Declare It in the Isles Afar Off
by AuthorName, AuthorTitle, AuthorMinistry
We live in the "isles afar off" relative to Israel. My wife, Farah, was a Gospel music recording artist in Jakarta, Indonesia. I was a lawyer engaged in religious liberties litigation in the United States. We were both hungry for more of God and seeking His purpose for our lives. After we met and married, God began to move on our hearts at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. This is where we also first met Eitan Shishkoff and were introduced to Tents of Mercy. In July 2004 we moved back to Jakarta, Indonesia to begin a prayer and worship community.
Indonesia is a nation of islands in Southeast Asia and the fourth most populous country in the world with over 230 million people. It is also 80% Muslim, making it the world's largest Muslim nation. Christianity is legal, though in some places persecuted, and about 10% of the population is Christian. Perhaps because of the Muslim influence, there is a deep connection to the Middle East, and among the New Testament believers this connection extends to the Jewish people.
Through teaching and music, we are seeking to build on this existing connection in the hearts of the Indonesian people and to bring greater understanding of Israel's covenant role in God's overall plan of redemption. His faithful dealings with the Jewish people were not only in the past, but also continue into the present and future as well. In addition, we are highlighting the role Indonesia and the Gentile nations must play in God's plan. We are in this exciting drama together.
Our connection with Tents of Mercy has been so meaningful over the years, offering tangible friendship, and real people to stand with and pray for, instead of just theological principles to obey. It helps us see the unfolding of Scripture from the perspective of both the Jewish Messianic and Gentile believers. Without it our picture of God's plan would be incomplete.
Steve and Eitan near Jerusalem
For thus says the Lord:
"Sing with gladness for Jacob,
And shout among the chief of the nations;
Proclaim, give praise, and say,
'O Lord, save Your people, the remnant of Israel!' ...
Hear the word of the Lord, O nations,
And declare it in the isles afar off, and say,
'He who scattered Israel will gather him,
And keep him as a shepherd does his flock.'"
Surely Jeremiah's prophecy speaks of Indonesia, among others. As one of the world's most populated countries, it qualifies as being "among the chief of the nations". Comprised of 17,000 islands it certainly qualifies as some of the "isles afar off". As a nation with a rich culture of music and song, it is well suited to "sing with gladness for Jacob".
Over 2,500 years ago God records a command to the nations of the earth telling them to get involved in the worship and intercession and prophetic declaration of God's covenant faithfulness in redeeming the people of Israel in these last days. And now today, Christians on the islands of Indonesia are stepping up to do their part in fulfilling this command.
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