MARRIAGE COVENANT – 29 Sep 2006

Is 54:4-8   “Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed; neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame; for you will forget the shame of your youth, and will not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore.  For your Maker is your Husband; YHVH of Hosts is His name; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole Earth!     For YHVH has called you like a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, like a youthful wife when you were refused,” says your God.  “For a mere moment I have forsaken you, but with great mercies I will gather you.  With a little wrath I hid My face from you, but with everlasting lovingkindness I will have mercy on you,” says YHVH, your Redeemer.   

Gen 2:24; Dt 30:20   the man is to cling to his wife; Israel is to cling to YHVH God  

Covenant:  I am your God and you are My people. 
                          I am your husband.  I am your wife.  
                         You are my wife.  You are my husband.   

The marriage covenant is based upon YHVH God’s covenant with Israel and the nations.  God relates to Israel as a partner in covenant:  YHVH is the Husband; Israel His Bride (Jer 31:32).   

Idolatry by God’s people – whether Jews or Christians – is called adultery (Ja 4:3-5), because breaking the covenant with our own God is like breaking our marriage [vows] to Him.   

The marriage covenant of God and of man – at least in Jewish/Christian heritage – includes the promise of the stronger party to protect the weaker (1Pt 3:7).  It is a promise, a vow, an oath:  God and husbands are to give our wives peace and security in our love, in our marriage.  The nation, the wife, is to submit to that love and faithfulness to her husband as unto the Lord.   

Praise God for His New Covenant – a better covenant – by which all conflicts, even within marriages, will cease!

REPENT, FOR THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS NEAR! – 23 Sep 2006

Before I became a believer I used to wonder why we as Jewish people made what we call the Jewish New Year – but what the God of Israel calls the first day of the seventh month – so important.  It was one of the two times of the year that my family went to synagogue every year, along with Yom Kippur.  One day it occurred to me that “Someone” is keeping us, preserving us, watching over us, and this “God” has brought us through another year and is giving us another one.  It makes sense, then, that if this were true, we as individuals and as a nation, as a people, owe Him thanks and should be mindful of Him whom we believed to be good, all-knowing, all-powerful, all-present.   

Dt 31: 21   God knows the inclination of our behavior even before He chose us and before He brings us into  the inheritance of the land He has sworn by covenant to give to those who place their trust in Him

REPENT, FOR THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS NEAR!  SHUVU BIT’SHUVA KI KARVAH MALCHUT SHAMA’IM!

Throughout the whole of the Scriptures, YHVH God, Maker of Heaven and Earth, calls His people to hear (obey) His voice, confess their sin against Him, and He will bless them with His peace, with His presence.  He will be their/our God, and they/we will be His people.  This is His covenant promise to Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob, and to their descendants, as well as to all others who come to Him in the same way by faith through the Messiah Yeshua.   

Lev 26:40-42   Moses, from the beginning  
Joel 2:12-19   towards the end
Ps 32:1-7   David, as individuals
Dan 9: 24   God’s time-table; the appointed times/holidays are prophetic signs
Mt 3:1-3   John the Baptiser, preparing the way of the Lord
Mt 4:17   Yeshua Messiah
Acts 2:36-39   Peter after Pentecost
Acts 17:26-31   Paul to the nations and all peoples
Rev 14:6-7   the angels to all who dwell on the Earth

GOD’S FAMILY: A GREAT NATION

Gen 4:1-2, 8-10   personal responsibility for individual members of our family  

Gen 12:1-3   Now YHVH said to Abram, “Get out of your country, from your family, and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.  I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great, and you shall be a blessing.  I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the Earth shall be blessed.”  

Ex 19:6   the House of Jacob/ the Children of Israel shall be a kingdom of priests

1Pt 2:9-10   Christians (those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ) are a royal priesthood, a holy nation  

Jer 31:9 (8 Heb)   YHVH God a Father to Israel

Gal 4:6   God the Father to all who have the Spirit of Messiah in them  

Rev 5:9-10   from out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation  

All of us were born into a particular family: our kin, our relatives.
All of us were born into a particular people/ethnic group: our culture.
All of us were born into a particular state:  form of government, our citizenship.
None of us had any choice in these:  God did; maybe our parents did for us.  

Some of us here have chosen to live in Israel, to identify with another people/culture/state, especially those of us who are not Jews or citizens.  Others of us are here because we believe God has placed us.  In any case, each of us as individuals belongs to an ever larger grouping:  family, tribe, people, state.
   –baby dedication which brings all the family and the congregation into a caring role for the new child
   –honor one’s father and mother
   –school system which helps educate and train individuals and corporate groups to sustain the system
   –legal courts to deal with ‘disobedience’ to the laws and/or customs of the society, just as discipline is to lovingly carried out by parents in their own family  

We speak of Israel as a family.  We speak of the church as a family.  Even as this ‘extended’ family, we have obligations to other nations/families; to other congregations/families.  

God is calling out individuals out from every tribe, tongue, people, nation, and is adopting us into His family:  God is our FATHER; Jesus is our BROTHER; we  become CHILDREN OF GOD and BROTHERS AND SISTERS.  God’s family is a great nation!  

We are being made a Kingdom of Priests who will govern sympathetically with Messiah in the ‘world to come’, when Jesus returns to bring the Kingdom of God the Father to this Earth and the whole of this creation.  Each of us has something to prepare for as we serve the Lord now, since He has a purpose for us in His Kingdom.   

As YHVH God first called Abram, the Lord told him that He would bless him so that Abram and his descendants – and all of us who believe in the Son of God are children of Abraham by faith – would bless others.  This certainly begins in our own immediate families, our own people, our own state.  For believers, whom God has called out from the world, we are to bless those of the household of faith first – to honor one another in our own relationships in God’s great family.  

This greatly enlarges our view and responsibility and liberty; for now, with Jesus, God’s family, God’s people, God’s government embraces the whole world which He created and made, and we are to care about it and be a blessing wherever we are, in our cities, in our neighborhoods, in our workplaces, in our schools, in our country, on our continent. 

ISRAEL’s POSITION

(Prayer Networking Conference/European-African Reconciliation Process, Harare, Zimbabwe, Sept 2, 2006)

–I come as a debtor, and enter into the labor of many others
  –to gentiles through whom God has done so much to bless me and my people in life
  –to Black Africans who were slaves in Virginia, and whose descendants have served my family till today
  –to Langton, who invited me here
  –to the teaching and ministry I have received here

–I can not apologize for being born Jewish – one of the Chosen People and also a Christ-killer – or for being White or American, but I do ask you to ask God’s power and grace to forgive us for Jesus’ sake of  how we have made you all feel less than equal on all those accounts.  I will be judged more severely than you for having been given so much at birth.

–I also ask your forgiveness of me and my people Israel – even that the Holy Spirit help you guard your heart against envy that Israel and the Jewish people receive so much aid and reparations.  We have not given honor to the name of our God and make it hard for you, whom God has brought into the Commonwealth of Israel, when our nation acts in such unrighteous ways.

–Israel is God’s first-born amongst the nations.  YHVH is a Father to Israel as well as the only one who truly loves her.  When you truly love the Jews, you can be sure it is of God!  It is not sentimental nor a mere human effort to repay a guilty conscience.
  –God is wooing Israel back to Himself through severe chastening and punishment from a loving Father and a jealous Husband who still loves His unfaithful wife.
  –As the gospel goes out and gentiles are saved – including ethnic groups – apart from its own value to show God’s love for all persons and nations, it is also intended to provoke Israel to jealousy while at the same time being merciful.  The Lord will even bring all nations against Jerusalem towards her salvation!

–Israel as a NATION gives significance to all other nations
  –In Adam all have sinned, yet God’s plan of redemption to save human beings is available to all through the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  –Israel the nation is made up of many children of Adam and Eve, and has sinned.  Europe has sinned; Africa has sinned.  The same God, who changes not, has the same plan of salvation to save a nation.
    –not every Jew/Israeli or every Zimbabwean
    –each nation has its own particular calling and destiny in God’s purposes
    –Israel is unique amongst the nations even as Jesus is amongst the sons of Adam or the sons of God.
      –politically speaking, Israel has a King in waiting who is presently rejected and despised

–You Gentile Christians are God’s instrument to provoke Israel to jealousy
  –through the gospel
  –not through distant support only, which will be severely tested in close encounters with Jews and Israelis
  –love for Messiah’s sake