This week's portion is one that G-d had ordained for me to learn from as well as to teach.  It is from Numbers 22:2 through 25:9 and is called Balak, the name of the king of Moab who tried to hire Balaam to curse Israel.  Of all the responses I received after last week's article by Asher Intrader, whose position regarding disengagement from Gaza was an affront, the one that struck my heart was from my "Kiwi" friend living in Israel, David.  Although leading a comfortable life in New Zealand, he and his wife settled in Haifa to follow the mandate of G-d for Israel to return to the land.

He challenged me to consider the lives of the farmers who produce 65% of the nation's export flowers and herbs, two of the major crops that support the nation.  These farmers employ about 10,000 people, about half of whom are Arabs!  Anyway, reading much of what he sent me, I was stirred to realize that I just do not know what the right action or lack of action regarding Gaza is.  Then, I turned my attention to the Parasha teaching for next Shabbat, as I do on most Friday afternoons.  It is a way for me to transition into the peace of Sabbath and to prepare to rest in His Presence.

So, I began reading about Balaam and his stubborn donkey.  The donkey's stubbornness was only exceeded by that of Balak.  The donkey sat down in the road three times; Balak took Balaam to three different places from where he could view the Israelites in the Wilderness.  Over and over, Balaam told the king that he would only speak what G-d told him.  It is most beautifully stated in chapter 23, verse 12, "Is it not so that whatever HaShem puts in my mouth, that must I take heed to speak?"  Y'shua indeed may have been considering this when He told His disciples that He only spoke what the Father said and only did what the Father gave Him to do.

What really got to me began in 24:5, when Balaam declares an ancient song that is sung to this day among Jews the world over.  "How goodly are your tents, O Jacob, your dwelling places O Israel."  But what really hit me was verses 7 - 9 that declares, "Water will flow from his buckets, and his seed will be by many waters, and his king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted.  "God brings him out of Egypt, He is for him like the horns of the wild ox. He will devour the nations who are his adversaries, and will crush their bones in pieces, and shatter {them} with his arrows.  " He couches, he lies down as a lion, and as a lion, who dares rouse him?  Blessed is everyone who blesses you, And cursed is everyone who curses you."

"He shall dwell by many waters;" sounds like by the seashore to me.  Gaza is that kind of place.  And, it is right next to Egypt, which you'll notice is the place from which G-d says He will bring him out.  The chapter continues with promise after promise of Israel dwelling in victory.

So there you have it.  This week's Torah portion opens some doors for another side of this terrible conflict regarding Gaza.  How should Christians stand?  Should we support the farmers who have dedicated their lives for thirty yeas to making Israel's agricultural position so enviable?  Should we accept the fact that 7,500 Israeli Jews in the midst of 1,300,000 Arab Muslims is a loosing situation?  Both sides of this decision are well represented among the Believers in Israel.  Among my friends, they cannot find agreement; nor can I.

G-d has promised the entire Land to His chosen ones.  But, for two thousand years, they have been kept from it for their rebellion.  They rejected the Messiah and they have turned their back on the Father.  The word of G-d promises that Israel shall dwell in the land in peace and with security.  There is certainly none of that now.  On Tuesday evening, a Muslim blew himself up at the entrance to a mall in Netanya, just down the coast from where we lived in Israel.  It is where Carol and I went to the movies sometimes; at that very mall.  Two were killed and over 90 were injured.  The 90 will suffer for days or weeks or forever from this horror and their families and neighbors will suffer with them.

When will there be peace?  Not when the issue over Gaza is resolved.  Not when going to the mall is a safe way to blow off the day.  I believe that the answer lies only in the salvation of Israel.  Only when the Prince of peace rules the hearts of Israel will there be peace and security.  When He is in control of the decisions being made in Jerusalem; then there can be peace and security.  Until that day, the return of the Jewish people to the land of promise is only a step in the right direction, but not the fulfillment of the promise of G-d.  G-d promised the land as the inheritance of Israel forever.  And although the land He promised contains Gaza, it also contains most of Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Iraq, and Jordan.  No one is suggesting that Israel take all of the promise, only to protect that which it already has.  Yes, this land is vital to the financial security of the nation.  Yes, this is part of the promise of G-d.  Yes, this land belongs to the Jewish people forever.  But the Jewish people must first turn to G-d who gave them this land and He will give them His promises.  Not just a small part of it, like they now control, but all of it.  G-d doesn't lie nor does He change.  The land He promised to Abraham will be the Land of Promise when Israel does what the One who made the promise demands.

As Balaam could only speak what the Father gave Him to speak, so have I written what He has instructed me to write.  What decision will be made in the next thirty days?  Which side of this struggle should you take?  Only G-d can tell you what to say and what to do.  When He does; do it.

Shabbat shalom.