©August 30, 2013 Revive Israel Ministries
SlichotThis August marks the 6th month of the Jewish calendar, Elul. The month is seen as a preparation for the holy days (Trumpets, Atonement and Tabernacles) in the 7th month, Tishrei. During Elul, Orthodox Jews rise while it is still dark to chant a series of prayers called, Slichot.
Slichot is the plural of the word for "forgiveness" – Slicha. Rising early to chant these prayers indicates an impressive discipline and commitment by our Orthodox neighbors.
During this "forgiveness" month, former chief Sephardic Rabbi Amar went to visit senior Sephardic leader, Rabbi Yoseph, to ask forgiveness for an offense. Sadly, Yoseph refused even to shake his hand and sent Amar home disgraced.
How easy it is for us to teach about forgiveness, yet how difficult it is to actually do it. One of the foundations of our faith is this simple "triangle" of forgiveness:
It is easy to see the faults of others, yet virtually impossible to see our own. Almost everyone else is aware of your faults except you. How quick we are to point out others' faults, yet refuse to hear or consider the pleas of others to repent of our own.
There is a "mechanism of grace" that is being offered here. We all have sins that we are not aware of, and other sins that we do not overcome with perfection. In both of those cases, we can put grace into operation toward ourselves by forgiving those around us.
Yeshua told us to forgive others up to seventy times seven (Matthew 18:22; Genesis 4:24). Does that seem like a lot? By the same measure, we can be forgiven of our own sins seventy-seven fold as well.
Posters have appeared on the streets of Jerusalem in preparation for Rosh Hashanah quoting founder of the Breslau Hasidic sect, Rabbi Nachman (1772-1810, buried in Uman, Ukraine), saying that if anyone makes a prayer pilgrimage to his gravesite, even if the person's sins are great, Rabbi Nachman will make intercession to save him and pull him out of hell.
If this were true, it would be great news. Actually, it represents a common and dangerous deception among ultra-Orthodox Jews that deceased rabbis can save them. Ironically, it does indicate that the concept of forgiveness imputed by faith in a righteous rabbi is well known within Orthodox Judaism.
The real good news is that salvation can indeed be found by faith in the one Great Rabbi whose tomb is empty.
Israeli news reports this week have been filled with preparations for the potential attack on Syria by U.S. allied forces. The attack is mandatory in the sense that there has been an historic violation of international accords against the use of chemical weapons. The mass murder of citizens in Syria has been heinous.
On the other hand, Syrian opposition forces are not much better, perhaps even worse. Pray for wisdom for President Obama to decide if, when, and how to attack.
Russia and China have aligned themselves with Syria in a bizarre alliance from these two Communist super powers with the Shiite axis of Iran-Syria-Hezbollah. Both the Iranian and Syrian governments have announced that they will launch an attack on Israel if the U.S. attacks Syria.
Last Ethiopian Immigration
This week 450 Ethiopian Jews arrived in Israel, the last immigration from Ethiopia to be allowed by the Israeli government. This closes a chapter of spiritual history going back to the Queen of Sheba's visit to Solomon (I Kings 10) and Philip's encounter with the Ethiopian eunuch, head of Queen Candace's treasury (Acts 8), a breakthrough of the gospel to the African continent. Let's pray together with our Ethiopian Messianic brothers to bless this community, who today form the spiritual bridge between Israel and Africa.
Fast of Geneva
The Call-Geneva is a prayer and fasting assembly set for September 5, the same date as the Feast of Trumpets, and also the annual Jeûne Genevois-- Fast of Geneva. The roots go back to 1567 when the first fast was called on behalf of the persecuted protestant believers of Lyon, France. The gathering on Jeûne Genevois seeks to restore Geneva’s legacy of turning to God in prayer. For more information: www.thecallgeneva.com
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