PRAYER UPDATE FROM ISRAEL– MAY 22, 2017
“Look, a people rises like a lioness, and lifts itself up like a lion…” (Numbers 23:24)
“Awake, Awake! Put on your strength, O Zion…O Jerusalem, the holy city! Shake yourself from the dust, arise…Loose yourself from the bonds of your neck, O captive daughter of Zion!” (Isaiah 52:1-2)
PLEASE PRAY GOD’S BLESSING AND REVELATION OVER ISRAEL DURING THIS WEEK IN WHICH SHE CELEBRATES 50 YEARS SINCE THE LIBERATION OF JERUSALEM.
(We refer you to last week’s Update regarding this Jubilee!)
1. PRESIDENT TRUMP ARRIVES IN ISRAEL
As we write, President Trump is meeting with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in the President’s residence. It is the place where all visiting dignitaries come first, where they are greeted by our President with the words, “Baruch haba!—‘Welcome! Blessed is your coming!’” He was met earlier at the airport by Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Rivlin, members of the Cabinet and other dignitaries. He is the first U.S. President to include Israel in his maiden journey abroad after taking office.
After greeting the Israeli Prime Minister and President, he was whisked off to visit the tomb of the Holy Sepulcher, as well as the Kotel (the Western/Wailing Wall), becoming the first sitting American President to visit that holy Jewish site. Both of these locations are within the Old City of Jerusalem, whose liberation 50 years ago is being celebrated this week. Later this evening, President Trump and his wife Melania, daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner will go to the King David hotel where they will be residing during their visit, and meet with the Israeli prime minister. The President and his wife will then dine with the Netanyahu’s.
Tomorrow morning Mr. Trump will fly by helicopter to Bethlehem in the West Bank for a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Abbas. Then it is back to Jerusalem to visit the Holocaust Museum Yad Vashem. Lastly, he will give a speech in the Israel Museum before departing for Rome and the Vatican tomorrow afternoon at 4:00.
The security requirements for the President’s visit (not to mention the costs for implementing them) are staggering. During the past three days a parking lot 2 ½ blocks from the writers’ home underwent a transformation. A shuttlebus station was removed, all the lamp polls were dug up, the near-by supermarket was told to close, and an enormous “H” was painted in the middle of the pavement. Shortly after noon today, seven enormous U.S. helicopters (shipped over from the States a few days ago) landed one after the other on the H, one of them bearing the American President. For much of these two days every-day life in many parts of Jerusalem has come to a standstill. Dozens of roads are blocked. Some 10,000 police officers are being utilized in guarding Mr. Trump’s movements around the Holy City. There are reportedly around 1000 persons in his entourage!
Beginning last Thursday, around 30 C-17 military planes arrived in Israel from the US, laden with equipment and dozens of vehicles (plus the helicopters). The presidential suites in the King David are bomb and rocket proof, and contain independent air conditioning to guard against a gas attack. If the entire hotel fell apart, the Presidential Suite, it is claimed, would remain intact. And of course, there are helicopters, balloons with infrared cameras, even cameras in the sewers beneath the hotel. In addition, the hotel’s 233 rooms will be occupied only by the Presidential party, “U.S. Secret Service, Army Rangers, Navy SEALs, as well as Israeli security officials.” (“Trump’s Israel Visit: Major Security in Jerusalem, Bethlehem”: nbcnews.com, 5/21/2017).
This visit is being viewed in different ways and with different emotions here in Israel. Among many, there is a cautious hopefulness. After eight years of a U.S. President whom most Israelis sensed to be unfriendly to us (not to mention openly hostile towards our prime minister), President Trump seems to genuinely care about Israel and its leaders. The last president began his first trip abroad by, in his first speech in Cairo, sharply lecturing Israel, sternly informing her of what would from henceforth be considered acceptable and unacceptable in her behavior. Nor would Mr. Obama mention “Islamic” or “Islamist” in connection with terror, with which Israel is faced every day.
President Trump, two days ago in his first speech abroad, also to an Arab audience, spoke of the necessity of “honestly confronting the crisis of Islamist extremism and the Islamist terror groups it inspires. And it means standing against the murder of innocent Muslims, the oppression of women, the persecution of Jews, and the slaughter of Christians.” And in the speech, he made mention of Israel and his coming visit with Prime Minister Netanyahu. Furthermore, from the beginning the President has emphasized that his plans regarding Israel are without a motive of imposing anything on the Jewish state, rather to offer friendship and assistance on behalf of the U.S. in any way possible.
On the other hand, some in Israel are uneasy—for example, when they see the $110 billion defense purchase (plus over $350, billion more during the next ten years) signed in Riyadh earlier this week. Israel is well aware of the fact that this is meant to shore up the Saudi’s against arch-enemy Iran and create jobs. But under other circumstances, Arabia has no love lost for Israel. In fact, this nation supplied troops against her 70 years ago, and still considers her an enemy.
Among the right-wing government members–those who at first had the idea that Mr. Trump was not bothered by the Jewish “settlements” in Judea and Samaria, that a “two state” solution was not high on his agenda, and that the U.S. Embassy would certainly be moved to Jerusalem within a few months of his assuming the presidency–some are now alarmed that the President does not have the embassy at the top of his agenda at all. They are afraid, in fact, that Trump will be delivering a speech tomorrow afternoon which he hopes will activate yet another “peace process” with the Palestinians—perhaps which will include pressure on Netanyahu to once again freeze settlements.
Believers in Jerusalem are fervently praying over this important visitation in groups, large and small about the city (and throughout Israel). Some happened to be positioned in locations very close to some of the stops along the President’s itinerary visit. We are grateful for your joining with us—both for the visit and during its aftermath.
* That God’s mercies will be over President Trump throughout his visit to Israel. That he be protected. That an alliance of friendship and trust be strengthened and deepened between the two countries through his visit.
* That President Trump will have a new revelation while he is here (and in retrospect afterwards) regarding the purposes and covenants of God regarding Israel. That a new sense of the “holy” and the “fear of the Lord” will be awakened and serve to guard him in the future, which will bring blessing on Israel and on his own land.
* That the President would not back off on his promise to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem—but that he will also not make the move outside of God’s timing. He promised to do it, but not within the first five months. We are concerned that too many Israelis (and Christians!) are making his doing it or not doing it in the first six months of a 4-8 year presidency a benchmark as to respecting his integrity.
* That he will be protected from counsels of man regarding Israel which are out of line with those of God (Psalm 33:10-11). Pray that should President Trump make a miss-step or blunder in his early dealings with Israel, believers here (and elsewhere) will not “jump ship” in praying for him; but rather have courage to trust God to correct him, and that he will have grace to receive it and to learn.
* That Benyamin Netanyahu look to God for guidance in his relationship with President Trump…that he have courage to “adjust” where he needs to adjust, and to stand firm where he needs to stand firm—both in relation with the U.S. President and with his Cabinet. That he have grace to fulfill the years which God has appointed him to minister as Prime Minister in Israel, and that he do so with honor and the reverence of the Lord.
“This is what YHVH says, ‘Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD [i.e. YHVH, the Covenant God of Israel). He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes. He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives” (From last week’s Haftarah portion Jeremiah 17:5-6, NIV).
Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting is expected to begin at sundown this coming Friday (May 26th) and to last through Saturday June 24th. Ramadan means “intense scorching heat or dryness, especially as of the ground.” Fasting this month during daylight hours (to include both food and water) is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, and except for certain specific cases, the is binding upon all adult Muslims, regardless of sex. The month migrates backwards through the seasons, coming each year about eleven days earlier than that previous. This means that it occurs again this year in the very heat of the fierce Middle Eastern summer, placing a frightfully difficult physical hardship on those Muslims living and working here. It is sometimes explained that Ramadan “scorches out sins with good deeds, even as the sun burns the ground.”
Yet “without the shedding of blood, there is no remission for sins” (Heb. 9:22). Dependent only upon his own righteous works, man is under a curse (see Jeremiah 17:5-6 above), and only the dryness remains.
Ramadan—“intense scorching heat”
*For mercy for the millions of Muslims who will be fasting each day of Ramadan and trying to do good deeds for cleansing from sin. That they will be freed from the bondage of the “scorching heat and dryness” of Islam, and will come to the Waters of Yasua/Issa/Jesus (Isaiah 55:1; John 7:37). Pray for miracles of illumination amongst Muslims—that those who are truly seeking Truth will find it and be set free.
* One Muslim hadith declares that “When the month of Ramadan begins, the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of [Hell-] Fire are closed and the devils are chained”. But of course the opposite is true! During this time in which fervent fasting and worship to another god is taking place, the demonic is given reign, and great turbulence may be stirred up in the heavenlies over those nations. Pray for protection over Israel during this month—that the Body of Messiah here (and throughout the world) would be sober-minded, alert and attentive to the direction of the Holy Spirit.
*For that sounds of high praise and worship to the true God of Israel and His holy Messiah will break through the heavenlies during these days, supernaturally over-riding the false sound emanating from mosques.
–Martin and Norma Sarvis