Israel-in-Depth with Rod VanSolkema

Jun 28 - Jul 10, 2019

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Our First Day

We, Jaylene and Ken, wrote this together. Sidebar- Stephanie make a sandwich for Isaac! It only makes sense to write this blog together because we’re experiencing Israel together- the learning, the wrestling with difficult texts and above all else, living out the stories of scripture. We love it!

Here are three quick things to share- first, I am blessed. I, Ken, am blessed to study the Bible for a living. Oh my goodness do I love this work! With that, I spend a ton of time studying the Bible. I read everything I can get my hands on regarding particular passages of scripture. As great as these resources are- nothing compares to being in Israel. Yep, nothing compares to walking where David walked, or seeing what David saw and still better yet, seeing the places where biblical events happened. We are indwelling the bible- living it!

Second, it’s awesome to live the bible together. So that when we are confronted with deep biblical truths- such as trusting God like David did when he took on Goliath, we wrestle with this truth together. I’m confident that God wants his word to penetrate both of our hearts together so that we can more faithfully live it out together. Our three awesome boys need to see us live out biblical truth harmoniously, and so does the world. Third, the cave in Adullam is stuck on me, Ken. This is the cave that David ran to when Saul wanted to kill him (I Samuel 22). David felt alone- he was literally alone and certainly would have experienced awful ideas that everyone abandoned him. Thinking through this biblical story, reminds me of the incredible gift we have in marriage. That when we experience utterly painful and gut-wrenching stories- God has given us this amazing gift of marriage so that we don’t have to experience these stories alone. We don’t have to sit in the cave alone but we have each other.

Already, on this first day, I (Jaylene) feel that my mind is so full! Our first stop today was the ancient city ruins of Gezer. Ken and I were both struck by the city gates. This is where Judges and leaders of the city would sit. This is where folks came to buy good and gather news. Also, were the poor, needy, strangers and widow gathered for help and to be cared for. I was so challenged to think what is my/our city gate? What are the people that God has called us to care for and interact with. To actually sit in these ancient city gates while we hear biblical stories in Bible makes the bible come so alive. Feeling the wind on our shoulders and the scent of spices in the air. We can’t wait for what is in store for tomorrow!


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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