A Story to Tell
Today was the Sabbath, so for Israel this was a day of rest. And the gift we felt was a not-as-fast day! We walked everywhere at “sabbath pace”. This was actually a great pace chance because it allowed many of us to think about the story that God is writing in our lives and the ways in which we are allowing Him to use us and speak to us.
Our morning started at Bet She’an which had many of us in awe. The humor was that this was a Roman City in which SELF was of highest value. And though we may be amazed at the grandness of these ruins, they are just that. Ruins. All that remains of a city where the human self was of highest priority came to ruin.
Located 17 miles (27 km) south of the Sea of Galilee, Beth Shean is situated at the strategic junction of the Harod and Jordan Valleys. The fertility of the land and the abundance of water led the Jewish sages to say, “If the Garden of Eden is in the land of Israel, then its gate is Beth Shean.” It is no surprise then that the site has been almost continuously settled from the Chalcolithic period to the present.
Our next stop was a two-for-one special! At Mount Gilboa and the Springs of Harod (basically one in the same) we learned of the importance of inquiring of God. Saul made a fatal mistake in 1 Samuel when he inquiries of the Lord and doesn’t get an answer. The impatient and inability to ask again and again and again with dedication led him to go his own route to solve a problem. This also led him to ruin. Check out 1 Samuel 28-31 to see what we’re talking about! It’s a wild story.
Mount Gilboa is on the southeastern side of the Jezreel Valley. King Saul felt forced to commit suicide on these slopes when facing certain defeat by the Philistines. In light of Saul and Jonathan’s deaths, David cursed the mountain: “O mountains of Gilboa, may you have neither dew nor rain, nor fields that yield offerings” (2 Sam 1:21).
Our day took a turn at this point. Often times in life you can learn from people’s mistakes; but you can also learn from people’s obedience and success. This was true at the Springs of Harod where Gideon, who had very low self-esteem trusted the voice of God and led 300 men to overtake the Midianites. Read Judges 7 and you’ll note that this Spring of Harod is mentioned and was of great significance in teaching Gideon (and all of us!). What might seem impossible for success can only be explained by the power of God so that He only will get the glory through our stories; which let’s be real: it’s His story in us!
Finally, while crossing the Sea of Galilee (YES, in a boat on the water where many miracles took place) we were taught on the faith of Peter in Matthew 14. How crazy is it to think that Peter was wild to believe that he could walk on the water? But wait. Is it really that crazy?
Doesn’t it make sense that as a disciple of a rabbi who says “I want you to come learn to be like me” that it only makes logical sense to think, “if He can do it, I can do it?” That’s the kind of faith we should have! And Jesus says that we will do greater things than He. So as we consider our story (which is actually His story), let’s remember what He is calling us to and keep pressing to hear what He has for us, see what He is showing us, and walk in His path.
Tomorrow we pack up and head toward Jerusalem for the last leg of our journey. But we are far from done and still have more to learn. Please pray for health and renewal as many are feeling a bit under the weather and a few are enduring minor injuries. We love and appreciate you all!
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Septemer 5-17, 2020
Experience Israel & Jordan for 11 days in the context of biblical history and personal faith.
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