Israel Study Tour with The Bridge Bible Church

December 10-21, 2015

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Unlikely people. Extraordinary work.

God uses people who humble themselves before Him. God uses people who realize and admit they have sinned. God uses the most unlikely people to do His extraordinary work. Samson—called to be set apart—only prayed two times. Reading the story of Samson causes quite a few exclamations of “Oy vey!” Yet, God uses him at the very end of his life because Samson cries out and asks God to remember him. Another example discussed today—David. The man who is known as the man “after God’s own heart” messed up. A lot. Even after all the miraculous things God had done through him, David still had times of error. He lies, runs away from God, commits adultery, murders, and schemes yet he always did remember where all the good in his life came from—God. God was very patient with David—very patient. God also shows a whole lot of grace towards him. Through David, God does amazing things, yet David was also very human. Being reminded of these people encouraged me that even in my times of failure, God can use me if I let go of my pride, repent, and let Him work. It is encouraging that one of the most revered people of the Bible messed up and God still valued and loved David. God’s grace is sufficient and He wants to use us for His glory. No need to try to become perfect first; God will take you as you are and do extraordinary things through you if you are humble and repent.

I spoke about Samson and David because their stories intertwined with where we visited today. We saw so many sites and I will only be discussing a few. We packed two days worth of events into one day. It was go-go-go from seven to seven. We started out the day in Tel Gezer, which has the Stonehedge of Israel. As a lover of standing stones, I may have geeked out. I was also surprised by all the green rolling hills, because when I think of Israel, I usually think desert or city. Israel is beautiful people! We did see Zorah (from afar), which is where Samson was born. We spent some time on Azekah—the hill where the Philistines were camped when David defeated Goliath. This meant we were overlooking the Valley of Elah where the epic battle took place. We then went to the dry creek bed where David picked the stones he used and we got to pick up our own stones. Our most challenging adventure was crawling through a cave in Adullam where David hid while running from Saul. This cave was no joke. Crawling on our hands and knees through tight quarters. Eric says it only took us 5-7 minutes, but I promise I was in there for at least 20. It was also a great time to get to know people, as you had to get up close and personal (if you catch my drift…). We saw many many many more amazing sites, but these are the sites that really caused me to pause and do a happy dance because I am IN ISRAEL! Thanks again for all of your prayers, please continue as we continue to explore this beautiful country.

Kirstin Coulter

Gezer

Situated near the International Coastal Highway and guarding the primary route into the Israelite hill country, Gezer was one of the most strategic cities in the Canaanite and Israelite periods. Gezer is a prominent 33-acre site that overlooked the Aijalon Valley and the road leading through it to Jerusalem. The tel was identified as biblical Gezer in 1871 by C. Clermont-Ganneau who two years later found the first of many boundary stones inscribed with the city’s name.

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Tel Azekah and Elah Valley

The Brook Elah is famous for the five stones it contributed to the young slinger, David. Some surmise that David chose five stones instead of the one needed in case he needed to face Goliath’s four brothers.

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