Tazri'a & Mezora
For the week of April 24, 2004 / 3 Iyar 5764
Torah: Vayikra / Leviticus 12:1 - 15:33;
also Bemidbar / Numbers 28:9-15
Haftarah: 2 Melachim / 2 Kings 7:3-20
Replaced by Isaiah 66:1-24
Originally published For the week of April 13, 2002 / 1 Iyar 5762

Everything Will Be O.K.

I will extend peace to her like a river (Isaiah 66:12).

The God of Israel is a God of promise. God's involvement in our affairs is not only about the prospect of eternal salvation. Throughout history God has spoken into particular situations. We have not been left to ourselves and our circumstances. He has given warnings and provided hope to both individuals and nations.

It is difficult for us to understand how God has provided us with freedom of choice, yet still be in control. God's rule over the universe does not mean we should give ourselves over to mechanical fatalism. Far from it! The certainty we derive from God's involvement in our affairs should encourage us to be all the more active in the things he calls us to.

God's promises are sure. We may not always perceive how he will fulfill his word, but we can be confident that what he says will occur.

Currently the Middle East is in great turmoil. There are many reasons to believe that the situation will continue to deteriorate. Every day people are dying. Fear and confusion are on the rise. Solutions seem impossible. We face the possibility of greater involvement on the part of other nations.

But God says that everything will be O.K. More than that, Jerusalem will be a place of peace and blessing to the nations of the world. Because God said it, it will happen. No matter what is going on right now, no matter how much worse it gets, this is where things are actually heading.

Our portion from Isaiah gives the impression that it will happen suddenly and unexpectedly. It is something that God himself will do. While traumatic, it will be decisive and will last forever.

But right now things are not O.K. Each day the people living there face death and destruction. There are few, if any, signals that what God has said will actually happen.

This gives us a choice. We can base our expectations upon the current circumstances or upon God's word. But what difference does it make? Won't God do what God will do? How does that help those suffering now?

Resting in the assurance of God's promises provides us with a perspective that enables us to face head on life's most difficult challenges. Because of their faith in God, Noah could overcome the flood, David could defeat Goliath, and Yeshua could conquer death. The more we trust in God and his promises, the more we will be able to participate in their fulfillment.

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