soon as possible: that she will have success in cutting off the use of tunnels as a means of bringing in weapons to fire against her citizens.
*For integrity and uprightness in the decisions made by the governmental and military leadership regarding this crisis.
*That Israel's soldiers would be as humane as possible, showing mercy whenever possible in completing their objectives.
*For the counsel, wisdom and encouragement of the Holy Spirit to attend believing soldiers in the conflict. We know of seven who are in the unit which was twice attacked last week. There are others. One of the men is a young commander, a believer of integrity with an intense love for Yeshua and an incredible gift for writing worship and praise songs. Two of his friends were among those killed. He served as pall-bearer to one of them.
*For God's Spirit to move powerfully amongst the Palestinians in Gaza, to show a "way of escape" from the intense darkness and violence which binds them and blocks them from future and a hope.
*For the rise of media of integrity both in the U.S. and in Israel. For believers in both countries to be "informed" but not led astray in their watching of the news.