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Monday, April 23, 2012

THE LAST WORD


Everyone likes to have the last word. In most human conversational traditions speaking last is the position of most respect, reserved for the one with greater or final authority. It was precisely in this tradition that Jacob (Israel) gathered his family around him to speak his last words.  On his deathbed at age 147, he called his twelve sons by their given names and blessed or cursed each one.

His fourth son Judah (Yehudah) was not only blessed by his father, he was given the prophetic name “Gur Aryeh,” a "Young Lion" and told “Judah will rule until Shiloh (The Messiah) comes, and the nations will obey him.” To this day, the lion remains as the symbol of Judah and the emblem of Jerusalem and the Knesset (the Israeli Parliament).

On a trip to Kenya, Africa our group stopped next to a family of lions. Just outside our van window sat a huge male lion; two small lion cubs clumsily played nearby. What a contrast: the powerful adult male with a noble mane framing his face and the two, much smaller cubs. My wife Sharon, on a subsequent visit to South Africa was permitted to pet a lion cub in a protected sanctuary. She noted that although he was much smaller than the adult males, he was already powerful, strong and dominating.

Long ago, under King David, Israel grew into an adult lion, a powerful kingdom with Jerusalem as its capital. The modern nation of Israel is more like a young lion, a descendent of a prodigious past. Greatness is present now, but it must be given time to develop. It can at times seem clumsy and messy; maturity is always a bit chaotic. But if given opportunity, modern Israel will grow into a true world leader. Already, it produces amazing technology, leading-edge medical and scientific breakthroughs and so many other world renowned accomplishments. Constantly under threat and defending its very right to exist makes its accomplishments even more profound. It should not be, it cannot be chopped into pieces and divided as so much spoil. No, the young lion must be allowed to develop.

In the final analysis, mankind must realize that God will have the last word. His promises to a nation will not be thwarted. The lion will roar.

So, until Shiloh, “The Peaceful One” comes, we pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

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