The Word: And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. And none of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning. For the LORD will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you. (Exodus 12:22-24)
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. (Psalm 51:7)
Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Let Israel now say, “His mercy endures forever.” …I called on the LORD in distress; The LORD answered me and set me in a broad place. The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? The LORD is for me among those who help me… (Psalm 118:1-9)
- Pointers for prayer:
- The nation of Israel, along with the Jewish people throughout the diaspora are celebrating Passover which starts on Friday 3rd April this week. Do bring before the Lord the nation of Israel at this time, that they would know the Passover Lamb in whom they seek.
- During the Passover, the Jewish people use the Hallel Psalms [113-118] to praise the LORD. In the above Psalm (118:1-4) we read, “O give thanks to the LORD [YHWH]; for He is good: because His mercy endures forever.” No matter what Israel might go through – we can be thankful that God’s mercy – His chesed, that is – His stubborn love based on His commitment to His covenants – endures forever to Israel and to us. We can praise God in the sure knowledge that Israel come under the wings of the God of Israel. He is their protector, He is their salvation.
- Psalm 118:5-13 reminds us that Israel has always faced a difficult security situation. If it were not for the LORD, Israel would have been destroyed long ago. The Psalm declares, “I called upon the LORD in distress: The LORD answered me, and set me in a large place. The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do to me? The world might condemn Israel, even some ‘Church leaders’ might speak out against Israel, but we can praise the LORD that HE is the One in control. He is the One Who calls Israel home.
The road to recovery
Shalom to each and every recipient of these ‘Standing in the gap for Israel’ reports. This report is not the usual report I would write, however I wanted to notify you all that from next week, Thursday 9th April, I will be back to writing a full report.
For all those of you who have prayed for me during my operation and the four weeks of recovery, I would like to thank you for holding me in your prayers. I am almost fully recovered now, though I am still not allowed to lift heavy loads for another two weeks but feel I need to get back to some form of ‘normal’ life, whatever ‘normal’ is. So I am now trying to catch up with the mountain of emails, and with Friday and the following Monday being Bank Holidays, this will break me back in gently. However, if you have emailed me during my absence, please do be patient, I will try to answer all my emails, but it may take a while. Once again, thank you for your prayer support, it has truly been appreciated.
Covered in the blood of the Lamb
As Passover is almost upon us, I thought I would share a brief thought for the occasion. This past week has seen a slight change in the weather and of course it’s better now that the clocks have gone forward that hour, with lighter nights approaching – though here on the UK North East coast, the cold wind still blows keeping temperatures a wee bit chillier than one would like. Even so, this is my favourite time of the year, and although with the daffodils in full bloom, and the apple and cherry blossom slowly starting to appear upon the trees, it is really wonderful to see the wonder of creation once again. As Passover 2014 runs in line with Easter, we can also rejoice in God’s faithfulness of new life as we kiss goodbye to the winter nights.
Passover (Pesach) is of course an eight-day long celebration that will begin on Friday. This would normally be a very busy time of year for me, however with having had the operation, I was forced out of action, and so the only Passover meal I’ll be involved in is our own family one at home. However the Feast of Passover is of special significance to my family and me. By it, we are celebrating how GOD delivered His chosen People, the Jews from slavery and bondage in Egypt and brought them out to the Promised Land ~ the Land of Israel. By this, the Christian too can celebrate their freedom from their own “Egypt” i.e. life in slavery before being saved. In the same way that the Jewish People were saved by the blood of the Passover lamb being put on the door frames of their homes, we have been saved by the blood of The Passover Lamb, Jesus (Yeshua), the Lamb of God, who came to take away the sin of the world (Isaiah 53 / John 3:16).
In the above Psalm (51:7-10) King David states, “Cleanse (or purge) me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Passover comes in the springtime, when the earth is becoming green with life. At Passover, hyssop (of which parsley is often substituted) represents life. Hyssop is a bushy, evergreen plant and was once widely cultivated for medicinal uses. It is now grown mostly as an ornamental shrub. But why would the Psalmist use this plant in association with cleansing? Well, apparently hyssop can be used as a tea which can be used for poor digestion, breast and lung problems, coughs due to colds, nose and throat infections, mucous congestion in the intestines and so much more. Apparently, if one applies the crushed leaves directly to bruises or to wounds it cures infections and promotes healing… you see, God made everything in His garden for a purpose. As I pondered upon this, sat nursing my wounds, I wondered as to why we are often so quick to run off to the doctors (though my op was needed of course).
Just as hyssop was dipped in blood at the first Passover, we dip the greens in salt water during Pesach (the salt water represents both the Red Sea that the Israeli’s passed through, and the tears that they shed while slaves in Egypt). The hyssop would have been dipped from a trough or earthen vessel, into which the blood of the lamb was received when slain, and put on the lintel and the two side posts of the door. Yeshua (Jesus) also shed blood from the crown of thorns (representing the lintel) and both hands (representing the door posts). According to the Passover story, the Israeli’s in Egypt were commanded not to leave the house until the morning; that they might not be in the way of the destroyer; and though the destroying angel knew an Israeli from an Egyptian, yet this was to be the ordinance of protection to them, abiding in their houses, marked with the blood of the Passover lamb; signifying that their safety was in their being under that blood. In the same way, those who believe in the Messiah are justified by the blood of the Messiah – for with God, there is always hope; with God, there is always a way forward; with God, Israel will flourish and be secure and those who support her will gain their strength when the battle is hard. May we strive to battle on in our stand with Israel as we celebrate Passover once again, but pray that both we and Israel would be truly covered in the blood of the Lamb. For all people, this is our hope: Next year in Jerusalem! Next year may Jerusalem be at peace. Next year may all be free. Amen