The Voice of the Lord


Yah, if you kept a record of sins, who, Adonai, could stand? (Psalms 130:3)

Nordau Mall is an outside shopping area bordering the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood in downtown Haifa, Israel. Several days before Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles), it is packed with dozens of vendors selling ready-made booths (sukkot; i.e., tabernacles), branches to cover them, and decorations with which to beautify them. However, the most prominent items for sale are the lulav (palm fronds bound together with myrtle and willow branches) and etrog (lemon-like fruit) which are used in worship during the holiday according to Leviticus 23:40.

While visiting the mall, I noticed an old rabbi I knew sitting under the shade of a tree. He was intensely scrutinizing the tips of a lulav in order to be completely confident that the lulav was without flaws. It occurred to me that though the lulav might hold up under that type of examination, we human beings could not. Self-examination has value, even though a tendency toward perfectionism can turn it into an unhealthy process (not to mention the human propensity to judge everyone else's lack of perfection). The miracle is that, although God can clearly see every blemish in our lives, in his great mercy through Yeshua HaMashiach (the Messiah), he chooses to extend to us grace and forgiveness. He uses us even with all our flaws. appreciative of God's scrutiny in my life, knowing that it is not for judgment, but for leading me in the everlasting way.


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The Voice of the Lord, Copyright 1998 by the Lewis and Harriet Lederer Foundation, Inc. Published by Messianic Jewish Publishers, Distributed by Messianic Jewish Resources, All rights reserved. Used by permission. No part of this article may be reproduced in print or on the web, or transmitted in any form, without the written permission of the publisher.