Friday, October 15, 2010

Blog 5 North to Mt. Hermon

North to Mt. Herman Blog 5

I can hardly believe that this is day five of our trip. Talk about time passing quickly! Wow!!!

This is the third day of our touring. Yes, we are still tired, but still blessed, very blessed.

Let me ask you a question. Have you even eaten anything that looks at you as you look at it? Well, several of our folks did that yesterday. For lunch they had what is called St. Peter fish. Although you would think it would have been caught in the Galilee, it is actually a farmed fish. Mauri, our guide, told me the government has suspended commercial fishing on the lake for at least three years. It is a very popular lunch item and sold by most restaurants located around the shore of Galile.

This morning we began our journey heading north to the foot of Mt. Herman. Personally, I believe this is where the transfiguration of Jesus took place. There is another tradition that the event took place on the top of Mt. Tabor, but if you look at the Scriptures you may discover that that may be a fairly difficult tradition to prove. Anyway, you remember where the story of the transfiguration is recorded don’t you? You can find it in Matthew 17. But don’t forget to read about the events of chapter 16 as Jesus and His apostles made their way north to a place called Caesarea Philippi. Matthew 16 is a MUST read before reading chapter 17.

Caesarea Philippi is one of my favorite places. It is located at the foot of Mt. Herman. It was on a journey here that Peter made a great statement about who the disciples believed Jesus to be, “the Christ, the Son of the living God.” At this place also known as Banias (Caesarea Philippi), we saw one of the three streams that eventually come together with two other streams several miles south of here in order to form the Jordan River. The word Jordan literally means down from Dan.

Here at Caesarea Philippi, idolatrous worship took place for many years, even centuries. I suppose the most famous false god that was worshiped here was the god Pan. In the mountain side, niches that have been cut out by man’s hands are clearly seen where false gods were placed and before which worship was offered. Worship that included sacrifices of different kinds. At this place, it was believed that the ‘gates of Hell’ was located. When walking the land of Israel, in seeing and hearing the many things we both see and hear, why Jesus said “upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” following Peter’s great confession about who Jesus was and still is.

Leaving Mt. Hermon we headed toward Dan. Dan was the most northern town in the kingdom of Israel. It was there that one of those ole ‘Boam boys, Jeroboam actually, that built a temple in Dan much like the one built in Jerusalem. There, sacrifices were made and idolatry in Israel-in many ways-reached its greatest or worst height. Jeroboam also set up a place of idolatry in Bethel in the southern part of Israel (referring to the area occupied by the ten tribes that broke away during the days following Solomon’s reign.) His idea, the same idea that is still being propagated in our day, was to ‘make worship easy; there’s no use in making that hard trip up to Jerusalem. Just do what is convenient for you to do.’ Hog wash! If you want the Greek for that it is ‘hog wash!’ Sounds too much like preaching now doesn’t it? For worship to be REAL worship and not WILL worship, it must be according to the commands of a Holy God in accordance to His Word.

Although Bethsaida was also on our itinerary for today, we did not stop. Why? Well, there is really nothing there to see. If you recall, Jesus pronounced a curse upon this place and some of its neighbors, i.e. Capernaum and Corazim. It was a curse that was the result of an unbelievable kind of unbelief. I believe the Biblical record of this place stands as a warning to all of us. Don’t you think we would be wise to embrace every opportunity God graciously sets before us? I thought you would.

Leaving Dan, we traveled a road on the Golan Heights looking for a place to eat lunch. Our guide took us to a small mall where we had some options for lunch. Some of us chose to eat at the sign of the golden arches.

Our next stop we at the Mt. of Beatitudes. What a special place this is. While there, we took some time to listen to Debbie read from Matthew 5.  Here, Jesus began His famous sermon on the mount, which is one of His three most famous discourses we have record of in Scripture. After she finished reading we took each other’s hand, formed a circle, and recited the model prayer that is a part of this same sermon and is found in Matthew chapter six.
There were many other pilgrims there today. The place was quite crowded, but we took some private time to walk the grounds, find a place to sit and either read, pray, or just reflect. It was a good and refreshing time.

Our day was to end in a very marvelous manner. How? It would end with our boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. It was simply a wonderful experience! It was a highlight. It was more than a ride across this famous lake. Our operator and owner of the boat, Daniel Carmel, stopped his engine and allowed us the opportunity worship the Lord as we floated the Sea of Galilee. Again, it was wonderful! We sang as a group, Amy Harper and Judy Keller sang solos, several had testimonies, tears, and joy, and I had the privilege to preach a message titled, “When The Safe Place Ain’t The Best Place.” I enjoyed the message and I hope the others did as well. Our boat ride is always a special experience.

So many things I could say and maybe should say, but the day has been long. I am tired but blessed, and tomorrow I will do this again, the good Lord willing.

By the way, tomorrow we head South and finally Jerusalem tomorrow night. We will be there for our next five nights.

All of us miss our families and are still wishing you were here, not just in spirit, but in presence.

Thank you for taking the time to visit this blogspot and for reading about our day’s experiences!

If you would like to contact me, you may do so at my e-mail address. I believe it is given in the upper right hand corner of this blog place. If it isn’t, here it is:

Until the next time, Sabbat Shalom (today is the Jewish Sabbath).