Friday, September 3rd, 2021 —
Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year—the “head of the year.” It is considered the birthday of the world and of the human race as recorded in Genesis. From nothing to everything that exists “God created…”. It precedes ten days of reflection, repentance, and preparation, to appear before God individually and more importantly as a member of the covenant community when every person’s part is examined. And it announces the coronation of Messiah as King.
As you can imagine, it’s LOUD! Welcomed with multiple long blasts of the shofar awakening, warning, announcing, and with the blessing “May the Lord set you at the head and not the tail.”
The holiday has several names and themes. One of them is “the day of remembrance.” The Torah reading begins “God remembered Sarah” who had been childless for most of her life. Hannah is “remembered” in her barrenness and persecution from jealous Peninah.
Enter Jeremiah in two contrasting roles. On one hand, he was the prophet of looming judgment. It was his task to describe some of the most horrific sufferings that would accompany the Jewish exile, were it to come about (as it eventually did). Conversely, Jeremiah delivered some of the most profound prophecies of hope and salvation ever uttered. Even in the depths of suffering, God’s people were never to despair of hope in confidence the Lord would not forsake His beloved people. One of the most remembered phrase is Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord, “plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” In this dark time of exile, God promised that they would yet return to their land. The joy in their return and reunion would eclipse the suffering they had endured. The day was coming when the exiles would be gathered home in jubilation and thanksgiving. Not a single Jew, even one who is handicapped in one way or the other, will be left behind.
As the whole world finds itself reeling from one strike following another in this season, God’s people must be bringers of hope and messengers of mercy. Aftershocks of a pandemic, the horror of 13 American servicemen and women killed by terrorists in a bungled withdrawal from Afghanistan on the eve of 9-11, sweeping destruction from hurricane Ida, and looming economic disaster, all seem too much to bear. In the midst of this Jeremiah calls out, “Thus says the Lord: A voice is heard on high, lamentation, bitter weeping—Rachel weeping for her children. She refuses to be comforted for her children, for they are not. Thus says the Lord, “Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for there is reward for your work,” says the Lord, “and they shall come back from the land of the enemy.” (Jeremiah 31)
Arise, watchmen, and call on the Lord who remembers His people in their low estate and answers with a strong hand.
We pray for the parents, family members, and loved ones of the U.S. service men and women who were recently killed in Afghanistan in the terrorist attack at the Kabul airport. We honor and salute those who lost their lives serving our country. We pray for comfort and strength for their loved ones. May the Lord of hosts cover and protect our armed forces across the world as they stand in the gap for freedom. We agree together for the release of angelic hosts to protect these sons and daughters as they serve. God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1)
2 Corinthians 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction.”
Psalm 23:4, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
Isaiah 65:24, “It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.”
Lord, we ask for Your mercy on the Afghan people and others at risk of harm in Afghanistan. We commission the hosts of heaven to move on behalf of those oppressed and terrorized by the Taliban. Pray that forces of evil and terrorist organizations will be destroyed! We pray that their plans would be foiled and that they would be stopped in every effort to inflict oppression. We pray against fear, terror, and violence. Let God arise, and let these enemies be scattered! (Psalm 68:1) May healing, restoration, and shalom come to Afghanistan and to the nations in this hour.
Psalm 27:2-3, "When the wicked come against me to eat up my flesh, my enemies and foes, they stumbled and fell. Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war may rise against me, in this will I be confident”.
Psalm 91:1-4 “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust.” Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler”;
Psalm 18: 37 “I have pursued my enemies and overtaken them; neither did I turn back again till they were destroyed.”
Hurricane Ida Recovery
Pray for those recovering from Hurricane Ida, which caused widespread damage across much of the Eastern United States. Pray for those who have suffered loss of life and damage to homes. Thank the Lord for the thousands of volunteers, first responders, and local and federal agencies who have mobilized to help in this crisis. May the Lord bless and strengthen them. Pray also for the organizations who are providing emergency aid and disaster relief. Pray for the waters to recede and protection from disease. We ask for the God of All Comfort to surround every family affected by this tragedy in His peace, presence, and provision. Lord, release Your wisdom and power to rebuild and restore the communities hit by this storm.
Psalm 93:3-4, “The floods have lifted up, O Lord, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their waves. The Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, than the mighty waves of the sea."
Isaiah 43:2, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.”
Psalm 32:6-7, “For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You in a time when You may be found; surely in a flood of great waters they shall not come near him. You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance.”
Psalm 74:15-16, “You broke open the fountain and the flood; You dried up mighty rivers. The day is Yours, the night also is Yours; You have prepared the light and the sun.”