Israel In Depth - Legacy Path Experience

Dec 1-12, 2019

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Grafted into God’s kingdom

Our 1st day of “boots on the ground” took us to Beth Shemesh, Tel Azekah, Maresha & Lachish. In each location we learned about its unique place in Scripture.

Beth Shemesh is where Samson met and entertained Delilah. Even so, Samson is mentioned in the Faith Hall of Fame in Hebrews 11:32-34.

While there, we ventured down into a cistern where water was stored in the rainy season. We were reminded that cistern water can get stale and rancid, so God offers us Living Water from which we can drink and never be thirsty again.

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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Tel Azekah is the site of David’s victory over Goliath. Although David was young and small vs Goliath being 9+ feet tall with armor and all types of weaponry, David had chutzpah. He was the Lord’s choice. David’s motive wasn’t bragging rights, but it was so that the whole world would know that there is a God (1 Samuel 17:46-47)

We went into the creek bed where David selected his 5 smooth stones to gather our own to use in recounting David’s story. Where will we throw our stones to make a difference so that the whole world will know there is a God?

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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We learned that we are like good olive trees in Maresha. We, as Gentiles, are grafted into God’s kingdom. Not born of His chosen people, but by adoption grafted in. We also learned that the Garden of Gethsemane wasn’t a flower garden, but an olive grove. Gethsemane comes from “Gat Shemen” which means olive press. An olive press used either donkeys or slaves to process olives into oil. The oil would rise to the top during the process and only the best would be used in the temple.

And finally, as the sun was setting we made our way to Lachish. Lachish was so named because it was said to be impregnable. It wasn’t. Here Sennacherib, King of Assyria, did evil in the sight of the Lord; he attacked Judah and defied the Lord. But King Hezekiah prayed, crying out to the Lord, spreading it all out before Him, asking God to save them from the hand of Sennacherib “so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You, O Lord, are God alone.” (2Kings 19:14-19)

Lachish

Identified first as Lachish by Albright in 1929, the tell was excavated by James Leslie Starkey 1932-38 and by Tel Aviv University 1973-87.

Lachish is generally regarded as the second most important city in the southern kingdom of Judah. It enters the biblical narrative in the battle accounts of Joshua, Sennacherib and Nebuchadnezzar.

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As you can see we had a full day of study. As we look forward to where the Lord will lead we ask you to pray for our group. We’ve had a few folks fall with minor scrapes and bruises. Please join us in praying that we are all equipped with good stability and sure-footedness.

Oh, and y’all, we saw “Camel Crossing” street signs! With excitement in our bones, we look forward to tomorrow. We are 44.

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