Jerusalem Prayer List August 30, 2018

The Torah reading this up coming Shabbat is Ki TAVO – כי תבוא. It means “when you come into the land.” This chapters of Deuteronomy are programmatic chapters – they are now giving instruction to the children of Israel about the program that the Lord has for them in relationship to dwelling in the land of Canaan as an ever-lasting possession. Deuteronomy chapter 26 is of great importance because it is the only chapter that reveals to the reader what the worshiper who comes to Jerusalem to worship the Lord must say in front of the Priest – the Cohen – who serves the Lord in his day. The circumstance is the Feast of Shavuot / Pentecost the occasion is the bringing of the first fruit that has grown and ripened for the season, the spring season. This text is of great importance because it gives us a glimpse of what was going on in the temple behind the doors. The worshiper comes with his gifts to God through the auspices of the priest. The priest receives the gift (sacrifice) and the worshiper say the following strange things:

“Then the priest shall take the basket out of your hand and set it down before the altar of the LORD your God. And you shall answer and say before the LORD your God: “My father was a lost (wondering) Aramain (Syrian), about to perish, and he went down to Egypt and dwelt there, few in number; and there he became a nation, great, mighty, and populous. But the Egyptians mistreated us, afflicted us, and laid hard bondage on us. Then we cried out to the LORD God of our fathers, and the LORD heard our voice and looked on our affliction and our labor and our oppression. So the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm, with great terror and with signs and wonders. He has brought us to this place and has given us this land, “a land flowing with milk and honey”; and now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land which you, O LORD, have given me.’ “Then you shall set it before the LORD your God, and worship before the LORD your God. So you shall rejoice in every good thing which the LORD your God has given to you and your house, you and the Levite and the stranger who is among you.” (Deut. 26:4–11 NKJV)

Here in this grand occasion when the Israelite worshiper comes to Jerusalem in his hands are the first fruits of his labor, the best of the best of his fields and orchards. He hands the basket of the first fruits to the priest and this is what he says: “My father was a wondering (lost) Aramian (Syrian).” This worshiper is speaking about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. These are the fathers of the nation of Israel and he calls Abraham a wondering – lost Aramian (Syrian).

Is this Israelite worshiper minimizing the importance of of Abraham by calling him a LOST Syrian? Yes, and No! Let us look at another document from a period close to the appearance of Book of Deuteronomy on the scene:

“Look down from heaven, And see from Your habitation, holy and glorious. Where are Your zeal and Your strength, The yearning of Your heart and Your mercies toward me? Are they restrained? Doubtless You are our Father, Though Abraham was ignorant of us, And Israel does not acknowledge us. You, O LORD, are our Father; Our Redeemer from Everlasting is Your name.” (Is. 63:15–16 NKJV)

Here in Isaiah the worshiper claims the LORD God as the father of Israel, not Abraham. With all of Abraham’s greatness both in this passage in Isaiah and in Deuteronomy 26 – Abraham is not the father of the nation or the savior of the nation of Israel or the deliverer of Israel from Egyptian slavery. God Himself is the savior of Israel and the redeemer from Everlasting is Your (God’s) name!”

Here are some of the implications of this short text that allows to look into the words that were spoken by the worshiper during the highest moment of his yearly encounter with the Lord through the priest and the gift of first fruit to the Lord.

  1. The worshiper approaches worship with great humility. He is not the benefactor of the LORD. He is the recipient of God’s goodness and mercy. He confesses both his own and his father’s total dependence on God. King David did the same in his last prayer:
    “Therefore David blessed the LORD before all the assembly; and David said: “Blessed are You, LORD God of Israel, our Father, forever and ever. Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, The power and the glory, The victory and the majesty; For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, And You are exalted as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You, And You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; In Your hand it is to make great And to give strength to all. “Now therefore, our God, We thank You And praise Your glorious name. But who am I, and who are my people, That we should be able to offer so willingly as this? For all things come from You, And of Your own we have given You.” (1 Chr. 29:10–14)
  2. The worshiper brings to the Lord the first fruit, the best fruit, and not the leftover fruit of the field and from the fruit trees.
  3. After giving God the best of the best. The worshiper is invited to thank God for the good things that God has given him. This phrase is worded in a special way. The worshiper is not invited to thank God for everything that has happened in his life during the past year. He is invited to thank God for all the good things that happened in his life. The not-so-good-things that happen in our lives have many sources and causes. The good things that happen to us and to our households are all from God and His goodness.

There is a question that I am sure many will ask, “What are the other sources in our lives that cause us some hardships and grief?” I will answer this question in a short way because this is a prayer list and not a theological thesis.

  1. Our own stupidity and mistakes. This is probably one of the main sources of grief and sometimes suffering in our own lives. There is no one else that we can blame other than our mistakes and stupidity. If we drive too fast around a curve and the physics of the Centrifugal forces throw us off the road and we have a bad accident – it is not the devil it is not a demon it is our own stupidity and lack of foresight and wisdom that has caused the accident.
  2. Sin in our lives can have painful consequences that can cause pain and grief and even illness.
  3. Nature – the very nature of all flesh is getting old and decay.
  4. God at times wants to educate us and equip us for a higher challenge and like boot-camp he takes us through a series of obstacles courses in order to build our abilities and train our minds and prepare us through suffering for a greater task and success in life.

This last one is one of the most difficult for us to understand and at times we think that our whole world is collapsing and we can’t take it even one more day. The sun comes up the next day and we understand that although the great hardships and difficulties in the end like the Apostle Paul said in Romans chapter 8, “all thing work-together for the GOOD of those who love the Lord.” Paul is basing this statement on several passages in the Psalms and in the prophets. The main passage is from Psalm 145:14-20,

“The LORD upholds all who fall, And raises up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look expectantly to You, And You give them their food in due season. You open Your hand And satisfy the desire of every living thing. The LORD is righteous in all His ways, Gracious in all His works. The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them. The LORD preserves all who love Him, But all the wicked He will destroy.” (Psa. 145:14–20 NKJV)

The Key phrase is in Psalm 145:17, “The Lord is righteous in all His ways.” In other word if you separate on of God’s actions (in the Bible or in History or in your own life) you might think that He is unrighteous, but if you look at the big picture you will see that He is righteous and all His ways are righteous.

Well, I have a new prayer request: There is a young lady a dear sister in the faith that needs our prayers for healing. Please pray for Courtney. She has some complications in her health and desperately needs God’s hand to touch her with healing.

Ruby for whom we have been praying and need to continue praying for her health even with greater fervor. Ruby is now undergoing Chemo-Therapeutic treatments and it is very hard. Ruby is very grateful for your prayers and is asking all of us to keep praying for healing and help and the mercy and goodness of the Lord to deliver her from cancer.

I want to add a very special and dear to the Shulam family sister who is 94 years old and suffering from cancer, our dear sister in the Lord Margaret G. – Pray for strength and for a demonstration of God’s grace in her life and healing for her son, Kenneth who is suffering from a rare breathing illness.

Keep praying for Israel and for Netivyah and for the work of the Lord that is being done in Israel and around the world. Especially I want to point out Brazil, Venezuela, and Columbia. Our brothers and sisters in South America are going through a very difficult time financially. We need to pray for our brothers to be like in Israel during the deliverance from Egypt. The Egyptians were in darkness but in the camp of Israel there was light. In the same way I pray for our brothers around the world, especially Israel, and South America.

Marcia and I are still on the road in the United States and enjoying both family and work. Please keep us in your prayers for safe travel and opportunities to do good, give hope, and bless brothers and sisters who are praying for us and for Israel and standing with us and with Israel.

Israel and the Israeli government need our prayers and so do many of our countries. It is a command of the Scriptures to pray for our rulers and governments. Let us all keep our own governments in prayer and also all pray for Israel too.

Please keep praying for the replacement of the vehicle of Netivyah. We have a van that is very old and needs replacement. This van serves every aspect of the Netivyah Ministry, the HaMotzi food program, the youth, the old people in the congregation that need a ride to attend the congregation and many more needs. Please consider contribution specified for the Van. Another need is Netivyah general fund. The general fund is the fund that pays salaries and pays postage and telephone and insurance and printing and medial work and much more. So, those of you in the United States who need the tax credit contribute to the Netivyah USA account that way you will receive the tax credit and those of you outside of the United States contribute to Netivyah Israel.

I ask you to pray for Aliyah and absorption of the New Immigrants in Israel. It is of great importance that the immigrants who move to Israel, especially those who come already of age, to be accepted and helped and enabled to learn the language and the costumes of their new old land. Help us help those who are arriving in Israel now!

Please continue praying for baby Lion from the Huch family in DFW. Little Lion is doing better in the last week and is back receiving Chemo-Therapy. It is a big this for a little baby to do through this ordeal, but we pray that his suffering now will bring blessing in the future.

Please continue to pray for our Jewish brother Hillel from Helsinki. Pray for Patty, Andrea and Tineke are all in Netherlands and need healing from God.

Continue to Pray for Julia and Victor our dear sister and brother who both need healing and God’s help. Please keep praying for a dear sister named Zhou Wenlian living in China.

Keep praying for the planned conference in Portugal in May 2019. This conference is to awaken governments and the world attention and press for the Restoration of the Anussim (Marranos) both spiritually and physically to their naturals home.

Margareta is a dear Orthodox Jewish sister who needs deliverance and healing. Pray for Um Abu-Eid is a dear old Arab sister. Please pray for her healing and strength. The list is still the same Bida, Dr. Altamiro and Cassia, George, Gary, Melanie, Aharon, Yuri Marianenko, Sarit, Ahuva, Leah, Ilana, Miraim, Yehuda H., David Stern, Paulo, Noami, Tim Tucker, Anne-Mirjami, Satu-Maria and Anna-Majia, Sinni Tuuli, Erki and Sirpa, Keijo and Salme, Evelina, Eva H., Horace and June Marcia’s father and mother, Marcelo’s parents. Curita Sensei, the Abe family, Toru, Takeo Sensei, Daisuke Sensei, Tomoko San, Sadako San, Yumi and her husband, and her family in Okinawa. Please pray Ritva Huhtala and for sister Oksanen they need prayer for illness. Please pray for Louisa and Tony in Hong Kong.

I have special concern for our dear brother Goh and his family, and for Sister Christy, Sister Laurel, and for Brother Michael Knezevich. I have a special request from a brother Moshe Daniel from Kenya for his ministry and for the brothers in Kenya. There are other brothers and sisters who have some important challenges in their lives and business. I am not mentioning their names, but each one of us knows people who are fine dedicated servants of God and are going through a difficult time in their work and business. If you would pray for those whom you know that need this prayer – the Lord will surly cover those for whom you pray and those for whom I pray. It is hard enough to live in this world and work and business related issues make it harder and as much as we pray for the spiritual issues and health issues – it is also important for us to pray for the financial health and blessing of our brothers.

Now is the time to seriously pray for the Peace of Jerusalem and believe in God’s promises!

Joseph Shulam

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