Joel of Jerusalem Aug/Sep 1980
I want to thank all of you for the wonderful time I recently had in America and for the friendships I made while there. It was so good to be in a place where people can openly sing “What a friend we have in Jesus” without fear, and where the name of Jesus is so sweet.
Here in Israel this is not so, and it will be a long time before we can say the name of Jesus without ridicule. We can say “the Lord”, or “the Almighty”, and it is the same thing. I am sure, though, that someday the people here will say “amen” to the Lord Jesus Christ, because I can see that there is a change coming over the people. The big problem is that they don’t like to give up the old ways, and even when they see the sun shining they say, “No! It is dark.” It is with such people that I deal all the time, and I do not always seek them out – they come to me. Sometimes I don’t know how they find me, but they do and often they want to attack me. Everyday I pray that the Lord will be my help in times like this, and I thank Him that He never leaves me.
On my first day back at work after my visit to the United States, my co-workers were not happy to see me because they know who I am and that I am not ashamed to say that I believe on the Lord Jesus as my Savior. They did not ask, “How are you?”, or “How was your trip? or “Did you have a good time?” No! They asked, “How many people did you lead astray?” and “Aren’t there enough Christians in the United States already, that you must go there and help them?” This was the nice welcome I received! But, I am ready to receive whatever they give to me, because I know they are blind people who need help. I told them, “It is written, ‘. . . for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem’ [Isa. 2:3]. And where am I from? Jerusalem! It is from this metropolis that the Lord gave His teachings and blessing to the people, and especially to those who are persecuted by blind people such as you. Such ‘nice hospitality’ as I have received from you today should make you feel ashamed.”
I realize that these attacks must be, and I am happy to be ridiculed for the Lord’s sake. Even my son said recently, “Father, soon I will be in the army, and I will be happy to take part in His suffering also.”
I let my co-workers continue to say what they wanted until they finished of their own accord. They finally said, “Don’t you have a nervous system?” “Why?” I asked. They replied, “If we were in your place, we would have had a nervous breakdown by this time.” I told them, “Now you can see the big difference between us. As a believer, the Lord has blessed me with much patience. We, as the Lord’s servants, must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone. This type of spirit we can only have through Him. You cannot go into a shop and say, ‘Please give me ten pounds of patience.’ Not even the best doctor can give you patience. No, this can only come from Him.
“All of you know what you have done today. You have cursed me with many unkind words, and what has happened? Nothing! I am the same and I have no hatred for you. But you shall someday learn that all of your curses, like chickens, will come home to roost. I know that the Lord blesses all those who come to Him, as I have done. I can be a good friend to you now, even after you have cursed me, because I know as well as you do that a curse cannot rest where a blessing has been pronounced. Therefore, I make one request of you, that you stop your fanaticism because it will not bring you any blessing. If you do not like to speak with me, then please do not do so; however, I want you to know that I only want to help you to keep your souls and not lose them. This you can do through the love of God and not through hate.” They then asked, “How can we love you when you have left our God?” I told them, “I believe on the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. There is only one God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We, as believers, are saved through Jesus Christ and by His Holy Spirit which He has given to us.” After I said this, one of my co-workers told me, “You should be brought before the Sanhedrin to be judged!” I replied, “Don’t you know that the Talmud says, ‘Woe to the generation that judges their judges, and woe to the generation whose judges need to be judged.’ You can be sure that you do not make me afraid.”
After I had finished this hard discussion with my co-workers, I went back to my work with a song. I was happy because I know that I have been saved by grace through faith in Jesus. I was more happy than on other days, even with all the curses I had received, because the Lord had given me a good feeling in my heart.
My friends, on the other hand, were unhappy and they came to me again, this time with questions. “Tell us how you can believe on a man. Can a man be a god?” I replied, “I know only what I read in Psalm 110:1 ‘The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand . . . .’ David realized that his Son would be his Lord because He was God.” They were surprised to hear this and said, “Before we thought you spoke only from the New Testament.” I said, “Now you can see that even in the Old Testament you can find the Lord, the Messiah, our Savior. He is the One Moses spoke about in Deuteronomy 18:15, ‘The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken.’ He is the One you don’t know because of your blindness.”
“How is it that we don’t know all of this?” they asked. I told them, “Even Professor Einstein, when he was near to death, said that he did not know everything and King David said many times in his prayers, ‘Teach me, O Lord . . . .’ If you will have the heart of your father David and say the same thing, the Lord will teach you by His Spirit.”
I thank the Lord that at the end of our talk they acted more like friends than enemies. Please pray with me that our discussion will be remembered by them and that through this conversation they will come to the Lord for salvation.