Ecclesiastes 3:1 says “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”
In my blog last week I called on the community of Believers in Israel to find the things we can agree on, make peace with the things we don’t agree on and form a more unified national assembly so that we can more effectively be about the work God has called us to do.
The feedback from this proposal came fast and thick.
Nearly everyone thought it was a great idea and expressed fervent hope that it would come to pass, while at the same time nearly everyone also said that it had been tried before more than once and that it would take “a miracle of God” for it to happen in the near future.
I think that’s probably right, and so I’m asking for whoever reads this blog to pray for that very thing.
We need a miracle of God to move the Body of Messiah in Israel to make peace among its different threads and take a step of faith into its collective prophetic destiny.
I believe the “season” of the Gentile Church supporting Israel is beginning to draw to a close as the dawn breaks of a new season which will see the Israeli Believers take the handoff and begin to do some of the work that these Gentile Believers from the nations have been doing in Israel up until now. This process is going to start happening no matter what, the only question is how cooperative people are willing to be with what God is doing in Israel today.
Some people have gotten very comfortable in the outgoing paradigm and will not easily adapt to the new one. This is a common feature of every change of season. Every spring you see a few people wearing a coat for a few weeks even after the temperatures have gone up. Every autumn you see a few people still walking around in shorts and a T-shirt for a few weeks after the temperatures have fallen low enough for long pants and a sweatshirt.
This is a good metaphor for the opposition some Christian Zionist organizations have expressed to the local Body of Messiah producing a TV channel, Shelanu, because it might cause damage to their relationships with Orthodox Jewish rabbis and groups who they apparently seem to think are the only people in Israel who matter enough to be in a relationship with. I wrote a blog about that awhile ago entitled “Remembering why we’re here” and you can go back and read it by clicking in this link if you’re interested.
In my blog next week I’m going to speak to these Gentile Christian Zionist groups about what they must do in order to gracefully adapt to this new season, but in this blog I’m speaking to the local Israeli Believers because we’ve got some old things to put away and some new things to take up as well.
For starters, one of the criticisms that the anti-missionary groups level against us is that all of our “local” congregations are in fact funded by donations from Evangelical churches and groups outside the country. I once heard someone describe the situation by saying that “if these Messianic groups were a person, they’d be a thirty-five year old working a part-time job, living in the basement of his parent’s house and eating most of his meals out of their refrigerator.”
Brothers and sisters, I’m sorry to say it, but there’s a great deal of truth to this description. Although we’re grateful for all the assistance we receive from our brethren in the Nations, the time has come to face the fact that there’s a downside to it for all kinds of reasons, but mostly because it places us in the position of being disobedient to God.
God commands us to give sacrificially to our local congregations not because He needs our money or He couldn’t inspire some Christian business magnate in Hong Kong to write a cheque that would cover our entire yearly budget. Rather, it’s because He wants us to demonstrate in a tangible way that we trust Him. He wants us to be INVOLVED, once again in a tangible way, in what He’s doing. Once we demonstrate to Him that we trust Him and are ready to be obedient to Him, He will begin to move in ways that will be an answer to the most desperate prayers that we’ve been pouring out to Him all our lives.
Remember the example of Abraham, how he showed God that he was ready to be obedient even to the point of sacrificing his son Isaac, and when God saw that, He provided the means to spare Isaac and He began to move in other ways to fulfill His promises to Abraham and his descendants. Abraham lost NOTHING that day. On the contrary, it was the beginning of God pouring out blessings on him and his family and descendants. He is ready to do that again for me and you and our families and our nation and our descendants, but we must make the first move by demonstrating our faith and willingness to trust and obey God, just as Abraham did.
To sum up, there’s three things I’m humbly proposing that anyone who reads this blog, but ESPECIALLY the Believers in Israel, start to do.
One, pray for God to do the miracle that would be necessary for the Body of Messiah in Israel to start living out its calling by uniting and working together to complete the tasks God has appointed us to do.
Two and Three, start tithing to your local congregation if you aren’t already and also start looking for ways to serve in your local congregations. Talk to your pastors and elders and ask them what they need help with, what they’d like to do if they had more help, etc. We need to stop waiting for someone else to do the work we’ve been called to do and start BEING the Body of Messiah! We hear a lot of people talking about that, but we should ask ourselves what we’re doing to live it out.
Brothers and sisters, we are in a new season! God is on the move in Israel, and we need to start moving with Him. My prayer is that you’ll be inspired to do your part to carry our community forward into this new season.