Sword of the Lord
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At summer's end 60 men from 12 different congregations all over Israel took part in a national Messianic men's gathering - the first of its kind to have taken place in at least a decade. The Tents of Mercy Network and Olive Tree Ranch were privileged to facilitate the event. The feedback and response showed great excitement and impact.

The Vision:

  1. To gather together as believing men living in Israel, to be strengthened and to strengthen each other in faith and power.
  2. To take a stand in the face of threats on many different fronts:
    For our nation militarily and morally
    For our families and congregations
    For each of us personally as men
  3. To declare God's victory in all of these areas.

Similarly, Gideon and the men of Israel faced the threats of sin, idolatry and a menacing foreign power. Though vastly outnumbered, they stood together. By faith, they performed the word of the Lord. He gave the victory.

Our gathering took place as an overnight campout at Harod Springs National Park (Gideon's army base camp) at the edge of the Jezreel Valley. The thrust of our time together was especially to involve the "working-man lay-person." We were not looking for a passive audience to sit and listen to a renowned guest speaker. Our desire was for men to communicate with each other so as to raise our level of faith and awareness above the daily grind of work hours, economic pressure, family challenges and the like - to set our eyes on God's victory.

Pastor Avi praying
Gideon and his army of 300 blew their shofars (ram's horns), woke the vast Midianite army in the middle of the night, broke their pitchers to reveal the fire of their torches, and proclaimed with a victory shout, "The Sword of the Lord". More than a military tactic, this was at its heart a resolute, "do or die" faith proclamation that God "owns" the war. God is in charge. The battle is the Lord's.

We gathered in a similar spirit to proclaim God's victory over difficult odds, in the face of intractable challenges; and yes - even in the face of a potentially horrifying specter of war involving weapons of mass destruction.

After an evening of praise, fellowship, prayer and chicken barbeque, we all took shofars and walked up the mountain slope in the darkness to a clearing from which we could look out over the same valley to which the Midianite horde had come long ago to oppress the people of Israel.

Together we blew on the horns for several minutes and proclaimed that God has the victory. After the shofar blowing and shouting died down, instead of emotional elation, an incredible calm came over us all - the peace of confidence, the assurance of trust. Different men lead out spontaneously in many quiet songs of worship, speaking of God's kingship on earth, declaring, "Hear O Israel" and the declaration of faith and hope from the Kaddish: "He who makes peace on high, He will make peace on us and on all Israel. And proclaim 'Amen.'" There was an unusual unity in the Holy Spirit. We were not interacting with each other on the basis of congregational affiliation or who was or was not a leader.

The Group
The next morning reserve and passivity had clearly worn off. Man after man rose to share from his heart - primarily "ordinary" guys and not pastors or elders. Here are some of the things they said:

Giving testimony Blowing the shofar
We saw together that the Scriptures compare the work of the Messiah to this sudden overcoming of the Midianite oppressing army "... You have broken the yoke of his burden and the...rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian" (Isaiah 9:4).

The paradigm or prism through which we can understand the magnitude of salvation and redemption in Yeshua, is that outbreak of victory with Gideon, that tipping point from destruction to victory, from impending doom to overwhelming dominion. It is obvious that the men are a critical ingredient. It is a well-known fact that men can sometimes tend to be "under-involved" in parenting and leading the home spiritually. This initiative was, by all counts, a step in the right direction to cause change for the better - in us as men, and in surrounding circles of influence from the home and outward.

This year Tents of Mercy distributed six hundred and fifty food hampers to needy families in the Haifa Bay area. This is just one aspect of our commitment to serve Messiah by helping the poor. Tents of Mercy would like to extend heartfelt thanks to all the many international donors who partner with us in this ministry.

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