Encouraged, reminded, and challenged
This was the perfect site to start the first day. A foundation of the land’s geography and topography was laid for us. We also spent time learning about the 7 Species of foods that are native to Israel and how they were harvested and some of the symbolism in the Bible. This helped us understand the culture a lot better.
We visited Samson’s hometown. Located in the Shephelah, which is the lowlands where wheat and vineyards were grown. At this location we had the opportunity to go into a real Cistern. This was new for us and our understanding grew about dead water versus living water. We were encouraged to trust God more and ourselves less.
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.
Our third site was also amazing. As we read from 1 Samuel 17, we were able to envision the battle of David and Goliath in front of us.. It was very powerful and surreal to be where it took place. We even got to go to the river bed where David picked up his 5 smooth stones. We were reminded of God’s sovereignty and faithfulness to Israel.
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.
Our fourth site was where David went into hiding from King Saul in 1 Samuel 22, after he killed Goliath. Crawling through the caves, we were able to better appreciate where David was hiding. We read Psalm 142, which is one of the psalms David penned while hiding there. It was neat to see in God’s sovereignty, that David had knowledge of the these caves. God heard David’s cries for help. We were challenged to cry out to God in areas we feel like there is no hope. He hears our cries too.
The last site off the day was the southern-most gateway city. We read 2 Kings 19 and talked about Lachish being a fortified city. King Hezekiah had run out hope. The Assyrian King was about to attack. Hezekiah prayed to God about preserving His glory among the peoples. Then God sent the Angel of the Lord to slay 185,000 troops. The battle belongs to the Lord. He will preserve His glory.
Featured Upcoming Tour
GTI Signature Tour: Israel & Jordan Study Tour
SEP 3-15, 2022
Experience Israel and Jordan for 11 days in the context of biblical history and personal faith.
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