Living from that humble stance
It’s weird to think that the next time we pack up and load the bus with all of our luggage we will be heading to the airport! I never knew how quickly almost 2 weeks can go by. But we’re not thinking about that right now… on to Nazareth!!
Sunny and beautiful as can be, we were excited to get off the bus and explore this site. There was a juice shop right where we unloaded that had fresh pomegranate juice, which Yehuda highly recommended. We walked a ways and stood on top of Mount Precipice. In Luke 4, where the people were offended by the teachings of Jesus and wanted to throw him off a cliff, this was the cliff. We discussed how this still can happen today and the dangers that exist when we become complacent and offended by teachings in the Bible. It was a great reminder and challenge to take the Bible for what it is, let it be fresh, and ultimately never lose our awe and wonder of God.
To be honest, we were equally as excited to load the bus again because of all the gnats that seemed to swarm us on the top of Mount Precipice! It certainly took nothing away from the rich content and views, but we’ll also never forget the attack of the gnats!!
We explored Tel Megiddo, which was a city that had been destroyed and rebuilt 26 times… Meaning there are 26 different distinct layers and cities built up on each other over history. It was here that we saw a Palace during the time of Ahab. We walked up and overlooked the Valley of Jezreel - A large valley that runs east to west, where lots of battles took place and is referred to as Armageddon. In Revelation 16, this is the place used to explain the end times, where God will unleash his wrath against sin. Terry led us to Revelation 19, which talks about how we will all be judged by the truth of Gods word. It’s easy to lean into the love of Jesus and his compassion but sometimes it can be hard to understand the wrath of God. God is both love AND justice. God is wrathful against sin AND he loves us more than we could ever imagine. He is the Lion of Judah AND he is the Lamb that was slain. Although it may be a hard concept, I don’t believe that we’re supposed to put God in a box and have him all figured out. What I do know is that this King of Kings is to be feared and revered and I think we could all do a better job living from that humble stance.
From the earliest times (EB) to the earliest historical records of the area (Thutmose III) to the future (Revelation 16), Megiddo assumes a prominent role. This is largely owing to its strategic location astride the Megiddo Pass (Wadi Ara) and inside the busy Jezreel Valley.
There’s a story in the Bible where King Ahab and Elijah are battling it out between which god is the one true God and it takes place on Mount Carmel. We got to stand on Mount Carmel and read that story in 1 Kings 16. I’m always amazed by the boldness, bravery, and patience of Elijah. He was completely obedient to the Lord and didn’t turn to the left or to the right. His faith was unwavering and the Lord showed up in a powerful way.
Biblically, Mt. Carmel is referenced most often as a symbol of beauty and fertility. To be given the “splendor of Carmel” was to be blessed indeed (Isa 35:2). Solomon praised his beloved: “your head crowns you like Mount Carmel” (Song 7:5). But for Carmel to wither was a sign of devastating judgment (Nahum 1:4).
Caesarea Maritima is right off the shore of the Mediterranean. Thankfully, it was still sunny so that helped with the cool wind from the water! This was built by Herod the Great to be used as a port for importing and exporting goods. This massive ancient city includes his palace, a theater, a hippodrome (An ancient stadium for horse and chariot racing), a pool, and many other things we didn’t have time to see. The extravagance of this place shows his brilliance, power, but also his ego. He wanted to be known and respected like a god.
The city and harbor were built under Herod the Great during c. 22–10 BC near the site of a former Phoenician naval station known as Stratonos pyrgos (Στράτωνος πύργος). It later became the provincial capital of Roman Judea, Roman Syria Palaestina and Byzantine Palaestina Prima provinces. The city was populated throughout the 1st to 6th centuries CE and became an important early center of Christianity during the Byzantine period, but was mostly abandoned following the Muslim conquest of 640. It was re-fortified by the Crusaders, and finally slighted by the Mamluks in 1265.
We sat in the very theater where Herod Agrippa the 2nd was struck down and eaten by worms because he did not give praise to God (Acts 12). This is also the spot where Peter, in Acts 10, spoke about his vision - that the Gospel is not only for the Jews, but also for the Gentiles! So cool. We walked further and saw the place where Paul was sent when he was arrested in Acts 23-25. Not to make light of his imprisonment, but Paul would’ve had a pretty amazing view!!
We ended the day with a longer bus ride then some dinner at our new home for the next 4 nights in Jerusalem.
To sum up the day in one sentence…. Never forget how big and how powerful our God is and never lose our awe and wonder for Him.