The Power of the Truth
I will never forget many years ago as a beginning Hebrew student when my Hebrew teacher made a copy of Psalm 121 from the T’nakh and we sat on a park bench on campus and she taught me to read this Psalm. (I still have that piece of paper and always keep it in in my Bible.) This is my very favorite Psalm and I have it memorized in both English and Hebrew. Because this lesson made such an impression upon me, I wanted to share these verses with you today. Please see the graphic below with the Hebrew verses and English underneath.
First, my teacher went through the Psalm and circled all the occurrences of the root: שמר This root is very important and it means: “keep, watch, guard, preserve, retain” and sometimes “observe”. There are 6 Hebrew words in this Psalm with this root! I have made them bold above and also, the English equivalent is in bold font. When we carefully examine the Hebrew text, it often comes alive with many details that we did not see in the translation. My favorite phrase is in verse 4, “guardian of Israel” – sho-mehr yisrael – שׁוֹמֵ֗ר יִשְׂרָאֵֽל. When you read the Psalm, it is very evident that God Himself is the Guardian of Israel. God can and has guarded and protected Israel in the past using miracles. He can still do so today and there have been many miracles in Israel since 1948. However often He works through people that He has called to the work of guarding and protecting.
In 1909, the Jewish pioneers that had returned to Israel formed Ha-Shomer (‘The Guard’) which was a network of men who watched over the early farms and settlements. Ha-Shomer was the earliest forerunner of the Haganah (הַהֲגָנָה) meaning ‘the Defense’. The Haganah was established in 1920 and operated until the nation of Israel was founded in 1948 when it became the Israel Defense Force (IDF). The IDF still retains some of the founding principles of Ha-Shomer – to guard and protect the citizens of Israel. It is the most solemn duty of a government to protect it’s citizens.
I love the book of Isaiah. He must have lived in a time much like today, because he wrote, “And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.” (Isaiah 59:14) Isaiah’s situation was bleak because it seemed that truth was defeated. The Hebrew word אֱמֶ֔ת (emet) means both ‘faithfulness’ and ‘truth’ and is etymologically related to the word, אָמֵֽן, (amen).
This past week I was blessed to attend the AIPAC conference in Washington, DC with over 18,000 pro-Israel delegates. One thing that we learned is the simple power of speaking up with the truth about Israel. The media constantly projects an anti-Israel bias and it seems the main agenda in the UN is not to stop the terrorist nations, like Iran, North Korea and Syria, not to mention groups like Hamas and Hezbollah (who kill thousands of innocent people), but rather the UN’s prime directive is to delegitimize the only democracy in the Middle East – Israel. As I read the news reports, it seems that truth has ‘fallen in the street’ concerning Israel – just like in Isaiah’s day. I am not sure what one person can do, but I decided that speaking the truth would be a good start. The greatest speaker at AIPAC was the US Ambassador to the UN, and former governor of my state, South Carolina – Nikki Halley. I was so proud to be a South Carolinian and to hear her very pro-Israel views! I know the Lord is the “guardian of Israel” and I do pray constantly for the people of Israel. However, I am also blessed to be able to follow the examples of Joseph, Moses and of course Queen Esther, who petitioned the ruler of the nation on behalf of the nation of Israel. One person can make a big difference and speaking the truth is always the right thing to do. I am so thankful to live in American where we can visit our Congressmen and Senators and express our pro-Israel stance to them. Please continue to pray for Israel and make your voice heard through letters. One person can make a big difference.