“Give ear, and hear my voice; give attention, and hear my speech. Does he who plows for sowing plow continually? Does he continually open and harrow his ground? When he has leveled its surface, does he not scatter dill, sow cumin, and put in wheat in rows and barley in its proper place, and emmer as the border? For he is rightly instructed; his God teaches him” (Isa. 28:23-26).

El Shaddai, this passage speaks to me today because of the turmoil regarding the land in which I live and also the struggle in Your land, Israel. The two countries and their issues appear different on the surface, but as I consider more deeply I see striking similarities.

Here in the United States, a debate rages as to whom rights and privileges should be delegated. Who in the country has rights? Who is the administrator of those rights and based on our founding documents? What latitude do they possess in determining the scope of said blessings/benefits?

In Israel, a similar question persists. Who is the possessor of the land and its benefits? By what rights do they possess? By whose authority do they claim ownership? What documents/history support these claims?

The beliefs and arguments of opposing factions suggest that neither country nor the occupants will resolve their differences quickly. I easily could be discouraged by what I believe to be an erosion of foundational positions that will cause my country and Your land to forget and abandon their origins.

However, that would not be taking into account the power of the pinnacle factor that our countries share. That factor is You. Master, there will be those who will read these words and cry foul: “No fair, bringing the God factor into this argument. What about those of us who don’t believe any god has a dog in this fight?”

I would not argue with those people. They have chosen, and so have I. As for me and my house, we will serve You, YHWH. Arguments between believers and non-believers on this point is moot, yet it is the determining factor of my life’s choices. All of my decisions from the first decision to believe in, worship and obey You determine all of my other decisions.

So, when I hear a Jew say, “I am a Jew by culture; belief in YHWH is not necessary for me to claim my birthright as a citizen,” my mind gets caught in this thought: Being born makes one human, possibly even allows citizenship according to man-made laws in certain countries; but does it give someone a cultural/historical right to claim a title that You, God, bestowed on a people who consciously chose to believe in and honor You.

This thought speaks as loudly to me in America. Our foundation includes a declaration that recognizes You as our Creator. Yet, I’m told not to bring my religious baggage to the table though we revere a constitution which states that belief in God will not be influenced, inhibited or obstructed by the laws of the land. So the question for me becomes: “How can I be a true citizen of a country that claims a Creator but does not allow the belief in that Creator to be expressed and lived out in the course of everyday events?

Lord, I’m not a farmer, but I did marry a farmer’s daughter. Having to some degree helped out on the farm, I understand the Isaiah passage listed in the beginning of this blog prayer from a different perspective. Each crop that is planted on a plot of land has a place and a purpose. Some of the seeds not only are to grow to feed the planter, but also to guard the other crops from weeds; some enrich the soil to support other crops; some create a border to define the land as You, God, ordain.

Adonai, your Word surrounds me and protects my borders. I am Yours to command, regardless of others’ approval or disapproval. Those who share the place which You have blessed us to reside serve a purpose, as well, whether the purpose is known to them or not: It is Your purpose and Your plan, Your desire and Your judgment based on our obedience or our rebellion.

Therefore, I pray for Your purpose and plan, Lord, to be done. I pray You continue as You always have to make Your presence and Your will crystal clear to all the inhabitants of the land through Your Word and Spirit. Also, I pray You continue to speak to, dwell with and strengthen me and all who recognize You, emboldening us to be blessings of light and salt to our neighbors and the world.

Lord, I also pray the same for Israel, which I consider my true home. I ask that You continue to work in the hearts of all Your people to help bring about Your ultimate plan of a kingdom, where Your infinite glory, holiness and loving kindness are the only boundaries, the definition of our house, our land, our lives in You.

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