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Yonah Lee Shalom Nelson

May 17, 2003

Announcing: the arrival of Yonah Lee Shalom!!!

Israel and Cindy are delighted to report that on Saturday, May 17th, at 7:15 a.m. our second son (child number 4) was born. We are thrilled and full of thanks at Godís goodness to us! Little Yonah weighed in at 2.88 kilos (6 lb., 5 oz.) and is 50 cm (19.5 inches) long. He has dark brown hair and eyes and resembles pieces of each of our other children, who resemble pieces of us and of our parents with a little bit of "from where is this?" as is usual.

The labor was very quick and strong -- less than 2 hours after a good nightís sleep. We praise the Lord that everything went so well and mother and baby are both healthy. The children slept through it all, waking up a few minutes after Yonah was born. Even though Noah was sure she would have a baby sister, when she heard it was a boy she conceded happily, "Now we have two sisters and two brothers." Yes, the score is tied, and SarEl will have a good friend and playmate soon to distract him from teasing his sisters. He was dubious at first about who this little bundle was, but after holding Yonah and touching him (gently) he has warmed up to "brudder."

The pictures: (I know it says 16-5-2003 - it's a camera setting issue)

Why we chose this name: (For an abridged version, skip the commentary on the prophet Jonah in brackets and read the nameís meaning at the end:)

Yonah is the Hebrew equivalent of Jonah, and means "dove."

[The Biblical prophet Jonah is often given a bad rap -- especially in light of the Veggietales movie. "Oh, donít be a Jonah and run from God!" people say. Our intention isnít to have people say of our son, "Donít be like Yonah" so we want to give the Biblical Jonah some credit too-often overlooked.

The book of Jonah does not glorify a prophet, but the God he serves. Jonah, writing of himself, could easily have avoided or downplayed his humbling behavior. If weíre honest, more times than not we are much the same way when it comes to obeying God. Yet what we see in this book is such a deep, intimate relationship between a man and his God. Itís a very short book (4 chapters), so do read it!

Look at how God arranges circumstances to teach Jonah about Himself. When Jonah starts going the wrong way, God sends a great wind to stir up the ocean. Jonah is a man secure in his relationship with God. While the crew is taking desperate measures, he sleeps in the bottom of the boat, much as Jesus did during a storm on the Sea of Galilee. When the lot falls on him, he is ready to die for what he did. (We give ourselves a lot more grace than this!) He sees that his behavior has put the lives of the sailors at risk and is ready to sacrifice himself for their sake.

Now God prepares a fish to save Jonah from drowning. (Trivia: sperm whales are able to swallow living human beings and some people have even been rescued who have spent time inside a whaleís stomach.) Drowning is a dreadful way to die, but most people would despair if they found themselves being digested instead! But Jonah, full of faith, sees Godís deliverance and knows God has heard his prayer. "Salvation (Yeshua -- Jesusí Hebrew name) belongs to God," he says.

Jonah doesnít just run back to Nineveh without checking in with God like the Israelites who, after lacking faith to enter the Promised Land, are then sorry and decide to go in after all even though God is no longer with them (they get clobbered). Jonah waits for God to speak again. And then his preaching is so phenomenal that everyone from the king to the humblest servant repents in sackcloth and ashes, fasting from both food and water!

Now we get to Jonahís bad attitude. He is angry and ready to die (not unlike other great prophets who were taken with self-pity and/or burned out, i.e., Elijah and Moses). But God is here still the Wooer, asking him "Is it right for you to be angry?" (How many people rage at God when they look at the state of the world today?) When Jonah doesnít answer, God lovingly teaches him. He prepares a plant to give Jonah shade. He prepares a worm to eat the plant. He prepares a very hot east wind to make him faint. Then God asks His question again. What trouble He takes to show Himself!

It is interesting to note that Jonah was not a prophet without reputation. 2 Kings 14:25 cites an important prophecy given by Jonah (that was also fulfilled) regarding the territory and perseverance of the nation of Israel, a prophecy also given by the well-known prophet Elisha. He does not mention these things in this autobiographical account. He has made himself "of no reputation." And God exalted him. Jesus said of His generation: "No sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." (Matthew 12:39-40) Wow! The result of Jonahís mistake and public confession is that it was the sole sign given to Jesusí generation: a prophetic picture of the death and resurrection of the Messiah!

He was prophetically showing Himself as the Suffering Servant, Jesus the Messiah who would die for the sin of the world and rise from the dead victorious on the third day!

Thus, through Jonahís humble story, we see Godís love for the world (Nineveh was a Gentile city) and for His people, all who have a relationship with Him through the Messiah.]

Yonah Lee Shalom.

Yonah means "dove" and the dove is a symbol both of peace and of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus during His baptism in "the form of a dove."

Shalom means "peace." But it doesnít mean peace in the English sense of the word, i.e., an absence of noise or tumult. Shalom speaks of a wholeness and a completeness; more than merely a lack of unrest, it is a deep sense of things being completely in harmony. In Israel, we greet one another with "Shalom!" In these days, shalom must mean more than just not hearing about a terrorist attack on the news; we look for the shalom of real, heart-felt unity and love between Arab and Jew here in the Land. This is a unity that God is working through the Holy Spirit in the Body of Messiah.

After the Flood, Noah sent a dove from the ark to discover how much the waters had receded from the earth. The dove returned and after seven days was sent out again. This time it came with an olive branch in its mouth Ė a sign in the Scripture of the nation of Israel. When peace comes to this fallen planet, it will be through Godís chosen people, Israel, whom God will not forsake -- not because of Israelís faithfulness or worthiness, but because God is the eternal, faithful Wooer of His beloved. We look forward to this peace with great hope and anticipation.

Where does the Lee fit in? Well, itís not Hebrew (although that would fit, too, because it means "to me" and certainly God is a dove of peace to each of us:). Yonah is named after his grandfather Roger Lee Nelson. The English name Lee means "from a sheltered place." And this is where the dove makes his home -- in the clefts of the rock. Our prayer for Yonah is that he would also take refuge in the cleft of the Rock, Yeshua our Lord.

Thank you to everyone for your love and prayers and the support you have given to our family! We love you! Israel, Cindy, Noah, Maggy, SarEl, and Yonah Nelson:)

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