When Israel comes up in the news, often it is bad news: the Israeli army abused prisoners; the Gaza extremists are bombing south Israel; Israel is building where the world thinks it shouldn’t; Arabs are rioting in Jerusalem. And it goes on and on.
I’m here to report — quoting Succat Hallel’s Rick Ridings — “There is good news in Israel.”
The Good News is two-fold. One, Messiah came to ransom us back to the Father 2,000 years ago. Two, many Israelis have embraced this fact and are letting God change their hearts toward Him and each other as they wait for Messiah’s return.
In the next few posts, I hope to recap a bit of what happened at the Elav youth conference. Last post, I shared a photo of Israeli Jews and Arabs prophetically creating a bridge between them. It was a powerful moment as they acted out reconciliation.
Jew and Arab — both Israeli — looking, not at each other, but up to God, worshiping Him together.
But ‘elav’ is Hebrew for ‘unto Him,’ and the reconciliation and relationship upward, with God is the utmost and the only way human reconciliation can happen and last.
For Messiah is our peace, who made both [Jews and gentiles] into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity … so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. Ephesians 2:14-16 NASB (paraphrased)
And both groups reached up to the God of Israel through Yeshua the Messiah… and God visited us there, in what is usually a beer-soaked party hall.
Many, many thanks to those of you who prayed before and during the conference. As you can imagine, hosting nearly 1,000 young people — even without the geo-political tensions — is a challenge.
I immediately saw the growth in the event and in the participants — in numbers and in spiritual maturity. I photographed the conference last year, and there were many more Arab youth this year. It was good to recognize some young people — both Jew and Arab — from my time at Succat Hallel and see how they’ve grown in musicianship and leadership, but there were a lot of new faces as well.
Those of you with a heart for Israel and for the Arabs, continue to pray. This is God’s Middle East peace plan.
Yeshua died for all of us. He is our kinsman-redeemer. God put on flesh so He could qualify to buy us back. Really. (Read Ruth for a picture of the kinsman-redeemer; Isaiah 52 and 53 for the suffering servant; John 1, Philippians 2 to see God put on flesh).
One of the things I love about Israel is the diversity of these 7 million people. Every skin and hair color is represented. You see it on the bus. You see it in the soldiers walking past. You see it in the children outside playing. And you see it in a group of Yeshua-follwers worshiping the God of Israel.