Being confident that God works for us
Friends and family! Welcome to the first of many blog post on our stay in Israel!
Today was fascinating and exciting. our group started off at a peaceful garden overlook in the region of Kiriath-Jearim. It was a fitting beginning that our first sight would capture the beauty and diversity of Israel’s environment. Here Jared taught us about the significance of “the land” the promised land of Israel. What struck me about this first lesson was how specific and special the land I was finally standing on is apart from any other land I have visited. Not only was it where our Savior walked and where so many biblical stories took place, but it was also the land promised to Abraham so long ago.
The Biblical Village on the slope of Yad HaShmonah provides visitors with hands-on exposure to the manners and customs of the ancient Israelites. The garden includes olive trees and press, grape vines and several winepresses, wheat field and threshing floor, watchtower, Bedouin tents, ancient Galilean synagogue, and a burial cave. All have been constructed according to the best archaeological knowledge of ancient life.
“For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land a land full of brooks and water of fountains and streams, flowing out in the valleys and hills, in a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fog trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey” Deuteronomy 8:7-8
I thought to myself why would the Lord choose this land? If he was going to choose one land for his people that He would set His gaze on why not choose the alps or a land with white sand beaches?
What struck me today was that Israel is incomparably habitable. It seems to be the ideal land for a people to settle and flourish. The climate is good, the soil is sustainable, the topography is not difficult for travel. It speaks to the Lords perfect provision for his people. I think my faith grew just seeing example after example of how the environment in Israel was just perfect for meeting the Israelites need while cultivating their reliance on God.
Through the rest of the day we were taught lessons on Abraham, Samson, and David. These lessons seemed to sink a little deeper into our hearts since we were in Jared’s words “sitting in the text”.
There was a clear common thread in each of these stories where each character was hailed for their faith in God despite their sight and circumstances seeming hopeless. Each story showed key moments when these men followed what they knew to be true in their heart despite the impossible circumstances the world presented to them. Samson had lost his strength, was imprisoned, and was brought before thousands of enemies to entertain them. In the face of this, Samson pleads for the lord to grant him strength saying “Lord God, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once” the Lord strengthens him and dies along side thousands of philistines after pushing down the supporting pillars of the house.
“When Samson was able to see, he was blind to faith, it took him losing his sight to finally see” -Jared Schuler
In the same way the world presented a young David, with the impossible task of killing the giant Goliath. While The world would have told David he should be full of fear, or put confidence in putting on Saul’s armor, instead David had unwavering confidence in God. Because of how David sees God it changes how he sees the world.
“Cowardice is failure of heart not failure of strength”
“Courage is from without not from within”-Jared Schuler
Our day ended with Paul Mckenzie walking us through God’s covenant with Abraham. Gods promise was offspring that outnumbered the stars! God promised his offspring a land to posses. These were grand promises that to Abraham’s present situation seemed impossible and yet he was faithful to the Lord “And he believed the Lord and it was counted to him as righteousness”.
“We don’t become heirs of the promises to Abraham by working for God but by being confident that God works for us” -Paul Mckenzie
Written by Shannon Jones