I have been asked about the blog byline:
He can go right by me and I don’t see him. He moves past without my being aware of him.
“Where does that come from? What does it mean?” And I will add, What does it have to do with a blog about moving to and living in Jerusalem?
Some things appeal to us without our understanding them. That was the case when I stumbled upon Job 9:11-12. I simply liked it then, now I think that I may understand it. Job, in the above verse, was, of course, talking about God. The same entity who had allowed much of his family to perish and afflicted him with boils. He had much more to say about God earlier in Chapter 9 before mentioning His elusiveness.
Job had asked, “How can a human win a case against God?”
It’s a question that only people who reject the Big Bang premise, which is, essentially, “First there was nothing, then it exploded,” need bother with. (It amazes me now that at one time I was much more comfortable accepting that nothing could explode than considering that creation was created. Which makes less sense?) But once one believes in something beyond the observable and measurable, (which by definition includes, among others, most Horoscope readers, Zen practitioners and transcendental meditators), the only reasonable answer to How can a human win a case against God? seems to be, “He cannot.”
Which brings me back to Jerusalem. Two nights ago Marcia and I had dinner with friends at a beautiful restaurant just off Hillel Street in town and we discussed yet another threat, this time in Jordan, against an Israeli embassy. The interesting thing, as Israel is slowly (or rapidly, depending on your perspective) being encircled by even more proactive and ill-intentioned enemies, is that we found this news, what ordinarily might be alarming, to be reassuring. Who can win a case against God?
…I will take the people of Isra’el from among the nations where they have gone and gather them from every side and bring them back to their own land. (Ezekiel 37:21)
Not to be glib, but that seems to explain (as do many other verses) our presence in the restaurant that evening. And then…
For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem for war. (Zechariah 14:2)
Which, grim as it seems without reading on, seems to explain what’s happening now not only in the Middle East but in Europe, Indonesia, South America and even America via the UN and other vehicles. Make no mistake, the UN Vote on Palestinian Statehood, if it takes place this month as expected, will not be determined by consideration of International Law, or justice, or even world peace; it will be a referendum on the power of oil money and tacit threats of terrorism.
But we are comforted by the additional promises we have read and believe, the amazing resilience of these fractious Israeli citizens, some of whom measure time by the wars and intifadas that have come and gone since 1948, and the gratifying knowledge that no man can win a case against God. He can go right by us and we don’t see him. He moves past without our being aware of him.