Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier held captive for more than five years by Hamas in Gaza, came back home yesterday, October 18.  It was a day of much anticipation and emotion throughout the nation.  When we saw Gilad walking out from the car which took him out of Hamas’ hands into those of the Egyptians — meaning that he had been freed — it was a moment of tears of joy and thanksgiving.

Israel’s history is full of mourning turned to joy, even if only temporal and temporary.  It looks forward to the day when the Israeli Jewish people will look upon Him whom they have pierced — upon Yeshua who is the greater Son of Israel — and the mourning throughout the millennia will be healed and bring unspeakable joy everlasting.  Jesus will be welcomed and blessed back home to His natural born family.  War will end, and righteousness and peace will reign, and the enemy will be subdued.

Israel is a family:  when one member suffers, all suffer with it; when one is honored, all rejoice wth him.  Yesterday, many are still suffering from the pain of being victims of terrible violent acts against them and their loved ones.  Yet yesterday, ‘all’ Israel rejoiced for Gilad Shalit and his family — and for being Israeli.

Our God is an awesome God!  He is the God of individual persons personally — the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob.  He is the God of a people, of a nation, of a family — the God of Israel.  He is a Father to His children — the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ.  He is not the God of a religion, and is never called the God of Judaism, or the God of Christianity.  He is the one true living God who is in personal and corporate relationship with those in covenant union with Him.

Yesterday, Israel and Israelis celebrated life.  There was the sound of joy and laughter ‘in the hills of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem’ around the country.  It was a day of dignity and honor, in contrast to those who prefer the sword and cruelty.  Praise the Lord!  “For who is God, except YEHOVAH!  And who is a Rock, except our God!”

May many Muslims be provoked to jealousy and seek the Father who does love them.  May many Jewish people take heart at the truth of the one Man, Yeshua Messiah/Jesus Christ, giving Himself as a sacrifice revealing the grace of God and the gift by that grace of the forgiveness of sins — removing the warfare from off us, and giving us peace — not as the world gives, and which surpasses understanding.

This evening marks the end of Succot/the Feast of Booths, and the Joy of the Law/Simchat Torah is celebrated.  May the Jewish people all over the world return back to the God of their fathers, and rejoice in Him!