Israel Study Tour with The Kings University

October 27 - November 8, 2016

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Burning Brightly

Today we went up to Mount Carmel, which in Hebrew is called "Mountain of the Vineyard of God." The calling of the Jewish people was to be a fruitful vine bearing luscious fruit in the land of Israel. However, by the time of the Prophet Elijah, they had compromised their calling and were participating in pagan worship. Since the agricultural and economic prosperity was dependent upon the abundance of rain, the Israelites began to compromise and hedge their bets, worshipping Baal along with the one true God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Baal was the god of rain and storms. Even King Arab, the King of Israel married Jezebel who was a leader in Baal worship.

Mt. Carmel

Biblically, Mt. Carmel is referenced most often as a symbol of beauty and fertility. To be given the “splendor of Carmel” was to be blessed indeed (Isa 35:2). Solomon praised his beloved: “your head crowns you like Mount Carmel” (Song 7:5). But for Carmel to wither was a sign of devastating judgment (Nahum 1:4).

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As we sat on top of rocky crags of Mount Carmel overlooking the fertile Jezreel Valley, the biblical account found in 1 Kings 18 with Elijah challenging the prophets of Baal came into sharp focus. We were caught up in the drama and could sense the showdown that Elijah had challenged King Ahab as the account was read dramatically. The people of God had left their commitment to follow the one true God. As Rod put it, they were doing the "hokey pokey" with one foot in and one foot out of obeying God. The petitions of the false priests failed to consume their sacrifice, despite their best attempts and Elijah's making fun of Baal. When it was Elijah's turn, he prayed and the fire of God came down and completely consumed the Elijah's offering. The people repented, proclaiming devotion to God, although revival may have been brief.

Jezreel Valley

The spacious Jezreel Valley spreads out to the north and east from Mount Carmel, providing convenient passage for international travelers in ancient times. The fertile alluvial soil makes this the country’s breadbasket as well. The Bible speaks of the gathering of armies in this valley at the place of Armageddon.

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Rod reminded us that as believers, we too are called the people of God. Yet we must consider if we are totally devoted to God in our lives. Rod challenged us to think about the Baals in our lives, where we were doing the "hokey pokey" with God. We had an opportunity to reflect about the calling in our lives and our need to completely obey the Lord.

My prayer for our group is that as a result of this tour, the fire of God will burn brightly in our lives and that we will glorify our Father who is in heaven. My prayer for you is that you have the opportunity to join a GTI tour to walk the land of the Bible and experience the blessing of the scriptures coming alive.

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