Joel of Jerusalem Feb/Mar 1979
Recently I had a conversation with the young men of the Yeshiva, which is a school for the most religious Jews. The young men devote their time to studying the laws and traditions of Judaism.
While I was there one of the rabbis asked if I knew an electrical repairman to do some work at the house. Yes, I replied. “I will do the work.” I agreed to do it not only because of the work, but because of the great opportunity to witness for the Lord. So I went with him to the main yeshiva (the light of life). When I went in there were many young people from ages 17 to 30, and none of them knew how to do the electrical work.
I did not speak as I was working. When I finished the work the chief rabbi asked, “How much should I pay for your work?” I replied, “First of all, could you make me a cup of tea?” The boys began to ask me questions and why I didn’t belong to the yeshiva.
I asked them. “Should I follow God as you do?” By this time the rabbi returned with a cup of tea. He also began to ask me questions. I told them all that I follow the Lord, the living God, without the yeshiva. They live, but do not work, “But how can you follow God?” they asked. I remembered a song from Proverbs which I quoted for them:
Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep (Prov. 6:6-10).
“And you are not ants,” I said. “You are strong young men. Now you expect me to be like you, to follow the traditions, and do no work. The Lord said, ‘You work, and I’ll help you.’ Be strong and follow the Lord.”
The rabbi intervened, “If they would work, they would not have time to follow God.” I replied, “I work very hard, and I have time to give thanks to the Lord, and not only that, I also have time to witness for Him.” “But how can you do it?” they asked. “I did the work here and you saw me,” I replied, “I also have time for you and to tell you something special about the Lord.” “What can you tell us special about the Lord — a man like you?” they asked. “Oh,” I said, “I can tell you much, things that you have never heard.” No,” they said, “it cannot be!” “I want to ask you all if you have ever heard about the Son of God?” I questioned. “Ha, ha, ha,” they laughed. “You are crazy. From which book did you take this funny story?” “From the Bible,” I replied. They laughed and called me crazy. Then I said, “Do you all believe in the Bible? If so, please give me a Bible, and I will read for you about the Son of God.”
They gave me a Bible, and I read for them from Daniel 3:25:
. . .Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.
“This cannot be,” they insisted. “You are only thinking this. That is not there.”
Then I read Proverbs 30:4:
Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son’s name, if thou canst tel!?
“There, you can see it with your own eyes,” I said. They read it for themselves and then asked the rabbi, “What is this?” “Ah, this is nothing,” he replied. “This is only a fantasy.”
“You are sleeping — all of you,” I said. “It is true — from the Bible — but not familiar to you. How can you follow God if you don’t want to believe what the Bible says? Now tell me what you think of Isaiah 53. Is it also a fantasy? And what about all the prophets and what they wrote about the Lord and His coming?”
They began looking from one to another, and the rabbi was very surprised. He had no answer to give. He asked me at which yeshiva I studied. “None,” I replied. “I study the Bible, and the Lord teaches me through His Spirit. I received Him as my Saviour — into my heart. I don’t believe what the rabbis wrote on paper. They were written without faith and without the Spirit of God. But the Bible is written by the Spirit of God, so it is hard for you, as an unbeliever, to understand.”
The rabbi asked, “To which synagogue do you attend?” “I go to the house of prayer,” I replied, “as it is written in Isaiah 56:7:
‘Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: … for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.’ ”
“What?” he exclaimed. “You are not Jewish?” “Yes,” I replied. “I am a completed Jew because I believe all of the Bible. I believe on the Messiah, that He will return, and all who believe on Him will be saved.
“Oh,” he said. “Now we know about whom you speak, You gave us many things to think about.” “All of this which I told you is from the Holy Bible.” I gave them my phone number and told them to cail me whenever they want me to answer more questions. They listened to what I had to say and treated me kindly. May the Lord open their eyes.