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  • Hannah Nesher

Life Under Lockdown for the Fall Feasts in Israel

Real Life in Israel Blog #3 - Life Under Lockdown - again.... - Sept 2020





The Difference a Year Makes


One year ago today (September 18th 2019), I was under the knife, having my 2nd hip replacement at Sha'are Tzedek hospital in Jerusalem through the skilled hands of my surgeon, Dr. Yadin Levi and some new technology (which they actually made a documentary about - I'm now a film star!).

Interview with Dr. Levi for documentary on new hip replacement technology in Israel


It seems like a lifetime ago that I was limping along slowly, with a cane, in continual pain, feeling 90 years old. And what a miracle that today, one year later, I am completely free to walk, swim, dance - and even ride a jet ski - with joy. Hallelujah!

one year later....


You have turned my mourning into dancing for me;

You have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,


That my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent.

O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever. (Psalm 30:11-12)




To Blow or not to Blow?? - that is the question….


This Friday evening (Sept 18th 2020), also begins Yom Zikaron Tru’ah (Feast of Trumpets) but even the shofar may be silent tonight. Religious Jews, who follow an ‘oral law’ (mishnah and Talmud) rather than the written Word of God; forbid blowing the shofar on Shabbat.


Yeshua rightly said of them,


“Thus you nullify the word of God by the tradition you have handed down. And you do so in many such matters.” (Mark 7:13)


This religious spirit which dictates man-made rules that have nothing to do with the Word of God; (and sometimes even contradicts it), is something that disturbs and even angers me.


We are commanded to observe Yom Tru’ah (Feast of Trumpets/shofar) on this night; and yet the call of the shofar is silent across the Land (except for us crazy Messianics that follow the Bible instead of man’s traditions).


The other thing that drives me crazy around this chag (festival) is the whole ‘Rosh Hashana’ deception - practically everyone believing it is a Jewish ‘new year’ and wishing everyone ‘Shanah Tovah Umetukah’ (have a good & sweet year); when in reality, we know that it is really the seventh month and the ‘Rosh Hashana’ new year thing comes out of pagan Babylonian customs, adopted during our period of Babylonian exile.





I believe this is a strategy of the enemy to obscure the real ‘reason for the season’ - which is a remembrance that ‘The King is Coming’ - the day of the Lord is at hand and soon (perhaps very soon), Yeshua the Messiah will return with the shout (tru’ah) and the blast of the shofar. He will not be the meek and sacrificial lamb this time; but the lion of Judah - come roaring out of Jerusalem - to destroy the enemies of Israel and of God.


I need to pray, God give me patience with those who are deceived and don’t know the truth. I am concerned, however, for Messianic believers, who know the Bible; and yet follow these Rabbinic traditions. As disciples of Yeshua, may we walk according to the Biblical path; the narrow path that leads to life; and not follow man-made rabbinic rules and regulations that may even nullify the Torah.




Lockdown on the Holidays - Again....


I also felt, this Friday afternoon, a terrible heaviness, depression and oppression. We went for a final swim in the beautiful outdoor pool here in the Negev. We have been swimming almost every day here as a relief from the scorching afternoon heat; and also for fun and exercise. When the lifeguard gave the announcement at 1:00 P.M. that the pool would be closing for the rest of the year, I came home and began to feel very depressed. And I suspect I was not alone in this feeling.


I believe I was simply sensing the mood of the nation which has been ordered into lockdown for the entire three weeks of the Fall Feasts. The last time Israel experienced a lockdown was last Pesach (Passover) which is also a time to celebrate God's appointed holy time with friends, family and congregations. To forbid this is like the governments of the Western world telling their citizens that this year, they are not allowed to celebrate Christmas with their extended families; but instead, must stay locked up in their homes for Christmas, Boxing day, New Years and beyond..


Unthinkable! My heart is feeling the suffocating despair of the people of Israel; and yet as a child of God, my spirit is becoming calm and quiet - like a weaned child with its mother, so is my soul within me.


“Surely I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with his mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.” (Psalm 131:2)



STOP FRETTING


We can either see this as an imposed time of forced imprisonment, joining the majority of people in becoming frustrated and angry; or we can trust God in this. The Bible warns us not to fret and to cease from anger. It does not help and only makes things worse.


Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him;

Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,

Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.


Cease from anger, and forsake wrath;

Do not fret—it only causes harm. (Psalm 37: 7-8)



Those who are conspiring to bring their wicked schemes to pass will one day simply cease to exist. We shall look for them ; but they shall be no more. (Psalm 37:10)


Rather than getting into strife and contention over this whole situation, we need to simply rest in the Lord and wait patiently; for He has promised that even what the enemy means for evil against us will somehow be turned for good. We have to hold onto faith that God is good; and He is in control. These things are the birth pangs of the Messiah.




There is such a blessing of being ‘hidden’ in the Lord. We are able to enter into a time of seclusion with the Lord; listening for His voice, hearing Him speak to us in the wilderness. Sometimes we get so busy with our ‘to do lists’ - places to go and people to see and things to do - that our relationship with the Lord can become strained and distant.


This lockdown may be seen as a kind of ‘Divine punishment’ - like a child being sent to their room to ‘think about what they have done’. Indeed, the time of the Fall Feasts is a time to examine ourselves, repent for our misdeeds and turn back to God.




DWELLING IN REST AND QUIETNESS


I see the lockdown; rather, as a much needed time of rest, solitude and quietness. Of course, there can always be too much of even a good thing; and I thank God that we still have fellowship here, especially with other believers; but God is bringing us back to value the blessings of being ‘hidden in Him.’


For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel:

“In returning and rest you shall be saved;

In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15)


In the above passage, it says that the people refused to rest, to ‘be still and know He is God’. They said, “We will not!”


Likewise, we can either rebel against this imposed time of rest and quietness; or we can accept and even embrace it. After all, what truly is the good life? Is it not love, joy, peace (shalom) and righteousness in the Holy Spirit (Ruach Hakodesh)?


Perhaps we have gotten out of balance and leaned too much towards chasing after material things in seeking ‘the good life’. Maybe we have made some of these things into ‘idols’; false gods, chasing after them like an unfaithful spouse.


WALLED IN WITH THORNS


There are times when God just needs to lasso us; and ‘hedge us in’ so He can speak to our hearts (as He did to Hosea’s unfaithful wife, Gomer).


“Therefore, behold,

I will hedge up your way with thorns,

And wall her in,

So that she cannot find her paths.

She will chase her lovers,

But not overtake them;

Yes, she will seek them, but not find them.” (Hosea 2:6-7)



If we feel ‘walled in’, we can trust that God’s purposes in this are for good and not for evil - to woo us back to Himself.

“Therefore, behold, I will allure her,

Will bring her into the wilderness,

And speak comfort to her.

I will give her her vineyards from there,

And the Valley of Achor as a door of hope;

She shall sing there,

As in the days of her youth,

As in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt. (v. 14-15)


We can use this time to recover our hope; to be comforted, to remember the day of our salvation - when God rescued us from the Kingdom of darkness - and to sing again of His goodness and mercy.


When we refuse to slow down and smell the roses, God has ways of ‘making us’ to lie down in green pastures and beside still waters. He is a Good Shepherd who knows what His sheep truly need.


The Lord is my shepherd;

I shall not want.

He makes me to lie down in green pastures;

He leads me beside the still waters.

He restores my soul; (Psalm 23:1-3)




REMAIN IN GOSHEN


As the entire world descends into deeper darkness, I believe the Lord is keeping us ‘Hidden in Messiah’. He is coming to judge the earth; and the plagues are and will continue to fall; but for God’s people there is a place of Goshen - a hidden place where we will be safe and protected.


“But on that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, where my people dwell, so that no swarms of flies shall be there, that you may know that I am the LORD in the midst of the earth." (Exodus 8:22)


The only place where it did not hail was in the land of Goshen, where the Israelites lived. (Exodus 9:26)


The Israelites were warned, during the final plague upon Egypt (death of the firstborn), to stay under the blood of the unblemished lamb on the doorposts and mezuzot of their homes. We too need to stay under the covering of the blood of the Lamb (and not venture out into the ungodly streets of Egypt). For when judgement comes; and the wrath of God falls upon the earth; we want the angel of death to see the sign of the blood and ‘pass - over’ us - that we may be saved.


“Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 12:13)


There may come a day when, like Noah and his household on the ark, we may be instructed to enter into our chambers and stay put, hiding there until the wrath of God has passed by.


Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath has passed by.” (Isaiah 26:20)



OUR HIDING PLACE


God is our hiding place. He surrounds us with songs of deliverance.


You are my hiding place. You protect me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah (Psalm 32:7)