Joel of Jerusalem Dec/Jan 1977/1978
I praise the Lord for my children! They are good, and the Lord has blessed them. Not a day goes by that they do not read and study the Bible together. When I come home from work and see this, it makes me very happy.
Recently I came home from work, and my children were reading from Matthew chapter 5. A few moments later, two men came to my door — religious men. “Shalom,” they said. “Welcome,” I replied and invited them in. “Do you know why we are here?” they asked. “No,” I said. “I am not a prophet, how can I know?”
They told me that they were going to every home asking for help for people in need, especially the children who are studying in the religious school. “These children are a great worry to us,” they related, “and it is a privilege to do something for them. Will you be able to help? Please let us know, because we are in a hurry and must go!”
I replied, “If you are in such a hurry, the door is open. If you will stay, though, for just a few minutes, I will be glad to help but first I want to know exactly who needs this help and who you are.” “ Don’t you believe us?” they inquired. “I believe in the living God,” I told them, “and not in everyone who claims to have a good cause. Please tell me if you have been sent from some institution.” “We are not from any institution, they replied. “We are doing this on our own and have been doing it for a long time. Many people know of us.”
Just then they noticed my children reading together. They asked, “May we see what your children are studying?” “ Yes,” I replied. The children were very open and not at all afraid. They continued reading from Matthew, as the two men listened. After a while, one of them said, “This is not what we are used to hearing every day.” I said to them, “Then this will be a good chance for you to hear something new.” They asked if they could take part, and the children showed them where they were reading. They were surprised when they realized we were reading from the Bible, and my oldest son asked them what they would like to hear from this great Book. “We want to hear about God, and not about things that are far removed from us,” they replied. My son then told them, “For us, the Bible is very near to our hearts. If the Bible is so far from you, how can you think about God and about helping people who are in trouble, as you just mentioned? God is the One who has enabled us to love other people. You must feel that you are doing the will of God by trying to help others — why, then, is the Bible so far from you? Also, how do you know that the people in the religious school, whom you are trying to help, are going in the right way?”
“We know that they are good people because they pray three times a day. How much do you pray?” they asked me. I replied, “I pray at every possible occasion, and no one writes my prayers for me. I pray what the Lord lays on my heart and what I feel deep within me. I can speak to the Lord as my Father, and I can bring to Him all my needs. ‘ One of them then asked, “Who are you, that you can speak with God?” “Ah, that is a very important question,” I answered. “I am a believer in the living God who, by His suffering, has given us freedom from sin. You can also belong to Him, as I and many others do, but this is not done through any works or power of your own, but only by His love.”
They then said, “We are working for the religious school, and this we do in love. We are also working against the missions who want to lead good Jews astray. Shall we now go along with those people, as you have? This is impossible for us!” I responded, “It is possible, especially with God. Saul of Tarsus, later called Paul, was a good Jew, and he was very much against the believers. He preached against them in all the synagogues. Do you know what happened to him?” “No,” they said. I then opened the Bible and showed them that this man received the Lord and became one of the greatest preachers for Him, instead of against Him. And, he was not the only one who was changed by the Lord. “I am sure you know who Jacob was. You consider him great, but the Lord called him a worm (Isaiah 41:14). Do you still think you are angels?”
They did not have an answer for this. “What shall we do?” they asked. “Take the Bible and read it,” I told them. “In time you will know much more about the Lord. Perhaps you will want to trust in Him as I have.” It was a thrill to me when they accepted the Bibles, including the New Testament, which I offered them, and they also promised to visit me again. I have put the matter into the Lord’s hands. Pray with me that He will deal with these men and draw them unto Himself.