Israel Study Tour

Jun 1-12, 2019

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In the eyes of the Lord

Our boots hit the ground running hard! In just 11 hours are minds have been blown!

We visited the hill country of Israel and our first stop was Tel Gezer. Deuteronomy 20:1-16 Pastor Brian read to us out the the text where Joshua takes Gezer. We were reminded to stand tall and fight against sin and slippage with bold faith and obedience. At Gezer we also saw “Canaanite’s Standing Stones” that were from 1500BC. It is unsure what these stone are from, no one knows the true story. Pastor Brian reminded us that we should be “living stones” and not “dead stones.” To tell our story, to share and be bold about what God has shown us.

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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Our second stop was Beth Shemesh in the Sorek Valley. Here we are reminded that we are all tempted, and can be lead to compromise and fall into darkness just like Samson. In Judges 16, the Sovereignty of God is real. He uses our sin to accomplish His work so His glory can be shown! Samson is listed in Hebrews 11 in the Faith Hall-o-fame. He too was a “living stone”!

Beth Shemesh

A border city between Judah and Dan, Beth Shemesh was given to the Levites. Beth Shemesh was the most important Israelite city in the Sorek Valley as it watched both east-west traffic through the Sorek Valley and north-south traffic along the “Diagonal Route.” Recent excavations have shown a thriving city here from the Middle Bronze Age through the Iron II period.

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Next, Azekah overlooked the Elah Valley where David defeated Goliath! AMAZING! We were reminded that ONE act of faith changed everything. This teenager David believed that what his God did in the past when he killed a lion and bear, God would do again! With familiar tools (a rock, a sling and his staff), he BOLDLY rushed the giant who had been taunting the Israelites for 40 days. He knew his God had come through and would do so again on this day!

Azekah

Azekah (Heb: עזקה, ʿazeqah) was a town in the Shephelah guarding the upper reaches of the Valley of Elah, about 26 km (16 mi) northwest of Hebron. The current tell (ruin) by that name has been identified with the biblical Azekah, dating back to the Canaanite period. According to Eusebius' Onomasticon, the name meant "white" in the Canaanite tongue. The tell is pear shaped with the tip pointing northward. Due to its location in the Elah Valley it functioned as one of the main Judahite border cities, sitting on the boundary between the lower and higher Shephelah.[1] Although listed in Joshua 15:35 as being a city in the plain, it is actually partly in the hill country, partly in the plain.

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Our final stop was Lachish. As we ended our day at Lachish we were reminded that when things get tough and we are at our lowest point we’ve got to “spread out before the Lord” like King Hezekiah did in 2 Kings 19. He prayed. He held fast to the Lord. In a world of compromise, evil, idols, and sin, King Hezekiah did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.

There is so much more that we experienced today that wasn’t written about. As we end the evening, our bellies are full of excellent authentic Israeli food and we are grateful, humbled, and exhausted. We are also expectant and excited for our 6am wake up call to do it all over again!

Psalms 119:135 “Give US understanding that I may TRULY LIVE!”


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