Hebrew Highlights 66 - FREEDOM
Shalom. This is Yuval Shomron, coming to you from Jerusalem.
ISA 61:1, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, Because the Lord has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives, And freedom to prisoners; To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, To grant those who mourn in Zion, Giving them a garland instead of ashes, The oil of gladness instead of mourning, The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”
Some of democracy’s skeptics mistakenly see freedom and liberty as an over-rated American idea. As we see from these verses in Isaiah, which were subsequently quoted by Yeshua when He began His earthly ministry, God invented independence and autonomy. A big part of our Lord’s work was proclaiming emancipation to those subjected to slavery, whether physical or spiritual.
Obviously, some people try to take advantage of our freedoms to choose, to walk the path we feel is best for us, and indeed, our right to make mistakes. Democracy will always have a certain weakness at its roots, as men with evil motives use their very lack of restrictions for their own sordid gain.
Both The United States and Israel have become homes for the down-trodden and persecuted peoples of the nations. In an unusual move for Hebrew Highlights, I’d like to quote from a source other than the Bible, namely the plaque on the Statue of Liberty.
"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door."
Although these sentences are a precious welcome to every immigrant family to the U.S., their implementation is just as relevant in Israel. After WWII, after the fall of the Soviet Union, after the horrendous famine in Ethiopia, and on a daily basis, Zion has received the rejected individuals of this earth and offered them shelter.
I’d like to read an interesting little side story from the New Testament. ACT 22:25-29, “And when they stretched him out with thongs, Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, "Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman and uncondemned?" And when the centurion heard this, he went to the commander and told him, saying, "What are you about to do? For this man is a Roman." And the commander came and said to him, "Tell me, are you a Roman?" And he said, "Yes." And the commander answered, "I acquired this citizenship with a large sum of money." And Paul said, "But I was actually born a citizen. "Therefore those who were about to examine him immediately let go of him; and the commander also was afraid when he found out that he was a Roman, and because he had put him in chains.”
Perhaps those of us who were born free take our freedom, and the rights attached to our citizenship for granted. In truth, those factions in the world which would dominate by force, should be afraid of us. Our basic human rights are backed up by God’s laws and precepts. In Israel’s case, the very deed to the land itself is written in our covenant with the Almighty. He is our King, He is our Lord protector, He is our advocate.
Shalom shalom, from Jerusalem.