I am in south Germany in a village called Langensteinbacherhohe. This place is one of Europe’s prime Christian Conference Centers. It is a place that was built by two brothers whose father instilled in them the love for the Word of God and a love for Israel and the Jewish people during the horrible days of World War II. After the war these two young me built careers and in the early 1950’s started to organize conferences and studies in God’s word with emphasis on Israel and the Jewish nation. I have been invited to teach in this place from 1982, and for many years the invitation was yearly. Now this is the first time since 2008 that I am back in this wonderful place to teach. This time I am teaching the prophet Ezekiel.

The Torah portion of this Shabbat is Lech Lecha – from Genesis 12:1-17:27. It is long reading, but for me it is one of the most important portions of God’s Word. After the dividing of humanity into nations, each with its own language, and its own territory and even with their own idols. God had to take out an insurance policy to make sure that one day humanity will again abandon idolatry and rebellion against Him as King of the Universe and return to recognize God as the only Father of all Living. This insurance policy was Abraham and his seed, the seed that came from Isaac, and Jacob. We see this insurance policy right in the first verses of God’s conversation with Abraham:

Gen. 12:1-3, “Now the LORD had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.””

There are three promises that the Lord gives Abraham:

  1. I will make you a great nation.
  2. I will bless you and make your name great.
  3. I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.

These three promises are an inseparable part of the Lord’s calling of Abraham. You can’t take one or two of these promises out of the very calling of Abraham. The three are a package that stands together. If one is not valid all three are not valid. There is no time limit to these promises of the Lord to Abraham.

Abraham receives the Lord’s promises and packs his bags to go to the unmentioned land that the Lord will show him. Later in the narrative God’s tells Abraham that he is sending him and his family to the land of Canaan. The land of Canaan in those days, the beginning of what is called in Archaeology The middle bronze age, may be around the year 1850 B.C., was a total mess. Most of the migration from north and from the east toward Egypt had to pass between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan river was the only land bridge between three continents, Asia, Africa, and Europe. The migrants had to pass through the narrow bottle neck between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River in order to reach Egypt. Egypt at that time was a wealthy empire and the biblical narrative is a good witness of this because Abraham, and Isaac and Jacob and his sons have to go to Egypt to get food for their family. Some nations got stuck on the way and settled in the Egyptian territory called Canaan. This is the reason that you find in the Bible that Canaan was settled, “by the Kenites, the Kenezzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.”

Each one of these nations originated away from the land of Canaan but migrated and settled in some city and created a state and marked territory. In other words, God sent Abraham to a bad neighborhood. May be Canaan in those days was the worst neighborhood in the world. I often wonder why God did not send Abraham west rather than South East. Had Abraham gone west may be Israel would be living in Switzerland now it is a much better neighborhood. This call that Abraham received from the Almighty God whose name since that time modified to be “The God of Abraham” changed history and not only the family of Abraham. One third of the world today consider themselves “Children of Abraham” at least by faith. Jews, Christians and Muslims look at Abraham as the Father of their faith. It is also not hard to see the great blessing that Abraham and his Seed have brought to the world. The most important constitution in the whole human race is the Word of God/The Bible. One way or another the Bible has shaped civilization all civilization, not only Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

A few years ago, I was invited to come and teach in China, by the vice president of the province of Hubei in China. Mrs. Yoe was very kind to me and we had a great discussion on the Bible. Mrs. Yoe is a communist and an atheist. She did read the Bible and did have admiration for the biblical narrative. I asked her way she read the Bible and why she admired it. Her answer was very simple: “It is the most important communist book for all workers in the world. It is the first place that says, “if you don’t work you don’t eat.” (2Th. 3:10, “For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.”).

The Word of God/The Bible came to the world and the nations through Israel, through the Jewish nation. The story begins with Abraham, and it is not an easy story to receive and to understand. You would think that with such wonderful promises Abraham’s life would be smooth and easy, but immediately as Abraham arrives in the land of Canaan the problems start. The problems are not from outside of Abraham’s family – they are problems in the family. Lot his nephew that came with Abraham to Canaan, was greedy and wanted the best pasture land for his flocks and his shepherds. Abraham gave lot a gentlemen’s treatment. In place of flexing his muscles and fighting Lot, Abraham gives lot the land that Lot wants, the most fertile land in the Jordan river valley. The end of Lot and his family does not turn out to be very good and prosperous. There was trouble with Abraham and Pharaoh concerning Sarah. There were problems with Lot when he and his family were captured by the five kings of the north and taken captive. There were problems with Ishmael the son of the Egyptian Hand-Maid Hagar. In short Abraham’s move to Canaan in obedience to God’s promises is not a smooth sailing. In fact, it is a life of solving problems one following the other. With all this said till Abraham’s life was a life of faith and faithfulness to God and to His promises. I suppose that if Abraham was living today, he would probably get the Nobel peace prize and he for sure would deserve it much more than some of the last Nobel laureates. It is not necessary to mention names because you should all know about whom I am hinting even without the mentioning of their names.

Please pray for Marcia and I as we are traveling. I am in Germany now, and Marcia is in California with Danah and Noaam. Danah and Noaam and Marcia have all been ill last week and they all need our prayers. I too need your prayers so that I can be strong and able to teach and to instruct my brothers and sisters in the countries that I shall be traveling through. Marcia will stay in the USA a season with Danah and Noaam our daughter and granddaughter, and a short season with Barry and Beth and Joey and from there to East Tennessee to be with her mother and father and help with the Thanksgiving preparations.

The situation in the Gaza Strip is getting to be more complicated and Israel is preparing for war in Gaza – for the third time in the last decade. The Hamas is doing everything to provoke and force Israel to declare war on the Hamas. The terrorist balloons and the bomb carrying kites have now turned again to Grad-Rockets and open military intervention from Gaza against innocent civilian population as far as the city of Beersheba and Ashkelon. Israel struggles with starting a war with Hamas because it knows that the end result will not bring peace in the Middle East. We need your prayers and intercession for the following:

For the leadership of the West-Bank, Palestinians to have wisdom and open their boarder and pay the salaries due to their workers and officials in the Hamas enclave of Gaza.

That the Israel leadership have the wisdom to do everything and not start a war in Gaza.The leaders and Generals of Israel must know that such a war will have many casualties on both sides, but mainly among the Palestinians.Israel does not want to see children used as cannon fodder and human shield.

Pray for the Egyptians and Saudi Arabians and other moderate Arab countries pick up this challenge and help by prayer first and by any other means possible especially pray for the world and the United Nations to see this horrible danger of another war in the Middle East could easily turn into a new World War.

Keep praying for Netivyah in Israel and in the USA. The leadership of Netivyah needs your prayers and your support. We are still praying and seeking the Lord for a replacement vehicle for Netivyah in Israel. This has to be a van that can carry at least 9 people, and preferably 11 people, it has to be a van that can be used for transporting goods for the Hamotzi food program, and it has to be a van that can serve the Munchkins – the Netivyah youth group.

Please pray for the international conference in Portugal in Castelo de Vide from May 17-19 and followed by a four-day prayer tour in the places where Jews were tortured and burned by the Inquisition between 1497 – 1821. This will be a significant conference for the awakening of both Jews and Christians and hopefully the state of Israel for the need to open the doors of Israel and absorb several million Jewish victims of the Inquisition back home in Israel. This ought to be the next major wave of Aliyah to Israel and the resettling of the Negev Desert according to the prophecy of Obadiah the prophet. Please plan to come and participate in this conference for the restoration of the Anussim and their decedents to have the possibility and choice to restore their Jewish faith and return home to Israel.

Please look into the web page of Netivyah and find the travel information and cost and how to register for this event in Portugal between May 17-19 and from there a special prayer tour of four days to pray in the places that Crypto Jewish have been falsely accused and often killed and burned alive. I believe that in this conference in Portugal we are going to see a major breakthrough for Aliyah of these hidden Jews from Portugal and Spain and Brazil and all the Latin American countries.

Please pray for Netivyah and pray for our 40th Anniversary Tour to be a success and an opportunity for us all here in Jerusalem to show our joy and gratitude for your prayers and support.

Please continue to pray for Marcia my wife, and Danah my daughter and Noaam my granddaughter, and Barry my son, and Beth my daughter-in-law, and Joseph Shulam my grandson, and for Marcia’s family and Beth’s family. Pray for Anna W. a dear old sister in the Lord who has done so much good for the Kingdom of God and for Jewish Disciples of Yeshua.

Eli Levi my nephew is now in the USA. Eli has started his medical ordeal in the United States and we must keep Eli in prayer for a total healing.

Remember our dear brother Jacob Damkani and ask The Lord to give strength and healing to Jacob.

Keep Courtney in your prayers. Courtney has a number of health challenges and I ask you all to pray for this dear sister and her healing of all those challenges. She lives in Dallas, Texas.

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.

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. There is a dear brother in Chenai, India, who has a deep love for the Lord and for Israel. He is sick with kidney problems and needs a dyalisis treatment several times per week. He is Pastor and a leader in a church in his city and I am asking you all to pray for the Lord to heal him.

Ruby L., is doing Chemo-Therapy. It is especially difficult and hard for Ruby because she is alone in Oklahoma and has no relatives or many friends.

Pray for Kenneth and Margarite G. in Tennessee. They are worthy for God’s grace and we are privileged to pray for the healing of these dear mother and son who suffer. Pray for Um Abu-Eid is a dear old Arab sister. Please pray for her healing and strength. Keep the following brothers who are improving with their health, but still lneed God’s merciful hand to touch them with healing, 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, her husband has just died last week, and keep praying for her father, Pastor Oharah 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.

If you would pray for those whom you know that need this prayer – the Lord will surely 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.

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem and believe in God’s promises!

Joseph Shulam