Israel-in-Depth with Rod VanSolkema

Jun 28 - Jul 10, 2019

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Yada-ing the Desert

Yada-ing the Desert (Yada- an experiential knowing)

How does one respond to climbing a mountain in the Sinai desert where God came to his servant Moses and gave the Ten Commandments? Furthermore, how does one prepare to enter a place known as “yeshimon” which means you can’t live without outside help? Even the strongest among us felt a bit intimidated by the intense heat and rugged path. The thing about the desert is that it reveals and exposes our vulnerabilities, insecurities, frailties, and our utter need for dependence.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding” was the theme of devotions led by Libby this morning overlooking a canyon which felt as grand as any we’ve seen. “In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” And so after acknowledging God at the beginning of this day, we walked, following our rabbi and his wife, trusting that they would direct our path for the day. We walked past the Broom Bush and were reminded of the shade of God’s right hand which like mana in the desert, was “just enough.” Just enough. We admired the Acacia Tree that appeared completely dead but one whose roots grow extremely deep. It is the tree that Psalm 1 and Jeramiah 17:7-8 boasts of and the wood which Noah’s ark was fashioned out of. We schlepped (Yiddish for “haul” as our standup-comedian tour guide, Nadav, taught us this morning) our backpacks on the 100+ degree path, scaled jagged rocks, traversed narrow paths and began our ascent. Community boosting community with a hand or a word of encouragement to an incredible panoramic view of the Sinai mountains in the Sinai Desert. Our rabbi recounted the account of God speaking to Elijah after he had defeated the prophets of Baal…” And he said, ‘Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord’. And the Lord passed by...” but God wasn’t in the strong wind, He was not in the earthquake, not in the fire, but in the sound of a whisper. And as if on cue, the wind (ruah) stopped blowing. You could have heard a pin drop. It was a holy moment. God speaks to us every day. Are we quiet enough to hear His whispers?

As we made our last ascent that required all the grit and Jewish chutzpah that we could muster, we made it to the top of one of the mountains in the Sinai Desert. Perhaps it was the very one where Moses stayed those 40 nights and 40 days. Israel wandered this desert for 40 years. God’s people were out of Egypt but He had to “get the Egypt out of his people.”

We sat on the top of that mountain and marveled at God marrying his people and giving them His covenant- saying His wedding vows (the Ten Commandments) to a people that He knew would forsake Him thus starting His redemptive plan in motion. Again, with the help of strong hands and sturdy grips, we descended down the mountain in awe of the God of Israel, El Elohe, and knowing him more intimately as Jehovah Jireh, our provider.

After one more mountain top experience with Steph and Mark teaching about covenant and urging us to fall in love with The Holy Spirit in each other, we gathered to hear testimonies of God’s grace and goodness working in the lives of His people and then renewed wedding vows with our covenant partners in life, praying, pleading to resemble the love and servanthood that Christ had towards his church, so we can shout out to the world through our marriages that The Bridegroom is coming for His church! What a glorious day that will be!


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