Voice of the Lord
Those who carried loads held their loads with one hand and carried a weapon in the other (Nehemiah 4:17).
It was Erev Yom Kippur (the evening of the Day of Atonement) in Israel. On this most solemn evening, I was in the synagogue with my two youngest sons and future son-in-law. Looking down the narrow aisle, I could see several rows ahead of me to where one man stood, his entire body wrapped in his tallit (prayer shawl). Swaying in prayer, oblivious to all else, he presented the classic picture of the devout Jew that has been with me since childhood. However, there was one element that had not been part of my memories of shul (synagogue). It was the M-16 rifle leaning against the wall alongside of the worshipper.
In Israel, military readiness is a reality that permeates every aspect of life. Surrounded by hostile forces, we cannot take our security for grantedeven, or perhaps most especially, on the eve of Yom Kippur. On Yom Kippur, 1973, Israel was attacked by her enemies.
This is how it is spiritually for all true believers, whether living in Israel or not. We are called to be vigilant because we have an enemy who roams around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. At moments when we desire to draw closer to God, this enemy often comes against us the hardest. Therefore, our weapons must be readily at hand at all times.
...remember that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but are powerful through God, and I will maintain my vigilance in order that the evil one will find no place of entrance in my life.
Sunday, April 30th, 2017
the Third Sunday after Easter
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