My time in Israel is drawing to a close. My suitcases are stuffed almost as full as my heart as I sit here in the dark of my hotel room watching a storm roll in over the Mediterranean. It’s up early as I make the return trek home alone.
Dr. Mike Elmore, Lyndon Rivera, and my buddy Dave Newton are staying for another two weeks, continuing the work we started amongst the men in the Messianic Jewish congregations across Israel. Proud of these guys and the impact we’ve had here already in just a few short days.
There is one last story I really want to share from Israeli soil, and it has to do with the picture below:
Our new friend Ari Sorko-Ram, founder and leader of Maoz Israel, is showing us an actual Torah Scroll. This scroll contains the first five books of the Bible meticulously hand-written on one long continuous piece of parchment. There are no pages to turn and no punctuation to show sentence structures. It’s a stunning piece to witness, and the type of scroll Jewish Priests have read from for millennia.
Over dinner later that night, Ari vividly described a vision he had many years ago about just such a scroll (I hope he doesn’t mind me re-telling his story).
A large hand dipped an old-fashioned quill into an ink well and began to write words on his chest, in much the same way a scribe would do with an ancient scroll. The hand wrote and wrote, yet the quill left no impression. No visible words. Initially, Ari assumed God must be imparting some secret message on his heart. Yet as the hand continued to dip into the jar of ink and scribble more and more blank sentences across his chest, a voice spoke:
“Look inside the ink well.”
Ari stood up and peered over the edge of the jar.
Empty. No ink. Completely dry.
Immediately he heard a passage of Scripture that my grandfather used to share with me as a little child:
“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
-2 Timothy 2:15 KJV
As we read God’s Word. As we meditate on it’s meaning. As we ingest it as more than just information, but as conversation. As we allow it to sink down deep into the depths of our souls. Something beautiful takes place.
The inkwell is filled.
And then God does something miraculous.
“I will put my laws in their minds, and I will write them on their hearts.”
-Jeremiah 31:33 NLT
There was no missing decoder ring for some super-secret Divine message. God was longing to fulfill his promise to Ari, but his ink well was dry.
The main reason we travelled to Israel was to remind men of this promise. If we take time to be with Jesus, He will do things in us we could never do in ourselves. He changes us. Not by burdensome, manic, self-powered rule keeping, but by writing His thoughts and desires on our hearts.
It’s His work, not ours. If you want to see transformation in your life, you have no choice but to start here.
Our trip leader, and my dear friend Dr. Mike Elmore, has developed a simple little tool to help with this process (because it’s just not complicated). He calls it 7 Minutes a Day. I’ve attached it below.
Be careful with it, it just might change everything – because it’s not a religious process, it’s an encounter. Give God a chance to interact with your life, and I guarantee that He will. It’s what He longs for. So fill up your ink well.
Thanks for sharing my Israeli adventure this past week. I hope a small piece of this special place has impacted you as it has deeply impacted me.