And the land has begun to open her arms and yield her increase to her sons. Children are playing in the street and their voices can be heard on the hills as they recite and commit the words of Torah to memory. Their hearts and minds are clean sheets of paper that are receiving the firey Law of God as if they were there at Mount Sinai.
The land of Israel is the inheritance of the descendents of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Jacob became Israel, and his 12 sons became the 12 tribes of Israel. Now the Father is calling and His Sons are hearing the call to return to the motherland. And for those who are a little deaf the Lord has a way of shaking them from their slumber in their pleasant lands of exile.
Although we are seeing a messianic stirring of Ephraim in the USA and elsewhere, the prophesied regathering of the 10 lost tribes has not yet occurred. But the 'House of Judah', or the Jews as they are better known as, are already here and increasing in numbers by the grace and favour of our loving and faithful Father in Heaven. Judah was the last to leave the land and he is the first to return. May the good Lord strengthen him with might and may he be strengthened and comforted from the Torah and Sabbath which he has guarded with his life and soul.
I am staying with a young 'knitted kippah' family, Amos and Lea and their 2 young sons and baby daughter. Knitted kippahs are worn by Jews in Judea and Samaria ('west bank') and identifies them as believing that God wants them to settle the land and not give it away. Their simple homestead is called "Wild Bolders", an apt description of the place for sure. They are gradually adding fruit trees all over the property. These trees need a wall of protection around them to help establish them preventing the wind, sun and weeds from killing them, giving them a good start in the rocky but fertile soil. Amos needed some help planting trees before the Shmitta year where planting is forbidden in Torah in order to give the land her sabbath rest. So I came at a good time. I have been so glad and honoured to help despite the very hot days.
But it's hard work, the sun just saps my energy. Add to this the massively heavy stones I have had to shift while digging and building protective stone walls around the trees and you can begin to u nderstand that this past week has not a walk in the park. I may be in Eden but I am working by the sweat of my brow. We have completed the planting already and now I am taking some time out in Karnei Shomron to catch up with my blogging. Amos and Lea don't believe in using electricity or Internet and so while there I am cut off from the outside world. I have little idea of what is going on in Israel, let alone in the rest of the world.
But I do love the faith that these folks have, that God will help them and supply their needs and help them to hold onto the land. They have simply planted their tent peg in the ground and staked a claim on a barren rocky windswept mountain top. They have not purchased the land since who it belongs to is an open question. They are simply doing what the Palestinians have done, put up some sort of rudimentary shelter and planted trees to establish ownership. Lower down the mountain there are olive trees planted 30 years ago by the local Palestinians to cement their title deed to the land. So it is a wild west sort of place with freehold land, free if you are prepared to hold on to it. I would call that predicament a sort of 'freehold faith'. That's one of the reasons why I admire them, the other reason is because of their devotion to the God of Israel and his Torah.
Faith is tested and Amos and family live in a sort of twilight zone where God is at work. They live where Heaven's protection and favour is clearly seen but where also the enemy contends, even the godless and faithless special Yassam police. The 'Yassam' police can potentially come and demolish settler homes at any time and sometimes do. I saw them visit a settlers property looking for something. The settlers are in a vice with the Palestinians on one side and a secular Israeli government on the other. One day the government can rule in their favour, the next day they can side with the local Arabs and demolish their home.
The knitted kippah settlers trust that one day the secular nation will become a Torah based nation. Surely that day is coming as the secular government continues to betray the people of Israel and the God of Israel by caving into world pressure. Israeli public opinion is moving towards a more nationalistic, religious viewpoint. Ironically this process has been greatly assisted by the former Oslo peace process and 'two state solution' which has proven that giving away land and settlements in Gaza, like Gush Katif in 2005, does not secure peace, but only aids Islamist murderers and gives them more places to throw stones, shoot bullets and fire rockets from (not to mention dig tunnels). So a religeous state is on the way, the only question is when and how much pain will be involved in getting there. Already the radical left which have dominated positions of power and influence in the modern state of Israel since its founding are beginning to feel the heat of public distain. Those that were once untouchable in their ivory towers in the moral high ground of anti-Israel sentiment are beginning to feel vulnerable. The tide is slowly turning. Now Israel must trust in God and end its tendancy to cave into American pressure to prematurely end it's wars with tyrannical Palestinian terrorists. Israel must assert it's full control over Judea and Samaria (Shomron) and destroy those that would murder her people. 'Am Yisrael Chai', -"the people of Israel live!".
So I am privileged to share in the struggle for the land and Torah obedience that my hosts display as they cling to Hashem and to the land by faith.
I walk by faith and not by sight. I have had a general desire to visit the mountains of the Shomron and to visit the Jewish settlements there, to see first hand the settlements that I had become familiar with on the internet over the last 10 years. Apart from that general idea I have not had a road map for this trip. Now I have had one week staying with some settlers on their outpost property. What has the Lord got to teach me? I am writing this away from the property at the kolhator.org.il guest house in Karnei Shomron. After I publish this I hope to visit Tel Aviv for a couple of days with Johan, my brother from South Africa, before returning to further assist Amos and Lea.
While at Amos's 'wild bolders' pioneer outpost I am living in a place without Internet or electricity. I am fed very well, but the days are hot and showers are infrequent. And toilet arrangements are down to earth, let's put it that way. But I love the people and I believe the Lord would have me be there for a time and season, to serve them, to learn from them, and perhaps to be still and let God reveal some things to me without the distractions of blogging and the daily drone of news from the internet. So I will write when I am able but the next update may be a few weeks away.
I have had many unique experiences while there, perhaps the most moving was simply listening to Amos sing the Psalms in Hebrew. They seem to resonate from deep within. If I quote anything from the Tenach (old testament), Amos will quote it by heart in Hebrew. This is one of the benefits of learning the Torah from youth. They have memorized the entire torah, prophets and Psalms etc. Wow! I have also been privileged to attend their local beit kenessit (synagogue) -a 'first' for me. I am amongst the knitted kippah hilltop youth and other settlers who are devoted to fulfilling the mitzvah (commandment) of taking hold of the land. This is quite a privilege for me. However I do feel lonely and isolated at times, but I feel the Lord's care and oversight in it all and my eyes are upon him.
Thanksgiving for answered prayers.
1. The Lord has given me somewhere to stay and work to be done.
2. The Lord is definitely guiding me.
3. The kindness of the Israeli people I meet.
1. That the Lord would open up opportunities to visit the other main settlements in the Shomron including Arial, Elon Moreh, Har Bracha, Itamar, Yitzhar etc if it be His will. That the Lord will give me experiences and stories to tell that will be of benefit to those interested in the area of the mountains of Ephraim.
2. That the Lord would teach me more of Himself.
3. That I would take some interesting pictures & videos of my journey.
4. That I would have meaningful Divine appointments.
5. That something lasting would come of my travels here as I don't get the opportunity to travel to Israel very often (the last time was 10 years ago).
2014 Trip to Israel - Pioneering in Ephaim's Mount