Life is replete with contrasts — especially as we approach Thanksgiving. Recalling the glorious refrain of King David in Psalm 136, "Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting" and yet rejoice in the uncountable ways God has proven Himself to be faithful and gracious in the midst of hardship and loss. We are grateful for His goodness at all times!
One of the lessons we have experienced at our Charles Feinberg Center in Brooklyn where we are training missionaries to Jewish people is to see the ways in which our hybrid classes have grown. On a very personal level I am grateful for the 18 wonderful students I am training in my class on Jewish Evangelism during this fall semester. There are seven students in the classroom and another 11 outside joining us by Zoom from a number of different cities across the United States, England, Brazil and Australia as well. We are also teaching an online course to a handful of students in Israel.
We would have never initiated these classes and increased our number of students if not for the pandemic! At the least the pandemic sped up the process of expanding the Feinberg program online.
The team serving at the Brooklyn, New York Talbot campus are grateful for the support of the greatest Biola family and and feel very much a part of what God is doing in California and around the world. We are grateful for you!
Let me share a few other reasons why I am thankful to God during this Thanksgiving season.
On a grander scale, perhaps, I am grateful for the ways in which God has demonstrated His power through the survival and restoration of Israel and the Jewish nation — especially in light of the unfortunate growth of global antisemitism today.
I am grateful because:
1. Israel is back in the land promised to the chosen people by God Himself in Genesis and throughout various passages in the Old Testament.
2. The Hebrew language has become an everyday modern language — a linguistic testimony to the faithfulness and power of our covenant-keeping God.
3. There are now almost seven million Jewish people living in Israel, out of a total population of nine million. With 14.7 million Jewish people in the world today, a shade less than 50 percent live in Israel.
4. Israel has survived four major wars and a multitude of smaller but deadly wars.
5. Israel is developing peaceful relations with former enemy states in the Middle East, which began in 1979 with Egypt, then Jordan in 1994, and more recently the Abraham Accords.
The entire history of the Jewish people — from Abraham to the modern State of Israel — is a series of survival miracles testifying to the greatness of God who created the nation to be used for His holy purposes!
I am grateful to the One who created and called the Jewish people to be a witness to the nations and to be His vehicle for the writing and preservation of the Scriptures and for the birth of the One who is the light above all lights and who enlightens all those who believe in Him with the knowledge of one true heavenly father — the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It is for Him that join the Psalmist in declaring, "Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting."