My God is

September 17th: Erev Sukkot

On this night we went to a giant Sukkah (plural of sukkot) fair. At this fair, my Jewish Thought and Culture teacher, led us around a giant booth that sold the Lulov & Etrog-etrog is a citrus fruit and the Lulov is comprised of a date palm, willow branch, and myrtle. These elements are held together in the man of the house’s hand and used in the worship of the morning prayer while they are living in the sukkah for the seven days of Sukkot. It was interesting to see how the people only buy the best branches and etrogs for their family celebrations for the entire week. The atmosphere was loud, scents of food and spices being sold changing from booth to booth along a huge street.

Sukkot is the Feast of Tabernacles that is the time to recall the journey to the Promised Land and the trek through the wilderness to get there {Leviticus 23:33-36}. It is a harvest festival-Exodus 23:16. It is a time of unbridled joy as the people rejoice over the crops that have come in from the harvest. It is a Hag, meaning pilgrimage festival, and a Mo’ed, appointed time. It being a Hag and Mo’ed, people come from all over to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles-even today, they come from New York. It is a season of hospitality as everyone is to celebrate and be included even the strangers. I have loved going through the different towns as we are on our way to field trips and what not and seeing the sukkahs setup on the Jewish people’s porches and even rooftops. We walked through a super orthodox Jewish town/street where everyone was wearing the traditional Jewish man’s clothing, and there was a sukkah on every porch. Sadly, the street is not well kept, it was actually super dirty-because the people don’t think that picking up trash is part of their job and responsibility-interesting.

September 18th: Field Trip to Benjamin

The main purpose of this field trip was to learn about the different ways to get into Jerusalem from the West and East. Along the way, we stopped at many spots to learn about their significance not just geographically, but Biblically.

Emmaus was our first stop, but according to Bill, he doesn’t think this is the actual Emmaus that Jesus went to, there are actually four contending cities that it could actually be. The reason we stopped here was because it overlooked the Aijalon Valley and onto Gezer. It is across this valley that the Lord allowed the moon to stand still in the life of Joshua.

Beth-Horon Ridge: the ideal highway from the coast to Jerusalem. It is on this ridge that the Lord threw down large hail stones on the Amorites {Joshua 10:6-15}. It was incredible to stand on this gradual ridge and think through how the Lord cast down hail stones to kill the people that were threatening His children. He was caring for those He loved.

Gibeon: actually Nebi Samwil-the place where some like to think is the burial place of Samuel-but probably not. It is from this high place that we could actually look at the ancient Tell of Gibeon (tell=large mound of dirt that is to be excavated to find stuff to define what that place once was). It is from this city of Gibeon that Solomon offered 1,000 sacrifices to the Lord and the Lord grants Him wisdom {2 Chronicles 1:1-13}. Some might think that this happened in Jerusalem where the Ark of the Covenant went, but it says in verse six that it was at the tent of meeting that Solomon offered his sacrifice which was at the high place of Gibeon-not Jerusalem.

Gibeah of Saul: this city sits on the Road of Patriarchs and has a sad, yet redemptive story {Judges 19,20&21}. It sits above a lot of the other cities, so it is a good place for someone to rule as they can see farther than anyone else from their own home. But it is in this city that the Benjamites create a terrible name for themselves as they were so influenced by the Canaanites. There ultimately was a forgetfulness of Yahweh. But the beauty of it all is that through God’s mercy, through a Benjamite, the gospel was brought to the Gentiles through Paul. My God is all about redemption-in that I am thankful.

The Pass: the section of the Wadi Suwenit that goes from being sheer cliffs to a wide-passable area of land between Geba and Michmash. (Wadi is Hebrew for canyon). This location is mentioned three times specifically in the Bible. The first with Jonathan in pursuit of the Philistines in 1 Samuel 13 &14. The second with King Asa building up the cities on both sides of the wadi so that it is protected and guarded; 1 Kings 15:22. The third by King Hezekiah when Sennecharib is going to Judah and telling of the way that he is pursuing as seen in Isaiah 10. It was cool to see at this site how God in creation provided this way through a wider pass for His people to use for their protection. Just goes to show how God had a purpose from the beginning of time as to what that specific place was going to be used-my God is a planner-the perfect planner.

Jericho: did you know that there are actually 2 of them?! We first stopped at the Tell where they found ancient Jericho, you know the story when the walls fell down. It was incredible to see the actual wall that once stood-as the lower part of the wall is still there because it was made of stone while the upper part of the wall that fell was made of mud brick. So when the top part of the wall fell, it created a ramp for Joshua and the Israelites to go up into Jericho. The thing that really got me about this place was how hot it was. There wasn’t breeze to be felt. It was HOT. But that is why the city was built around a spring-it was the life source of that city.

The big controversy with Jericho is seen in Matthew 20:29 and Mark 10:46 in regards to Jericho which leads me to the conclusion that there are two Jericho’s: the spring-or the residential part of the city & the municipal-the place where governing officials lived and took care of business. In Matthew it says, “as they went out of Jericho” and in Mark, “as they went into Jericho”. And now I see how that is possible. The healing of the blind man was done as Jesus was leaving the residential area of Jericho and walking towards the municipal Jericho. Why was Jesus going that way? He was taking the Ascent of Adummim towards Jerusalem so that He could die. On His way to die for the sins of man, He stopped to heal this blind beggar. My God is kind.

Ascent of Adummim: {last stop} on the ridge that leads from Jericho to Jerusalem. It is a vast desert that it goes through. We stopped on top of a mountain overlooking the pass and Jericho-and it was amazing. Automatically my mind went to Psalm 139 where it talks about how much the Lord cares, for He thinks of me more than the number of grains of sand (my paraphrase). There’s a lot of sand out there. Rolling hills of dirt. It is beautiful. It is this road that Jesus describes the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10. And to think that this is the path that Jesus walked to go to die-in a sense, He is like the good Samaritan as Jesus associated with those He “shouldn’t” have, gave up His plans so that we could be made new through His sacrifice. I’m sure that analogy doesn’t quite follow through, but it is something that I’ve been thinking about-the parallels. My Jesus is self-less.

AND then on Friday night, my roommate Bea, friend Tim, and I went bowling with some of the local volunteers that work on the Moshav where I live-that was awesome. It was fun making a bridge with the people that work here and getting to know and talk to them. Plus I didn’t have to wear those gross bowling shoes-I just wore my Rainbow sandals!

Yesterday, I went on a long 7ish mile hike through the Nahal Perat where Jeremiah “spoiled his girdle”. We hiked along a stream that had pools along the way-which we jumped into-which was so fun- great way to cool off and play in the water which had fishies! And if you kept your feet still long enough they would nibble your feet. It was long, but thankfully it wasn’t scorching hot-it was a beautiful day to go on a hike in Israel.

The season are changing here-the first rain was on Saturday which is ironic, sovereign, because it being Sukkot, one of the prayers is for the first rains. And this year, Sukkot is earlier than normal- The Lord is faithful to provide! It was so cool- I was sitting in a covered area outside and literally saw the cloud engulf me and the rain pour down.

I’m doing well-finally getting into the whole studying thing over here which was really hard at first, but I’m adjusting. I am thankful for my roommate-she is a blessing. Absolutely love her! I have seen the Lord’s faithfulness in the “small” and “big” things in my life even while I’ve been here-HE is faithful to remind me of who He is. Last Tuesday, I was struggling-then my Prayer group leader reminded me of Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God…” and then the next day, I opened a card, and that verse was written on it-again affirming that I am to be still and know that HE is God. He is. Not just was. Not just will be. He IS! In that, I am thankful and rejoice!!!

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5 thoughts on “My God is

  1. Good to hear how the Lord is blessing you while in Israel, Jenna. Keep up the good studies for they will result in good grades!!

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