Weekly Devotional: The Lamb of God

The ancient Romans executed tens of thousands by crucifixion in their vast empire. By all accounts, crucifixion was a torturous means of death, intended to cause its victims maximum suffering and humiliation.

As Roman soldiers drove nails into Jesus’ body and gambled at the foot of His cross, families and Temple priests were slaughtering lambs by the thousands in preparation of the Passover celebration. Priests ceremoniously flung lambs’ blood all over the Temple court as they chanted the Hallel—a verbatim recitation of Psalm 113-118. 

Perhaps Jesus could hear snippets of the chants as He hung outside Jerusalem’s walls. Chants such as: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants” (Psalm 116:15 NIV). Or Psalm 116:3—“The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came over me; I was overcome by distress and sorrow.” Or Psalm 118:22—“The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.”  

While the skinned lambs were being roasted for food, they hung on hooks by their front legs in the shape of a cross. At the ninth hour, as Jesus took His last breath, many Temple lambs would also have died. God offered His only Son, the Perfect Lamb, for us: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16 NKJV).

In this era of rising global anti-Semitism, it is critical that Christians understand the truth about who is responsible for killing Jesus. Tragically, over the centuries, the Jewish people have wrongfully suffered the blame. There were many accomplices involved—Judas, the Chief Priests, the Sadducees, Herod Antipas, Pontius Pilate, and Roman soldiers—and it is abhorrent to place the blame of Jesus’ death on an entire people, a people to whom Jesus Himself belonged. 

The Chief Priests and Sadducees, who handed Jesus over to Pontius Pilate, were corrupt leaders in Jerusalem who enjoyed the privileges of wealth and power for their collaboration with Rome. Their motivation for killing Jesus had far more to do with eliminating a potential threat to that wealth and power than anything theological. 

Moreover, Jesus’ death and resurrection were part of an inexorable and inevitable redemption plan from the heart of God—a plan no one could stop. 

Recall Jesus’ words: “I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father” (John 10:17-18 NKJV). 


Father, thank You for making a way for us to be redeemed through Your Son’s sacrificial death on the cross. 

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Weekly Devotional: Move Forward

“Then they said to Moses, ‘Is it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness?’ Moses said to the people, ‘Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent.’ Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward. … And the sons of Israel shall go through the midst of the sea on dry land’” Exodus 14:11, 13-16 NASB).

God and Moses had an interesting relationship. They went back and forth at each other as they led the children of Israel out of Egypt and toward the Promised Land. At times, Moses called God to account, and God changed His mind. The Bible indicates that God even encouraged such a back-and-forth. One of the only times, however, where God gave Moses a strong rebuke was at the shore of the Red Sea. 

The children of Israel find themselves trapped between Pharaoh’s army and the sea, and Moses tells them to stand by and watch God deliver them. In other words, we are in an impossible situation, so take a seat and see what God does. Moses’ response sounds pretty spiritual. When the people of God are at the end of their rope, He will show up to deliver them. Just have faith. Stand by and see His deliverance!

God, however, responded to Moses’ passivity with a harsh rebuke: “Why are you crying to me? Tell the Israelites to go forward!” They had to act. Their deliverance depended upon it. The Hebrew of this passage indicates that they had to step into the midst of the sea before God divided the waters: “And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea.” 

We often identify faith as believing. Within the Bible, faith is action. They had to step into the sea, the barrier that stood in front of them before God miraculously acted. They had to act—before they saw His provision. That is true faith. 

Faith is not willing ourselves to believe. Rather, faith is acting when we don’t see. And usually, God calls upon us to act as part of our deliverance. He doesn’t swoop in to save the day. He calls us to step forward, even into the absurd. Then He acts. Then He delivers. 

Are you sitting around waiting for God to deliver you? Do you sound like Moses telling yourself to stand and see God’s deliverance? Perhaps God asks you, “Why are you crying to me? Move forward!” Moving forward into what seems impossible is the greatest act of faith.


Father, may we partner with You in our deliverance. May we daily step into the impossible moving forward to see You work miracles in our world and lives. Amen.

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Single Mother: Eden’s Story

They were about to be evicted! Eden was pregnant and because her husband was not yet an Israeli citizen, she was the sole breadwinner. The couple had met in Israel but learned that the path to citizenship was not always an easy one—especially for those coming from countries where family documents might be lost or hard to find.

As a result, Eden was under constant stress, working three jobs. But the bills kept piling up. Then, her husband unexpectedly left her with a pile of debts and an infant to raise. As a single mother, she couldn’t work the hours she had put in before, and soon the desperate 32-year-old had no food, no hope, and nowhere to turn.

Thanks to our generous partners, we were able to provide Eden with a way out. When she discovered CBN Israel, she never imagined the outpouring of support she would receive. Our team was there to help meet her immediate needs, reducing her debt and teaching her to manage her finances.

In time, Eden was debt-free, working in a kindergarten and back on her feet. Because her burden was lifted, her stress went away, and calmness returned. She and her husband, now a citizen, are finally reunited. “God’s grace and mighty hand together with … help from CBN Israel donors are a true miracle,” she says gratefully.

During this time of worldwide concern about the COVID-19 virus, the need remains urgent as CBN Israel continues providing food, medicine, shelter, and other necessities to those who desperately need our help.

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Weekly Devotional: Hiding from God

“Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and they hid themselves from the Lord God among the trees of the garden” (Genesis 3:8 HCSB).

When Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating the fruit from the forbidden tree and God came to walk with them in the garden, they responded by hiding themselves. Children who disobey a parent often respond in the same manner; they hide themselves. But God did not leave Adam and Eve in hiding; He searched and called for them. You could say that, from the time of the Garden, the story of the Bible is God in search of mankind.

The psalmist realized how intimately God knew him, and he recognized that even if he wanted to hide from God, he could not: “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol [the underworld], behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Your hand will lead me, and Your right hand will lay hold of me. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, and the light around me will be night,’ even the darkness is not dark to You, and the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You” (Psalm 139:7-12 NASB). The psalmist finds himself overwhelmed with the realization that even when he wants to hide from God, he cannot. 

Think about this: Even in those moments when our disobedience and shame drive us to hide from our Father in heaven, He searches us out. He pursues us and doesn’t allow us to remain in hiding. When we want to wrap ourselves in darkness to hide from Him, He dispels the darkness in His pursuit of us. What an incredible reality!

When Adam and Eve came out of hiding, God provided clothing to cover their nakedness; He continued to care for them. He could have unleashed His fury, but He didn’t. The psalmist’s realization that God knows him intimately, that God pursues him to the ends of the earth, elicits in him the response of obedient surrender: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way” (Psalm 139:23-24 NASB).

While our disobedience may drive us to hide from God, His pursuit and searching of us should cause us to respond with a yearning to walk obediently in His ways.


Father, even in those times when I want to hide from You, You are there. You search me out and pursue me. Lead me in Your paths. Amen.

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New Immigrant: Irina’s Story

It was even harder than she’d feared. Worried about being alone and friendless in a strange land, Irina had been uncertain about immigrating to Israel. It wasn’t easy to leave her homeland behind, along with a steady job and good friends. Yet the 51-year-old Ukrainian woman felt strongly moved to seek out a new life in the land of her forefathers.

As a new immigrant, Irina received a temporary apartment in the city of Karmiel. But she had no furnishings and the cupboards were bare. She learned that setting up home in a new country when you don’t arrive with wealth is no easy task. Soon, her initial insecurity turned to real anxiety.

Thankfully, because of generous CBN Israel donors, our local partners in Karmiel quickly stepped in and began helping with furnishing her apartment and buying her food. Irina was also given linens as well as many other home furnishings and supplies. “I had never met anyone who cared this much for me; their hearts are pure and the love they show is so real,” she says in wonder. Irina hopes to one day pass on the help she has received to other new immigrants going through the same hard process.

During this time of worldwide concern about the COVID-19 virus, the need remains urgent as CBN Israel continues providing food, medicine, shelter, and other necessities to those who desperately need our help.

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Weekly Devotional: Patient Endurance

“The word of the Lord came to me saying, ‘What do you see, Jeremiah?’ And I said, ‘I see a rod of an almond tree.’ Then the Lord said to me, ‘You have seen well, for I am watching over My word to perform it’” (Jeremiah 1:11-12 NASB).

This interchange between God and Jeremiah seems a bit strange. How does an almond branch connect to God diligently watching over His word to see it happen? To understand this interaction, we need to recognize two things: 1) a wordplay happens in Hebrew in these verses, and 2) the horticulture of the almond.

The word for almond in Hebrew is shaqed, and the word translated as “diligently watching” is shoqed. What Jeremiah sees—the almond branch—connects to God’s message that He watches diligently over His word to see it happen. That explains the connection between what Jeremiah sees and God’s message to him, but what does it mean?

Of all the trees in the land of Israel, the almond tree blossoms first. The appearance of the almond blossoms signals that spring has come. Yet, while the almond blossoms first, its fruit arrives last of all the trees. It’s first to blossom and last to fruit. Herein lies God’s message to Jeremiah. As with the almond, whose fruit you must diligently await, so is God’s word. If He has given His word—even if its fulfillment is delayed—He watches over it diligently to perform it. Like the almond’s fruit, God’s word, even if delayed, will come to fulfillment.

Do we have the patience to diligently endure until God performs His word? Do we trust that, even if the world around us looks like God has forgotten His word, He diligently watches over it to do it?

Patiently enduring is often one of the hardest spiritual disciplines to acquire because in our culture, in which everything is instant and immediate, we don’t like to wait. Patience is a struggle. But as anyone who understands agriculture will tell you, growing produce takes time, and there are specific seasons within the growth cycle of the fruit.

Don’t get in front of God. Wait patiently for Him to perform His word because He diligently watches over it to do it.


Father, sometimes patience is hard for us. Help us not to get out in front of You, but to trust Your goodness and timing knowing that You watch over Your word. Amen.

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Social Events for Holocaust Survivors

Their words are haunting. “We want someone to care about us—to talk to us and ask about our day.” All too often, those who survived Nazi cruelty no longer have any connection with family members. Many of these people—once fighters in the wars that established the Jewish state—have reached an age where they desperately need community interaction. But there’s no one to take care of them. Instead, their lives are marked by loneliness and isolation, which robs them of a sense of purpose and a desire to live.

Thanks to the compassion and generosity of our partners, we are able to organize social events for the Holocaust survivors who are living among us—events where they are able to sing, dance and eat together. In addition to providing such gatherings, our local teams visit these survivors on a weekly basis, bringing them food, walkers and medicine. Perhaps most importantly, there’s someone to listen to them and their stories.

We all have a need to be connected with and needed by others. Realizing that they are still cherished can be a powerful experience for people in the twilight of their lives.

You can be a blessing to so many Holocaust survivors providing them with regular grocery deliveries from our compassionate field teams, along with opportunities to attend social activities and field trips with others in their community.

Your special gift today will also provide relief to victims of terrorism, food and counseling to new immigrants, meals and education to single moms, and so much more.

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Weekly Devotional: The Lord is My Shepherd

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:1-4 NKJV).

Sheep are animals that need to be led. In the land of Israel, shepherds often took their sheep away from settled areas to graze. This exposed them to various dangers—the weather, terrain, and human and animal predators. The shepherd was responsible for leading his flocks to safe areas where they could find nourishment, be protected from predators, and would rein in their tendency to wander away. Because of Israel’s climate, terrain and predators, the sheep depended utterly upon the shepherd.

The daily reality of the shepherd provided clear images for the psalmist to describe God. God is a good shepherd, one who leads His flock to places of nourishment, along right, safe paths, who protects each sheep from potential dangers. The sheep depend upon the shepherd to take care of these things, as a good shepherd does.

Often the farming and herding images of the Bible fail to connect with us as they did to the ancient readers, because in our modern developed world we do not interact with agricultural or herders’ lifestyles. But the psalmist painted a clear image of our need for God and His responsibility to lead us and protect us. Do we allow Him to shepherd us? Do we allow ourselves to be shepherded?

The psalmist knew that the sheep could not survive within the hazardous wilds without the shepherd. There were no self-made sheep. Too often today, the world idolizes rugged individualism; we do not allow ourselves to be led. We do not recognize our limitations. This is where worry comes from: when we seek to take control of the things that belong to God.

Do we recognize that our Shepherd is a good shepherd? Do we trust Him to lead us and allow Him to do so? We can rest assured that if we do, we shall not want.


Our Father, our Shepherd, lead us, guide us, protect us for Your name’s sake. Amen.

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Weekly Devotional: Rejoice in Desolation

“Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation” (Habakkuk 3:17-18 NLT)!

The Bible describes the land of Israel as “a good land of flowing streams … a land of wheat and barley; of grapevines, fig trees, and pomegranates; of olive oil and honey. It is a land where food is plentiful and nothing is lacking” (Deuteronomy 8:7-9). The land is elsewhere described as “a land flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:17). Milk refers to goat’s milk, and honey to date honey, meaning that it is a land good for shepherd and farmer alike.

Habakkuk, who prophesied in the days leading up to the Babylonian destruction of the kingdom of Judah, envisioned a land where fig trees did not blossom; where there was no fruit on the vines. The olive produce failed; there was no wheat in the fields. Flocks and herds were cut off. The bounty of the land was gone; it now lay desolate.

The agricultural and herding prosperity of the land spoke of God’s blessing, but now the armies of Babylon were coming, and ruin and destruction were coming with them. God brings judgment upon His people because of their disobedience. The land, its livestock and produce, all lay desolate.

Faced with such disaster, how does Habakkuk respond? “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation” (3:18). We don’t know what happened to Habakkuk; the Bible doesn’t say. He, like Jeremiah, was likely swept up in the devastating events and outcomes of Babylon’s destruction of Judah and Jerusalem. He likely never saw the prosperity of the land again in his lifetime. “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord.”

It’s easy to rejoice in the Lord during the good times, when the land yields its fruit. But what about when our world is desolate? When the prosperity we have known is gone? Habakkuk was a prophet, and presumably a righteous person, yet he suffered the consequences of others’ disobedience to God. We can sometimes handle the desolation our choices bring to our lives, but when we suffer because of what someone else did? “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord.”

Are we consistent in our faithfulness, or do the circumstances and fluctuations of life sweep us away in an emotional rollercoaster? Can we stare in the face of desolation and rejoice in the Lord? The answer to that question depends upon our chosen response.


Father, no matter the circumstances—in plenty or in want, in fullness or in desolation—we will rejoice in You, the God of our salvation. Amen.

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Holocaust Survivor: Rita’s Story

The memories are still painful. Rita can never forget the shame and humiliation of being forced—at age 10—to strip naked in front of grown men, stand under a freezing shower, and have her head shaved—along with so many other Ukrainian girls and women. Her eyes still fill with tears as she remembers the hunger, the cold, and the regular abuse from Nazi soldiers.

The cruelty Rita witnessed on a daily basis made her think she was witnessing the end of the world. How could humans be so cruel? Her job in the concentration camp was moving heavy bricks. “The intense labor was so difficult that my spine became crooked over time, and to this day, I can’t even walk straight,” the elderly woman recounts.

Rita survived the war, married, and immigrated to Israel with her husband. He died 10 years ago. Today, she is one of about 200,000 elderly Holocaust survivors in Israel, about a quarter of whom live in poor circumstances. Yet, because of friends like you, our CBN Israel team was able to help Rita with her vital needs. We provided food, medicine, transportation to the hospital, and comforting visits that let Rita know she is neither forgotten nor alone.

You can be a blessing to so many Holocaust survivors, like Rita, providing them with regular grocery deliveries from our compassionate field teams, along with opportunities to attend social activities and field trips with others in their community.

Your special gift today will also provide relief to victims of terrorism, food and counseling to new immigrants, meals and education to single moms, and so much more. 

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