It was on this day, in 1733, that Jewish settlers arrived on the second ship ever to reach the colony of Savannah, Georgia. Accompanying them on this voyage was the first ever Torah scroll to find its way to the colony of Georgia. This particular Torah scroll and other articles that were brought from England made it possible for these new arrivals to organize Congregation Mikveh Yisrael. From the very beginning of the colonization of the New World, there were places where Moses was being taught every Sabbath day. That fact brings us to this statement made by Moses 3500 years before:
“And the Lord will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the Lord will drive you … but from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deuteronomy 4:27, 29)
American history is replete with accounts of those who came to the New World searching for a place where they could serve God without being harassed and persecuted. The Pilgrims, the Puritans and the Quakers are just a few examples of those who sought that freedom. Like them, Jews came from the Old World to the New World searching for a place to congregate and worship without the threat of annihilation. And for the most part, the Jewish people and their Torah scrolls have been given a safe haven in the Americas, especially in the United States. And so, just as Moses said would happen, Israel was scattered throughout the nations, including nations that didn’t exist in Moses’s day.
Moses also said that, while in those nations, God’s people would begin to seek His face and would find Him. In light of that prophecy, it’s very interesting that, today, believers who are seeking the Lord with all of their heart are developing a keen interest in what Moses wrote. Specifically, they are recognizing the importance of the feast days, for example, and what they mean to us as believers. As we learn more about these things and seek to draw closer to the Almighty, is it possible that this is, in part at least, the fulfillment of Moses’ prophecy?
Personally, I believe that is exactly what is happening. We are living in the time of the restoration of all things and that includes rediscovering the roots of our faith. More and more of us are wanting to better understand the Hebraic nature of the Scripture and include a more ancient mode of worship in our faith walk, For example, it is becoming more common (and acceptable) to recite the Priestly Blessing at the conclusion of services. The blessing says:
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26)
It’s fascinating when you really stop and think about it; people who weren’t raised to read the Torah or to be interested in the Hebrew language or Hebrew prayers are, nevertheless, desiring to know these things. As a result of this interest, something spiritually significant is happening; something that is hinted at in the wording of the Priestly Blessing. The blessing declares that God will “make His face to shine” upon us and “lift up His countenance” upon us. In other words, the point of the blessing is that God will set His face in our direction. That’s a very important point, because Moses had prophesied that being scattered among the nations was the consequence of His people turning their face away from Him. Put simply, if we turn our face away from Him, eventually, He turns His face away from us. When we return to Him with “all our heart,” we turn our faces toward Him and, because He is merciful, He turns His face back towards us.
My point is that, the sincere interest so many believers have in the roots of our faith hints that we are turning our face to Him and He is turning His face toward us. Seeking His face in earnest is exactly what Moses said would happen where God’s people in these foreign lands were concerned, and He added that it would happen in the last days. We are seeing prophecy being fulfilled before our eyes and in our lives.
I also need to point out this important fact: Moses said that those who genuinely seek Him will do so with their whole heart and soul. In other words, the prophecy will be fulfilled by those who genuinely want to have a closer relationship with Him and are not content do things half-heartedly. And so our prayer, today, is that we will seek Him, pursue Him and live for Him with our whole heart. May the Father guide and direct us, today, and cause the desire to seek Him grow ever stronger with every passing day. May it be His will that we are those people Moses said would desire to return to Him with their whole heart and soul.