November 2020 Personal Letter – FROM SARAH, OUR SABRA ON THE GROUND IN ISRAEL

Dear Friend,

Greetings to you from the Holy Land, where we have undergone a second lockdown due to COVID-19. After the glowing reports of how Israel handled the first wave of the virus, our success, sadly, did not continue. Decision makers influenced more by economic gains than by health officials’ advice took actions that hurt our chances of keeping the disease at bay.

Travel into Israel has been restricted since March of this year, and travel out of Israel has been minimal. Under current regulations, all citizens face a 14-day period of isolation upon return into the country. This second shutdown unfortunately coincided with the High Holy Days in September and October — the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles.

Noah, his wife, and children exit the ark. Engraving by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld for Bible Pictures with Brief Descriptions by Charles Foster, published in 1897, Philadelphia, PA

Each year during the fall Feasts, hundreds of thousands of tourists flood into Israel. Normally, I am honored to lead worship and speak at many events as well as travel abroad to numerous conferences. In fact, the fall is usually my most demanding time of year. As you can imagine, these events are not taking place. Still, I was privileged to film some sessions for several online events being broadcast around the world directly from Jerusalem.

Driving up to Jerusalem, I offered prayers of thanksgiving to God for His grace toward me. I thanked him for the opportunities He set before me. And I thanked Him that, even though Israel is in a lockdown, He made a way for me to fulfill my calling “unto the nations.”

A GODLY REMNANT

During the drive, I pondered the lessons I’ve learned about the power of giving thanks — an apt message to share with you during America’s Thanksgiving season. However, the Lord laid on my heart to write, instead, about “a Godly remnant.”

The word “remnant” simply means something that remains from a larger quantity that no longer exists. A “Biblical remnant” means a people walking in purity and holiness in accordance with God’s Word — not conforming to the ways of this world.

Noah is the earliest representation of “a Godly remnant” that we find in the Bible. In Noah’s day, the devil had everyone firmly in his grasp except for Noah and his family. Can you imagine the level of temptation Noah faced in his lifetime? All flesh around him was corrupted, and yet the Bible says, “Noah WALKED WITH GOD” (Genesis 6:9, emphasis mine).

Even faced with social disdain and ridicule from all corners while building the ark nowhere near water, Noah did everything that God commanded him (Genesis 6:22). He was building a structure never seen before, preparing for a global deluge of rain that had never occurred before.

“The remnant” comprises people who carry out God’s will. They are not doing their own thing; they are concerned with the work and will of the Lord.

The Caravan of Abraham, painting by James Tissot (1836–1902) or follower

A REMNANT IN EXILE

In 2 Chronicles 36, we find the nation of Israel exiled from the Holy Land after the Babylonians destroyed the First Temple. The Bible says that the king of the Chaldeans carried a remnant back to Babylon from Israel. The people remain there for 70 years, and during that time, Persia takes over Babylon.

After 70 years of exile, King Cyrus of Persia lets that exiled remnant return to the Land. But not all of them do. Some have turned away to idolatrous ways and don’t want to leave. Only those whose hearts are moved leave to pursue the restoration of Israel.

A remnant within the remnant undertakes a return to the Holy Land to restore the altar of worship to the one true God. These faithful few face hardships and dangers, and yet they cannot be satisfied with the status quo; they press on to rebuild the altar and the city of Jerusalem.

A REMNANT NOT SWAYED BY FEAR OF MAN

God’s remnant is willing to go through hard times and stand as a minority in isolation for the cause of God. In Elijah’s day, God keeps a remnant of 7,000 who have not kissed Baal. They are so hidden that even Elijah doesn’t know they exist. But exist they do!

The remnant is not swayed by fear of man — not even of a king, like Daniel and Moses. In 1 Kings 12, we find King Jeroboam, who, after the nation of Israel is divided into two kingdoms at the end of Solomon’s reign, becomes the king of the Ten Northern Tribes.

Afraid that the people’s hearts will turn to King Rehoboam of Judah each time they go up to Jerusalem (as they are commanded by God to do three times per year), Jeroboam sets up two alternate, false altars. He places one in Dan and one in Bethel — the two borders of His kingdom. He further distorts the people’s worship of God by changing the dates of the feasts.

In 1 Kings 12:32, we read that Jeroboam appoints priests for the shrines of these false altars. These priests arise from all kinds of people, though they are not Levites. Why would he do that? Answer: because the Levites, who live among all of the tribes, understand that the practices being introduced by Jeroboam defile the worship of God among the people.

Therefore, the Levites remove their homes from among the ten tribes and go to reside in the kingdom of Judah. There, they can worship God in Jerusalem as He commands them. A true remnant loves holiness and refuses to compromise.

A REMNANT REMAINING STEADFAST IN HOPE

The Return of the Prodigal Son, painting by James Tissot (1836–1902), Brooklyn Museum

In Yeshua’s parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11–32), the younger son chooses to leave his father’s house and make his home in the world. I wonder how many of us have left the Father’s house for ideas and ways that are not from Him? What have we let into our lives that desecrates the altar of worship in our heart? The remnant remains steadfast.

It is not enough to just remain. In the parable, Yeshua refers to another son, the older. This son remains in the father’s house, but his heart is hardened. He does not know his father’s true character and, therefore, does not know who he really is.

He misses the fact that his father’s waiting for the younger son is a demonstration of his father’s fullness of love, compassion, and forgiveness. He doesn’t recognize that his father’s love extends to him too; that his father would give him anything he requests … if he would only ask.

His lack of truly knowing his father limits the older son’s thinking and the resources that are available to him. The remnant looks not at the things that are seen but to the things that are not yet seen (2 Corinthians 4:18). Members live in a state of hope, which has been perfected by suffering and perseverance, because Believers’ (“Believers” is short for “believers in Yeshua/Jesus as Messiah”) hope in God does not disappoint (Romans 5:3–5).

THE ROOTS OF “REMNANT”

The Hebrew word for “remnant” is Sh’-e-rit. The root of this word is made up of three letters: shinalef, and reish. Perhaps you already know this: Hebrew has an amazing way of connecting words and meaning through the shared roots of words.

For example, the root word for “sin” — chet, made up of the letters chettet, and alef — is hidden in the word l’chateh, which means “to cleanse or disinfect.” This connection shows us that God already had the plan/provision for cleansing us from our sin before we even knew we needed it!

From the same root of Sh’-e-rit we get the word Se’or, which means “leaven.” Remember the verse that says that even a small lump of leaven will leaven the whole lump of dough: Galatians 5:9.

The remnant principle here is that God moves through the minority: like Noah, Abraham, Lot, and the returning remnant from Babylon. In the Book of Revelation, God states that He will keep a remnant (a small group of people on the Earth) who will remain faithful and be saved.

GOD WORKS THROUGH THE REMNANT

This remnant will have the ultimate victory. God is working through the remnant — through the small group that remains. And yet He plans to impact the whole world through it! The remnant, though small, will be triumphant.

The treaties Israel recently signed with several Arab nations are a signal of a major political shift coming. Only God knows the exact times and seasons in which we live. I hope that this Bible lesson has encouraged you to live as Godly remnant people, for such a time as this.

Im tirdefu lada-at oto —
“Press on to know HIM!” (Hosea 6:3 NLT),

Sarah Liberman

P.S. Are you the faithful remnant of your family? Maybe everyone around you has left the way of the Lord. Stand firm; God is with you! He will rebuild the ruins in your life, and through your life, the lives of others around you. * (Click to Source)

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