As I was drinking coffee on this beautiful shabbat morning, I heard singing and clapping in the building next to our apartment. On investigating it further I realized that it was the sound of a Jewish shabbat service. It was so refreshing to hear the laughter and sounds of close-knit community coming up from their meeting place. They are serving the same God I am serving and that alone connects us. Even though they don't yet have the revelation of Yeshua as Messiah, we have the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in common. And that connects us. It deeply connects us.
These pictures were taken from my balcony this morning after they dismissed their shabbat service. Notice the father and son walking home in the picture below.
Now we shift to a different world. Last night around 10:00pm we started hearing unusual sounds coming up the mountain on the east side of us. We live in an Arab neighborhood yet the immediate apartment buildings around us are inhabited by Jews and internationals. We are on the very top of the mountain south of the Old City of Jerusalem across the Hinnom Valley. Whatever is happening in the valleys to our north and east is heard loud and clear through our windows. Well, last night some kind of fight or riot broke out in the Arab neighborhood to our east. We stood out on our balcony and I even felt a little unsafe. Many Arab men were out in the streets clearly disturbed by something of which we still haven't found the reason. They were screaming and yelling and throwing heavy things. Not just bottles or bricks, although there were bottles and bricks being thrown. Down below us we saw the shadows of some people hiding out on their balcony, raising up every few minutes to check out the action on the street below. It was a little unnerving, because we didn't know how far the riot was going to spread. The street right beside our apartment building leads down to that area. They could easily have come up the mountain to where we are. We even heard what sounded like a single gunshot at one point.
This is the view last night of the Arab neighborhood down below us. Off in the distance is the Jordan Valley and the mountains of Moab.
This is the same view this morning.
I can't help but believe (and Gary confirmed it also) that the reason for the unrest last night was a result of the spiritual turmoil happening the last few days in Bethlehem just a few miles down the road from us.
I found this on the DEBKAfile website:
"Israel has permitted the entire Fatah leaderships of Syria, Lebanon and Jordan - some 500 functionaries - to enter the country for the first Fatah general conference in 25 years which opens Tuesday, Aug. 4 in Bethlehem. Among them are notorious terrorists responsible for multiple-murder attacks on Israelis. Military and intelligence sources report that Israel's security agencies are highly critical of prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu and defense minister Ehud Barak for surrendering to extreme US pressure to open the door to this large influx of Palestinian hardliners. Some are planning to stay on in the West Bank instead of returning to their homes, presenting a grave new threat to national security."
Resolutions passed so far in this conference includes blaming Israel for Yasser Arafat’s death, issuing a call for limited violence against Jewish settlements and continued civil disobedience against Israel. Fatah delegates also want to form an alliance with Iran. With so much stirred up right now in the kingdom of darkness, it's no wonder that the riot took place in our neighborhood last night. We have to always be on the alert here. The attack of the enemy here is not subtle. It is swift and heavy duty. I have experienced it first-hand. This is the good news, though. No matter how black the darkness is, His light is brighter! We simply plead the blood of Yeshua over our family and our house, asking Him for protection, and declaring that Yeshua is Lord over the situation. We remind Him that Jerusalem will one day be made a praise in the earth and that this nation will cry out, "Baruch haba b'shem Adonai." Blessed in He who comes in the name of the Lord!
As I was listening to the sounds of the Jewish shabbat service this morning, I was struck by how the two worlds we live in here are so diametrically opposed. And yet Yeshua's heart is breaking for both. He died on the cross for the sons of Isaac as well as for the sons of Ishmael. And that makes me cry for them both.