The LORD will surely comfort Zion
and will look with compassion on all her ruins;
he will make her deserts like Eden,
her wastelands like the garden of the LORD.
Joy and gladness will be found in her,
thanksgiving and the sound of singing.”—Isaiah 51:3
This month marks one of the most ancient and holiest of Jewish celebrations, Pesach, or Passover. It is a celebration of God’s redemption of His people, Israel, from bondage, and freedom is a theme underlying the celebration. Please enjoy this collection of timeless devotions from my father, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, on this sacred observance. – Yael Eckstein, President
From the time God sent Moses to deliver His people from slavery in Egypt, the Israelites had been looking forward to the day they would arrive in the Promised Land, a land they had been told would be “flowing with milk and honey.”
After leaving Egypt, the people of Israel wandered for 40 years throughout the barren, arid desert. For 40 years, they held tight to God’s promise of this beautiful, fruitful land. And when they finally arrived and entered the Promised Land, what did they find? More arid, barren lands!
Can you imagine what they thought? Can you imagine their disappointment? This is the Promised Land?
But God had made a promise: If His people settled the land and if they worked it, then the land would be transformed from barrenness and wilderness into gardens of Eden. Without the presence of His people, the land would refuse to bear fruit. And so it was — for nearly 2,000 years! With the refounding of the modern state of Israel, the land has come to life again. It is, indeed, a land flowing with fruits and vegetables. It is a place of great beauty. God’s promise to “make her deserts like Eden” has been fulfilled.
So what does that mean for us? Perhaps you are in the desert right now. You are holding on to God’s promise for His peace and restoration, but to be honest, you just don’t see it. Each day looks and feels just like the ones preceding it. Where is God in the midst of this spiritual wilderness?
Hope can be found in the land of milk and honey. Just as God was faithful to turn Israel’s “wastelands into gardens of the Lord,” He will be faithful to His promises to you. Just as God surely comforted Zion, He will comfort you, and He will lead you to a place where “joy and gladness” can be found, “thanksgiving and the sound of singing.”
All we need to do is faithfully follow where He leads.