Musical Devotion: How HaTikvah Gives Christians Hope

I'm a lover of haunting melodies. (That's haunt-ING -- not haunt-ED!)  My eldest son and I will often send Spotify links to each other to share the joy of any new-found musical treasures with one another.  (One of the benefits of home schooling was influencing his musical tastes from an early age. "Oh, wow - he likes the same music I like!" Hee hee.) For the most part, these beloved melodies are a variety of movie scores.  

...But, there has always been one melody that has left its imprint on my soul, long before I ever knew what it was. 
I'm not sure how old I was when I first heart HaTikvah, the now known "Israeli National Anthem". However, I immediately noticed the tune exuded a deep, deep longing - an aching my heart didn't understand.  It made me want to cry.  Why, for what, I did not know.  It simply was "stunningly beautiful", and that was all I knew. 

And, then, years later I made a decision to walk with Jesus. And, for the first time, I realized that Jewish! I had always assumed he was Catholic.  Definitely not Protestant -- that was his cousin John, the Baptist. Oh, my ignorance! 

Well.. along with my new walk, I had a new-found love for His brothers!  And, I became aware of something that never mattered to me before: "Israel" had always existed as a country in my lifetime, and I hadn't really ever known Israel to NOT be "there"! It had never occurred to me that her existence as "the nation Israel" had occurred only in recent history. That a mere 25 years before my birth, passages in the bible about Israel were about a place that no longer existed as a sovereign nation.... yet!! God resurrected the nation of Israel almost overnight.  But for thousands of years prior to this resurrection, the Jewish people longed, ached, cried, agonized - for home. And the song  HaTikva was the anthem for this longing.

And in 1948, it happened!  God restored the nation of Israel!

Once again, God's prophetic promises to Israel were fulfilled, as He had done so many times before.  So, when we read scriptures speaking of Jesus returning on a cloud to the Mount of Olives, reigning for a millennia from Jerusalem as King -- it can now happen.  After all - He couldn't come back as the 'Holy One of Israel'.....if there was no Israel!  

HaTikvah (Hebrew for "The Hope") was penned originally by Naphtali Herz Imber (1856-1909). Imber moved to The Land in 1882, and in 1886 published in Jerusalem his first book of poems entitled "Morning Star". Within its pages was "Tikvatenu" (Our Hope).  It was a 10-stanza poem that expressed his insatiable longing as Jew for The Land to be restored to Israel. The music for HaTikvah has it's origins in (...drumroll please!) Italia!  In 1616, Composer Giuseppino Del Biado penned the tune "La Mantovanna", which evolved into the haunting melody we know as HaTikvah today. While the song was widely recognized throughout Israel after her resurrection in 1948, it wasn't actually until November of 2004 that it became the country's official national anthem.  

As I mentioned above - even as a child, I knew the song exuded a desperate longing.  For the Jewish people, this was The Hope that one day God makes reality His promises in Ezekiel 37:1-14.   That one day, He would once again restore their sovereign nation.  And... He did!

So, what promises are yet to be fulfilled?  What do you long for as a Christian? What is your heart's 'Tikvah' (Hope)?  What longing so completely fills your heart that it brings you to tears?
For me, there is no greater longing than to see the face of Yeshua -- to see His return, to see His Kingdom restored with Him reigning as King, to see His people know Him -- to just BE with Him.  I cannot even type these words without tears in my eyes.  

How does HaTikvah give Christians Hope?  

The Jewish people, for thousands of years since their dispersion, yearned for Him to restore them to their Land. HaTikvah captured that longing with its melancholy.  And behold:  One day, it happened! Their Land was restored! We as Christians, along with Jewish believers in the Jewish Messiah - together we are longing, aching, desperately waiting for Him to restore His Kingdom on earth, returning to His people as the Holy One of Israel, to the now-a-reality nation of Israel, and reign from Jerusalem.  And behold: one day, IT WILL HAPPEN

This is the Hope of HaTikvah. It is an anthem of the faithfulness of God.  When I hear HaTikvah, I am reminded of His faithfulness, and our desperate longing for His return is not in vain!

So, in closing - how is it that a Christian like me would attempt to write an arrangement for this Jewish song?  

Sorrow.  It was August 15, 2005, and the Israeli disengagement from Gaza had begun.  8000 Jews were forced to leave their homes in Gush Katif.  (Eleven years later, we all know how well that has turned out.)  As a Gentile who longs to see God restore ALL His originally promised Land to Israel (here is the map), it was heartbreaking to see people forced from their homes, but worse -- see Israel forfeiting her rightful Land. 

I was so grieved.  My heart ached.  This should not be.  One night, I got up and went to my keyboard, and turned to the song of desperation I had admired from a distance for so many years.  As I wrote, my hope was that my arrangement captured the deep sorrow I was experiencing, and still experience when I think of that day.   

That day, by the way - August 15, 2005 on the Roman calendar, was also known on the Hebrew calendar as Tish B'Av.   (Please read its history!)   Tish B'Av began this very evening (Saturday August 13) at sundown. So, pray for the peace and safety of Jerusalem!

Satan sought to eliminate the Jewish people for centuries in hopes of preventing the Messiah's birth. His handiwork was evident in the slaughter of children 2 years of age and under in an effort to kill Jesus as a baby. He has read Revelation and knows his fate:  he continues to seek to interfere with Jesus' 2nd coming. His goal is to see that there are no Jews left to call upon Yeshua, or worse yet no Israel for Him to return to.  He will continue to try to achieve this.  We know he will ultimately fail, but many will lose their lives in his war.  One day, I could lose my life - I love the Jewish Messiah and the Jewish people!  But, that's okay, because I have HaTikvah -- The Hope - Jesus, the Holy One of Israel, the Prince of Peace, the Son of David, our bright Morning Star!

I hope you enjoy my version of HaTikva!
[Many thanks to my friend Jennifer Allen!  Jennifer has lived in Israel for almost 10 years and has shared her beautiful photos of The Land with us for this video!]

Update:  Sept. 16, 2016

I just found this wonderful documentary on the History of the song 'HaTikvah" on Youtube!  It is so fantastic -- I had to share it with you!







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