Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Blog 6 From Tiberias to Jerusalem

Blog 6 From Tiberias to Jerusalem

It’s me once again! I just had a thought about this day when it began. When we get to the end of it, we will have gotten to the half-way mark of our tour! That hurts me to say. Time is passing so quickly.

It was another day that began early. Breakfast was good and our evening meals are also. I haven’t said too much about eating have I? Well, believe me, we are eating well. Just ask your loved ones when you get to talk to them.

Today was an especially exciting day. Why? For many reasons, but for the main reason, we are heading for Jerusalem! How great is that!? This is THE city God has chosen to place His name and to make it known to all the world. This IS the capital city of the nation of Israel regardless of what the world says.

But, it took us a while to get there. Our journey took us toward the south, traveling along the Jordan Rift Valley. Would you like to do a rich and wonderfully full Bible study? Look up all the references you can find on the Jordan River and see how many great things took place in and around this Biblically mighty river.

Bet Shean was our first destination of the day. It is typically a very hot place to live or visit and today, it was maybe one of the hottest days of the year. What a remarkable place Bet Shean is for many reasons. This is one of if not the largest active archeological digs in the land of Israel. The Biblical history and natural history of this place is amazing. At one time it was a Philistine city (the Philistines are NOT the ancestors of the Palestinians. The Philistines came into the land of Canaan from the area of Greece about the same time the Israelites came into Canaan from Egypt. They were Israel’s number one enemy.) But Bet Shean eventually became a ‘Roman colony.’ (By the way, researching why Rome established Roman colonies in the countries they concurred is interesting.)

We walked along the ‘cardo’ or main street of this remarkable city that in its day, must have been a beautiful place to live. The word ‘cardo’ comes form the word ‘cardiac’ which refers to our heart or the ‘main’ part. We looked at the mosaics that actually made up the street that ran parallel to the ‘cardo’ and just outside the shops and stores where many different items were sold. We visited an ancient bath house that revealed a number of interesting features.

The bath house was interesting for a number of reasons. One is obvious and just simply for time’s sake I will only mention one more, it was the place to learn about what was going on. It would be like us turning on our computer in order to see what is going on in the world or to talk with our fiends. It was a major part of the Bet Shean or any city where a Roman bath house was located.

This year we went to what I believe is a very interesting place located near Mt. Moreh. Do you know what took place near Mt. Moreh? It was there that God instructed Gideon on the best way to reduce volunteers for combat duty. You recall the test that was designed by God Himself in order to decide who could and who could not be trusted in battle against Israel’s enemy don’t you? It was whether or not the one drinking would get down on both his hands and knees in order to drink water from the spring or whether they would just kneel and bring their hand to their mouth in order to keep their head up and scan the horizon for the enemy. It worked if you remember. An army of 32,000 was greatly reduced to the size God was sure to get the glory for the victory.

Although the spring at Harod was still producing some water, it was obvious that rain in Israel is very much needed. Please pray that they will have an above normal rainy season this year. Their rainy season runs from October through March. The water that was there allowed us a place to cool our tired and hot feet. It was a nice experience to say the least.

Although we could not visit Jericho and the traditional site for the Mt. of Temptation, we did see it from the backside, meaning from the Wilderness of Judea’s point of views. This view, to me, is simply amazing.

While gazing over into the wilderness from our vantage point, I find it hard for me to not allow my mind to wonder to long on what it may have been like for our Lord during those forty days of being tested and tempted.

It only too a few minutes to get onto the old ‘Jericho Road’ where we were able to look back down toward the Jordan Valley and into the wilderness. This may be the very place Jesus was driven to by the Spirit in order to be tempted by Satan after forty days of fasting. It was easy for my mind to wonder and to imagine what our Lord and Savior heard and felt while wondering in this place. Oh what a Savior we have!

Our next stop was Jerusalem. Imagine us being in Jerusalem! For the next five nights we will be staying in Jerusalem. That’s a little different than Lewisburg or Myrtle Beach!

I cannot put into words what our/my heart(s) felt upon arriving in this city. And when we stopped on Mt. Scopus and took our first view of the Old City, Mt. Moriah, Kidron Valley, Olives, it was more than our eyes could take. Most of them (but not all of them) began to melt as did our hearts. The view is, to me, simply breathtaking! Jesus overlooked this city and wept over it knowing what lay in its future. I weep over it knowing its future. I rejoice knowing its future.

Here is where Abraham offered Isaac. Here is where David purchased a threshing floor from Ornan and offered a sacrifice. Here is where Solomon built the Temple. Here is where Nehemiah rode a mule at night in order to survey the possibilities. Here is where Zachariah rebuilt the Temple. This is where Herod worked forty and six years in beautifying a Temple that Jesus said would be destroyed. Here is where the third Temple will be built. Here is where Jesus, the greater Son of David, will sit on David’s throne and rule the nations from. Here is where the nations will be judged by He who is ‘right and righteous.’ Enough said? I could go on….

We were able to get a look at the Old City of Jerusalem from both the North and the South. It was magnificent. And, I almost forgot, our guide Mauri and our driver Moses (I’m not kidding), welcomed us to Jerusalem, their home town, with a cup of grape juice. Mauri gave a welcome/blessing in both Hebrew and English. It was a special event.

Our hotel, the Grand Court Hotel, is within walking distance to the Old City. Sure wish you were here to walk to Jerusalem with us.

As always, dinner was good. Sleep is becoming more normal, whatever that is. Our after dinner meetings have been a blessing to us all.

Tomorrow is another big day for us! Oh it is truly exciting to be here. We will be having a morning worship service in our hotel with Dr. David Jarrell preaching. I am looking forward to this service with great anticipation. In fact, this will bet he first of two services that we have planned for tomorrow. The other one will be held in a place called Gethsemane…awesome!

Maybe you will start today planning for your pilgrimage with us to Israel in 2012, the good Lord willing that is.

Rest well, I pray, and I pray that you will have a great time of worship on tomorrow’s Lord’s Day!
Until next time….
Psalm 122:1