Relationship, Compromise, and Courage
Our first day began with worship time at a place called Yad HaShmona with a beautifully serene view of the surrounding area. Yad HaShmona is a modern place on what is biblically known as Kiriath-Jearim (*see I Samuel 6:19-7:2). In addition to learning about the biblical significance of this place and the cultural components of it, we learned and discussed why God chose this particular part of the Earth as the promised land. The underlying theme was relationship: family relationships in Jewish culture, God and the Jewish people over time, and God’s presence inside of us those who’ve believed in Jesus.
The next location we visited was Bet-Shemesh where we studied the story of Samson and how he compromised his Nazarene vow and as a result faced severe consequences. “Compromise always leads to blinding, binding, and grinding.”
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.
See those two pictures below of just one green mountain in the photo? Those are two mountains (and the valley in between) is where the story of David and Goliath took place! How incredible is that?! The photo with our bus and road in the front is where the Israeli army was, and the Philistine army was at the other mountain pictured below. The message for this location was courage; and our prayer is that we may face the goliaths in our lives the way David faced Goliath - with complete trust and dependence on God.
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. 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.
As if that wasn’t amazing enough, we explored several caves and old underground cities, and underground businesses... And turns out one cave has the perfect acoustic for choir singing! So we did! Sing that is. Enjoy the video below!
The land of Israel - past, present, and future - truly shows the greatness of our God!
Featured Upcoming Tour
GTI Signature Tour: Israel & Jordan
Septemer 5-17, 2020
Experience Israel & Jordan for 11 days in the context of biblical history and personal faith.
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