Zvi Sep/Oct 2002
In Psalm 94 it is written, “O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, show thyself. . . . How long shall the wicked triumph?” (vv. 1, 3).
Each day the situation in Israel brings more grief and sadness. We need the Lord more than ever. But so many of our people have left the way of the Lord. I ask God each day to show me how to speak with them about His truth, because most of them grow up with so many fictitious stories. They believe these stories, but later in life they become extremely disappointed. Now they are at a crossroads and need someone to tell them the truth and to help them find their way back to the true and living God of Israel.
Recently, as I was trying to encourage a number of people here, one said to me, “You speak so nicely about faith in God. But what do you know! You are not in our situation.”
I told them, “Here in Israel, we all live on the same active volcano.”
“No,” they said. “This is not so! If you had a son in the army today, in the situation Israel is in today, you would not speak with so much courage, as you are speaking to us now.”
So I asked them, “Do you all have sons in the army?”
Each person answered yes. Every person I was speaking to had one son in the army.
“Well,” I told them, “if I were like you, without faith, I would have to dress in sackcloth and ashes. I have not one but three sons. And all of them are on active duty.”
This was hard for them to believe. I showed them pictures, so they could see for themselves. One of my sons is the captain of a torpedo boat; one is a paratrooper; one is in the air force; and our daughter also serves. When I was on active duty, I had the “best” job of all. I cleared mines! I fought in all of Israel’s wars until recently. Now I must watch my children go to war.
“Yet in all this, I have never lost my faith in the Lord,” I told them. “You see, I put my trust in God. And He gives me the courage to stay happy and go to others, like you, to tell them that God has a future for us.”
Then one asked me, “Do you love your sons?”
“I am their father,” I said. “What kind of a question is that to ask me! Of course I love them. But God, who is their Father, loves them even more.”
Then I read to them the beautiful verse of John 3:16. When they heard it, one said, “But this is not written in the Bible.”
I showed them the Scripture and told them it is the continuation of the Hebrew Bible. And because I believe what is written there, I can have peace.
“Look at me, then take a good look at yourselves,” I said. “You are embittered. Why? Because of what you have believed. You have believed a big stack of superstitions and have lost your will to live. You are even thinking of ways to end your lives.”
When I said that, they began to look at each other, wondering how I knew what they were thinking.
“Can you show me your Bible?” one asked.
This time I gave it to them. They examined it, trying to determine if it really was the Bible.
“Who was your teacher?” someone asked.
“The Holy Spirit was my teacher,” I answered. “He will teach you, too, if you read the Bible instead of all the rabbinical commentaries you receive from others. I have believed what is written in the Bible. And God gives me the courage I need each day.
“As it is written in Isaiah 12:2, ‘Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid; for the LORD, even the LORD, is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.’”
I told them that, in our assembly, we often sing a song from Isaiah 60:1: “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.”
“Have you such songs in your books?” I asked, knowing they do not. “What you learn is not how to put your hope and trust in the Lord, but how to dislike those who do not agree with you. You will find no peace there.”
This conversation took several hours, and we all became friends. It was the best beginning possible. The door is now open to teach them about Jesus, who can give them peace.