Weekly Update: We are not in control of our world

editor - 27 March 2020

All of a sudden, everything that seemed stable is being shaken.

We are not in control of our world.

The Coronavirus is expected to cause an economic crisis of immense proportions. The US Congress is set to introduce an unprecedented $2 trillion aid bill to stimulate the economy. Many industries have ground to a halt, tourism has stopped, and as many countries enter lock-down major public events like the Olympic Games have been cancelled.

No-one knows how long this will last.

We see around us the signs of the times that Jesus spoke of preceding His Coming: false prophets, increase of wickedness, confusion and great distress (see eg. Matthew 24).

We do not, and cannot, know the hour or the day of His coming. But we are called to watch world events carefully.

At a personal level, our lives are being radically affected. Our daily routines are upset, people are losing work, our future is uncertain. It is natural for us to experience anxiety. I know I do. Let’s remember we are engaged in a spiritual battle. When we ask, the Lord will free us from fear and anxiety, into His peace that passes all understanding.

The situation in Israel is deeply concerning. In addition to the Coronavirus, the political crisis has escalated this week. There is a major breakdown of trust concerning the relative powers of the Knesset (Parliament) and High Court (the highest court of law in the country). The President has spoken out expressing his deep concern about the breakdown of democratic institutions and constitutional processes. There seems to be a deep divide in the nation between “right” and ”left”, though one suspects it is not just a political divide.

The good news is the breakthrough yesterday in the political stalemate that has kept a stranglehold on the country. The decision by Benny Gantz to put the national interests before personal interest is a sign of hope, and cause for thanksgiving. While there is much bitterness and division, there is now a real prospect that a national unity government will be formed. Whatever one thinks of particular persons, Israel desperately needs a stable, wise and efficient government to deal with the major crises it faces. Many obstacles will need to be overcome in the coming days to make that a reality.

It is a time of shaking of the nations – a warning, and a call to repentance.

What is the Lord saying to the Jewish people? Let us pray for their protection, for national unity at personal, political and spiritual levels, and for an outpouring of His Spirit over the nation of Israel – “the spirit of grace and supplication” (Zechariah 12:10).

Shabbat shalom,

Andrew Tucker
Editor-in-Chief – Israel & Christians Today

Where do we find our comfort in times of crisis?

Rev. Willem J.J. Glashouwer: “To find answers in times of confusion, we must turn to the word of God”.


Johannes Gerloff reflects from Israel: “Israelis see themselves as one big family. The concept of privacy or a personal sphere is virtually unknown, says one sociologist. On the third weekend in March, now, the government ordered distance. This confronted many Israelis with a huge problem: No hugs, no pinching of cheeks, no kissing, no handshakes, no touching.” Read more..

Dutch Chief Rabbi Binyamin Jacobs: “In a few weeks’ time it will be Pesach, the celebration of the Exodus from Egypt, freedom from slavery. Unfortunately at this very moment we are experiencing the opposite of freedom personally. It is a fact that at this very moment we cannot move and travel freely. We are stuck!
But are we really stuck or is there a comprehensive spiritual component to being stuck? Slavery has a lot to do with the way I look at my own limitations.” Read more..

Five tips from Nathan Sharansky on how to survive isolation. Sharansky, past chairman of The Jewish Agency for Israel, was imprisoned for his work as a Zionist and human rights activist in the U.S.S.R.


Israel’s political and constitutional crisis

Following 3 elections within one year, none of which produced a government, and months of uncertainty, Benny Gantz has broken the deadlock by agreeing to negotiate a national emergency government.

Haviv Rettig Gur in Times of Israel: “With Lapid continuing to maneuver despite the national emergency, Gantz willingly gave up on his political career to ally with Netanyahu in hopes of helping his beleaguered nation.” Read more..

As Gantz indicated in his maiden speech, one of the crises that the government has to deal with is the constitutional crisis, epitomized by Yuli Edelstein’s resignation as Knesset Speaker on Wednesday in defiance of a High Court ruling. David Horowitz at Times of Israel: “Edelstein claims his resignation is an act of conscience. But his refusal to follow a direct High Court order, and his closing of the legislature in a bid to thwart that ruling for several days, is unconscionable.” Read more..

President Reuven Rivlin said it was “unthinkable” for a lawmaker to ignore the courts Wednesday, taking aim at Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein for refusing to comply with an order to hold a vote earlier in the day to pick his successor. Read more..

Israel and the region

BESA: “After a three-and-a-half-year marriage of convenience, Turkey and Russia have come to realize that they are fighting on opposite sides of two proxy wars: one in Syria and the other in Libya. This comes after Russia sold Turkey $2.5 billion worth of S-400 air defense systems, won a multibillion-dollar nuclear plant contract, signed up for a lucrative natural gas pipeline, and widened the gap between NATO and its part-time member Turkey.” Read more..

“Focus on the future” – Video teachings by Rev. Willem J.J. Glashouwer

Rev. Willem Glashouwer helps us understand God’s prophetic word, and how prophecy is being fulfilled in our generation.

Volume 3 episode 9:
The Bible is a wonderful book! It speaks about to future too, so we focus on the future. It is a shame that the Book of Revelation has remained such a closed Book throughout world history.


Rabbi Jonathan Sacks – the Prophetic View of Sacrifice

Rabbi Sacks: “I believe that to love God is to love our fellow humans. To honour God is to honour our fellow humans. We may not ask God to listen to us if we are unwilling to listen to others. We may not ask God to forgive us if we are unwilling to forgive others. To know God is to seek to imitate Him, which means, said Jeremiah and Maimonides, to exercise kindness, justice and righteousness on earth.” Read more..


Scripture for the week: Philippians 3:7-14

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.

What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

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